ER, GOOD POINT
Barack Obama said things about Ronald Reagan that I wish he hadn't. No, he didn't overtly praise Reagan's policies and yes, he's taken great pains to criticize those policies since his initial statement -- but it's still the case that he went overboard in trying to reach across the aisle to express admiration.
But he's being slammed for this by Hillary Clinton's campaign -- and that's hypocritical because, as Niall Stanage of The New York Observer reminds us, she's also said nice things about a reactionary from a previous generation:
...On the day before the New Hampshire primary, she referenced Margaret Thatcher, initially praising the former British prime minister simply for having "stepped up to the plate" on global warming. But Mrs. Clinton went on to imply a similarity between Mrs. Thatcher and herself: in essence, that both were effective even at the cost of personal likability.
"We had one leader -- I don't know how likable she was -- we had one leader who made it a priority and got the job done," she said.
And her chief campaign honcho has said similar things:
...Mark Penn, perhaps Mrs. Clinton's closest adviser, last fall presented a more elaborate version of the argument that Mrs. Clinton would deliver in the snows of New Hampshire.
Referring to the importance or otherwise of likability, Mr. Penn told The Daily Telegraph of London:
"I think 'buddy potential' is way overrated. It's not who you want to have a beer with, it's who you want to have as president or prime minister. The Margaret Thatcher experience showed pretty clearly how the Conservative Party did so much better with strength and leadership....."
Pot, meet kettle? Why do I find myself with the urge to send a check to John Edwards? Or Dennis Kucinich?