Friday, October 7, 2011

Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan: Today's "Class Warfare" Was Yesterday's Pragmatic Conservatism

Funny how the Republican and Libertarian Party stalwarts only remember selective portion of Ronald Reagan's policy pronouncements.

Reagan's push to close tax loopholes for the rich and get budgets balanced with cuts and tax revenue in his second term has totally slipped their minds. He also actually came out for stronger public trade unions---in Eastern Europe at least.

In a Labor Day address in 1980, Ronald Reagan said:

"These are the values inspiring those brave workers in Poland … They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."

Funny that today collective bargaining is under attack for American citizens in Ohio and Wisconsin from the likes of GOP Governors Scott Walker of the Badger State and John Kasich or Ohio.

The modern Reaganauts chastise President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress for doing exactly what their own Hollywood-minted shining hero did twenty-five years earlier.

In one way its sad to see how extreme the right end of the political spectrum has gone. No GOP candidate in a recent primary debate would even agree to raise one dollar in tax revenue for every ten dollars in austerity-maniacal tax cuts to everything the government does from deliver the mail to supporting public schools to helping the unemployed get retraining or basic benefits.

One local legislator in southern Oregon, a dandy named Sal Esquivel recently said of the Wall Street protests, "If you want to work you can work, and, if you don't want to work you don't work." Spoken like a man who never had a layoff notice from the boss.

In another light, it's hard for these folks to to argue with The Gipper himself.

Though I'll bet the spinmeisters are hard at work now that this video is out on the Internet.

Here's a reminder from Ed Schultz at MSNBC. Thanks Think Progress.


  1. Dance like the photo’s not being tagged. Love like you’ve never been unfriended. Sing like nobody’s following. Share like you care. And do it all like it won’t end up on youtube!

  2. I think it is interesting that Obama is as far to the right as Reagan but that the extreme proto-fascist right of the Tea Party makes both of them look like liberals. This is a situation where Warren Buffet appears by comparison to be a champion of the people, the avuncular caring face of capitalism bankrolling Obama in ways that have echoes from history, but at least he advocates tax cuts for the poor as well....not that anyone in power ever listens, but it makes good PR for the trickle down brigade I suppose.

    Reaganomics or Obamacide? that the complete range of choices in the unipolar world Doug, deregulation and/or perpetual war?

  3. No arguments on that here, Beverly. :-)

  4. It does show how narrow and rightward is the already cramped American political spectrum. I think Mr. Buffet, who is reveiled on the Fox News sources, is smart enough to have read a little history and realizes that societies where wealth becomes too concentrated at the top fall into social unrest (such as what happened in Europe, before and especially after World War One.) This is a seismic marcoeconomic problem which seems not to be troubling most of the GOP and a few conservative Democrats in Congress---right now.

    Blinded by ignorance or a faith in American exceptionism? I guess the results are the same. The activists on the streets of Wall Street and now all over the country get it. Now can the others come the voting next November see through the bankster hype and demand a new deal?

    (Not the old New Deal mind you, something for the modern pluralistic society.)

    This love of deregulation--which started ramping up in the late Seventies in the United States (and parts of continental Europe and Britain) has gone on far, far too long. I predicted that the fall of Wall Street investment banks would signal at least a feww election cycles of respite to the deregulation movement as a popular development. And now I see I was wrong. The push to deregulate the stock jobbers and banksters goes on in spite of past performance.

    Washington has been occupied by powerful financial lobbyists for quite some time, squeezing the political parties together in a race for money from multi-national interests.

    I want to point up that Obama's (to me) modest current proposal for raising tax rates for the wealthy back to what they were in the 1990s (at least for millionaires) is hardly a liberal proposal, altough he will be attacked in some quarters for being a socialist or, more accurately,a Social Democrat. The clips here of Reagan's speeches from 1984 and '85 make this notion of Obama as ANY sort of leftist policy leader no more than laughable. American mainstream politics seems to start where Reagan was in 1980.

    Perhaps this President would like to be an honest northern Democratic liberal on domestic matters. But its clear he feels he needs to get more leverage from the great numbers of ordinary people.

    You're quite right, AA. Just who is listening?

  5. Aaran is "a gift to the nation", as the Queen said in her Christmas Speech last year. ;-)