But the Grant precedent isn't all bad for Obama. Scandals and all, Grant was easily re-elected. And like any new president, Obama has deep reserves of goodwill nationally—at least until a real crisis tests him.
The new president aced his Somali pirates pop quiz, but his larger foreign policy theme, apologizing for America's alleged misdeeds, is risky: Such international hair-shirting and memo full-disclosing will soon wear thin with Middle Americans. And if the debt-ridden contours of his domestic policy are all too clear, we have yet to see how he will handle a foreign conundrum that he can't (a) throw money at, or (b) apologize for.
James P. Pinkerton served in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses, is a fellow at the New America Foundation and is a frequent contributor on Fox News.