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Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

Cruz “Scorpion” Video Plays Off Reagan Ad

Ted Cruz released a new campaign video today, this one cleverly playing off a famous 1984 reelection campaign ad by Ronald Reagan, “The Bear in the Woods.”

Some of you surely remember it. Here’s the Reagan ad first.

And now the Cruz ad.

All the candidates tonight will be trying to claim they are just like Reagan.

I don’t think Reagan really claimed to be like anyone else. He didn’t say he was the new Barry Goldwater, although he tipped his hat to him.

The one who compares himself the least to Reagan, it seems to me, is Donald Trump. He claims he’s just like Donald Trump. And that makes him more like Reagan.

The Dissing of America: Our enemies and rivals show no respect

As President Obama was traversing Alaska last week sounding the alarm about the theoretical consequences of global warming, a more concrete threat loomed just off the coast, in the Bering Sea.

Five Chinese naval ships suddenly materialized and were cruising about, symbols of China’s growing military might and its challenge to America’s naval hegemony in the Pacific.

That Chinese warships had appeared on U.S. radar in the Bering for the first time ever during a rare Obama visit to Alaska could be no coincidence. It was an obvious challenge to the president, and to be sure, an unmistakable sign of disrespect.

Meantime, halfway around the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin was toying with sending troops into Syria. Iran, which had just signed a nuclear deal with the United States, was continuing its rhetoric of open contempt for its new “partner.”

America’s enemies and rivals seem to have little fear with Obama at the helm. Would such derision, particularly by the Chinese, be offered up were Ronald Reagan president? Or even George W. Bush?

Obama boats

Obama’s naive policy of “outreach,” his grave affliction with indecision, and his ardent commitment to tentative half-measures have earned him the disrespect of the rest of the world.

Overseas, jackals reign in a Darwinian struggle for power and survival. They have a finely tuned nose for weakness, and with Obama, they sense it in abundance.

The problem is not so much that Obama refuses to launch the kind of military engagements Bush did. It is that he fails to understand the symbols of power and dithers instead of acting.

Obama didn’t do the wrong thing in Syria. He did nothing, refusing to decide whether to arm the Syrian rebels.

At the same time, he withdrew all U.S. troops from Iraq and crowed about it on the campaign trail in 2012. The result of his Syria and Iraq policies was opportunity knocking for extremists in the absence of U.S. policy, and the rise of ISIS.

In Libya, Obama “led from behind” and then abandoned the scene once Qaddafi had been removed, resulting in anarchy exploited by Islamists. He drew a red line in Syria and then backed away. He set a deadline for ending the war in Afghanistan, win or lose. He demanded that Iran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure, only to reach an agreement that permits Iran to develop nuclear weapons in 15 years.

He abandoned a stalwart ally, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, and expressed optimism as the radical Islamist Egyptian Brotherhood seized power. Soon, he quietly acquiesced as the Egyptian generals took power back and slaughtered and imprisoned their opponents.

These are only a few of the exhibits in the Obama gallery of indecisiveness and timidity. Pair all this with the incessant golf, the long, luxurious vacations, and the indulgent White House parties, and America’s enemies know they are not dealing with a serious opponent.

Ronald Reagan understood that he had to be perceived as unrelenting, and it was this that allowed him to win the Cold War without firing a shot.

One of the most significant foreign policy decisions of his presidency was made on the domestic front, when Reagan opted in 1981 to fire most of the illegally striking air traffic controllers. The Soviet politburo took notice and understood that they were dealing with a resolute force.

It was Reagan’s same stubborn conviction not to abandon his anti-missile defense program, even as the initiative was ridiculed as “Star Wars” by the left and in the press, that made the Soviets realize they could not compete with American power on an equal footing, hastening the dissolution of their empire.

Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 is still debated today. But his resolve is not, and the flexing of American might caused the Libyans to abandon their nuclear aspirations and may have helped keep a temporary lid on the Iranian nuclear arms program. After all, why invite trouble?

Nobody fears trouble from Obama, least of all the Iranians, who will have their nuclear arsenal, obtain billions of dollars that had been frozen overseas, and keep the American hostages they have taken.

And not the Chinese either, who will send their warships close to American shores and grow their power in the Pacific, knowing the worst they have to fear is a lecture from the president.

This piece was first published in Polizette.

Labor Secretary Perez Goes After Ronald Reagan

Labor Secretary Tom Perez, one of the more ideological and also annoying members of the Obama administration, attacked Ronald Reagan for his prediction that Medicare would lead to socialized medicine and, indeed, socialism.

Here’s some of what Reagan said.

Now, I know everyone likes their Medicare. But Reagan had it absolutely right.

With health insurers now effectively government utilities whose business practices are dictated by Uncle Sam, and with everyone required to have insurance, we are well down the road to socialized medicine. As Obamacare becomes increasingly unworkable and Medicaid expands, the Left will begin increasing the pressure to simply move toward a single-payer, government-run system.

Also, BTW, Medicare is broke and will require sweeping changes or massive tax increases to save it.

And with half of all Americans receiving government benefits today, we already are living under a form of socialism. Perez, of course, wouldn’t recognize it, because for him government control of the means of production is market capitalism.

But Reagan understood, and events are proving him right, not wrong.

The Seriousness of Ronald Reagan

Fifty years ago today, Ronald Reagan staked his claim to leadership among conservatives with a speech meant to rescue Republican candidate Barry Goldwater. It didn’t rescue Goldwater. But it saved conservatism. And maybe the nation.

Writing in the Washington Post, Steven Hayward, the Ronald Reagan distinguished visiting professor at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, notes that the Reagan Americans saw on the night of Oct. 27, 1964 was was not the avuncular optimist remembered by conservatives today, nor the dunce portrayed by liberals then and now.

He was on fire with conservative principle, laying out a stark choice for Americans between statism and freedom and in a speech that is known as “A time for choosing.”

From Hayward’s piece:

Reagan . . . was not the avuncular, optimistic Reagan of his film roles, or of his subsequent political career that emphasized “morning in America” and the “shining city on a hill,” but a comparatively angry and serious Reagan, serving up partisan red meat against liberalism and the Democrats. “Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government,” he declared, “and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.”

Reagan delivered a deeply ideological speech, with strong attacks on liberalism and its vessel, the Democratic Party of LBJ’s Great Society era. “In this vote-harvesting time,” Reagan said early in the speech, “they use terms like the ‘Great Society,’ or as we were told a few days ago by the president, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people.”

Reagan made his appeal not by moderating his message, the tactic so often advocated by professional Republican  strategists, but by letting all Americans know how conservatism applied to them:

At the same time, Reagan made great efforts to transcend partisanship by portraying his views as common sense: “You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well, I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down: man’s old, old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.”

Would-be heirs of Reagan should take note: He wasn’t just trying to speak to the base. He was trying to expand the base through persuasion of independents and, later, disaffected Democrats.

Another notable aspect of Reagan’s rhetorical strategy was claiming populism for the right. He asserted that it was now progressive liberalism, with its embrace of ever-expanding “administrative government,” that represented the elitist force in American politics: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

Reagan didn’t divide Americans along the typical interest group or class lines. Unlike Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark or the “makers and takers” theme popular with many conservatives today, Reagan portrayed big government as opposing the interests of all Americans, not just the entrepreneurial or property-owning class that forms the GOP’s core constituency.

Reagan drew one of the sharpest distinctions between conservatives and liberals: The left’s faith in revoking freedom to create comfort versus the right’s belief that freedom and justice must prevail for mankind to be happy and successful:

“You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin — just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world?”

This ending, though not as sunny as Reagan’s later evocation of “a shining city on a hill,” and despite its historical references, is essentially forward-looking. That set it apart from Goldwater’s campaign, which emphasized looking back without explaining how it would make for a better future. Bob Dole made the same mistake in 1996, when he offered himself as a “bridge” to an earlier, better America.

“A Time for Choosing” shows that effective political rhetoric is sharp and subtle at the same time. It is not easy to emulate, though few Republicans who claim to be Reaganites today seem to take much trouble even to try. They settle for conveying mere information and rely on cliches and slogans instead of serious argument and persuasion.

A look at the speech makes clear that Reagan, in contrast to a frequently repeated slogan by Democrats and their friends in the press, would in fact be very comfortable within the Tea Party:

In fact, the charge of Republican extremism today is a revival of the charge liberals made against Goldwater and Reagan in the 1960s when they didn’t want to argue the issues directly — a point Reagan made in “A Time for Choosing”: “Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues.”

This continuity explodes the claim that Reagan was “too moderate” for today’s GOP. This charge has become comfortable for liberals who fear a renewal of Reaganism through the auspices of the tea party, as well as for Republicans frustrated that they can’t measure up to the Gipper’s standard as a “great communicator.” The central conservative proposition might be summarized as the view that some things do not change. In practical politics, this includes the need for leaders to lay out serious and compelling cases for choosing.

Ronald Reagan was a man of ideas. A man persuaded by certain ideas. Americans can also be persuaded by these ideas today. But first, Republicans will have to find someone who is persuasive. And since Americans know fakery when they see it, that means Republicans, if they want to win an election with any meaning to it, will need someone who not only believes what they are saying, but understands it.

They will need someone with the seriousness of Ronald Reagan.

The Wit of Ronald Reagan

This ran on the CBS program Sunday Morning day before yesterday.

The piece is ostensibly about how Reagan was methodical about his humor, but it’s really an excuse to air some of Reagan’s famous jokes and take a trip down memory lane.

Funny how kind CBS is to Reagan. You’d have never seen something like this when he was president.

Maybe one day they’ll portray George W. Bush as an aw shucks kind of guy who led America through one of the most difficult periods in its history.


Reagan? Who’s That Dude?

Yes, let’s throw some more money at education. It’s really working out great.

And let’s make sure everyone goes to college, even these kids, who should instead be moving immediately into the cashier profession. Instead, Obama wants to make sure they’re in debt for advanced schooling, and that taxpayers are covering a bunch of their college costs too.

I’m sure these sweet young things are well versed in the various groups, countries, animals, and ecosystems that have been oppressed by the United States. Please, someone give them a couple of serious history and civics lessons before the country goes slurping and swirling down the drain!

I’m willing to be that the young men who landed on Normandy 70 years ago today knew in which decade Woodrow Wilson was president. Imagine, even before we had a Department of Education.

Obama: Thatcher “One of the Great Champions of Freedom”

President Obama today hailed Margaret Thatcher, his ideological opposite, as “one of the great champions of freedom and liberty” who was a “true friend” of the United States. Obama sounded almost like a neoconservative in his gracious written tribute to Thatcher, who died today, writing that she “knew that with strength and resolve we could win… Continue Reading

Obama Allies Refuse to Recognize Ronald Reagan Day

Two of President Obama’s closest allies, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, are among eight Democratic governors refusing to recognize today, February 6, as “Ronald Reagan Day” in their states, according to the Washington Examiner. Two other Democratic governors can’t make up their mind whether to issue a proclamation making Reagan’s 102nd… Continue Reading