Michael Booth, who runs Cato's Domain and whose pen name is Cato the Eldest, has written an interesting article that came out on May 13: "Barack Hussein Nixon." Booth compares, contrasts, and assesses the last eight presidents, from Nixon through Obama. He also has some stark things to say about a certain "co-president," Hillary R. Clinton. But what might be the best parts of the article are the passages on the presidency itself. Political junkies of all stripes will enjoy this article.
Here's Booth on Reagan:
Ronald Wilson Reagan is one of only four men who ever held the office (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt being the other three) who truly understood what the US presidency actually is and how to use the unique powers of the office. Neither all-powerful dictator nor powerless figurehead, the power Constitutionally vested in the president is precisely that subtle moral force that springs from a deep well of intrinsic personal integrity, blended with a true love of country,
On the Clintons:
William Jefferson Clinton I liked, though I knew he was just a surfer on a wave; a lottery winner through no fault of his own upon whom fate smiled again and again. He is the finest retail politician of the post-WW2 era and a Madison Avenue huckster. He flowed with the political tide, a surfer as I said. I expected nothing great from him and he produced nothing great, but I feared him not. 100 years from now he will be thought a third tier president. His co-president Hillary Rodham Clinton, however, scared me to death. A more ruthless, partisan, ideological political animal I'd never seen outside the USSR and China.
Unlike Bush43, Obama is a dogmatic, hyper-partisan ideologue. The vast majority of his legislative agenda was passed with Democrat input and votes alone. The GOP was shut out of the conversation, closed out of debate, locked out of the process almost completely. Obama is incapable of compromise with the GOP because he is willing to give nothing in return. The "zeitgeist" of his administration is "win totally or do nothing and blame the GOP".
Like Bill Clinton, Obama is an excellent retail politician. But where Bill truly connected with Jane and Joe American, Obama finds us a bit comical and mildly repulsive, and for this reason seems cold and aloof. And unlike every previous president, Obama has no close allies among international leaders. Obama is much more like co-president Hillary than President Bill. Obama is completely, utterly politicized. There is no other guiding principle to his disingenuously centrist campaign rhetoric and autocratic, hyper-partisan legislative agenda.
Read the whole thing.