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Reagan, Kemp, and Mark Levin: Natural Rights and a challenge to moral superiority.
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Reagan’s answer to this mess — as is Paul Ryan’s today — was a combination of tax cuts and budget cuts along with regulatory reform. His critics instantly derided this as “Reaganomics.”
And as today with Ryan and his “Path to Prosperity” — aka “The Ryan Budget” — the leftists in Congress and the media were merciless in savaging Reagan and his “Reaganomics.”
What did they say?
Steven F. Hayward has detailed the response to Reagan in his superb book (one of two) The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution 1980-1989.
In the lead was Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, a Massachusetts Democrat who described himself as “an old-hat FDR Democrat.” O’Neill made no pretense where he was coming from, saying: “I’ve been one of the big spenders of all time; it’s true, I am a big spender.” At one point, says Hayward, O’Neill boasted that he had gone out of his way to spend government money on a project to make dwarfs six inches taller.
O’Neill had no reluctance in showing his disdain for Reagan. He derided the new president as a “matinee idol,” deliberately mispronouncing Reagan’s name during the campaign as “Reegan.” Uneasy at the size of Reagan’s 1980 victory, O’Neill decided it was good strategy to give Reagan enough policy rope to hang himself and the GOP politically, believing this would eventually kill Reaganomics dead. Every moment he could find, O’Neill was not only warning that Reaganomics would be a dismal failure — he frequently attacked the President in sharp personal terms. On one occasion O’Neill took to ABC’s Good Morning America to say this to host Charlie Gibson:
“He [Reagan] has no concern, no regard, no care for the little man in America. And I understand that. Because of his lifestyle, he never meets those people. And so, consequently, he doesn’t understand their problems. He’s only been able to meet the wealthy…. We [liberals] are the party of the people. And we’re their guardians.”
At a later date O’Neill snapped of Reagan’s policies and administration, both of which he consistently predicted would fail:
“Let’s face it. This is a callous, right-wing administration, committed to repealing [LBJ’s] the Great Society, [JFK’s] the New Frontier, [Truman’s] the Fair Deal, and [FDR’s] the New Deal. It has made a target of the politically weak, the poor, the working people.”
Still later O’Neill would declaim of Reagan:
“The evil is in the White House at the present time. And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and the future generations of America, and who likes to ride a horse. He’s cold. He’s mean. He’s got ice water for blood.”
This, mind you, was par for the course as liberals of the day dealt with Ronald Reagan. As one liberal media critic wrote in the day, the battle was between “FDR versus Darwin” — almost exactly the lame line being advanced today by Obama and company.
Liberal mayors were apoplectic at the Reagan budget cuts, predicting riots in the streets (there were none). The liberal Governor of New York, Hugh Carey, insisted “there will be social upheaval in the country by October because of the Reagan Administration’s budget cuts.” Oops. Wrong again.
The ultimate irony — and since there was no Fox or talk radio in the day, it was an irony unmentioned — was that O’Neill and his fellow liberals were supported in their visceral anger at Reagan by none other than the Soviet Union. Longtime Soviet spokesman Georgi Arbatov dismissed Reaganomics by saying it was nothing more than an attempt “to cure the entrenched ills of the late 20th century simply by returning to the ‘good old practices’ of 19th-century capitalism.”
Thus the American and the Communist left in the Soviet Union were in perfect synch: Reaganomics was evil, not to mention that it would never work.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?