I got back into comics in late summer 2000, and was still going slowly, so I pretty much missed this arc as it was happening. Also, even then I wasn't really reading the Superman books - they had this Manga style art that just didn't fit the characters. And this was in the days when I was still being blown away by the quality of the color and the artwork. Things had changed during the intervening 25 years.
So. It was 2000. Two different presidential races - one real, one fictional. And Lex was a villain - a bitter, angry genius who was willing to do practically anything to hurt Superman. It was brilliant but shocking when he won - a super villain in the White House. And he pulled some dirty tricks to get votes for his third party, including, I think, murder. Remember. Supervillain.
However, those tricks *worked* in that he got the votes. There was no hint that he did anything to actually affect the voting itself. (Cute bit, considering the lead time and all - he got Tennessee. Also Texas.) That is, just in terms of the election, he won fair and square.
And we all know what happened in the real world. *Sigh*. And one comic book columnist actually suggested we'd have been better off if we were in the DC universe. I was shocked (except that, yeah, a genius is preferable...)
And Lex is a good president. He's popular, he's taken steps to make sure he has no control over LexCorp, and he made difficult and good decisions during the huge interplanetary war of 2001. Not to mention the crisis that immediately followed when all the supervillains got Jokerized.
He still hates all superheroes in general, and Superman in particular, but he understands his job.
But two things happened in the middle of that. One was 9/11/01. And on that day, I *wanted* President Lex Luthor the out and out supervillain. Not because I was angry, although I was, but because I could believe he'd make good decisions and that he'd find the culprit.
And then came Smallville, and my entire attitude towards Lex Luthor began to shift and change - mostly due to Michael Rosenbaum's portrayal. And I've brought that to the comic book version. And I think so have the writers. And then there's the cartoon version and his deep love for Superman and...
I think I've rambled enough.