Obama 3.0: Vivek Ramaswamy Channels Worst Living President

He's a 'skinny guy with a funny last name.' An 'outsider' promising to bring change to Washington. Sound familiar?

August 24, 2023

What happened: Vivek Ramaswamy, the 38-year-old entrepreneur, introduced himself to the American public Wednesday night at the first Republican primary debate in Milwaukee.

What happened next: Rival GOP candidates took turns hammering the new kid for his lack of political experience. Some observers remarked that Ramaswamy reminded them of a certain Democratic whippersnapper who burst onto the scene in 2004.

Barack Obama 3.0: Ramaswamy stole a line from former president Barack Obama's keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, describing himself as a "skinny guy with a funny last name."

• During an exchange with former vice president Mike Pence about Russian president Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine, Ramaswamy echoed Obama's (ignorant, in retrospect) put-down of GOP candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. "I have a newsflash," Ramaswamy told Pence. "The USSR does not exist anymore. It fell back in 1990."

• The comment reminded observers of the time Obama mocked Romney's foreign policy views by saying, "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years."

• Ramaswamy cast himself as a fresh-faced "outsider" running against "professional politicians" stuck in their ways. "If you have a broken car, you don’t turn over the keys to the people who broke it again, you hand it over to a new generation to actually fix the problem," he said. "That’s why I’m in this race and we’re just getting warmed up."

• Obama used nearly identical rhetoric during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, when he urged Americas to reject "the politics of the past" and chart a different course. "The greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result," he said. "Change happens because the American people demand it—because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time."

Crucial context: Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. transportation secretary who ran a failed campaign for president in 2020, was "Obama 2.0," an overeducated, overachieving nerd who was technically (but not really) a minority because he married a man. Ramaswamy represents a considerable upgrade.

Bottom line: Obama is America's worst living president and one of the most obnoxious politicians of all time.