Presenting an admittedly skewed view of Barack Obama:
At this point in history no other president since Franklin Roosevelt has enjoyed such widespread support of Americans who truly relate to him and believe in him. A look at the record shows why.
He was gutsy, but often came across as a less-than-bright homespun guy. And his sometime belligerent attitude took much of the dignity and effectiveness out of his presidency.
Here was a man who didn’t just seem to be above it all—he was way up there, steering clear of partisan political poo-poo . A genuine war hero, Ike was more symbol than doer. Revered by most people, but never one of them.
Grandmothers wanted to cuddle him. Their daughters fantasized going much further. People everywhere had him leading the charge against the world’s bad guys. He was also seen as a rich smartass who bought his way into the White House. Sadly, we never found out who John Kennedy really was.
Conniver, power broker, politician through and through. A rude, crude total Texan, too. Yet the man probably did more to make civil rights a reality than anyone since Lincoln. Extreme. That was LBJ. And extreme sums up the country’s love-hate relationship with him.
He introduced a shadowy age of secrets and stonewalling, and he was as uncomfortable with us as we were with him. China’s Communist rulers respected his trickiness, and in a sense, rewarded one of their own by reinforcing Richard Nixon’s reputation as a foreign policy “genius.”
Let’s hear it for the nice guy who pardoned the bad guy, and didn’t do much else except bring decency back to post-Watergate Washington—and the nation.
Good man. Unlucky president. As Commander-in-Chief, Carter negotiated the history-making Egypt-Israel peace treaty. Yay! He was also top dog when Iranian students occupied the U.S. embassy. Boo. A failed attempt to free the American hostages there decimated Carter’s approval rating and led to defeat in his try for a second term.
He was rock star-popular during two terms —and after. His fans contend that he was instrumental in bringing down the Berlin Wall and defeating European Communism. Meanwhile, he did his darndest to keep our government small and business big.
George H.W. Bush
In addition to fathering a president-son, George, H.W.’s claim to fame was victory in the Persian Gulf War. The one that lasted a little over 100 hours, and according to our side, opened the door to a “new world order.” The Gulf War was part of a double header, that also featured our invasion of Panama to get Manuel Noriega. We won both games, or did we?
The report card for our 42nd president reads Performance—A; Character and Honesty—F minus. Wild Bill presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in America’s history. He was also impeached for obstruction of justice, but acquitted by the Senate. Scandals, sexual and otherwise, also spiced things up.
The 9/11 attacks brought out the best in him. From then on it was downhill. Having earned the highest ever approval rating, George Bush saw it become one of the lowest toward the end of his presidency. The lowlight of it all was the bloody, drawn-out war in Iraq.
Of course there’s no telling how long, or if, the overwhelming support for Obama will stand up. But considering the presidents who fell short—and why— I wouldn’t bet against him.