by Japa (@deaconmill)
In 2008, during the primary campaign, in an interview, then Senator Obama talked about how Reagan had been a transformative President and how he hoped to be the same. He was immediately attacked by many, included his main opponent as being supportive of Reagan’s policies. That attack, like many others before and since (clinging to guns and religion, they didn’t build that, etc.) was, of course, based upon a deliberate misreading and misinterpretation of what he said and meant.
If it isn’t obvious to everyone now, and it should be, President Obama represents the antithesis of everything President Reagan stood for. He has repeatedly called out the GOP for continuing the failed policies of Reagonomics. His approach to immigration reform is radically different than Reagan’s blanket amnesty with no follow-up policy. He does not see foreign policy as a case of who can puff up their chest the biggest, like Reagan and his successors did. He supports unions. He supports all human rights. He abhors the policies of racism. He truly recognizes the difficulties and nuances of decision making.
Yet, as much as Reagan Presidency was transformative in a negative way, President Obama’s is becoming transformative in a uniquely positive way. In fact, it may end up being the most positively transformative Presidency in the history of our country. And this is not due to specific legislation passed with his urging, although much of that legislation will impact this country and how it views the government’s role in helping its citizens for decades to come. Nor is it due to the fact that he is, probably, one of the top three President’s in terms of rhetorical skills. Nor is it because he is the first black President. All of those are important to his legacy, but they are not transformative in terms of how the country is run or how the President interacts with the other branches of government.