Here’s the kind of stuff that sets teachers of American history to grinding their teeth. President Obama’s former deputy national campaign director, Steve Hildebrand, is asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” whether he’s disappointed in the president’s first year, and he says he’s not. Then comes the teeth-grinding part: “This is a guy who faced the most difficult circumstances in the history of the presidency, going into that office …” (Insert audio of a phonograph needle scratching across a vinyl record.)
Whoa! “The most difficult circumstances in the history of the presidency?” Things were tough in January 2009, but tougher than Abraham Lincoln in March 1861, with the nation coming apart and headed for civil war? Tougher than Franklin Roosevelt in March 1933, with the country already mired in the Great Depression?
Probably just a slip of the tongue by Hildebrand, or maybe he wasn’t a big history guy in college. Or maybe, too, it’s the kind of political messaging people like him get paid to put out there, lowering the bar for a president who’s first year didn’t send off too many bottle rockets — the first step in a revisionist look at BHO as, dare we say, a historical figure?