Robert Dallek, one of the most hyper-partisan liberal historians around (I’m sure Spectator Readers can name a few more) postulated on NPR yesterday that all important and consequential presidencies can be summed up by a bumper sticker.
From the January 7 edition of Morning Edition:
“The most memorable presidents without question are those who had some kind of catch phrase – a bumper sticker, if you will,” Dallek says. “Franklin Roosevelt – the New Deal; John Kennedy – the New Frontier; Lyndon Johnson – the Great Society, Reagan remembered for saying, ‘It’s morning in America.’ What is there with George W. Bush? What’s the bumper sticker? I don’t know.”
Dallek also says that because he has no bumper sticker, Bush will eventually be forgotten. No bumper sticker for George W. Bush???? This revelation comes as a surprise to those of us who had to drive behind cars plastered with vitriolic anti-bush bumper stickers the past eight years.
The truth is, for better or worse, the modern president runs a government staffed by thousands of political appointees spread out across hundreds of agencies, divisions and offices, all engaged in multitudes of occasionally worthwhile initiatives and programs. Though the scope and size of this enterprise pains some of us, consigning a presidency to a simple bumper sticker shows a stunningly simplistic view of something Dallek professes to be an expert on. Either that or he is just participating in the “dumbing down” of history and politics our elites lament and prosper from at the same time.