Obama's True Predecessor: Reagan

The Gipper is Obama's 'role model,' writes EJ Dionne Jr.

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 24, 2013 1:30 PM CST

(Newser) – President Obama is following in the footsteps not of a liberal giant, but of a conservative one: His "role model is Ronald Reagan," writes EJ Dionne Jr. in the Washington Post. Obama himself admitted as much during his 2008 campaign, when he said that "Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not." Like Reagan, Obama is pushing for a "long-term electoral realignment," but he's going left instead of right.

That's why he's not really looking for an "impossible bipartisanship," and he's not too worried about working well with John Boehner. Reagan didn't succeed by working well with Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill; he succeeded by winning over a minority of conservative and moderate, mostly Southern, Democrats "who knew their part of the country was moving Reagan's way." Obama has the same plan. Of course, the irony is that if Obama realizes his progressive vision for the US, he will be "reversing the 40th president’s political legacy," Dionne writes. "In following Reagan’s political lead, Obama is setting out to prove that the Reagan era is finally over." Click for his full column.

This 1984 photo shows President Reagan facing reporters at the beginning of a news conference in the East Room of the White House.
This 1984 photo shows President Reagan facing reporters at the beginning of a news conference in the East Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Ira Schwarz, File)
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