View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Reagan vs. Clinton 

This Garner cartoon, from my old friend David Schlesinger:

The Democrats have been spinning nostalgia recently. First, they assure us that as we remember Reagan, we'll look at Bush and be disappointed by the comparison. Now, Bill Clinton is planning to use his book tour to boost John Kerry.

Like Reagan, however, Clinton as ex-president has seen the controversies of his tenure recede while appreciation for his outsized personality has seemed to deepen. And like Reagan, Clinton is now widely regarded as a touchstone for his party, including for the presumptive presidential nominee, John F. Kerry.

Charles Krathammer had it right: by reducing Reagan's legacy to mere personality and optimism, the Democrats give a chance to spotlight Bill Clinton's only real assets.

If George Bush is no Ronald Reagan, then John Kerry, just as assuredly, is no Bill Clinton. Worse, to the extent that they are like their parties' "touchstones," it's exactly in substance and character, not style. And as the cartoon above suggests, that's a competition Bill Clinton can't win.

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