News Flash: Obama Ain't Reagan
It's been a week since President Obama's "State of the Union" speech. Within minutes of the speech's conclusion, the president's enthusiastic supporters (disguised as mainstream "journalists") rushed to compare him with President Reagan.
Reagan, dubbed "the Great Communicator," used to give awesome speeches. A former actor, he had great charisma, and the cameras loved him. Of course, those behind the cameras – the mainstream news media – did not love him. Having already largely sold-out their journalistic values of objectivity and truth in favor of liberal ideology, the news media of the 1970s and 1980s did not care for Reagan, champion of a new conservative movement whose benefits are still being enjoyed in America today.
So Reagan was largely painted as an "affable oaf," beloved by the masses for his ability to charm them, but lacking "substance." He was too old. He did not understand social programs, or the need for government regulation and control. He had no degree in public administration, did not "get" the intellectual attraction of collectvism and statism, and hadn't earned a ticket to the inside-the-beltway cocktail party that is the federal government. He actually wanted to shrink the government, not expand it, as every other president in modern times had sought to do. He was a cowboy with his finger on the "launch" button. Sure, he'd governed California briefly, with the same weird approach to public executive office … but does that "experience" really even count?
How did this buffoon get elected (by a landslide), let alone re-elected (by a bigger landslide)?
The sold-out media's idea of "substance" did, in fact, differ greatly from that of the new conservatives. Leaving aside his legacy of foreign policy triumphs which ended the Cold War (and the Soviet Union) without firing a shot, and focusing only on his economic policy victories, President Reagan brought plenty of fresh, new "substance" to Washington. He convinced a Congress dominated by his political rivals to execute the largest tax cut in US history, chiefly by taking his case directly to the American people (who did love Reagan far more than did the journalists). Those tax cuts led to the biggest and longest era of prosperity any of us have ever known, and turned around an America mired in the dismal economic wreck left behind by the Carter administration. Are you old enough to remember the iconic terms of the Carter era – "misery index" … "stagflation" … "oil crisis" …? If so, you remember that it took a huge effort – and plenty of a different kind of "substance" – on the part of Reagan and the conservatives to turn it all around.
So it's ironic, especially to those of us who are old enough to remember all that, that today's media want to paint President Obama with the same brush. He gives brilliant speeches … like Reagan! He charms and inspires people … like Reagan! He sounds super-smart when he says anything (unless he can't see his teleprompter, but let's ignore that for now) … very unlike his predecessor, the dumb-sounding George W. Bush, and a lot more like .. Reagan!
I've said a number of times that the biggest problem facing conservatives today is that the illuminaries in the Republican party (conservatives' only choice) are normal people, not "great communicators." From former President Bush to the wildly popular (and media-demonized) Sarah Palin, conservative leaders tend to talk like normal people, and not like trained speech-givers. I've said before that President Bush used to sound stupid while saying smart things, and that President Obama sounds smart while saying stupid things. And last week's speech was a perfect example.
As far as the observation that both have (or had) the ability to make great speeches, I'll concede that Presidents Reagan and Obama are similar. But the similarities end there. In terms of real substance, Barack Obama definitely ain't Ronald Reagan.
Obama outlined "investments" (the new code-word for "spending"), and a partial spending freeze, and announced that these measures would reduce the national deficit by 400 billion dollars over ten years. Wow – sounds like a lot – but thanks to Obama and the liberals, our deficit is in the trillions (with a "T"). If he would cut taxes by 25%, as did Reagan, the economy would come roaring back – as it did under Reagan. The non-partisan federal accountants have documented that a one-percent increase in Gross Domestic Product growth would actually reduce the deficit by $ 2.9 trillion over ten years. But Obama doesn't really want to reduce the deficit. His socialist colleagues, such as professors Cloward and Piven (look 'em up), have long sought to "collapse the system" under the weight of government entitlement spending, paving the way for a conversion of our free-market republic to collectivist statism. No, President Obama would much rather "freeze" federal spending – at by far the highest level ever.
A look at the content (the "substance") of any of their speeches would reveal that style is the only thing these two presidents have had in common. Reagan believed in personal responsibility; Obama pushes reliance on government. Obama believes the government is the solution to all our problems. Reagan, in his first inaugural speech, clearly said the government is not the answer to our problems, but that "government IS the problem."
You need wealth in a free society in order to have real investment, which you need in order to create real jobs. Obama thinks "the wealthy" have been getting a free ride, and seeks to do all he can to sock it to them at tax time; But that's OK, he says, because the government is going to invest in "green jobs" for all! Reagan, in contrast, told the nation in one of his Saturday morning broadcasts that the government does not create wealth, it destroys it. Reagan also told us that government does not solve problems, it subsidizes them … and, sure enough, Obama seeks subsidies for all sorts of problems, from unemployment (let's give you government benefits for a staggering 99 weeks, so you actually forget how to work) to failed enterprises (let's bail out banks and car companies, so the union bosses can get rich while certain executives – many of them big democrat announced – are released from any performance responsibility).
Reagan slashed regulations, inspiring the private sector to take over "business" formerly controlled by the government; Obama is grabbing as much territory as he can from the private sector, as fast as he can, from cars to banks to the entire national health care system.
And foreign policy? Reagan: "peace through strength." Obama: the one area in which we really can afford to cut spending is defense. Obama thinks we don't need to be strong, we just need to get our enemies to like us. Take a look at Europe, Asia, or the Middle East (Egypt, for instance) to see how well that's working out. I even wonder if our biggest rival, China, sent President Hu Jintao over to Washington to help President Obama put the finishing touches on his teleprompter for last week's speech – or even to write the speech himself.
No, President Obama is no Ronald Reagan. In terms of substance, he's the exact opposite (Reagan had some). In only two years, look how far President Obama and his colleagues in Congress, the media, the entertainment industry, and academe have pushed us toward the brink of socialism.
There is a major crash coming. The time is now to crash-proof yourself. Make and save extra money. Learn how to invest your wealth in a way that protects it. Start a business on the side, so you have something to fall back on when your conventional job goes away. And keep yourself healthy – you're going to need your strength.
It took an ultra-liberal Jimmy Carter to give rise to a Ronald Reagan, just when the nation (and the world) needed him most. President Obama makes Carter look like Barry Goldwater. Who will rise, in the aftermath of the Obama Setback, to provide the inspirational leadership we'll need to get us through the next crisis? It may be that no one leader can save us all from what's looming on our horizon today. So each of us, in our own life, in our own sphere, must take on the personal responsibility to be that inspirational leader. Work on yourself. Make yourself a better person. The better people – not the media-or academically-christened elite people – will survive and thrive in the post-crash era.
by Michael D. Hume, MS