LARPing at Leadership

One on the most effective political cartoonists of the middle of the 20th century was Herbert Block who drew under the name of Herblock for the Washington Post. He always gave his caricature of Richard Nixon five o’clock shadow. Herblock clearly despised Nixon, but the day after the 1968 election, he published the cartoon on the left as a way of congratulating Nixon on winning the election. It wasn’t long before the five o’clock shadow reappeared.

Here at Hogewash!, I run every new president’s name through the spell checker for one post.

I’ve seen comments to the effect that Donald Trump was the most divisive president in history or at least in recent history, and that Joe Biden has an opportunity to bring the country back together again. Unity seems to be a big buzzword on the Left these days. I don’t have much hope for such healing.

First, trying to paint Trump as a particularly divisive president is counterfactual. Trump was elected as a response to the divisive politics of the Obama administration much as Nixon was elected in response to the divisive politics of the Johnson administration and Lincoln was elected in response to the divisive politics of the Buchanan administration. BTW, an argument can be made that while Lincoln was among our greatest presidents, he was THE most divisive. His election triggered the Civil War.

But back to 2021.

At least 74,000,000 Americans voted against Joe Biden, and many, perhaps the majority, of them don’t believe that Biden actually won. The Left’s making lists of Trump supporters and talking of reeducation camps isn’t going to help depolarize the country, and it’s up to the new president to show some leadership by engaging respectfully with his political opponents and insisting that his supporters do likewise. I don’t see any indication of such behavior.

Indeed, his initial round of personnel appointments and some of his acts on his first day of the job lead me to believe that he’s the same Joe Biden who has spent almost fifty years as a hack pretending to be a political leader.

Because I want America to be successful, I wish Joe Biden and his administration success in doing well for the country. I wish I had more hope.

Presidential Approval

The President’s approval rating is tanking. It’s now running in the same territory as Richard Nixon’s during Watergate. The rubes are starting to catch on.

Back in 2008, I was one of the folks saying that the best case scenario for the Obama Administration would be Carter II. It’s pretty clear that was an accurate assessment and that Barack Obama has missed the mark.

OTOH, it’s unfair to Jimmy Carter to make direct comparisons between him and Barack Obama. Obama/Nixon is more appropriate concerning transparency. Obama/Hoover is better concerning economic recovery, although Hoover did the better job. And when it comes to enabling a potential enemy to be prepared to make war on the United States, an Obama/Buchanan comparison is apt.

We have three more years of this. Fasten your seat belts.

UPDATE—Stacy McCain offers his analysis of the President’s popularity here.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Cabin Boy Bill Schmalfeldt has testified that he can’t remember complaining about having to work on President’s Day. Perhaps this will refresh his memory.

OK, so who got President’s Day off? Huh? Raise your hand. I don’t see that many hands. It’s not one of those holidays that many people get off, but , uh, when I was in the Federal Government, I used to laugh at chumps who had to work on days like this. Awww, it’s probably karma coming back to haunt me.

—Program Transcript, 18 February, 2013

Of course, he’s not the only witness who has had trouble with his memory.

I do not recall.

—1975 Grand Jury Testimony, Richard Nixon

Whose Third Term?

Stacy McCain has a post up about a Democrat congresscritter who has introduced a constitutional amendment to repeal the 22nd Amendment, the one that put the two-term limits on Presidents. Yes, some Democrats are already talking about a third term for Barack Obama.

Uh, huh.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. In 2008, some folks expected that Barack Obama’s first term would be, in effect, Jimmy Carter’s second term. I was one of the people who viewed that as a best case scenario. Given the abundance of coverups, it may be that Barack Obama’s second term will seem like Richard Nixon’s third term.

Carter’s Second Term … Or Nixon’s … Or Hoover’s?

There was an expectation among some folks after the 2008 election that the Obama Administration would be very much like a second Carter term. And there were those of us who felt that was a best case scenario. That pessimism now seems well founded.

There is, however, one area where Barack Obama has been more fortunate than Jimmy Carter. At least he hasn’t had a whole embassy taken over, only a consulate. Of course, the Benghazi incident has provided a great opportunity for the President to emulate one of the other 20th-century presidents he resembles, Richard Nixon, and so we are once again asking, “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”

The competence of Carter, the integrity of Nixon, the economic success of Hoover …

Is it November yet?

Don’t Know Much About History

The Hill reports on their poll on voter reaction the President’s claim of executive privilege.

Sixty-one percent of independents said they disapproved of the president’s actions, and just 25 percent approved. Among Republicans, opposition to the president’s use of executive privilege was more entrenched at 78 percent.

Even 28 percent of Democrats, and 30 percent of self-identified liberals disapproved of Obama’s position.

I was surprised by the claim of privilege. Surely, I thought, there is someone in the White House who remembers Watergate. Barack Obama was just turning 13 when Richard Nixon resigned, and I suppose he wasn’t paying much attention to politics. Well, what goes ’round comes ’round.

UPDATE—Jim Geraghty is back with his Morning Jolt email, and he leads with Fast and Furious this morning. He also has a related post at NRO.

Nixon Lite

Roger Simon suggests that contrary to conventional wisdom the former president with whom Barack Obama has the most in common is Richard Nixon rather than Jimmy Carter. He does point out some important similarities, and misses one. Enemy Lists.

The tie to Jimmy Carter comes more from the initial expectation that the Obama Administration would be “Carter’s Second Term,” but that has turned out to be an unachieved best case scenario.

May I suggest two other former presidents whose single terms fit somewhat with what we’ve seen of Barack Obama?

Herbert Hoover–a Progressive who did all the wrong things during an economic recovery.

James Buchanan–a weak president whose lack of leadership contributed to the Civil War has a parallel in our current president’s “voting present” on issues such as deficit reduction which are leadings toward a possible economic train wreck.

Is it November yet?

UPDATE–Hoover and Buchanan were the presidents who immediately preceded significant discontinuities in how the society/government interface worked, the Civil War and the New Deal.

Hmmmm.

UPDATE 2–A commenter at Mr. Simon’s original post suggests Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Could be …