Sometimes two men can be so similar that their similarities can be unfathomable. The opposite, of course, is also true.
The Czar is surprised, recently, by the odd similarities and contrasts between President Barack Obama and President Andrew Jackson.
If we were to describe a man with little political pedigree who hit the US Senate seemingly from nowhere, performed nothing noteworthy as a senator but almost immediately became the talk of the nation as a man who could well become President (however unlikely his background), and openly appointed supporters and friends (as well as some former or future adversaries) in key political positions, you would wonder which man your Czar meant.
You might also be confused by a discussion of the same mans rise to power on a message of change; of ending years of domination by the opposing political party, of a reformation of the Democratic party, and ultimately of dependence on greater public consumption of image over substance. We are discussing a man who could appear engaging yet insensitive, calculating yet physically adept, attractive yet reckless. Rumors exist that his legal education was less than complete, but was admitted to the bar anyway. Give up?
Yet Andrew Jackson can at times be seen as an antithesis to Barack Obama. Jackson was a brawler, who killed a man in a duel, was wounded in several others, and fought aggressively in war. He despised the concept of federal control over banks, and was determined to return banking to a purely capitalist system of success or failure. Jackson despised blacks and Indians, and had no shortage of serious problems with the women in his life. Jackson was, perhaps as a result of his military experiences, ferociously expansionist with American influence and power: he would rather push than concede, and was ruthless rather than coy when it came to foreign policy. Jackson was almost libertarian in his defense of individual liberty, and did not encourage community dependence and government assistance. These elements make him vastly different from our President.
Some factors seem different at first, but become uncomfortably similar upon deeper thought. Jackson was portrayed as a powerful figure, a military action figure with powerful chest and a commanding stature; however, he was in truth a thin, frail man who vomited blood and suffered in agony over his many military and private battles. Initially, this sounds the opposite of Obama, but the similiarity is that Jackson was not the man the media and party manufactured him to be. He was quite different, and the more people talked about Jackson (or talk about Obama) in glowing, heroic terms, the less likely the speaker seems to know the man.
Jackson was elected on a message of eliminating bureaucracy, destroying blatant corruption of elected officials, and instituting a rotating staff so that no secretary, advisor, or other staff member would be too comfortable, take their roles for granted, or become career politicians. Obama, by total contrast, was elected on a message of restoring Americas prestige, ending a global war, and repairing GOP damage to foreign and domestic policy. Yet, by total similarity, both seem opposed to the promises. Jackson surrounded himself with loyal cronies, and made very certain that party favorites were put into position (he rotated very few out: about as much as any president changes staff), and grew the government and subsequent corruption. Obama, as can be seen throughout our website, has emboldened our adversaries, insulted or ignored our friends, continued the war, and is in process of shredding the world and American economies.
Jackson and Obama were elected during very different crises. Jackson had to deal with the increasingly turbulent and fractious South, which he promised required immediate action rather than delay. Obama, as we know, took office intent on ending the so-called failure of American forces in Iraq and the growing violence in Afghanistan caused by GOP incompetence. Yet, as time passed, Jackson did nothing to address the Souths aggression or the issue of slavery beyond threaten South Carolina with a futile promise of military forcehe wound up taking the Whig position of avoidance of conflict. Likewise, we find Obama infuriating his supporters by continuing the GOP strategy in Iraq as well as Afghanistan, in total contrast to his campaign promises. Now these are broad generalizations to force a comparison, as Jackson did make States right suffer with his response to the Nullification Crisis, and indeed Obama is endangering American progress with the release of Gitmo detainees, offering to talk with the Taliban, initially threatening but then patronizing Pakistan, and putting pressure on US forces to downsize Iraq and throw tired soldiers right into Afghanistan, but the Czar is just a tour guide here, not one of the featured artists.
There are many comparisons between Obama and Carter; but the latter is not the only parallel we see. The differences between Obama and Jackson are extreme, yes, but the similarities disturbing.