“I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what’s different are the times. I do think that for example the 1980 was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.
If this is true, that Obama wants to bring to the country Ronald Reagan’s “clarity and optimism”, I suspect the current roster of air traffic controllers must be getting very nervous.
Maybe it’s a vestige, left over from his teen years (you know, the thing Bob Johnson, when campaigning for Hillary, was talking about, but says he wasn’t really talking about) , one of those things he locked into …”Tear Down This Wall” … One of those silly, goofy, teenage mantra things, an inside joke that doesn’t really have any meaning.
Jeekers Frost! … If this is what is in his bag of hope, a Reagan-style doctrine, a “Brunch in America” (we don’t want to copy and steal Reagan’s “Morning” thing), heaven help us if he actually moves forward with the nomination …
Is there a “states rights” speech coming down the pike?
No, Ronald Reagan didn’t appeal to people’s optimism, he appealed to their petty, small minded bigotry and selfishness. Jimmy Carter told people to tighten their energy belts and act for the good of the country; Ronald Reagan told them they could guzzle gas with impunity and do whatever the hell they wanted. He kicked off his 1980 campaign talking about “state’s rights” in Philadelphia, Mississippi — the site of the murder of three civil rights workers in 1964’s Freedom Summer. He thus put up a welcome sign for “Reagan Democrats,” peeling off white voters who were unhappy with the multi-ethnic coalition within the Democratic Party.
One of his first acts was to fire 11,000 air traffic controllers in 1981 — one of the most devastating union busting moves of the past century. And his vision of deregulation didn’t free the country up for entrepreneurship, it opened it up for the wholesale thievery of the savings & loan crisis. He popularized the notion that all government is bad government and in eight short years put in place the architecture for decades of GOP graft and corruption.
There’s enough hagiography of Reagan on the right, I don’t think Democrats really need to go there.”
Why on earth would a leading Democrat, running for President, choose Reagan as a model to emulate? Hamsher is dead-on about not needing to go there.
Pam Leavey, over on The Democratic Daily, is stunned, saying “I simply have a had time wrapping my head around this …”
Astounding isn’t it? Yep, let’s put the guy who brought us “Iran-Contra, “Star Wars,” and “the largest deficits then ever known” up on a pedestal and claim he transformed this nation with “clarity” and “optimism.”
Hmmm … Has Obama’s staff checked him, perhaps there’s been a recent head injury …
“There’s a reason their movement has developed this ridiculous St. Ronnie hagiography — it’s to inextricably associate their dark, divisive ideology with his carefully manufactured cheerful persona. It protects their movement from the harmful consequences of their wrecking ball policies. “We’re not like those losers — we’re the party of Reagan, the sunny, optimistic, winner everybody loved! Look, here’s our new Reagan! Vote for him!” (Check this scary thing out. And this from the man who said bipartisanship is date rape.)
I get that Obama is signaling that he sees this election as a game changing election like 1980. And he may very well be right about that. I hope so. But it’s disconcerting to hear him casually recount these Republican arguments without a clear disclaimer, as if it’s a matter of fact not opinion.
Reagan ran explicitly against the left(and in the process normalized the kind of indecent talk that made Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter millionaires.) Because he won big in 1984, leaders in both parties accepted this omnipotent Reagan myth and have run against liberalism ever since — and have ended up, through both commission and omission, advancing the destructive conservative policies that brought us to a place where we are debating things like torture. It would be helpful if ending the era of Democrats running against the liberal base could be part of this new progressive “trajectory.”
Those excesses, of course, were feminism, the consumer rights movement, the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, and the antiwar movement. The libertarian anti-government ideology of an unaccountable large liberal government was designed by ideological conservatives to take advantage of the backlash against these ‘excesses’.
“I don’t know. But if you think, as Obama does, that Reagan’s rise to power was premised on a sunny optimism in contrast to an out of control government and a society rife with liberal excess, then you don’t understand the conservative movement. Reagan tapped into greed and fear and tribalism, and those are powerful forces. Ignoring that isn’t going to make them go away.
To bad this didn’t come out before the debate Tuesday evening … It may have made the debate interesting …
It’s understandable for Obama to want to put down Bill Clinton, for he is running against both of the Clintons’
(and dissing Nixon is a gimme). However, if this is more about wrapping his arms around Reagan, and he sees the movement he’s building as a “Reaganesque” one, than, this might be the time to actually listen to The Gipper’s old lady, modifying her legendary clarion call into a mournful, plaintive “Just Say Oh No”!
Bonus ObamaReagan Links