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Bromwich on Obama December 11, 2010

Posted by Jason in Uncategorized.

In an article on the midterm elections in the New York Review of Books, David Bromwich, one of my English professors (probably the polymath of the bunch), makes a real Obama-Carter comparison:

The Tea Party movement stands as the latest embodiment of a far-right strain in our politics that has passed episodically from partial control to a dominant grip on the Republican Party. It ascended in 1964, in 1980, in 1994, and has returned with a vengeance in 2010. The continuity has been concealed by the legend of Ronald Reagan as a moderate conservative. Reagan gave the nominating speech for Barry Goldwater in 1964, and his central issues in 1980 were Jimmy Carter’s want of manly resolve in failing to attack Iran and his lack of patriotism in letting Panama take charge of the Canal. Obama’s hands-off conduct toward the BP spill last summer was reminiscent of Carter’s Rose Garden strategy. Say nothing (both men reasoned) about a crisis that resists a methodical solution, and you will gain credit for candor. But it does not work like that.

This is probably what the lazy  journos wish they could do when they trot out the old-said-saws: Obama as FDR/Clinton/Carter/Cleveland. That said, I think the thing Bromwich does best here is resist the Reagan hagiography we have become accustomed to reading.



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