Obama and The Gipper

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Apr 26, 2007 1:42 PM

Today's Blogometer makes an interesting point that, in terms of style, at least, Barack Obama is the most Reaganesque of the presidential contenders.  Blogometer also points out that, while Reagan was both nice and optimistic, he was also a tough competitor who wasn't afraid to attack his liberal opponents (all of which is true):

The Blogometer would not be the first to compare Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to Ronald Reagan, and if Obama continues to warm even conservative critics, we won't be the last. As gifted a politician as Obama may be, however, there's still room for improvement. And the netroots just may be the folks who help him get there. Following Rudy Giuliani's claim that "America will be safer with a Republican president," Obama chastised Rudy for taking "the politics of fear to a new low" and claiming, "America's mayor should know that when it comes to 9/11 and fighting terrorists, America is united." The netroots liked that Obama hit back at Giuliani quick, but they wish he would have been more combative: stressing how Dems would protect America better instead of focussing on 'unity.'

Reagan may have benefitted from a sunny optimism, but he also never missed a chance to remind Americans he'd better protect them than Jimmy Carter or Walter Mondale. Maybe Obama can take a suggestion from the netroots and move past his 'new politics' to make the argument that he's the candidate who can best secure the country.

In short, they are suggesting that, in order to become a better candidate, Obama needs to get tougher.

Anyone who cares about policy would point out that Reagan and Obama couldn't be more different.  But few real voters make up their minds based on policy -- they instead make up their minds (on candidates) based on likability and perception.  For this reason, Barack Obama is a very dangerous candidate.

Thoughts?