Obama vs. Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was an amazing guy. He is one of the most well-known presidents. He's one of only a choice few presidents who is on their currency. He's on Mount Rushmore, he wrote the declaration of independence. Clearly he is one of the presidential super-stars.
And yet the surprising thing is that he wasn't a very good president. He made some poor choices, and was ineffective for most of his two terms.
So why is he SO famous? Why does he get to be on the American nickel and two dollar bill?
Because the idea of him was so good. He was a brilliant thinker, a mastermind behind the forming of their nation, eloquent beyond belief. He was a very remarkable person, just not a great president.
And so far, this is the direction Obama's presidency is going. Admittedly, there is still plenty of time for anything to happen, but just looking at his performance so far he reminds me very much of Jefferson: he is intelligent, filled with good ideas (almost to a fault), but somehow unable to cause movement in the stagnant American system, so dire in need of movement. His health care reforms are the latest of his attempts to implement change that are seemingly torpedoed by the powers for status quo.
Some presidents, like Ronald Reagan, had this amazing ability to implement change even in the face of this inpenitrable beaurocracy. But so far at least, Obama does not look like he's going to be one of those.
We'll have to see, though. He's barely out of the gate so far.
Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.