The Reagan-Palin Connection

I have a second posting for you today [don’t miss the other one down below this one]. It’s on Big Government. I see a similarity in the way Ronald Reagan was treated with what Sarah Palin is currently experiencing. You can go directly to it at: http://biggovernment.com/asnyder/2010/08/06/ridicule-and-disdain-the-reagan-palin-connection

A Reagan Reflection On the Future of America

I’m a historian, so I have the developed habit of looking back as I contemplate the future. I look back for instances when leaders stood on principle and hope we will have such leaders as we go forward as a nation. Many of us are rightly distressed over the current state of affairs, but I would like to offer a few words of encouragement.

When Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, the country was a mess economically, militarily, and in foreign affairs. The task before him seemed, to many, impossible to manage. Yet it was not. In his farewell address to the nation in 1989, Reagan surveyed his eight years in office and had some profound thoughts to share. I’d like to remind us of what he said at that time. The following are excerpts from that address. Take them to heart.

Well, back in 1980, when I was running for President, it was all so different. Some pundits said our programs would result in catastrophe. Our views on foreign affairs would cause war. Our plans for the economy would cause inflation to soar and bring about economic collapse. I even remember one highly respected economist saying, back in 1982, that “The engines of economic growth have shut down here, and they’re likely to stay that way for years to come.” Well, he and the other opinion leaders were wrong. The fact is, what they called “radical” was really “right.” What they called “dangerous” was just “desperately needed.”

 And in all of that time I won a nickname, “The Great Communicator.” But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: it was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation — from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I’ll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense. …

Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: “We the People.” “We the People” tell the government what to do; it doesn’t tell us. “We the People” are the driver; the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which “We the People” tell the government what it is allowed to do. “We the People” are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I’ve tried to do these past 8 years. …

Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in Presidential farewells, and I’ve got one that’s been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough it starts with one of the things I’m proudest of in the past 8 years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won’t count for much, and it won’t last unless it’s grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.

 An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?

There are some inspiring words in that address: the “great rediscovery”  and the paragraph about the limits of government stand out. I also like the warning at the end. Patriotism is not a feeling; it is a thoughtful and knowledgeable commitment. Are we informed patriots or just angry citizens? There is a difference. And what do our children know about the real history of America? What are we doing to ensure they have a balanced perspective?

We are not yet doomed. God can raise up leaders who will put principle over pragmatism. We need to pray for them and support them in every way we can.

Reagan's Political Conversion

What happened to change Ronald Reagan from a New Deal liberal into a conservative icon? My latest posting on Big Government tells you how it happened. They made it the feature story for the day. You can find it here:

http://biggovernment.com/asnyder/2010/07/17/reagans-political-conversion/#more-144614

Most of the posting is an excerpt from my book on Reagan and Whittaker Chambers, which I just finished writing  recently. I’m looking for a publisher now. Prayer would be appreciated.

Losing Touch with Reality

I was watching  a news program last evening in which the economist made a rather bold pronouncement: President Obama has lost touch with reality when it comes to economics, he said. The president has no understanding at all of how the economy works. I’ve believed that all along, but it was rather refreshing to hear someone say it out loud to a few million viewers.

What sparked that comment was the recently ended G8/G20 Summit of industrialized nations. As all the leaders gathered, the consensus was that they needed to stop the spending sprees because they were all going under financially. It was time to face reality and cut back on the burgeoning welfare states they were creating or they would all end up like Greece.

I say it was the consensus—with one slight disagreement. President Obama was the only one urging them all to create a worldwide “stimulus” to create prosperity. His plea for continued suicide spending was ignored. He was the Lone Ranger on this one.

What’s particularly galling is that this lowers the prestige of the United States more than ever. This was the president who said he was going to “rescue” our image in the world after President Bush supposedly destroyed it. The rest of the world is now looking at our “leader” and coming to the conclusion that he might be on a planet of his own, a place where massive spending makes us wealthy.

How different from the days when President Reagan explained to the European leaders just how America had pulled out of its doldrums of the 1970s by reducing government interference in the economy and allowing individuals to keep more of their own earnings. Those were the days when the world looked to the U.S. for leadership.

Those days are now gone.

Meanwhile, back at the oil spill, the president still refuses to use all the skimmers to clean things up and the oil spreads along even more of the Gulf Coast. He didn’t cause the spill, but he is certainly guilty of sloppy handling of the cleanup. He has been effective, though, at stopping one type of flow.

While he’s been out of the country, his allies in Congress cobbled together a so-called financial reform package. All you have to know about this piece of legislation is that the prime architects for it are Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, the gentlemen who gave us the Fannie and Freddie fiasco.

What will this legislation do if it passes the Congress? Sen. Dodd has already told us.

That’s exactly what he said. Now, where have we heard that before? Oh, yes, the healthcare bill. And guess what? This bill is just as long and just as unread as the former one. But by now we’ve learned that Democrats don’t need to read bills—they vote for them anyway because their leadership says to do so. A couple things we do know about it are that it creates another government bureaucracy and it exempts Fannie and Freddie from any oversight. Wonderful.

A president and a Congress both out of touch with reality. This is no way to run a country.

Who Would Have Believed?

We are now seventeen months into the Obama presidency. Unfortunately, I have to say it’s gone pretty much the way I anticipated. Of course, I never could have guessed some things, and I’m not making a case for my ability to see years into the future. For instance, a decade ago, who would have believed a lot that has transpired?

However, it wasn’t really that difficult to predict what would happen after Obama’s election. I knew from the start that he wasn’t some new type of politician who would bring genuine hope and change. He was tutored, after all, in the Chicago school of politics, so there’s no surprise that he has used that approach when dealing with other politicians and trying to gain the upper hand. The latest round of primaries makes that clear.

You just have to know what it takes to get a politician to do your bidding. Now that Obama’s approval ratings have plummeted [again, something that could be predicted], he has a new weapon.

With the midterm congressional elections looming, a new concept of hope and change is in the air.

And our incredible shrinking president is finding himself in unfamiliar territory and in company he would rather not keep.

He has big shoes to fill. I’m not really shocked that he can’t fill them.

For Memorial Day

Yes, war is bad. Sometimes, though, not going to war is even worse. Would we really want a Hitler controlling all of Europe? If not for the Cold War, and Reagan putting the pressure on the Soviet Union, more of the world might have come into the Soviet orbit. The lesson is clear:

It would be better if we could all agree on this. That agreement has been somewhat sporadic, however:

We talk a lot about the national debt, but there’s one type of national debt we don’t speak about often enough:

May we always remember.

Time Bomb Is Still Ticking

The scare in Times Square a couple of days ago is simply another indication that the war on terror must continue. This particular bomb didn’t go off, but what about the next one? And the next one? The World Trade Center didn’t collapse in the bombing attempt of 1993, but 2001 was a different scenario.

We know now that the bomb didn’t work as planned. I heard—haven’t read it yet—that the clock that was used as a timer was set incorrectly. Apparently, the mad bomber didn’t know the difference between a.m. and p.m.

Also, the fertilizer he used wasn’t the proper type for the most effective explosion. One account says that even though it wasn’t the optimum ingredient, it still would have caused a damaging fireball.

The alleged suspect [who  eagerly admitted everything when he was captured—which kind of makes a joke of the “alleged” part] is a native Pakistani who became an American citizen just a year ago. His name is Faisal Shahzad.

He was trying to make his escape to the United Arab Emirates when it was discovered he was on the plane that was getting ready to take off. Fortunately, the authorities arrived just in time to nab him. He apparently likes to talk; he’s been doing a lot of it since then. He had recently returned from a five-month terrorist training camp in his native country. Thankfully, he wasn’t the brightest of the budding terrorists.

Yet this is no joke. The next attempt may be carried out by someone far more talented. Are we ready?

I doubt it. The attitude of the Obama administration doesn’t inspire confidence. Our homeland security chief Janet Napolitano is at the bottom of that confidence list in my mind. Shahzad’s name had been added to the no-fly list, but the airline he was taking hadn’t been given the updated list. When asked for comment, all Napolitano would say is that the plane was prevented from taking off. Okay.

Then there’s attorney general Eric Holder who assures us he “was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him.” Right.

While I’m at it, let’s mention New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had previously speculated that the bomber could be someone upset with President Obama’s healthcare bill. We’re tyring so hard not to be accused of racial profiling that we’ve lost our common sense.

Yes, there are some of those homegrown terrorists who are not part of the Islamic jihad. Timothy McVeigh is a prime example. If we ask, though, what percentage of the actual terrorist attacks and the foiled attempts can be attributed to McVeigh types, we come up with about . . . zero.

If we’re serious about saving lives and protecting our country, we need to recover our common sense.

I like what Ronald Reagan said in his farewell speech to the nation back in January 1989:

In all of that time I won a nickname, “The Great Communicator.” But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: it was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation—from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the “Reagan Revolution.” Well, I’ll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense.

We could use another great rediscovery about now. Our future depends upon it. The time bomb is still ticking.