Ronald Reagan....Liberal???

Discussion in 'Politics' started by PoliticalChic, May 6, 2012.

  1. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    1. “President Obama decided to read a biography of Ronald Reagan during his Christmas holiday in Hawaii might be taken as a sign that Reagan’s triumph over liberals is complete. Can anyone imagine John F. Kennedy admitting he was reading a biography of Calvin Coolidge, or Jimmy Carter taking in lessons from Dwight Eisenhower? This represents the culmination of a remarkable turnabout in Reagan’s reputation, most notably among liberals…

    2. …liberals are attempting a subtle revisionism. … We can expect to hear (and have already heard once or twice) that even Reagan didn’t attack entitlements the way Paul Ryan and today’s radical House Republicans propose to do.


    3. A hundred years ago, the leading Progressives appropriated Abraham Lincoln for their cause, even as they explicitly attacked Lincoln’s (and the Founders’) central political philosophy of natural rights. It culminated in the chutzpah of Franklin Roosevelt’s declaration in 1929 that “it is time for us Democrats to claim Lincoln as one of our own,”…

    4. The liberal revision of Reagan has been unfolding for a while now, and at the center of it is the effort to separate him from his conservative beliefs….He raised taxes! He talked to the Soviets and reached arms agreements!


    5. The late John Patrick Diggins, an unorthodox liberal who was a close friend of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s, argued in his 2007 book "Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History," that Reagan deserves to be considered one of the four greatest American presidents, alongside Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt.

    6. In a 2009 National Journal article entitled “Republicans Have Reagan All Wrong,” [Jonathan] Rauch asserts that Reagan was not a Reaganite. He builds a purely circumstantial case. Reagan cut Washington’s share of GDP by only 1 percent, raised taxes several times, ran up huge deficits, and backed away from cutting Social Security and Medicare.


    7. And in discussing Reagan’s greatest acknowledged achievement — ending the Cold War — liberals conveniently omit that they opposed him at every turn. Who can forget the relentless scorn heaped on Reagan for the “evil empire” speech and the Strategic Defense Initiative? Historian Henry Steele Commager said the “evil empire” speech “was the worst presidential speech in American history, and I’ve read them all.” “What is the world to think,” New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis wrote, “when the greatest of powers is led by a man who applies to the most difficult human problem a simplistic theology?”

    8. Liberals who now laud Reagan’s Cold War statecraft should be made to explain why they were wrong and Reagan right, for it gets directly to liberalism’s sentimental view of human affairs — which affects current policy, from the War on Terror to crime and the welfare state. More broadly, they should be made to explain why they appreciate the virtues of conservatives only after they are gone from the scene (as we have also seen with Goldwater, Eisenhower, and even Nixon to some extent).


    9. .[In] his 1965 autobiography, "Where’s the Rest of Me?," “The classic liberal,” Reagan wrote, “used to be the man who believed the individual was, and should be forever, the master of his destiny. That is now the conservative position. The liberal used to believe in freedom under law. He now takes the ancient feudal position that power is everything. He believes in a stronger and stronger central government, in the philosophy that control is better than freedom. The conservative now quotes Thomas Paine, a longtime refuge of the liberals: ‘Government is a necessary evil; let us have as little of it as possible.’”
    Reagan Reclaimed - Steven F. Hayward - National Review Online
     
  2. Oddball
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    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

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    Surrounded himself with a supporting cast of inside-the-beltway neocon turds and became one himself.
     
  3. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    Not the case.


    1. "Above all, Reagan’s conservatism was rooted in constitutionalism, which is the aspect most closely connecting it with the Tea Party movement and the conservative challenge to Obama. Reagan understood that many of our problems descended from the decay of the Constitution’s restraints on the centralization of power in Washington. In one of his private letters, from 1979, Reagan wrote to a friend that “the permanent structure of our government with its power to pass regulations has eroded if not in effect repealed portions of our Constitution.”

    2. The story of the Reagan administration’s attempts to revive constitutional limits on government power is too complicated to summarize briefly, but one aspect of it deserves notice today: the second-term initiative of Attorney General Edwin Meese to start a controversy over originalism and the Constitution.

    a. No prominent Republican had seriously advanced such an argument since Calvin Coolidge. The public fight Meese started over original intent, legal scholar Johnathan O’Neill wrote in 2005, “constituted the most direct constitutional debate between the executive branch and the Court since the New Deal.” Meese and his Justice Department compatriots were attempting nothing less than to wrest the Constitution away from the legal elite and return it to the people.

    b. It was a de facto declaration of war on the Left, and it contributed to the defeat of Robert Bork’s Supreme Court nomination in 1987. It looks in retrospect to be one of the most significant initiatives of the Reagan years, especially given the emergence of the Tea Party movement."
    Op cit.
     
  4. JoeB131
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    Yawn... this again.

    When Reagan was conservative, "Conservatism" was still a relatively sane philosophy..

    Today, Orrin Hatch and Dick Lugar are being run out of the senate by extremists because they occassionally comprimise and meet the other side half-way. Just like Reagan did on a number of issues - Immigration, Social Security Reform, etc.
     
  5. Oddball
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    Yeah...Reagan's attempts.

    Making the arguments and actually doing something are two different birds.

    For all his eloquent bluster about too much spending, his smallest budget was still bigger than Jimmy Carter's biggest.

    Going on and on about how gubmint fails, and most times makes the problem even worse, then escalating the stupid "war" on (some) drugs was the height of sanctimony.

    He could have gone straight to the people, like he did on so many other occasions, in support of Bork....But he punted.

    Poppy Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the inside-the-beltway insider neocon crooks undermined him at every turn and stuck him with taking one for the team, in the arms-for-cocaine-for-hostages scam.

    Reagan only appears to look so good on the surface because of the incredibly weak field surrounding him.
     
  6. francoHFW
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    francoHFW Platinum Member

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    GOP today...INSANE? Cut taxes on rich, destroy Medicare, raise military spending! LOL
     
  7. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    "...actually doing something..."

    Here's a couple of 'somethings..." Rehnquist and Scalia.

    Perhaps the most import function of a President is the judicious- no pun intended- use of the 'bully pulpit.'

    He highlights, and gives direction to the nation.


    Take Ronald Reagan’s September 26, 1986 Speech at the Investiture of Rehnquist and Scalia.

    1. President Reagan stressed exceptionalism, the claim that the United States is a special country, populated by a special people, with a special mission in the world. He quoted Lincoln as saying that our republic was “the last best hope of man on earth,” and refers to the “inspired wisdom” of the Constitution. He notes that all Americans are joined in the common enterprise to write the story of freedom” an adventure “which we must pass on to our children and their children- remembering that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

    a. Americans are more patriotic, more religious, more libertarian, harder working and more moralistic than are the other developed countries in the Western world.

    b. He concluded with the words of Daniel Webster, who essentially believed
    that our written Constitution is the Ark of the Covenant of the New Israel that is America. Webster said “Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has
    happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.”

    c. Consider carefully the implication of this belief, in which Reagan shows the error of applying foreign constitutional law to the interpretation of our Constitution.


    2. Second, President Reagan’s speech emphasizes the importance of the idea that the Constitution is one that provides for limited government. “They settled on a judiciary that would be independent and strong, but one whose power would also, they believed, be confined within the boundaries of a written Constitution and laws….the Founding Fathers designed a system of checks and balances, and of limited government, because they knew that the great preserver of our freedoms would never be the courts or either of the other branches alone. It would always be the totality of our constitutional system, with no one part getting the upper hand. And that's why the judiciary must be independent. And that is why it must exercise restraint.”
    'Originalism: A Quarter-Century of Debate,’ Steven G. Calabresi

    a. In those words, Reagan showed an understanding that most constitutional law professors do not have, including a certain law-lecturer, that the Constitution is enforced by we the people through the system of checks and balances, and not by the unilateral actions of the Supreme Court.



    3. And, finally, the President advocates the judicial restraint of Rehnquist and Scalia, as well as the traditions of Holmes and Frankfurther (the restraint, not the 'living Constitution nonsense). To be clear, he is not praising a view in which passive judges defer to the political branches, but rather to judges who would be faithful to the written Constitution.

    The entire speech:
    The Great Debate: President Ronald Reagan - September 26, 1986 » Resources » The Federalist Society
     
  8. JoeB131
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    He also appointed O'Connor and Kennedy, who were moderate justices.

    So two moderates vs. a conservative appointment and conservative promotion, that indicates the man was a lot more moderate than the GOP would ever allow today.
     
  9. Oddball
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    Like I said....Reagan talked a lot.

    But when push came to shove, he didn't shove.
     
  10. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    Came within one vote of a balanced budget amendment.

    Perhaps you should lay the blame at the feet of Republican Senators. As Reagan
    said, "We had rabbits when we needed tigers.”
     

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