Part 3 in a series of 21-22.
I wanted to compare Obama with some president, because everyone is (or was 8-12 months ago) doing the same. First, I asked myself several questions. Which president should I pick? Is Obama Kennedy? Is Obama FDR? Is Obama Ford? Is Obama Hayes? The short answer to all of these questions: Reagan, Kind of, Hmmm, No, and Who isn’t.
It’s almost impossible that all of the men who have been president wouldn’t have a few large, and a lot of imaginary or superficial, things in common. After all there were a lot of lawyers, businessmen and career politicians in the bunch. If each of them took the same online personality quiz at least half would say, “Hey, the quiz says I’m Jim from The Office.” Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Schrute.
The Kennedy-Lincoln comparison is popular, but faulty where most of the similarities are stretching the truth or made up, almost as if I had made the list. Although I would have included that both hid the truth about illnesses they had while in office and both (probably) contracted malaria. DUN.DUN.DUNNN. I chose to compare Reagan and Obama because it would be the most annoying to anyone who really likes Reagan or really likes Obama. Plus, it was super easy.
Obama himself made the comparison in January 2008, saying
“I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what is different is the times. I do think that, for example, the 1980 election was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not…I think he tapped into what people were already feeling. Which is we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”
And boy, were John Edwards and a lot of Republicans not pleased with this, according to titles I glanced over in a short Google search.
Warming up: Reagan was born in Illinois, although the fact that I’ve yet to see his birth certificate makes me suspicious he was ever born at all. Obama was a senator from the state of Illinois.
- Reagan and Obama are the messiahs of the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively, with John McCain occasionally saying nice things about both of them. Maverick!
- Reagan used television as effectively as Obama used the Internet.
- Both ran against male presidential candidates with female vice presidential candidates.
- Both had Vice Presidents with the same letter in their last name.
- Biden and Bush Sr. each walk the line between being a competent politician and perpetually silly.
Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Obama and Reagan were both born left handed and remained left handed through adulthood.
Mixed feelings, middle names: Obama’s middle name Hussein is the surname of good guy King Hussein and bad guy Saddam. Reagan’s middle name Wilson is the surname of Rainn Wilson, who’s likable because he’s Dwight, and mean ol Joe Wilson.
Mixed feelings, general: We could argue all day about which president hung out with which terrorists and who funded whatever contras and such. I’m not going to post pictures of Reagan hanging out with the Taliban or Obama and Chavez (stupid Chavez). But the one thing we can agree on is that both Reagan and Obama have both ordered controversial invasions on the island of Grenada. But then again, what president hasn’t? And even if Obama hasn’t technically done it, Ollie North isn’t dead yet.
I like both of them: I like both of them. Obama and Reagan are some of the handful of presidents I will read three or more autobiographies or biographies (unlike two book limit presidents Taylor and Washington). Just last week I watch a tribute to Ronald Reagan’s best greatest speeches. I loved it and kept referring to it as a “Tribute to Ronald Reagan’s Greatness” because I thought that was the title. Obama has my vote locked up in 2012, unless the GOP decides to pick the folksy powerhouse that would be a Palin–Jindal ticket. Or if Al Franken runs.
Hollywood loved Reagan and Hollywood loves Obama: Unless they’re not a member of that person’s party. Chuck Norris for instance, loved Reagan (I imagine) and hates Obama. Chuck Norris is a terrible human being. Not for his opinion of Obama, as most Obama critics are nice people, but just in general.
Chester A. Arthur Fashion Plate Award : First Ladies Nancy Reagan and Michelle Obama, Fashion Icons. Although it wasn’t that hard to win best dressed in the 1980s.
Really reaching: Reagan had four children, Obama had two, but both had two with the woman who would be First Lady during their term(s) as president. Both have six syllables in their names if you pronounce Obama “Obb-ma.”
Also: Both gave speeches using the words hope and change in front of a crowd of cheering Germans, which means Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan are also both literally Hitler.