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Delusions of Grandeur

Obama sees himself as a transformative president.

Mar 29, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 27 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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There are circumstances in which, I would argue, Ronald Reagan was a very successful president, even though I did not agree with him on many issues, partly because at the end of his presidency, people, I think, said, “You know what? We can regain our greatness. Individual responsibility and personal responsibility are important.” And they transformed the culture and not simply promoted one or two particular issues.

Obama dilated further in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal on January 14, 2008. “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not,” he said. (Hillary Clinton and John Edwards predictably distorted the statement for use in the Democratic primaries.)

Obama’s hope was to take liberalism into the mainstream the same way that Reagan had conservatism. In his mind, he had the political skills to do it.

“I think that we’re shifting the political paradigm here,” he told the Gazette-Journal

And if I’m the nominee, I think I can bring a lot of folks along on my coattails. You know, there’s a reason why in 2006, I made the most appearances for members of Congress. I was the most requested surrogate to come in and campaign for people in districts that were swing districts, Republican districts where they wouldn’t have any other Democrat.

Health care might make Obama a transformative president. But Democrats in Republican districts and swing districts are not likely to be calling Obama to campaign for them this fall.

Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard.

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