Who Are They Anyway?

By Patrick Appel
Michael Schaffer runs through the campaign analogies:

The best thing about the year in analogy is how diverse the comparisons have been. Almost simultaneously, Obama has been described as 2008's version of 49-state winner Ronald Reagan as well as its incarnation of 49-state loser George McGovern--in fact, he's been compared to every presidential candidate since World War II. A vote for John McCain has been likened to both a third term of George Bush as well as a first victory for the unelected Gerald Ford. The comparisons also don't end at the border: Obama critics have derided him as the second coming of Canada's Pierre Elliot Trudeau; McCain's admirers see British titan Benjamin Disraeli when they gaze at the Arizona Senator. Meanwhile, the campaign they're fighting gets equated with struggles as varied as the elections of crisis-afflicted 1860 and prosperity-tinged 1996. Prominent pundits at different points have managed to compare Obama to both parties' candidates in the 1980s election.