The Spectacle Blog

Obama and Reagan

By on 1.18.08 | 12:48PM

Barack Obama has been generating a lot of buzz for noting that Ronald Reagan was a transformational president (video here).

A point I've been making for over a year, and one that I emphasized in my cover story on Obama for our July/August issue, is that conservatives should be worried about Obama because he has the potential to advance liberalism in a way that Reagan advanced conservatism, given his charisma and optimism. Hillary Clinton, as much of a nightmare as she would be, would be too polarizing to win over any people who weren't already on her side.

Yesterday, Dave Weigel noted that there is no appetite on the angry left for winning converts. The mere act of Obama making an historical point that "Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America" was enought to get the liberal rage machine pumping.

And right out of the gate came the pugilistic populist himself, John Edwards, who issued the following statement yesterday:

"Senator Obama was wrong -- frightfully so -- in using Ronald Reagan as an example of voters reaching for change. The breadth of change Ronald Reagan brought was crippling for millions of Americans with the two worst recessions since the Depression, a complete disregard for the rights of American labor, and tax cuts that lined the pockets of the richest Americans at the expense of fiscal sanity and the well-being of the most vulnerable in our society."

Today, I got an email that the Clinton campaign is hosting a conference call feauturing Barney Frank to counter Obama's other comments that the Republican Party was the party of ideas for 10 to 15 years.

This is utter sillyness. As a conservative, I can acknowledge the fact that FDR was an historically significant president who changed the nation dramatically, even though I think that those changes had disasterous implications for our nation (see here).

But if liberals cannot understand the fact that to change the nation, they'll have to sell Americans on their vision for government, that's great news for conservatives. Let them nominate Clinton, because even if she wins the presidency, 50 percent of the country will automatically be against anything she tries to accomplish.

UPDATE: Weigel was on the Clinton conference call.

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