This week, Presidential candidates who are trying to sell the future are involved with echoes from the past.
Mitt Romney's Texas speech, meant to invoke John F. Kennedy, drew on Nixon's Checkers speech as well, using his family to validate himself, insisting on his own virtue and pandering to his audience in a way JFK would have disdained.
His sermon is getting mixed reviews on the right--a Pat Buchanan rave and a John Podhoretz pan--but, like Nixon, Romney seems to have kept his candidacy from going down tubes.
Mitt's nemesis, Mike Huckabee, is getting the Dukakis treatment with accusations of being naïve in freeing a murderer-rapist to kill again. But the Republican preacher is a lot faster on his feet and smoother than the Democrats' 1988 candidate, and he has already started to convert his Willie Horton problem into a failure of "the system" rather than his own.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is faced with reminders of the 1948 campaign, in which an over-confident Thomas E. Dewey, anointed by the public opinion polls, ran a cautious campaign and was overtaken by "Give 'em Hell, Harry" Truman.
As Truman himself said, "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know."