A few days ago, Mike Huckabee compared Hillary Clinton to Richard Nixon. It’s not the first time that this year’s candidates have been compared to former presidents, so we decided to gather up some of the comments, and see if you agree. The Huckabee comment was that there’s a “coverup” of Hillary’s Health, and used a flub by her husband as proof. As if Bill Clinton never misspeaks. . .
Donald Trump surrogate Mike Huckabee pounced on Bill Clinton’s mistaken pronouncement of his wife’s condition as the “flu” rather than the diagnosed case of pneumonia, suggesting Thursday that there is a “cover-up” about the Democratic nominee’s health similar to the concealment operation that doomed the presidency of Richard Nixon.
“Well you know one of the things I was waiting to hear ‘Dr. Bill Clinton, Dr. Bill Clinton, ER stat,'” the former governor of Arkansas told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer in a segment of “America’s Newsroom,” cracking that the former president went “from being a campaigner to a medical diagnotician [sic].”
The vice presidential candidates got into the act, too. Both Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine compared the other party’s figurehead with Nixon.
“What’s evident from all of the revelations over the last several weeks is that Hillary Clinton operated in such a way to keep her emails, and particularly her interactions while secretary of state, with the Clinton Foundation out of the public reach, out of public accountability,” he said. “I think it all truly does disqualify her from serving as president of the United States,” the governor added.
Later, on ABC News’ “This Week,” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said it is Donald Trump who is most like Nixon. “A president was impeached and had to resign over an attack on the DNC during the presidential election in 1972. This is serious business,” Kaine said as he also referred to hackers who broke into the Democratic National Committee’s database this year. Trump “has openly encouraged Russia to engage in cyberhacking to try to find more emails or materials, and we know that this cyberattack on the DNC was likely done by Russia,” Kaine said.
Of course, there has also been a lot of discussion how Hillary may or may not be like another president: Bill Clinton. If she is elected, will it be “the third term of Barack Obama,” a throw-back to the Bill Clinton 1990s, or will she go her own direction? If she is elected, she can be sure that everything she does will be compared to her husband’s record.
That’s three presidents, so far. What else? Well Rudy Giuliani compares the Trump-Putin “bromance” to Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
“Gorbachev was a killer, just like Putin is a killer,” Giuliani said. “But that ended the Cold War without firing a shot because Reagan was capable of walking out of Reykjavík. As Trump made clear the other night in Pensacola, he’s perfectly of walking out of a deal if it’s not in the best interests of the United States. Wouldn’t be the first time he walked out of a deal, and generally when — you know, I’ve known Donald for 28 years — when he walks out of a deal, they come back on his terms, just like they did with Reagan and Reykjavík.”
Mike Pence compares Trump to Reagan, directly.
Mike Pence declared Thursday that Donald Trump is the political second coming of Ronald Reagan, saying Trump will reinvigorate the Republican Party in the same way Reagan did in the 1980s.
“The American people picked a bold truth teller in 1980, and I know they’re going to elect a bold truth teller in 2016,” he said. “These challenging times bear a striking similarity, I believe, to the time America faced in 1980. Then as now we stand at a fault line in history. An economy in decline, joblessness stretched as far as the eye can see, alarming social upheaval and an America pushed around abroad.”
Of course, ALL Republicans claim Reagan. That includes Reagan’s vice president, and his family, who reject the Trump comparison. Also Reagan’s own family.
“Trump is a bigot, a bully, and devoid of grace or magnanimity. His thin-skinned belligerence toward every challenge, rebuke, or criticism would promise the nation a series of a high-voltage quarrels,” wrote former Reagan White House political director Frank Lavin in a CNN op-ed in which he announced he will vote for HIllary Clinton.
Reagan’s own oldest son, Michael Reagan, has said there is “nothing really Reaganesque” about Trump, though he has endorsed the GOP nominee. And Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, slammed Trump for comments that some interpreted as promoting violence against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, noting the assassination attempt her father survived.
That was Mike Reagan. One would expect Ronald’s namesake to say something like that, as quoted by The Hill.
“Just on a human being kind of level, I can’t think of two people who are more diametrically opposed,” Ron Reagan told Politico. . .
Ron Reagan said that his father would find Trump’s sharp criticism of women reprehensible, for example. Trump has sparked national shock this summer by publicly feuding with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, comedian Rosie O’Donnell and fellow Republican White House hopeful Carly Fiorina.
“My father would recoil at that sort of thing,” he said. “He would never make a comment about a woman’s appearance. It’s just so unchivalrous. “It wouldn’t matter if she were on the other side politically,” Ron Reagan added. “That would just be unthinkable to him.”
Meanwhile, President Obama compared Trump unfavorably to Reagan, while comparing Clinton favorable with Teddy Roosevelt.
Obama quoted Reagan’s description of the country as a shining city on a hill and contrasted it with Donald Trump’s nightmare vision of a divided crime scene. Obama also used famous words from another Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, to praise Hillary Clinton as someone who is actually in the arena. . .who strives valiantly, who errs. . .but who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement.
Pat Buchanan adds two presidential candidates—George Wallace and Ross Perot.
If you’re looking for the roots of Trump’s political message, you can find yourself remembering the story of the blind men who describe what an elephant is like by touching different parts of the beast’s body (“It’s a rope,” “a tree branch,” “a wall.”). There’s a dose of Ross Perot, the billionaire businessman who declared himself free from the taint of elective politics. There’s the anti-elitist scorn of George Wallace, not to mention several spoonfuls of Wallace’s racial and ethnic resentment. There’s the rallying of the forgotten captured by Louisiana’s Huey Long back in the 1930s.
Politico goes on to compare Trump to another presidential candidate—Pat Buchanan.
But to a remarkable extent, just about all of the themes of Trump’s campaign can be found in Buchanan’s insurgent primary run a quarter-century ago: the grievances, legitimate and otherwise; the dark portrait of a nation whose culture and sovereignty are threatened from without and within; the sense that the elites of both parties have turned their backs on hard-working loyal, traditional Americans. The limits of that campaign—and the success of Trump’s, in seizing the nomination of a major political party—are a measure of just how much our politics have changed in the past 25 years.
Some commentators are going farther back. Breitbart compares Trump to Andrew Jackson.
One Presidential candidate shocked polite society and the chattering class as he successfully campaigned as the underdog against a “rigged” system. . .If you substitute “Trump” for “Jackson” in the Miller Center’s review of the election of 1824, the campaign looks very similar:
Crawford’s [Jeb Bush’s] … consequent image as the insider’s choice rather harmed than helped his chances. … Many political professionals, especially [Speaker Henry] Clay, did not take Jackson’s [Trump’s] candidacy entirely seriously at first. The returns showed their mistake. He proved to be the only aspirant with a truly national popular following. He led the field with 43% of the popular vote and 99 electoral votes, less than a majority. Adams ran second, with 84 electoral votes … the choice between the top three now fell to the House of Representatives. Speaker Clay … announced his support for Adams, warning that Jackson was … unfit by training or temperament for the presidency … Jackson [Trump] swore that a “corrupt bargain” had swindled him out of the office. Promptly he began to gird for a rematch in 1828. [Which he easily won].
So the current presidential candidates are being compared to Richard Nixon, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, and Andrew Jackson; plus candidates George Wallace, Ross Perot, and Pat Buchanan. We’ll probably hear more comparisons between now and November.
By the way, if you’re interested, here’s a list of presidential IQs.