Let the barrage of analogies commence

Hey, with this whole Gen. McChrystal flap, reckon there’s any chance all those pundits and columnists will break out the historical comparisons and contrasts?

Is the Pope Catholic?

Here’s just a sample of the bumper crop so far, springing up faster than you can say “Doris Kearns Goodwin”:

  • The Greensboro News & Record gives it to you short and sweet.
  • The Kansas City Star, complete with slide show.
  • From The Atlantic: “Obama Borrows the Military Back.”  Get it?  Get it?!?
  • Politics Daily ranks the “Top 3 All-Time General-Against-President Feuds.”  Guess what the top two are.  No, go on.  Guess.
  • Hey, speaking of Doris Kearns Goodwin…
  • You know, what this scenario really needs is somebody to play Grant to McChrystal’s Young Napoleon.  From ABC: “As one Marine told ABC News, ‘the softball is teed up for Petraeus to hit it out of the park.'”  Ta-daa!
  • NPR notes that “commanders must carefully negotiate the discrepancy between the enormous power they wield in the field and the deference they must show to their civilian superiors.”  Then they offer up the Conway Cabal as an example, despite the fact that Washington was not Conway’s civilian superior.  Bonus points, though, for invoking something besides McClellan and MacArthur.

These are all from the first page of Google results I got, and it’s not even been twenty-four hours since McChrystal got called to the principal’s office.



Filed under Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, History and Memory

4 responses to “Let the barrage of analogies commence

  1. Let’s not also forget the list of analogies being concocted in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. Witness Theodore Roosevelt’s “Bully” pulpit among today’s political pundits:




  2. Michael Lynch

    Hi Gordon,

    Thanks for sending along the links. It’s interesting to see the “What Would TR Do?” angle. I wonder if the popular success of recent TR biographies has anything to do with it?


  3. I’d say after reading this the answer to your question is yes…


    I have a blog post in the works about this subject on The Posterity Project. Stay tuned.

    On a related note, I recall comparisons being made between George W. Bush and William McKinley…


    I find it highly ironic that it was Theodore Roosevelt who followed McKinley into the White House after an assassin’s bullet ended his presidency. Bush is now back in Texas settling into private life, and President Obama is channeling Roosevelt. Funny how history comes full circle.

  4. Pingback: I totally called it « Past in the Present

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