Archive for the ‘Reagan’ Category

Before Sarah Palin’s endorsement of fellow reality TV personality Donald Trump, a series of tweets were posted by an account named TrumpLandslide. I’d hope that this account isn’t part of the Trump campaign, though I can’t be certain, given the state of Trump’s mind and his temperament. One of TrumpLandslide’s tweets said “What do libs and DC elites fear more than a conservative politician? One who used to be a liberal and then got smart. Like Reagan or Trump.”

First, what proof do we have that Trump is conservative? We’ve heard his words but that isn’t proof. If words were proof, we’d have the most conservative Senate in the history of the Republic. Further, comparing Trump to Reagan is like comparing Milton Friedman, an unabashed champion of capitalism, to Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed socialist. Let’s compare President Reagan’s character and temperament with Mr. Trump’s. This won’t be pretty.

President Reagan was a confident man. Mr. Trump is an insecure man. (Anyone who repeatedly tells the world that he’s great is insecure.) President Reagan was known for his humility and steadfastness. Mr. Trump is known for his brashness and his constant mood swings. President Reagan was a man who you could count on. Mr. Trump can’t be trusted to do now what he said he’d do an hour ago.

Can anyone picture Mr. Trump delivering Reagan’s famous Tear Down This Wall Speech?

I can’t. I can’t because I don’t think Mr. Trump puts a high price on confronting evil. Thus far, Mr. Trump has stated repeatedly his eagerness to negotiate with Russia and Iran. By contrast, President Reagan didn’t hesitate to criticize the Soviet Union, calling it an “evil empire.”

Publicly, Mr. Trump hasn’t shown a sense of humor. He’s shown himself to be a thin-skinned man unable to poke fun at himself. It that respect, he’s the anti-Reagan. Here’s a sampling of President Reagan’s sense of humor:

Throughout his political life, President Reagan railed against universal health care. As recently as this summer, Mr. Trump still trumpeted the virtues of universal health care for our veterans. It’s insulting to hear Mr. Trump’s campaign compare him with the greatest president of my lifetime.

Michael Reagan was interviewed in September about the field of GOP presidential candidates. When he was asked who was the least Reaganesque, Reagan replied “Donald Trump.”

Chris Murphy is a Democratic senator from Connecticut and, as near as I can tell, a staunch advocate for censorship and a hater of religion. He can afford to be. He’s from Connecticut, which isn’t known for its deep religious roots.

Peggy Noonan is a former speechwriter for the greatest president of my lifetime, Ronald Reagan. She’s a gifted wordsmith and a lady of stature and dignity. Even when I disagree with her, which is occasionally, I still have immense respect for her. That’s because, at heart, she’s constantly cheering to see America at its best. She isn’t an ideologue. Instead, she’s a patriot. That’s why I couldn’t resist reading Ms. Noonan’s column about the fragile state of the First Amendment.

She noted that Sen. Murphy injected invective into the conversation about San Bernardino while it was happening, saying “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing—again.” Then Ms. Noonan made the observation that there’s “a real censorship movement backed by an ideology that is hostile to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Twenty years ago, that statement would’ve been laughed at. Today, thoughtful people furrow their brow and worry that Ms. Noonan is right. Then Ms. Noonan offered this insight into winning debates:

If you really are for some new gun-control measure, if you are serious about it, you just might wait a while, until the blood has cooled, for instance, and then try to win people over to see it your way. You might offer information, argument, points of persuasion. Successful politics involves pulling people together. You don’t use a tragedy to shame and silence those who don’t see it your way; that only hardens sides.

I won’t assume that Sen. Murphy is interested in winning a debate. (Ms. Noonan didn’t either.) It’s quite possible that Sen. Murphy only wants to speak up and be heard.

Now that the blood has started cooling, it’d be easy to criticize Sen. Murphy. I won’t do that, though. I’ll just add some information and, hopefully, a little insight into this nightmare. First, the information flooding in is that this wasn’t a criminal action as much as it was a terrorist attack. Though President Obama and the FBI have tap-danced around that possibility, the truth is that that proverbial train left the station when the FBI found literally thousands of rounds of ammunition, a bomb-making factory in the Farooks’ apartment and an assortment of pipe bombs and IED in the Farooks’ SUV.

The insight I have for Sen. Murphy is to start talking about how President Obama, the FBI and our other intelligence agencies can connect the terrorist network dots faster. They clearly were caught flat-footed on San Bernardino. Couple that with their unwillingness to call it what it obviously is and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

This post is meant as a bit of a thank you to Ms. Noonan for writing something insightful on the subject of winning debate. Here’s hoping for more sanity to break out shortly.

It’s fitting that Esther Goldberg’s post proclaims Goldberg’s devotion to Donald Trump. It’s fitting because Ms. Goldberg’s post is like Trump — mostly ad hominem attacks. It’s telling that the post is titled “Why I don’t like Carly Fiorina.” That’s fair enough. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

It didn’t take Ms. Goldberg long to start with the ad hominem attacks. She started by criticizing Mrs. Fiorina, saying that Mrs. Fiorina turned her off “when she referred to Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei as the ‘Supreme Leader’ during the second debate”, arguing that there’s “something incongruous about anyone, especially the leader of the free world, addressing a brutal dictator who wants to take us all back to the 7th century as ‘Supreme Leader’.”

After saying that Fiorina wouldn’t meet with Putin, Ms. Goldberg said that “Trump believes that if you are respected as a leader you have an advantage. And unlike Obama, he’d be respected.” My first question is simple. Why Trump would be respected? His understanding of the U.S.-Russian relationship is virtually nonexistent. Trump said in a debate that he’d bone up on foreign policy if he became president.

Mrs. Fiorina, like Sen. Rubio, understands the subtleties and details of the U.S.-Russian relationship. She understands, as does Sen. Rubio, that Putin isn’t impressed with having a chat. Putin won’t be impressed until there’s a show of force. Mr. Trump would likely be more forceful than Obama, though that isn’t a high bar to step over.

Mrs. Fiorina said that she’d rebuild the Sixth Fleet, put additional soldiers in Germany, conduct aggressive military exercises with the Baltic States and re-arm Poland with a missile defense system. That’s the blueprint President Reagan used in toppling the former Soviet Union.

Foreign policy realists criticized President Reagan for not meeting with the Soviet Union during his first term in office. President Reagan’s strategy was to challenge the Soviet Union wherever they could to impress on them the fact that they could (and would) checkmate Gorbachev’s expansionist policies wherever they were tried.

By acting first and talking later, Fiorina is sending the same signal to Putin that President Reagan sent to the Soviets. If given the choice between following President Reagan’s blueprint or trusting in Trump’s negotiating skills, I’ll pick President Reagan’s blueprint every time.

Recently, President Obama’s sympathizers have tried making the case that he’s as consequential as Ronald Reagan. If they define consequential as doing historic things that are disastrous, then President Obama has been consequential.

Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. Premiums are sharply higher. Deductibles have exploded. Choices are fewer. Networks are limited. We’re forced into buying policies that cover things that we don’t need. We couldn’t keep our doctors even though we were promised that we could.

Despite that, President Obama insists that he’s protected the middle class:

After having a friendly chat on the tarmac at LaCrosse Regional Airport with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, President Obama made fun of the GOP field jockeying to succeed him and ripped into Walker’s actions as governor.

“You all have enough for an actual Hunger Games,” Obama said about the large Republican presidential field. “That is an interesting bunch,” he quipped before explaining why trickle-down economics doesn’t work.

He said that many of the contenders are proposing ideas that they say would benefit the middle class. “Tammy, Ron, me — we were talking about the middle class before it was cool,” he said referring to Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Ron Kind, whose district encompasses LaCrosse, who were in the audience at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse auditorium. “We were talking about it before the polls” said politicians “should be talking about it,” he added.

Mr. President, talking about the middle class isn’t the same as improving middle class lives. President Reagan created more high-paying union jobs than you’ve created jobs. That’s before talking about how many companies shifted from full-time employees to “29ers.” Mr. President, is it a triumph that companies shifted from full-time jobs to part-time jobs?

That’s what Obamacare did. It also created “49ers.” Let’s review. 29ers are employees whose hours were cut from 40 hours to 29 hours to avoid having to provide health insurance to the. 49ers are companies that’ve chosen to not expand past 49 employees so they don’t have to comply with the employer mandate.

In September, 1983, the US economy created 1,100,000 good-paying full-time jobs. Thanks to President Reagan’s policies, we had 6 straight quarters of economic growth of more than 5%. Internationally, the United States vanquished the Evil Empire, aka the Soviet Union. President Obama resurrected it. Israel knew it could count the United States as a steadfast ally. President Obama couldn’t push Israel to the side quickly enough.

Thanks to President Obama’s policies of non-intervention, the global terrorist network is expanding rapidly. President Reagan’s policies of militarism checked Soviet expansionist policies.

We’ll be cleaning up President Obama’s messes for years. By comparison, President Reagan’s economic policies ushered in a quarter century of unprecedented economic growth.

Rep. Paul Thissen, one of the slipperiest DFL operators in the House of Representatives, is at it again. Thissen’s statement is typical DFL tax cuts for the rich boilerplate:

“Speaker Daudt said today that an additional $25 million for our kids was a “line in the sand” he would not cross. It is nearly beyond comprehension that Republicans would be willing to force a government shutdown over a refusal to invest an additional $25 million in Minnesota’s kids in order to save nearly $1 billion for their top priority: corporate tax giveaways.

Thank goodness Governor Dayton has been there to fight for Minnesota’s kids and their families all session long. He has dragged House Republicans kicking and screaming from their initial position of forcing teacher layoffs and larger class sizes in a time of surplus to a $525 million investment in our schools. Nonetheless, Republican intransigence means we are missing a historic opportunity to invest in our earliest learners and change the trajectory of the lives of so many Minnesotans.

We will await further details, but remain disappointed that Republicans have left so much work undone, and all to satisfy their desire for tax giveaways for corporate special interests and the wealthiest Minnesotans next year.”

President Reagan expressed my reaction to Rep. Thissen’s deceitful accusation that the Republicans’ top priority is “tax giveaways” to the wealthy:

It’s time that the DFL just stop dead in its tracks with this lie. Whether it’s said by Gov. Dayton, Rep. Thissen or a former nobody legislator, the accusation that Republicans’ highest priority is giving multinational corporations huge tax breaks is disgustingly deceitful.

Enough with that lie. Let’s talk about how it took Speaker Daudt and Art Rolnick and the Minnesota School Board Association and other education organizations to drag Gov. Dayton kicking and screaming away from Education Minnesota’s Gov. Dayton’s universal pre-K plan. In fact, the House DFL stood with Education Minnesota on that disastrous legislation. The next time you see a House DFL legislator, ask them why they’re supporting a massive property tax increase.

Rep. Thissen, why do you still support a major property tax increase to suburban voters? Is all your talk about helping the middle class all talk? What do you have against private early learning centers? Is it because you want Education Minnesota to grow so they pay more dues which, in turn, leads to more money for DFL campaigns?

Finally, are you so cold that you put your political needs ahead of the children’s and parents’ needs?

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Salena Zito’s column highlights blue collar America’s crisis perfectly:

A tugboat pushing nine loaded coal barges chugged up the Ohio River, toward the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. It eventually passed the McConway & Torley steel foundry along the Allegheny, likely headed for one of the few coal-fired power plants left in America.

That was what Democrats believed in then when they cared about America. The Democratic Party was built in manufacturing cities like Pittsburgh. Isn’t it symbolic that Pittsburgh’s steel-producing decline coincides with the Democratic Party’s decline as the party of the middle class?

Workers in the coal industry and at McConway & Torley are in the cross hairs of the progressive left. The left rails against McDonald’s for not paying a salary that sustains a family of four, as it simultaneously tries to snuff out the manufacturing base that provides well-paid middle-class jobs.

McConway & Torley has been in Pittsburgh for nearly 150 years. It is one of the few places in the city where laborers can earn enough to stay out of poverty, own a home and provide security for their families’ futures.

The Totalitarian Left worships at the altar of controlling people’s lives. They’ll do anything that forces their religion down blue collar America’s throat. If you think religion isn’t the right word for that situation, think again. Here’s the definition of religion:

the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices

The Totalitarian Left worships uniformity and a one-size-fits-all worldview. Meanwhile, Americans are demanding an iPhone-iPad world. The EPA’s proposed new rule to the Clean Water Act won’t make America more productive. The EPA’s proposed new rule will attempt to tell a free people what they can’t do. That’s totalitarianism by any definition. It certainly fits this definition:

the character or quality of an autocratic or authoritarian individual, group, or government

When I started paying attention to politics, liberals used the judiciary to get their way when they couldn’t pass the legislation they wanted. That changed when President Reagan started appointing more Constitution-minded judges. The Totalitarian Left found that they couldn’t rely on the judiciary for their victories like they had in the past.

That wasn’t acceptable to the Activist Left. Their policies weren’t popular, which meant they couldn’t pass their extremist agenda. With more Constitution-minded judges, they weren’t winning legal victories, either. Which leads us to today. The Totalitarian Left has now opted for ruling through regulators. It’s really their only option at this point.

You see, on the same night that the city hosted a conference with Nordic countries about “social sustainability” (talking to each other), “urban fabric” (city living) and “carbon footprint transference” (walking), the health department held a public hearing in the once working-class, now upwardly-mobile neighborhood where the foundry sits.

That hearing was about a plan to reduce the foundry’s steel production by 77 percent. And that would take away the one thing everyone says they want to create through manufacturing — middle-class jobs.

The plant’s opponents basically want the foundry out of Pittsburgh, a city once known for a skilled labor force that “made stuff.”

It is an aggressive effort by GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution), funded by the Heinz Endowments to the tune of $350,000 in 2014, the same foundation funding the city’s conference with Nordic countries that local Democrat leaders hailed as the direction the region should go.

I’d love seeing a populist uprising against the Totalitarian Left. The Democratic Party of the 1950s had a strong libertarian streak to it. That Democratic Party loved building things. They, along with astute Republicans, built the interstate highway system.

Today’s Democratic Party worships at the altar of light rail, Cap and Trade and partial regulatory takings. That isn’t Americanism. That’s warmed over Europeanism, which is an unsavory broth.

It’s time for the Reagan Democrats to join the Republican Party, not because the GOP is a fantastic party without flaws, but because the Totalitarian Left isn’t, shouldn’t be their home. Reagan Democrats have as much in common with the Totalitarian Left as oil has with water.

Those ingredients don’t fit together.

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Natan Sharansky’s op-ed provides a stunning contrast between the Obama administration’s Iran capitulation and President Eisenhower’s negotiations with the then-Soviet Union. Check this out:

For starters, consider that the Soviet regime felt obliged to make its first ideological concession simply to enter into negotiations with the United States about economic cooperation. At the end of the 1950s, Moscow abandoned its doctrine of fomenting a worldwide communist revolution and adopted in its place a credo of peaceful coexistence between communism and capitalism. The Soviet leadership paid a high price for this concession, both internally, in the form of millions of citizens, like me, who had been obliged to study Marxism and Leninism as the truth and now found their partial abandonment confusing, and internationally, in their relations with the Chinese and other dogmatic communists who viewed the change as a betrayal. Nevertheless, the Soviet government understood that it had no other way to get what it needed from the United States.

The Soviets capitulated because they didn’t have any options. Soviet negotiators thought that President Eisenhower was a serious, hard-nosed negotiator. They didn’t fear him like they feared President Reagan but they knew they couldn’t take liberties with Eisenhower.

As a result of their capitulation, the Soviets experienced a shaming that they never recovered from. It took several more decades before the gulags closed and the dissidents were freed but the Soviets had been dealt a stunning defeat.

Imagine what would have happened if instead, after completing a round of negotiations over disarmament, the Soviet Union had declared that its right to expand communism across the continent was not up for discussion. This would have spelled the end of the talks. Yet today, Iran feels no need to tone down its rhetoric calling for the death of America and wiping Israel off the map.

The Iranians sized up President Obama and figured it out that he wasn’t a serious negotiator. To the Iranians, President Obama looked like a mark in a con man’s sights. They figured that President Obama could be flipped. That’s because they knew he was a desperate man in search of a legacy. As a result, the Iranians played hardball with him.

The sanctions were working. Iran’s mullahs would’ve been toppled if President Obama was interested in that. Unfortunately for Israel and the US, President Obama wasn’t interested in dealing the Iranian regime a death blow. Because President Obama zigged when other administrations would’ve zagged, Iran is poised to become a Middle East hegemon with a nuclear weapon.

While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.

President Obama’s legacy will be his administration-long apology tour. He’s felt that the United States wasn’t a force for good. This will be his fitting epitaph:

It’ll take a generation to clean up all the history-changing messes he’s created. President Clinton said that the 1990s represented a “vacation from history.” On 9/11, history came to collect on that debt.

It might well be that 2009-2016 will be called the United States’ vacation from being the United States.

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Lynne Cheney has a bone to pick with the College Board, which she writes about eloquently in this op-ed. Here’s what’s got Mrs. Cheney upset:

If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

—President Ronald Reagan, speech at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 1987

It isn’t that Lynne Cheney has a problem with President Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate. It’s the context in which the College Board uses President Reagan’s speech that’s got her upset:

President Reagan’s challenge to Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev remains one of the most dramatic calls for freedom in our time. Thus I was heartened to find a passage from Reagan’s speech on the sample of the new Advanced Placement U.S. history exam that students will take for the first time in May. It seemed for a moment that students would be encouraged to learn about positive aspects of our past rather than be directed to focus on the negative, as happens all too often.

But when I looked closer to see the purpose for which the quotation was used, I found that it is held up as an example of “increased assertiveness and bellicosity” on the part of the U.S. in the 1980s. That’s the answer to a multiple-choice question about what Reagan’s speech reflects.

No notice is taken of the connection the president made between freedom and human flourishing, no attention to the fact that within 2 1/2 years of the speech, people were chipping off pieces of the Berlin Wall as souvenirs. Instead of acknowledging important ideas and historical context, test makers have reduced President Reagan’s most eloquent moment to warmongering.

This stuff might as well come straight out of the Obama foreign policy handbook.

But I digress.

It’s apparent that Mrs. Cheney thinks the College Board is filled with members of the PC Police:

When educators, academics and other concerned citizens realized how many notable figures were missing and how negative was the view of American history presented, they spoke out forcefully. The response of the College Board was to release the sample exam that features Ronald Reagan as a warmonger.

It doesn’t stop there. On the multiple-choice part of the sample exam, there are 18 sections, and eight of them take up the oppression of women, blacks and immigrants. Knowing about the experiences of these groups is important—but truth requires that accomplishment be recognized as well as oppression, and the exam doesn’t have questions on subjects such as the transforming leadership of Martin Luther King Jr.

The AP Test should be used to show which students have the best grasp of American history — all of American history. It’s cheating the brightest students when many of the most influential Americans aren’t used in a history test.

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This article isn’t the type of thing Hillary wanted to read a day after she tried putting her email controversy behind her:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the State Department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

The legal action comes after repeated requests filed under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act have gone unfulfilled. They include one request AP made five years ago and others pending since the summer of 2013.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, comes a day after Clinton broke her silence about her use of a private email account while secretary of state. The FOIA requests and lawsuit seek materials related to her public and private calendars, correspondence involving longtime aides likely to play key roles in her expected campaign for president, and Clinton-related emails about the Osama bin Laden raid and National Security Agency surveillance practices.

First, the AP’s lawsuit is substantive. They first filed a FOIA request 5 years ago to find out about the Osama bin Laden raid and the NSA surveillance program. Next, it’s impossible for the Clintons to convince serious people that the AP is a card-carrying member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

The worst part about this for the Clintons is that a judge might demand to view her server. At that point, Hillary’s options are to surrender the server or to file an appeal. Anyone familiar with the Clintons knows that surrendering isn’t part of their DNA. Filing an appeal, though, is fraught with negatives. One definite downside filing an appeal is that it re-opens the wound. That automatically means more TV time for James Carville and Lanny Davis saying that this is old news and that Hillary followed the rules.

A court ruling that Hillary needs to turn over her server, though, isn’t the same as accusing a political enemy of waging political war against the Clintons. People don’t think that courts are partisan. They think of them as essentially being impartial.

The AP had sought Clinton-related correspondence before her use of a personal email account was publicly known, although Wednesday’s court filing alleges that the State Department is responsible for including emails from that account in any public records request.

“State’s failure to ensure that Secretary Clinton’s governmental emails were retained and preserved by the agency, and its failure timely to seek out and search those emails in response to AP’s requests, indicate at the very least that State has not engaged in the diligent, good-faith search that FOIA requires,” says AP’s legal filing.

Hillary’s unspoken response essentially was “Trust me. There’s nothing there.” Though younger voters aren’t familiar with an old Reaganism from the Soviet era, it’s still applicable:

“Trust but verify” seems like the perfect axiom for Hillary’s plea for us to trust her.

Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, predicted the State Department would speed up its review facing legal action, particularly given that Clinton has said that her email correspondence doesn’t include classified material. “When the government is under a court deadline, or really wants to review, they can whip through thousands of pages in a matter of weeks, which they should do here,” Blanton said.

The State Department will soon be motivated, thanks in large part to the AP’s lawsuit.

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Judge Napolitano highlighted Hillary’s twisted (corrupt?) logic in this interview with Megyn Kelly:

This question from the Clintons’ talking points is a reminder of the dreaded 1990s:

Q: Were any work items deleted in the process of producing the printed copies?
A: No

The tip is that the question uses the limiting term of “in the process of producing the printed copies.” Judge Napolitano rightly highlights the possibility that emails were deleted before producing “the printed copies.”

Further, printed copies of the emails aren’t the emails. Hillary doesn’t own the electronic communications because they’re government work product. Also, registry recording the emails sent or received by Hillary Clinton are owned by the federal government. Like the emails themselves, they have to be turned over to the federal government and maintained, too. The list of emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton is part of the electronic record.

Did Hillary give the State Department printed copies of her emails because the list of work-related emails stored on the hard drive doesn’t match the printed copies of the emails? At this point, we don’t know because we don’t have access to the Clintons’ server. Without that, we can’t prove if anything is missing. That is, unless one of Hillary’s confidantes steps forward and says that some emails are missing.

There’s only one way to know whether Hillary did everything that the Federal Records Act requires. Without looking through the server’s email register, it’s impossible to prove whether Hillary complied with federal law. It’s time to deploy a favorite Reaganism: Trust but verify.

Check out Ron Fournier’s article on Hillary’s news conference.