Partisan politics aside, does Barack Obama want to remembered as a Reagan or as a Carter?

Or does the most criticized and analyzed man on earth (based upon the position….let alone any gaffes or missteps) want to serve for two terms or be excused after just four years?

Princeton history and public affairs prof Julian E. Zelizer http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/05/zelizer.obama.mistakes/index.html argues effectively that the tortoise approach has served Obama well and questions when he tries to do too much too soon or loses his discipline and goes off the reservation. Two examples, he cited were the oft discussed “acted stupidly” remark about the Cambridge Police, and later flying off to Denmark to join Oprah in arguing Chicago’s case for the 2016 Olympics, only to lose on the initial ballot.

The examples and the policy pile on of stimulus, budget bill, cap and trade and health care reform on top of the economic meltdown and Afghanistan remind many of Jimmy Carter rather than Ronald Reagan. Carter wanted to read the 70-page report; Reagan, the famous two-pager. Carter was deciding who was going to play on the White House tennis court; Reagan would delegate that epic responsibility to the appropriate disciple.

Obama would be wise to remember the wisdom of the tortoise, who ultimately outsmarted and beat the burned-out tortoise. Carter looked like a worn-out dish rag after four years of hostages, inflation, unemployment and high interest rates. Reagan…..well…..he looked like Reagan. Something to ponder in a deliberate manner.

Advertisements