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  • Beware of Liberals Waxing Reaganesque

    The buzz word to praise Barack Obama’s second State of the Union address is “Reaganesque.” Time magazine gushed that Obama’s emphasis on innovation, nod to American Exceptionalism, and deft use of storytelling places him “squarely — with Reagan — on the side of sunshine and enterprise.” As one conservative commentator remarked, “ever so slowly, liberals are attempting a subtle revisionism” of our 40th president. Though Reagan was portrayed as a simpleton B-movie actor (lacking compassion for the little man or good sense about policy) while president, liberals now reinterpret his legacy in order to bludgeon conservatives with it.

    What defines Ronald Reagan?

    Reagan’s greatest accomplishments were undoubtedly in foreign policy. He demonstrated great courage in challenging and defeating the Soviet Union. Reagan assisted pro-freedom anti-communist forces in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, and Cambodia. Some estimate that the cash-strapped Soviets spent $8 billion a year on counterinsurgency operations against U.S.-backed guerrillas. The accelerating Soviet losses in Afghanistan demoralized the Kremlin and the Red Army, hastening the collapse of the Soviet empire.  There was vehement opposition to his Strategic Defense Initiative (even within his administration), but Reagan continued to push SDI and to persuade the Soviets to stop waging a Cold War they could not win.

    At home, liberal intellectuals lauded the economic accomplishments of the Soviet Union. Reagan was not so easily seduced. In late 1981 and all of 1982, when his tax cuts had not yet kicked in and the U.S. economy still lagged, President Reagan reassured his worried aides and counseled them to stay the course. He had faith in the American people who, if they could be “liberated from the restraints imposed on them by government,” would pull “the country out of its tailspin.” Reagan told the British Parliament that a “global campaign for freedom” would prevail over the forces of tyranny and that “the Soviet Union itself is not immune to this reality.” By the end of the decade, as he predicted, Marxism-Leninism was dumped on the ash heap of history. America, though, experienced the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history, with 17 million new jobs created during the Reagan years.

    Reagan was indeed a gifted politician. He knew when to bend a little (in order to get what he wanted later on) and when to stand firm. In either case, his principles guided his actions. Ronald Reagan’s principles were rooted in two documents—the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. From his very first national speech supporting Barry Goldwater’s presidential bid in October 1964 to his farewell address to the nation in January 1989, Reagan turned again and again to the wisdom of the Founders.  Under Reagan’s leadership, his Attorney General Edwin Meese III reopened a fundamental debate about the meaning of the Constitution that liberals had thought to be settled long ago. An open discussion of the Constitution’s meaning was essential, because “Reagan understood that many of our problems descended from the decay of the Constitution’s restraints on the centralization of power in Washington.”

    Considering that Reagan’s policies were grounded in the principles and documents of the American founding, it is more than passing strange to watch liberals twist Reagan’s legacy and declare Barack Obama heir to this new liberalized version of Reagan. Reagan’s understanding of America remained anchored in our country’s core documents. Obama’s vision of America requires us to shed our allegiance to these documents and build a new progressive foundation for America. Reagan unabashedly embraced American exceptionalism, declaring the Soviet Union to be an Evil Empire. Obama begrudgingly tips his hat towards American exceptionalism, spending his time abroad groveling before foreign dignitaries and apologizing for America’s sins. Reagan’s economic policies led to years of American prosperity.  Obama’s health care bill sucked the life out of the economy (and the bill has not yet gone into full effect). As we celebrate the Gipper’s 100th birthday, let us honor the Reagan’s true legacy anchored in America’s First Principles, lest we be fooled by liberals waxing Reaganesque.

    Co-authored by Julia Shaw

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Beware of Liberals Waxing Reaganesque

    1. Andrew, VA says:

      Hey, if you can't beat 'em…join 'em! Or at least sound like 'em…

    2. Robert says:

      I agree with your thesis. A good column.

      In my opinion, the evaluation of the President should focus on character. What does he believe and how does his life conform to the virtues he claims guide his mind and heart? What does he do? Does he keep the faith or does his conduct lay bare an amoral contempt of all but raw political pragmatism?

      Hard lessons teach this truth: It is better to discover the candidate’s character and to understand the principles that guide his conduct than to speculate unto distraction upon the passions of the moment as they are expressed in the frank duplicity of a fringe media.

      The media asks this question: Will Obama triangulate, and if he does will the tactic work? Will he move to the center so as to win over conservative Americans as he denigrates those Republicans who have moved to the right? Polls show that the public now looks upon President Obama’s health care bill will less opprobrium. Should Republicans therefore soften their position on repeal? Should they mess with it a bit and let it be?

      The intellectual flaws in these empty phrases are as legion as they are from a perspective of principle, good faith and reason, dishonest. Perhaps the pundits should ask these questions. How can President Obama possibly be characterized as our new conservative when he has done little else than convince Americans that he will steer the American ship of state by a socialist star, or as he once expressed the sentiment to Joe the Plummer, that he will "spread the wealth around," what's left of it.

      Does the media really suppose that Americans will accept a political conversion which occurred by mysterious coincidence only after the President's shellacking at the polls? Are Americans really that credulous? How may a president repudiate the leftist ideology in which he is so deeply invested for a conservative philosophy he believes is an impediment to the invasive welfare state he would make ascendant over all.

      The essence of art is beauty, of poetry enlightenment and of principle, eternal truth. Principle does not shift to fit the opportunities of the moment; principle is proof against the corruption of power and all else is pathetic sentiment. Pundits, however, describe uncritically President Obama's “triangulation” as if the strategy were morally neutral. But it is a practice smacks of opportunism; it is a thing, as Lord Action wrote, birthed by a power that corrupts or corrupts absolutely. And why should character, rather than media propaganda be the test of political virtue and good faith? Because corruption of character is the clear and present danger and the certain cause of American cultural, political and economic decline.

      The liberal media engage well the arts of literary deception. They deter reflection and analysis. They work cynicism into the body politic. They avoid the questions Americans must ask, and their representatives answer, with something more than frivolous sentiment or deception. I believe it is past time to look to the character of the President Americans have entrusted with power. What does he believe? What virtues guide the President's conscience, mind and heart?

      Hard to say. But I know this: Triangulation in defense of incumbency is no virtue.

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    5. Todd says:

      I guess the Liberals couldn't reduce Reagan's stature which Conservatives like to tout to their advantage since Reagan is so beloved and accomplished as a President. By not being able to discredit the Rights icon they now have an attitude along the lines of “if you can’t beat them join them". However they're trying to remake Reagan in their image and not the other way around. The Left is very careful not to point out that Reagan was from the opposing party and his ideology is something completely contrasting to theirs essentially polar opposites. However the Left realizes that Reagan is still one of the most popular Presidents of all time and one of the most successful which is why they've in essence hitched their wagon to Reagan's star and invoke his name when they know they can score points and not get called on it. After all who’s going to attack them when they use Reagan as their example!?

      Just A Point of View

    6. Bobbie says:

      Only fools can be fooled by the fool.

    7. Tom Beebe, St Louis says:

      Let this be theri test: When they can say "Government is not the solution, government is the problem", then the liberal revisionists will gain their first ounce of credibility.

    8. Lawrence Seib says:

      This article states Reagan "demonstrated great courage in challenging and defeating the Soviet Union." Actually it was the terrorists in Afghanistan such as Osama Bin Laden that we aided that defeated the Russians. Reagan helped a little by creating the largest deficit this country had ever known. Of coarse Regan's CIA was completely surprised by the Soviet fall because they knew Regan wanted to hear how strong they were so he could send more money to his defense contractor buddies. Regan's voodoo economics has yet to trickle down at all, as real wages have not increased for anybody except the rich since he was president. Of coarse his delay of the hostage release to get him elected is the worst kept dirty secret of all time. And after his aid to the the terrorists in Nicaragua was cut off by congress, we sold arms to Iran in order to break the law.

      With hero's like this,

      who needs enemies

    9. Lou Alfano, PA says:

      Since when have the Liberals become "Progressives"? Smells like a wolf in sheep's clothing to me. There is NOTHING "Progressive" about taking away the people's right to make choices for themselves

      The Constitution IS a "living document," but will only remain alive as long as those sworn to "…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…" remain true to their oaths – this includes the President, Vice President, ALL Executive Branch employees, the entire Congress, and the entire Federal Judiciary.

      "The founding fathers couldn't have really meant that" cuts no ice with me!

    10. rockstar says:

      I remember that when Reagan was President, the liberals were screaming up and down that he was an actor, nothing more…that he had no convictions, that he was a hack with no mind of his own…They couldn't get over the sin of his having gone to college in California…Its just hilarious to see liberals claim Ronald Reagan as their heritage now…

    11. Bobbie says:

      Mr. Tom Beebe, that would be an excellent test!

    12. Aron, Iowa says:

      My son was taught in history class today that Reagan would be a democrat in todays world. That is such a ridiculous statement that I didnt even know how to intelligently respond to it. This is the crap our children are being taught in school, and these are the people that want more of our tax money to do it.

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