Apologies to Wikipedia:
Whereas the reign of
Marcus AureliusGeorge W. Bush had been marked by almost continuous warfare, that of CommodusObama was comparatively peaceful in the military sense but was marked by political strife and the increasingly arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperorpresident himself. In the view of Dio CassiusMark Steyn, a contemporary observer, his accession marked the descent “from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron”—a famous comment which has led some historians, notably Edward Gibbonanyone familiar with the Constitution, to take Commodus’ reignObama’s presidency as the beginning of the decline of the Roman EmpireAmerican republic….
Unlike the preceding
Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aureliuspresidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan, he seems to have had little interest in the business of administration and tended throughout his reignpresidency to leave the practical running of the state to a succession of favourites, beginning at this time with SaoterusAxelrod, a freedmanspinmeister from NicomediaChicago who had become his chamberlainhenchman.
Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs would lead to a series of
conspiraciesTea Party protests and attempted coupselections, which in turn eventually provoked CommodusObama to take charge of affairs, which he did in an increasingly dictatorial manner. Nevertheless, though the senatorial orderhis political foes came to hatedislike and fear him, the evidence suggests that he remained popular with the army47 percent of citizens who paid no income taxes and the common peoplethose who believe in free lunches for much of his reign, not least because of his lavish shows of largesse (recorded on his coinagerepeatedly in his own boastful speeches) and because he staged and took part in spectacular gladiatorial combatsfundraisers and softball interviews.”
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