Trump is good for Obama’s legacy

  In his  first five months in the White House, the only notable history achieved by Donald Trump is that he’s an uncommonly unpopular president at this early point in his tenure. His approval rating has been underwater since before he took the oath of office. And there are no indications that it will move into positive territory anytime soon. Meanwhile, Trump’s immediate predecessor, Barack Obama,  “has been whisked to a very good table at the club of former presidents,” as Time magazine put it late last year. A...

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Barack Obama was the smartest president of my lifetime

  The declaration in the headline above is intended mainly to start an argument. After all, the term “smart,” like the term “effective,” can have different meanings in a political context, and we can disagree about such matters. Pundit David Corn put it this way a few years ago: Whenever I ponder the relationship between political success and smarts, I recall an interview I conducted with a particular George W. Bush supporter at a Wisconsin campaign rally shortly before the 2000 election. At that event, Bush had...

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Historians rank Obama our 12th best president

  A C-SPAN survey of 91 presidential historians ranks Barack Obama as the 12th best U.S. president in the nation’s history. Abraham Lincoln was ranked at the top of the list, followed in order by George Washington and the two Roosevelts, Franklin and Theodore. The worst were James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, the presidents who served just before and just after Lincoln. Some presidents rise or fall in these periodic surveys of historians. Ulysses Grant, for example, has moved from the bottom quarter of the pack to the middle in the...

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What will wingnuts do now that Obama is gone?

  Today’s transfer of power in the White House is fraught with ironies, not the least of which is that polls show that the outgoing president is much more popular than the new guy. More to the point, the departure of Barack Obama deprives the right-wing crazies, a noisy minority, of the principal target of their political invective. The time has passed for Obama to do all the evil deeds the wackos have long predicted. He wasn’t born in Africa. He’s not a Muslim.  He didn’t seize everyone’s guns. He...

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Obama has less than a week to take away our guns

  With only a few days left in Barack Obama’s presidency, one wonders if the paranoid bed-wetters at the National Rifle Association are still afraid that the jack-booted thugs in his employ will soon descend upon our homes to seize all our firearms. Indeed, one wonders why anyone ever had any such fears. Never once did Obama ever propose a blanket ban on guns. Most of the measures he’s advocated — stronger background checks for firearms purchases, for example — are supported by a majority of Americans.  But Wayne...

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