Now’s the time for a global apology tour

  Five and six years ago, Republican efforts to deny Democrat Barack Obama a second term as president focused for a while on the popular but patently bogus right-wing claim that Obama had gone “around the world and apologized for America.” The website PolitiFact gave the preposterous contention its dreaded PANTS-ON-FIRE rating when Mitt Romney, the GOP’s presidential nominee, peddled the apology nonsense: On the substance of Romney’s charge, we believe that what we wrote in March 2010 still stands. While Obama’s...

read more

Does your support for an idea fade if the wrong person backs it?

  If Donald Trump ever comes up with a really good idea, I’m going to go out of my way to support it. I don’t want to be accused of suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. Allow me to explain: Four  years ago, a Washington Post/ABC poll conducted before President Obama unveiled a gun-control agenda showed Republicans overwhelmingly supporting — or no worse than evenly divided — on four central Obama proposals. But when a subsequent WaPo/ABC poll asked for reaction to Obama’s proposals — without specifying the...

read more

Which president was more apologetic about America?

  Some right-winger whose name I didn’t catch was on television the other night holding forth on the durable Republican theory that Barack Obama spent much of his tenure as president “apologizing for America.” He said Ronald Reagan would never had done such a thing. The guy was wrong, of course, on both counts. The false characterization of Obama always apologizing for America was popularized by Mitt Romney when he ran for president in 2012, but it didn’t do him much good. And the suggestion that Reagan was such...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more