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Barack Obama tosses off a vague comparison between himself and Ronald Regan and Matt Stoller gets really pissed. I don't really get it. Obama is pretty unambiguously claiming that much as Reagan was a friendly, popular face of a much more conservative governing agenda than the country had seen before, he thinks he can be the friendly, popular face of a much more liberal governing agenda than the country has seen before.

Obama thinks -- as do a lot of people -- that the country may be primed for big change in 2008 the way it was in 1980 and that he's the kind of person who can sell the country on that sort of big change. He may be wrong, either in his assessment of the times or in his assessment of himself, but those are exactly the sort of claims you want to see a leader make on behalf of itself. Those who read the comments section here will know that strong John Edwards partisans like "Petey" frequently compare their man to Reagan, not because they're closet right-wingers but because they think Edwards can dramatically expand the popularity of progressive ideas.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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