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.

Do You Feel Nationally Secure?

I want my understanding of the responsibilities of government to be as Biblically based as possible. Scriptural passages that talk about the role of government seem to concentrate primarily on punishing evildoers and protecting the citizens.

That means we need law enforcement and courts of justice. We also need a military to defend against those who might want to attack us. If we fall down on either of those aspects of protection, we are in danger.

The Soviet Union is no more. We can thank Ronald Reagan and others who worked with him for that. Russia, in its latest incarnation, might become a threat again. It has been particularly unhelpful in our efforts to derail Iran from becoming a nuclear power. A nuclear Iran will attack Israel for sure; it also will be only too happy to sell some of its weapons to terrorists.

We have to be on the alert and vigilant—yet what are we doing? I noted in a previous blog that President Obama has a new nuclear strategy. Many fear it is leading us into dangerous territory by weakening our resolve to defend ourselves.

I’m not comforted by that either. There’s a lack of seriousness that emanates from the Oval Office on the issue of national security.

Iran doesn’t seem particularly impressed by the president’s new approach. What is he going to do if Iran gets nuclear weapons? What will his strategy be at that point? We need to hope it’s not this:

That certainly would fit into his worldview; after all, the rich are the real enemies, right? Oh, and of course certain other people:

Yes, he can be strong when he wants to be.

We need a different worldview in the White House. We won’t get an opportunity for that until 2012. A good start, though, would be a massive overhaul of Congress in 2010. It can be done.

The "Stupid" Strategy

Have you noticed the strategy employed by the Democrats over the past three decades? You might have to be as old as I am to see the pattern, but it’s now very obvious. I call it the “stupid” strategy, which is aimed at any Republican who is a threat to actually win the presidency or any other high office.

It all started with Ronald Reagan. When he ran against President Carter in 1980, the whispers began, then rose to a crescendo: he’s a dumb actor; he’s simplistic; he just reads everything from little cards; he needs a nap every afternoon; he’s not smart enough to be president. Democratic functionary Clark Clifford famously referred to Reagan as an “amiable dunce.”

Well, that amiable dunce won the Cold War.

They tried it, to a lesser degree, with George Bush in 1988 when he squared off against Michael Dukakis. How could he possibly match the policy wonkness of the former governor of Massachusetts?

It was his son, though, George W. Bush, who had to weather the stronger attack. He was just a cowboy, out of his league, merely a C student. He wasn’t smart enough to lead the country. What we needed was that super-smart challenger Al Gore. After all, he was on the cutting edge of understanding that we were all going to die unless we ceased emitting carbon. He was the champion of the intellectual elite.

In the Bush reelection year of 2004, John Kerry was the epitome of all that was cosmopolitan, cultured, and oh-so-French. Bush couldn’t even compete with Sen. Kerry’s brain power. Or so we were told.

In 2008, progressives nearly fainted when Sarah Palin was added to the Republican ticket. How could this Caribou Barbie be a serious vice presidential candidate? In fact, they realized she was a serious candidate, so the strategy was employed once again—ridicule her as a lightweight. Ignore her accomplishments as Alaska’s governor and paint her as a joke. The joke now appears to be on them as she is more influential than ever.

But of course she’s influential in circles of low-educated, backward folks who inhabit the great hinterland between the beautiful people who populate the coasts. You know, the area where no one of their social status should ever have to hang out.

That’s right, she’s the darling of those stupid Tea Partiers. Now the progressive elite have an entire class of people to denigrate. Unfortunately for them, a New York Times story recently carried the strange news that those despised Tea Partiers were actually better educated than the general population and they are financially better off than the national average.

That’s disturbing to the powers-that-be. President Obama made fun of them last week. He thinks their ideas are radical and foolish. Does he even know the source of those ideas?

If he finds their ideas ludicrous, he must really be in stitches over the Federalist Papers and the Constitution—because that’s where the ideas come from.

It’s time we wise up to the “stupid” strategy and see it for what it really is: a false portrayal of political opponents that is downright dishonest.