I Still Say Jeb Bush Was Right

It’s perhaps predictable that I, the guy who started Blogs For Bush back in 2003, would be defending Jeb Bush over comments he made this week suggesting that Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush would have hard time earning the Republican Party nomination today. Of course the thing is, I’ve been saying this for a while now, well before Jeb Bush said it this week.

So, yesterday I inserted my opinion into Cluster’s blog post on the subject, because I think it’s an issue worth intra-party discussion and reflection. Today, I have to respond to another piece on the subject, my friend S.E. Cupp’s commentary in the New York Daily News.

S.E. Cupp, like many other conservatives, took offense to Jeb’s comments, suggesting that Jeb switch parties if he really thinks Reagan isn’t conservative enough to get our party’s nomination:

Some of Reagan’s strongest opponents were, in fact, establishment Republicans — guys like Jeb Bush’s dad, who called Reagan’s fiscal policies “voodoo economics.”

If Reagan were alive today, he would probably find that some things have changed. But the party he loved and the causes he cared so deeply about are still here, still very much a part of the conservative movement.

She laid out a conservative case for Reagan. Here’s a few points:

  • “He famously campaigned against state-sponsored welfare programs…”
  •  “Reagan so despised the caprice and power of organized labor that he told an entire fleet of air-traffic controllers to get the hell back to work.”
  • “Reagan was so supportive of capital punishment he could make a Texan blush today..”

There are more examples… all of which have the same problem: these examples essentially all come from during his presidency or his campaign. But, as a hypothetical candidate in 2012 for the Republican Party nomination, we can’t look at Reagan, the two-term president, can we? It just doesn’t make sense, constitutionally or otherwise.

So, hypothetically speaking, what would have happened to Ronald Reagan in the 2012 primary, with the record of Ronald Reagan prior to January 20, 1981?

Based on what we saw in this year’s primary, with every single candidate being dubbed a RINO by supporters of opposing candidates, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Reagan being a former Democrat would have made many in the Tea Party skeptical, if not outright distrusting.

And then there’s his record as Governor of California. Though this occurred before I was born, it doesn’t take much Googling to find that there was and still is plenty of debate over just how conservative he was as governor.

But Reagan, like his Republican successors in presidential campaigns, campaigned on a conservative platform. Yes, as S.E. mentioned, today’s party did nominate McCain in 2008, and at CPAC 2008, when Mitt Romney ended his campaign paving the way for McCain to lock up the nomination, conservative activists all around me were furious. Those same activists were furious that the “conservative alternative to McCain” in 2008 would be their party’s nominee in 2012. Indeed, several of my conservative blogger/activist friends and counterparts put a lot of effort into a NotMittRomney campaign.

I’m not going to rehash the points I made the other day in Cluster’s blog post, but I am going say that it’s not a fair attack Jeb by using Reagan’s record as president. And yes, I am sure there are plenty of conservative cases for Reagan’s gubernatorial record, but there are also conservative cases against it, which most certainly would have been made… and in the internet age, Reagan’s path to the Republican nomination would have looked very different. There is no reason to believe that the Tea Party, or one of its many subgroups, wouldn’t have rallied against him for one reason or another, regardless of the conservative values and positions he ran on in 1980.

It’s not the party that’s the problem though, it’s the base… the voters who vote in primaries… we’ve grown less will to accept compromise. I’m not saying we trade in conservative values to achieve electoral victories, but we should be willing to take smaller steps in the right direction when bigger steps are less likely to be achieved.

For example: Senator Scott Brown’s 2010 special election victory came in part to Tea Party support from around the country. This year, as he tries for a full term, many of those supporters have turned away, because Brown has not been conservative enough. Apparently, to some conservative activists, a small step to the right is no longer worth investing in, even if it means a large step to the left is the alternative.

Activists on both sides of the aisle are becoming less tolerant of moderates in their party. There’s no use in denying it. When allegiances are made in primary it’s easier to brand the candidate you don’t support as RINO, than give them credit for a compromise that overal achieved a conservative end.

And Ronald Reagan would not have been immune to it.

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63 thoughts on “I Still Say Jeb Bush Was Right

  1. Cluster

    Many conservative positions are mostly just common sense, and when you start compromising common sense, you can find yourself in a world of hurt. Conservatives today would have no problem compromising with democrats like JFK, or even Bill Clinton, democrats that understood that this is a center-right country and adherence to fiscal sanity and constitutional governance is important. The people that are currently leading the democrat party today are difficult, if not impossible, to compromise with, and they have shown that to be true time and time again. Hell, Harry Reid wont even allow Ryan’s budget to be debated on the Senate floor – how do you compromise with someone who wont even listen to your ideas? How do you compromise with someone who has demonized you at every opportunity purely for political gain.

    Wisconsin has proven that common sense conservative policies currently resonate in the bluest of states, so I think we win with that message and stay true to our conservative “ideology” in November 2012. Then once the democrats shed themselves of their far left ideologues and allow more practical democrats to have a voice; ie, Manchin, Bayh, Lieberman, etc. – then we can begin to have a conversation and find a sensible middle ground.

    And S.E. Cupp is right (and not hard to look at either)

    1. Ricorun

      The beginning of Cluster’s comment which began this thread reads: Many conservative positions are mostly just common sense, and when you start compromising common sense, you can find yourself in a world of hurt.” I agree with his statement wholeheartedly. It is pragmatism at its core. And it’s particularly interesting because it flies in the face of Amazona’s argument in support of “ideology” further on. Specifically, ideology requires one to reject (or at least re-interpret) reality if it doesn’t fit one’s beliefs. Common sense (i.e., pragmatism), on the other hand, requires one to reject (or at least reinterpret) one’s beliefs if they don’t fit reality. That’s a huge difference.

      In practice, however, the difference is hard to see on most individual issues. For one thing, it is difficult because of the uncertainty that surrounds most individual issues. It is also difficult because many people don’t understand the facts surrounding many issues, let alone the logic required to fit all the facts together. Under those circumstances it’s much easier to fall back upon ideology. After all, if you rely on ideology, you don’t have to think for yourself — common sense be damned.

      Assuming this post survives, I can’t wait to hear Amazona’s response! Lol!

  2. SpySmasher

    So Jeb was right huh? It’s “right” to give free ammo to the other side for no reason at all? Oopsie — you exposed yourself. Last time I’ll be reading your Democratic-leaning blog. I suspect I am not alone.

    1. Amazona

      Oh, come on. You don’t really expect us to believe that a true conservative would throw a Liberal-like temper tantrum and stomp off in a huff, do you?

      Sorry, but true conservatives can and do tolerate and discuss a wide variety of opinions and ranges within those opinions. We might not be swayed, we might not agree, but we are not into the histrionics of the Left.

      Get over yourself and quit pretending to be an offended conservative.

      1. Cluster

        Good call Amazona – SpySmasher is definitely a hyper sensitive liberal. The word “Oopsie” was another give away.

  3. GMB

    Matt.

    Which groups of voters should the repubs seek out? What should be promised them? How much OPM should it cost the tax payers to do so?

  4. Retired Spook

    I think a lot depends on the values of a given state. For example, 6-term Indiana GOP Senator Richard Lugar was sent packing by a Tea Party-backed Conservative candidate by 22 points. Lugar’s 75% lifetime American Conservative Union rating was simply not in tune with Indiana voters. Scott Brown, OTOH, has an ACU rating for his 2 years in office of 62%, but he replaced Ted Kennedy who, in 38 years in the Senate, had a lifetime ACU rating of 2.3% (yeah, .023). I don’t know who the Scott Brown backers are who have abandoned him, but I would think Conservative Massachusetts Republicans would be tickled pink with a Senator who votes the conservative line 62% of the time.

  5. Amazona

    Correct, Spook.

    I would also like to point out that, just as we have to fight wars with the army we have, we have to run campaigns with the election issues and opponents we have.

    Put the Ronald Reagan of the 80′s into the presidential campaign of 2012, with the events of the past two decades, with illegal immigration crippling the country, with the offenses to the Constitution we have seen, with the astounding debt, and there is no doubt we would see a Reagan with different emphasis on some things.

    Not to say his core values would be different, but what he would say to America to ask for our votes would be different. It would have to be. He would not just be campaigning to overcome ineptitude and stupidity, as he did against Carter, but to overcome purposeful dismantling of Constitutional restrictions on federal power and determined efforts to shift the economy into a state which makes Leftist nannyism more appealing.

    Reagan ran the campaigns he had to run at those times, he governed the way he had to govern in those times with that Congress, and I am very confident that in these times with this Congress he would present his core Constitutional Conservative values more forcefully.

  6. Count d'Haricots

    Reagan wouldn’t be supported by the TEA Party? Bullcrap!

    I was old enough to remember Reagan as governor of California. Let’s take a look at the campaign of 1980, shall we?

    According to the scholarly piece written by Dr. Shogan in 2004 (years before the TEA Party) Reagan’s 1980 campaign was characterized as:

    ”Reagan kept the message of the 1980 campaign simple: he ran on the platform that lower taxes and decreased federal expenditures would reinvigorate the domestic economy. An analysis of his campaign speeches and 1980 Republican convention acceptance address demonstrates that candidate Reagan repeatedly emphasized these two issues more than any other policy proposal. According to Reagan’s campaign speeches, high taxes are inflationary and inhibit Americans from saving, investing, and producing. The reduction of the federal government could be characterized as Reagan’s promise to ‘eliminate waste.’ Throughout the 1980 campaign, Reagan argued that the federal government’s bloated size prevented prosperity, concluding in his convention speech that ‘government is never more dangerous than when our desire to have it help us blinds us to its great power to harm us.’”

    Now, What in this platform is an anathema to the TEA Party?

    1. Count d'Haricots

      “In summary, Reagan’s 1980 campaign can be described as a repudiation of the nation’s direction. All of his advertised policies signified a departure from Carter’s leadership agenda, and in part, from the liberal “New Deal” and “Great Society” regimes which preceded him. There was no blurring of distinction between the two candidates in 1980, which facilitates a precise examination of how well Reagan succeeded in enacting his campaign promises.”
      Presidential Campaigns and the Congressional Agenda:
      Reagan, Clinton, and Beyond
      Dr. Colleen Shogan
      Assistant Professor, Government and Politics
      George Mason University

      1. neocon1

        I would vote for RR right this minute.
        I think one of Fla’s sons has many of those same qualities and I do not mean RUBE-EO, I mean Alan West.

        are you listening jeb?
        or are you following charley crisp?

      2. neocon1

        Some of Reagan’s strongest opponents were, in fact, establishment Republicans

        like JEB

      3. Count d'Haricots

        Additionally, Reagan also emphasized two other policy proposals during the campaign. He offered solutions to the nation’s energy problems, by asserting that the United States must work to produce more domestic energy sources. While Reagan did not back away from conservationist principles, the crux of his energy agenda focused on increasing the productivity of America’s energy sources through deregulation.
        Lastly, but certainly not least, Reagan ran on a “moral leadership” platform which promised to reinvigorate and renew a “spiritual revival” in the country. However, the social legislation (school prayer, abortion) that might follow from a values-centered leadership posturing was rarely mentioned in the 1980 campaign.

        I swear to G*d, this man Was the founder of the modern TEA Party!

      4. Count d'Haricots

        And, just in case you were thinking of accusing Dr. Shogan of being a partisan shill;

        Dr. Colleen Shogan is an Assistant Director of the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Formerly a political science professor at George Mason University, Colleen has lectured and written on a wide range of topics, from presidential rhetoric to women in Congress. Prior to joining CRS, Colleen worked as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Joe Lieberman.

      5. GMB

        Neo, you are a neanderthal. Quit it!!! :P We need more not less Bush’s in the repub party. We need more not less Collins, Snowes, Kirks, and Browns.

        What we really need are more Rockefellers, Agnews, and Fords, in the repub party. Then we have the darn donkyrats on the run!

      6. GMB

        If I remember correctly, Mr. Agnew resigned the Vice Presidency because of some kind of criminal charges. Didn’t he also pay some kind of hefty fine to the state of Maryland?

        Doesn’t sound like a conservative to me. However I’ll agree that you are right and I am wrong.

        As far as Mr. Ford goes. I will ask this. Are conservatives expected to honor their commitments and treaties? Are they expected to honor them all time or only when politically expedient?

        I think I’ll ask Mr. Nguyen Van Thieu about that one.

        But I’ll agree with you on this one too. You are right and I am wrong.

        Just what we need in the repub party. More criminals and men who won’t keep a promise.

      7. Count d'Haricots

        Of course I’m right.

        Agnew was fined $10,000 for incorrectly filing tax returns while governor & he pled nolo contendere or no contest. Big criminal!

        Ford and Nguyen signed the 1973 Paris Peace Accords; Nguyen knew the US was prevented from interfering; Congress prevented Ford from committing troops; Fordhonored the treaties we signed.

        Do you get all your information from Huffpo, NBC or the Washington Times?

      8. Cluster

        Count, you should know that the circumstances surrounding those actions have nothing to do with it. The bottom line is that Agnew paid a $10,000 fine, therefore he is a criminal, and Reagan raised taxes, therefore he is unelectable/sarc.

        Sheesh

      9. Count d'Haricots

        Cluster,

        To Matt’s point; there are assuredly those who today would castigate Reagan for not being conservative enough should history have delivered him today instead of 1979.

        Those like GMB who believe in some unattainable ideological purity as a standard for support. GMB and others like him are not TEA Party. Those like Spook and you (and me to a lesser extent) who rallied support against ObamaCare, and worked to elect fiscal conservatives are less concerned with the social periphery of politics and more concerned with the fiscal and the Constitutional.

        Those of us who actually participated in TEA Events, and those that follow the philosophy would recognize Reagan circa 1979 as a kindred spirit; those looking through the past (darkly) might see Reagan as a divorced former actor who flip-flopped on illegal-immigration by supporting the 1980s version of Eisenhower’s Bracero Program. (Matt & Jeb)

        Fah! Says I.

      10. Cluster

        …there are assuredly those who today would castigate Reagan for not being conservative enough…

        No question about that, but they are the minority.

  7. Cluster

    I just want to make everyone aware of this comment on a previous thread by our e=resident liberal Dave Bowman:

    You might want to think about that the next time you’re tempted to make an emotional outburst public like this.

    Now help me along here, especially the old timers, who use to use this line a lot? Was it bodie, slccr, Joe Thomas?

    This is an over used line by liberals who really have nothing to contribute.

    1. Amazona

      Cluster, it is a common tactic when men are arguing with women, too. No matter how calm and rational a woman’s argument might be, no matter how well documented and so on, when a man has no rebuttal his fallback position is to accuse her of being “emotional”.

      So women are used to this and can spot it a mile away.

      What makes it so funny when it comes from a Lib, directed at conservatives, is that we have proved over the past six or seven years that Liberalism IS based on emotion. We conservatives calmly outline and explain a rational and objective political philosophy whenever we are asked, but Libs just flounder around and then come up with excuses for their failure to do the same regarding their own positions.

      After all, people like Dave were Liberals because of intellect-based objective beliefs in a coherent political philosophy which they found to be the best way to govern the nation, couldn’t they be able to articulate this philosophy? And explain it? And defend it?

      Yet for all these years the best any of them has been able to come up with is a beauty-pageant kind of wish list of peace, no hunger, fairness, and silliness like “economic justice”. Every single thing is fluff, except the hatred for the opposition, which is steely and deep-seated and irreconcilable.

      So when someone like Dave, whose entire political identity and position are based on the emotions of hatred for a poorly understood Other and longing for Utopia, accuses others of being too emotional it is really odd. It is kind of like Roseanne Barr criticizing someone for being loud. Or Rosie O’Donnell attacking someone for being rude.

    2. Amazona

      As for who he sounds like, he sounds like all the other interchangeable Lib trolls who never offer any political insight or ideas but only come here to spew their mental excrement and show us how hateful they are.

  8. dbschmidt

    Full disclosure here as I am a member of both the TEA party and Oath Keepers; however, I had stopped looking at the monikers–like (R), (D), or (I) plus Libertarians, Green party, etc following their names just like reading Diane Von ABCD EFGH,MIJK who often deploys her crap here–years ago and look at their record if they have one. With or without a record, I still need to personally judge the person which is a matter of to each their own ~ so to speak.

    Anyone who expects to get my vote for any public office from dog catcher on up has to meet Constitutional guidelines (both Federal and State depending on office) and sound fiscal policy. After that, I would vote for Mork from Ork for President as long as it could produce a LFBC from Hawaii that “proves” it beyond a doubt. :-)

    As Cluster stated “understood that this is a center-right country and adherence to fiscal sanity and constitutional governance is important” and it isn’t always what they have done in the past but where they are heading (ie. Lugar) because part of the big fight we (conservatives) need to fight is, as Count (among others) has pointed out is ‘the liberal “New Deal” and “Great Society” regimes’ Starting with some of the crap Pres. Wilson pulled on to the present–it is going to be a long, hard slog and infighting is not going to help.

    As stated in an earlier post–I think RR would win in another landslide today and I have not written off Jeb in the future. Still, I like West much better at the moment.

    1. dbschmidt

      Sorry, but I did forget the section in my previous post that states where I believe we need to get our moral foundation back as urgently as any other issue because this (replacing our “Creator” with the “Government”) has greatly lead to this country’s downfall. That was in part the goal of the Fabians (Progressives) and the Liberals (Great Society & New Deal) where you don’t need a family or faith any longer as long as you believe in Big Daddy Sugar (the perverted Uncle Sam).

      1. dbschmidt

        Ama,

        Yes, I would but upholding the Constitution is only one (very important) part, I would look at the voting record to see if they were fiscally responsible and met my standards, moral and otherwise. I would still have to attempt to evaluate them on a personal level.

        The last one that has even come close to meet this criteria (even though I evaluate every candidate before an election) was Lieberman except he party forced him to become an Independent. I do not completely agree with him but we could meet on some common ground and I could place a vote for him if there was no better choice.

      2. dbschmidt

        BTW, Nancy — third in line was a really bad thing the first time. I guess it would be a real gut-buster but that (her being 3rd in line again) would also be something I would weigh against (really, really, big and heavy weight) any Democrat (or otherwise) that I may vote for)

    2. Amazona

      db, would you vote for a Dem if you thought he was also committed to the Constituion?

      Even though his very election would mean a battle every day of his political life against the ideology of his fellow Dems, a battle which he would have to lose at least some of the time? Even if his presence in whatever position he won could give the opposition a majority, committee chairmanships, etc?

      I used to believe in voting for whoever I thought was the best PERSON but I have come to agree with radio talk show host Mike Rosen who insists that party trumps person. I now believe that the most important thing is the ideology of the party, and if an individual falls short of the ideal regarding that ideology he still deprives the opposition of a vote and maybe even control of things like committee chairmanships and so on..

      Example: You find the Republican candidate for the House from your district to be offensive for some reason, and you think the Dem candidate is a great person, a fine individual, and probably more committed to Constitutional government than the RINO, so you vote for the person. And by doing so you make Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House and third in line for the presidency. A good decision or a bad one?

      1. tiredoflibbs

        “db, would you vote for a Dem if you thought he was also committed to the Constituion?”

        Sadly, Ama, those Democrats have gone the way of the Dodo…..

      2. Retired Spook

        One of the very first Tea Party rallies I went to, even before our local group was started (probably fall, 2009) was in a large meeting room of a Fort Wayne hotel. It was the first introduction of several candidates who had announced primary challenges for spring 2010 — mostly local races. They had a question and answer period with each candidate, and one guy asked the candidate why he should vote for him. The candidate went off on this long-winded litany of promises, and when he was finished the questioner said, “all I wanted to hear was that you would follow the law, honor your oath to the Constitution and do the job to the best of your ability. I wouldn’t believe you now, even if you did say that.” He got a standing ovation.

      3. Amazona

        Agreed, tired, but that’s not my point. Or maybe it is, in a roundabout way.

        My point is that the idea of voting for the candidate instead of the party sounds very noble, but is not.

        Voting for a Dem, even if in your own mind he is a far better PERSON than the Republican, is really a vote for the ideology represented by the Democrat Party, no matter how great the individual might be, and is a vote for increasing the power of that party.

        It took me a while to come to this, because I, too, thought that it was more enlightened to vote for character, on issues, etc. It took me a long time to understand that the real factor to be considered is ideology—the ideology of the candidate and the ideology of the party he represents.

        I hate the idea of putting crappy Republicans into office, but have come to the conclusion that it is better than putting anyone into office who is going to enhance the power and authority of the opposition. So to me, the best way to deal with this is just to keep the GOP numbers up, the Left as far from the seat of power as possible, and then to work—–as the TEA Party does—-to improve the quality of the candidates the GOP puts up.

  9. GMB

    No, I believed Mr. Agnew pleaded no contest to charges of tax evasion for the bribes he took as governor of Maryland and other offices. Yes the fine was 10k. The state of Maryland also filed a civil lawsuit against him and he paid a $270,000.00 judgement.

    280k dollars. Pretty hefty sum of money by the standards of the day. Pretty hefty sum of money to pay by an innocent guy.

    But you are right again. I am wishing for unattainable political purity. I’ll try and stop it too.

    1. neocon1

      GMB

      spiro agnew was given paper bags full of cash for bribes and got caught red handed, they let plead to tax evasion…nolo contende (or whatever)
      he was a crook.

  10. GMB

    I have never said one bad word about Ronald Reagan. I may have been critical of him for believing donkrats when they said they would keep their word. Critical of him for trying. I do not think so.

    If Ronald Reagan were around today, I have no doubt that he would holding the TEA Party’s Banner high.

  11. GMB

    As far as South Vietnam goes, I’ll just give you this.

    Really !!!!! What could be more dishonorable than honoring a treaty we signed, and upon which our allies depended?

    Honestly, you guys!! Get with it! We ought to be able to sign treaties and then just walk away when it’s not convenient to honor our word!

    After all, what could possibly be the downside of being a nation whose word is worth nothing, and which acts only in its own narrow self-interest?

    Because of the 1954 Geneva Conference settling the First Indochina War (1946–1954), South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos were not SEATO members. They were, however, granted military protection, though Cambodia rejected the protection in 1956. Canada considered joining, but decided against it in order to concentrate on its NATO responsibilities.

    In the end we abonded millions of South Vietnamese to a brutal communist dictatorship.

    But againg you are right. We carried ot the letter of the law. If not the spirit.

    President Ford, what do you have to about this?

    Peep

    1. Cluster

      I really know nothing of this treaty issue, but being a common sense man, I am sure there were many extenuating circumstances that Ford had to consider and it wasn’t a black and white issue as GMB tends to always claim. I highly doubt that Ford gleefully relegated those South Koreans to communism, but I am equally sure that had those South Koreans fought a little harder along side us, we may have avoided the treaty.

      According to some purists, both keft and right, if you have ever cast a questionable vote, you are deemed unqualified for office, and that is something we do need to get away from.

      1. GMB

        Cluster this,
        “I highly doubt that Ford gleefully relegated those South Koreans to communism”

        You meant South Vietnamese, correct?

        This
        “but I am equally sure that had those South Koreans fought a little harder along side us, we may have avoided the treaty”

        The South Vietnamese Army held it’s own up until the time the money was cut off. In my opinion, the minute the money was cut off by a democrat controlled Congress President Ford should have threatened to commit U.S. ground and air forces in the defense of the RVN. He should have done whatever he could have done to get that money or commit troops. He did not.

        My premise is that we don’t need men in the GOP will not honor their promises unless it is politically expedient. We do not need men in the GOP who are only worrying about the next election.

        Stand for something, even it most people think it is wrong but damnit take a stand somewhere!

        You accuse me of wanting purity. That is not true. I want some damn consistentcy from the people I vote for.

        I am Sarah Palin supporter. Probably always will be. I do not agree with her positions on immigration or homosexuality. Two hot button issues for social conservatives. However these positions are long held, and are not subject to change by the political winds.

      2. GMB

        Vietnamese, Koreans – they’re pretty much the same, right?

        Would you like to enlighten us on how they are the same Sir?

        I am very interested in this subject and would like you to states your thoughts on why they are “pretty much the same”

      3. Amazona

        Vietnamese, Koreans – they’re pretty much the same, right?

        GMB, I thought you were the Master of Sarcasm. Guess that one sneaked up on you, eh?

      4. Cluster

        Hard to believe you missed that GMB, you are far too literal – you really need to chill out a little bit.

      5. GMB

        To literal, Yes, I guess so. I did not understand the point you were trying to make. That is why I asked. Instead of jumping to conclusions. Something In the past couple of months I have made every effort to do so.

        Now , In the interest of cordiality, could you explain that statement?

      6. Cluster

        I realized that I had made a mistake calling them Koreans, hence the sarcastic comment – that’s all there was too it. Relax.

    2. dbschmidt

      The really sad part of all of this is according to the highest ranking NVA General who spoke about this issue is the US was less than two weeks from breaking the back of the entire NVA and associates. With a “little help” from the Dem congress and much more thanks to the “most trusted man in broadcasting” Walter–we let millions die and chalked one up in the loss column.

  12. Mark Edward Noonan

    It must also be remembered that Reagan was learning all the time in his rise to the Presidency – and we’d be worse than fools if we didn’t learn from Reagan; both his triumphs and his mistakes. Remember, the primary political lesson of the Reagan years was actually founded upon Reagan’s greatest mistake: agreeing to tax increases in return for budget cuts. We all wanted bipartisan compromise to tackle the budget deficit, right? We all had to give up something, right? So, Reagan gave in on taxes – but the deal was that for each $1 in tax increases there would be $3 in spending cuts. Guess what? The spending cuts never materialized – lesson: Democrats will always roll you if you do a deal with them. We now know – never, ever, ever, ever, ever agree to a tax increase until AFTER spending has been cut…and not cut in the sense of “lower rate of spending growth” but in terms of “actually less dollars being spent next year than this year”.

    Reagan will always remain a shining star for anyone of conservative views – there is no end to what we can learn by (for us older folks) remembering what he did and (for older and younger) going over his policies, speeches and writings for nuggets of wisdom…but everything he did must be applied to current conditions, not merely followed in slavish copying.

    1. Cluster

      Spot on Mark. Reagan is the gold standard and most of his speeches are timeless and amazingly insightful. His thoughts on socialized medicine even back in the 1960′s is stil incredibly relevant today.

    2. Ricorun

      Mark: “So, Reagan gave in on taxes – but the deal was that for each $1 in tax increases there would be $3 in spending cuts.”

      Really? Perhaps my recollection is hazy, but I don’t remember any deal of that sort. Okay, maybe on one specific issue, but not across the board. I can’t imagine that his Star Wars program, along with other costly defense programs, could have been part of any general “deal” of that sort. Maybe I’m wrong. Then again, maybe I’m not. Either way, can you provide specific evidence to document your statement?

      This thread is really interesting. And I’d like to discuss the question of ideology further. I think it would contribute to the thread. But I’m not going to waste my time when it will be deleted anyway.

      1. tiredoflibbs

        let me refresh your “hazy” memory:

        Ronald Reagan deal was called TEFRA—the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act—which congressional Democrats promised would involve a ratio of $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases (which they said would consist only of closing loopholes). TEFRA passed later that year, and the tax increases certainly happened but, as Reagan later put it in his autobiography, “the Democrats reneged on their pledge and we never got those cuts.” Democrats seem to do a lot of reneging on spending cuts (except when it comes to defense), but of course they will take spending and tax increases each and every day. Even returning to spending levels of the previous year is against their religion – the religion of maintaining their power.

        TEFRA was one of Reagan’s great regrets about his time in the White House, and should serve as a warning to Republicans contemplating similar grand bargains. ObAMATEUR refers to this “tax deal” as Reagan “realized that spending cuts and tax increases need to go hand in hand”. Luckily, many have learned from the past and refused to go along with this empty scheme.

      2. Mark Edward Noonan

        Ricorun,

        Tired explained it – always be wary of questing the memories of those of us who were adults at that time. When TEFRA was being debated I was a 21 year old sailor, doing my job for my Commander in Chief, President Ronald Reagan. I remember the debates and the results.

      3. Amazona

        rico, it’s too bad you didn’t use your hiatus from the blog to work on this poor-me whiny thing you have always had going.

        I’ve been on this blog for a long time, and I have never seen a comment just summarily removed in its entirety, with no explanation and no trace left behind. Whatever it is you claim you posted, and claim was removed, if it bugs you so much put it up again.

        As for discussing ideology, many of us here have been trying to discuss ideology for years now, and the Lefties run like we are throwing holy water on them.

        You want to discuss ideology? Go for it. You have the floor. What is yours? (Just be forewarned that I, at least, do not consider starry-eyed wish lists of utopian dreams to be ideology.) Just to start things off, I define “ideology” as a conviction of the best way to govern the nation.

      4. Ricorun

        This interview with David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director at the time, is very consistent with my recollections. In it he distributes blame broadly. For one he states that the envisioned cuts in revenues were unsustainable in the first place. The problem was exacerbated by giveaways (incentives) to special interests. And you’re right in the sense that Congress didn’t deliver much on reducing spending for domestic discretionary programs (which is basically what TEFRA covered), and the big reason they didn’t is because of the massive increase in defense spending made them politically indefensible (pun intended). It should also be pointed out that control of Congress was mixed at the time the Kemp-Roth Act (which initiated the big revenue shortfall) and TEFRA (which attempted to alleviate some of its effects) were passed: the Dems held a small majority in the House and the Reps held a small majority in the Senate. The same mix held when the “budget buster” (Reagan’s phrase) Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1982 (which reversed much of the planned spending cuts, and the one that caused Reagan to feel betrayed) was passed over his veto. You have to have 2/3 vote in each house for that to happen, and thus considerable bipartisan support. The point is, Reagan should have said “Congress [not just the Dems] reneged on their pledge…” The other point is, TEFRA was not an across-the-board thing — exactly what I said. The third point is, Congress didn’t put the brakes on Reagan’s profligate defense spending, either — probably because that would have been political suicide, too. Stockman has some very pointed comments on the defense spending issue, and how it really put the kibosh on cuts in domestic spending.

      5. Ricorun

        @Mark: always be wary of questing the memories of those of us who were adults at that time.

        You whippersnapper you, lol! Seriously, if I had started really young, I could be your father.

        @Amazona: I’ve been on this blog for a long time, and I have never seen a comment just summarily removed in its entirety, with no explanation and no trace left behind.

        I appreciate your disbelief. Then again, think about what you said… if it really did occur, how would you know? I guess we’ll see, cuz I have some time…

        Vis-a-vis ideology, let me say for the umpteenth time that I am first and foremost a pragmatist. My motto is “Whatever works”. For example, I am for concealed carry because it works. I am for anti-trust laws because they work… In short, I am first and foremost a “conservative progressive” in the Teddy Roosevelt mold. And the power that guides me is logic.

        I also have strong libertarian leanings: I think that once externalities are accounted for (i.e., costs that aren’t included in a transaction), business should be left alone. I also think we should not try to legislate morality. But I DO think we should promote it. So I’m a moralist, too, but one without portfolio.

        It obviously follows from the above that I am a consummate capitalist. I really like making money, and I am very good at it. I often do it by distinguishing between what I, personally, would like to see happen from what I think will happen, given the rules that exist at the time, even if I disagree with them, however vehemently. I mean really, I can’t control policy.

        I believe we live in a global community, and one which will continue to become more global. Consequently, and contrary to the most virulent current advocates of libertarianism, I don’t agree that we, as a nation, should become isolationist. By the same token, though, I don’t believe we should require ourselves to be the world’s policeman.

        How’s that, at least for starters, Amazona? The bottom line is that I don’t think “ideology” needs to be considered on a one-dimensional continuum. I’ve said that, repeatedly, in the past as well. And I think that last single statement is why I find this thread so appealing — because, basically, it’s a recognition of the fact that politics exists in at least various shades of grey. And that’s a start to recognizing that politics — indeed life in general — exists in technicolor!

      6. Amazona

        rico says: “Specifically, ideology requires one to reject (or at least re-interpret) reality if it doesn’t fit one’s beliefs..” to which I reply, quite strongly, BULL!! Actually, my response is one of two syllables, beginning with BULL!!

        What utter crap. Where do you GET such nonsense? Clearly part of it is just ignorance of what ideology IS. But even so, what a bizarre thing to say.

        Ideology is the belief in a certain way of governing, to achieve a certain goal. Nothing about this means to reject, much less re-interpret, reality. Your comment is so far off the wall it is hard to even find a point from which to discuss it, as it is just so goofy.

        My ideology, for example, is that the Constitutional Model of the United States of America is the best way to govern the United States of America. I base this on a historical analysis of the overall success of this model when it has been applied, and the decreasing success of America when it has been eroded.

        The ideology of the Left is also quite succinct and clearly defined.

        “After all, if you rely on ideology, you don’t have to think for yourself — common sense be damned.”

        Speak for yourself, as you see common sense receding in your rear-view mirror.

        One can arrive at an ideology by the process of careful thought, evaluation, and analysis, or one can merely leap in a general direction based on emotion. But there is absolutely NOTHING that says that ideology is always arrived at without a thought process.

        “Assuming this post survives…..” Ahh, playing the whiny victim again, I see. Yet you have never reposted this allegedly deleted gem of riconess.

        “My motto is “Whatever works”. ”

        Oh my, how too too sensible of you. And how much wiggle room you have left yourself, as you can now weasel into or out of any ideologicial discussion merely by claiming that something (such as the “stimulus” bill) has “worked” by your definition. While you are throwing your shoulder out of joint patting yourself on the back for your self-described “common sense” and “pragmatism” your words show a Cliff Clavin wannabe, pompously orating about things of which he is really quite ignorant.

        And how funny to use the oxymoron “conservative progressive” while at the same time preening about your self-proclaimed logic. This one statement says, first, that you have no idea of the political meaning of either “conservative” or “progressive” and second, that you are equally distant from logic.

        In political terms, “conservative” and “progressive” are diametrically opposite in every way, and even a smidgeon of logic would tell you that you simply cannot be both. You could be an Islamic Catholic or a human ameoba more easily than you could be a conservative progressive.

        And you might want to look more deeply into that “Teddy Roosevelt mold” to see just how far Left and radical it really was, before you align yourself with it.

        Clearly you need to educate yourself about politics before you opine farther, as you are really embarrassing yourself here.

        Learn what ideology means, and the ideology of the two opposing political models in 21st Century America——- the ideology of progressivism and that of 21st Century American conservatism. Don’t be gulled by the misuse of terms like “progressive”, a beloved Lefty tactic employed to lead some people into the fallacy that the political system is one of moving forward toward progress instead of backward into an always-failed model.

        In other words, learn what you are talking about instead of just spouting a lot of poorly understood impressions that you try to pass off as thought and discernment.

    3. Ricorun

      Amazona sez “BULL!!” (she preferred a more descriptive term, but we’ll go with that). Then at the end of telling me what nonsense I was spewing she defined “ideology” in wonderfully nebulous terms. Specifically, she said “Ideology is the belief in a certain way of governing, to achieve a certain goal.” As nebulous as that definition is, it does offer the basic counterpoint to my equally nebulous starting definition of pragmatism as “whatever works”. We both offered clarifications on our points of view, but the fact remains that ideology (however carefully considered beforehand) requires one to fit the facts to the belief system whereas pragmatism requires one’s belief system (however carefully considered beforehand) to fit the facts. And certainly, pragmatism is not based on leaps of “emotion”. Quite the contrary. Frankly, it disturbs me greatly to think you interpreted it that way. Don’t words mean anything anymore? I understand meaning drift, but you’re turning semiology on it’s head!

      Besides putting words in my mouth regarding all sorts of everything, you lecture me further on my use of the oxymoron, “conservative progressive”. To that I say … it was intentional. It’s an example of meaning drift. I played on the current meanings of the terms. But they weren’t always so. Study up on the early 20th Century progressive movement (I didn’t say the 21st Century, that was your twist, and one which actually proves my point). Both Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson considered themselves “progressives”, but the first was substantially more conservative than the latter. Still, those are the terms we have, even though their meanings have drifted. Then again, if you think Teddy was some kind of “liberal kook”, I suppose we have a problem. Be that as it may, looking back further, I think even you can agree that even the most staunch “conservatives” among our founding fathers were well aware that they were embarking on a very “liberal” governmental structure, certainly for the time. I’m quite sure that Jonah Goldberg (an expert in the misuse of the terms) would agree as well. Despite very long odds, their (meaning the founding fathers) achievement was remarkable. But there is also very little evidence to suggest that any of them thought the achievement they produced should be somehow frozen in time. There is, however, abundant evidence that they recognized the necessity of progress.

      Finally, with regard to whether I’m “whining” about the fact that my posts don’t get posted, I suspect that both Spook and Count still know how to get in touch with me via email (my gmail address hasn’t changed). I don’t want to impose on them, but if they would be so kind as to provide you with same, I would be very happy to provide you with all the posts I intended to appear here. That should eliminate all doubt.

      1. Amazona

        Yeah, rico, blah blah blah blah blah. Next time I am interested in a political blog based upon the politics of a century or so in the past, I’ll be sure to look you up.

        I DID study up on 20th Century Progressivism, and Liberalism, and Fascism, and the whole range of radical Leftism in its many guises. I found myself wondering just how stupid someone would have to be to buy into the “Progressive” label. Since then I have had many examples.

        You seem quite smug in your conviction that you, in spite of your susceptibility to the Rogue Apostrophe, are some kind of grand intellect at whose feet the ignorant should feel blessed to be able to sit, basking in the reflected glory of your wisdom.

        As for me, I just think you’re a pompous gasbag who knows about 10% of what he thinks he knows.

        We’ve already covered the silliness of trying to apply the labels of some in another time to political movements of today, but you seem to find this quite appealing. Nonsense. Whatever label might have been slapped onto any of the colonial rebels back in the day is utterly irrelevant to political labels of today, as any intelligent person can understand.

        So while you wander about in your muddled version of history, we in the real world of 21st Century American Politics will continue to define “conservative” as the belief that the best blueprint for governing the United States of America is the Constitution of the United States of America, and we will understand Liberal/Progressive/Fascist/Socialist/whatever new name they come up with to be well into the left end of the political spectrum and the opposite of the constitutional model, being one of large and powerful central government.

        You can also waste a lot of time and bandwidth trying to apply dictionary definitions of words like ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ in nonpolitical terms. No one cares. If you truly can’t tell the difference between Conservative as a political system and conservative as not wearing stripes with plaid, that’s your problem.

        So far all you have done here is illustrate, over and over again, your abject ignorance of the most basic elements of 21st Century American politics, and done so with the most condescending air of intellectual smugness. So you go “play on the meaning of terms” and engage in whatever other silliness you substitute for actual political discourse. You seem to like playing with yourself.

        BTW, I did not refer to Theodore Roosevelt as a “liberal kook”. What an idiotic thing to say. No, he was an ardent, committed, Leftist, flying the flag of Progressive because it seemed more acceptable in that time, after the atrocities associated with Liberalism and the Left. You really are ignorant of his ideology and agendas, aren’t you? You probably think his cousin ended the Depression, too, don’t you?

        As far as confiding your secret posts to me in an email, don’t bother. I don’t think you had any post or posts deleted. And I don’t care. If anything was deleted, it was probably on the basis of stupidity, like this gem: “…there is also (?) very little evidence to suggest that any of them (the Founding Fathers) thought the achievement they produced should be somehow frozen in time” . To which the only appropriate response would be DUH!!!!! Do ya THINK!!????

        Given that they carefully crafted a mechanism for amending their ‘achievement’ as necessary due to circumstances in the future, I’d say that not only did they NOT think it should be “frozen in time” but openly and candidly and dare I say pragmatically stated, in so many words, that it should NOT be.

        When I read your convoluted gibberish, cloaked in pseudo-intellectual gabble, I have no idea how you have arrived at the conclusions you present with such pride. All I know is that they are goofy.

      2. Ricorun

        Anyway, I do applaud the powers that be to let all my comments stand. Regarding the central question as to whether “Jeb Bush was right”, I agree with Matt. And I thank Amazona for making it abundantly clear that there is little ground for moderates in the current Republican Party. Perhaps this quote says it better than any: BTW, I did not refer to Theodore Roosevelt as a “liberal kook”. What an idiotic thing to say. No, he was an ardent, committed, Leftist, flying the flag of Progressive because it seemed more acceptable in that time, after the atrocities associated with Liberalism and the Left.

        Really, if Teddy Roosevelt is an “ardent, committed, Leftist” what middle ground is left?

      3. Amazona

        1. What is it about TR that makes you believe he was “moderate” instead of a committed Leftist? He identified himself as a Progressive, right? What about the Progressive Movement was less than committed to Leftist ideology? When did TR state that his position was to the right or center of stated Progressive ideology?

        Do you know what was or is stated Progressive ideology? Why do you think you can, decades after the fact, simply dismiss TR’s self-identified Progressive ideology as, what? Progressive Lite?

        To make your implied argument that TR was a “moderate Progressive” you first have to understand the core elements of the Progressive Movement, you then have to show where these are different from the core elements of other Leftist identities such as Liberalism, Socialism and Fascism, and then you have to show when and where TR’s ideology and agendas and actions deviated from core Leftist dogma and agendas.

        it is not enough to merely state that when TR identified himself as a Progressive, which was a statement that he adhered to a clearly stated and defined Leftist ideology, he really was something else and really meant something else. Because you just think maybe he was, or did.

        Funniest thing, TR never struck me as a wishy-washy kind of guy who wasn’t quite sure what he thought about things. Perhaps you have a different perspective on the man.

        2. What is it about the middle that you find preferable to definitive positions on specific political ideology? For example, if 21st Century Conservative ideology includes a firm belief that the federal government of the United States of America should be, as the Constitution so clearly states, severely restricted as to size, scope and power, and Liberal ideology clearly supports large and powerful central government with a great deal of authority and control, just what do you think should be a “middle ground”?

        Each side should give up on part of its core ideology? What IS “the middle” and how does that work and more than anything, “WHY”?

        Big government in alternate months, and small in between? Kinda-big, kinda-small? Restricted only in some areas? Which areas? Who gets to decide? What about the Constitution? Just ignore it when it is time to move over to that hallowed “middle ground”?

        As all, or nearly all, of conservative ideology is based on the Constitution, just how would you shift away from that to the “middle”? And why would you want to?

        What about any stricture of our Constitution do you find offensive? That should be changed/ignored? Because to move to the “middle” would mean abandoning at least some parts of the Constitution. Do you favor a careful and thoughtful amendment process to move the law of the land toward that “middle ground” you find so attractive? Which amendments? Why?

        What do you find so alluring about a hodgepodge of kinda-this, kinda-that? And again, how would that work?

        State and local control, as demanded by the Constitution, and limited federal control, would be diluted down to ????????

        I think that, as usual, you are befuddled, and completely missing the point made so clearly by Spook and others. One cannot compromise on principles. One can only compromise on the methods of achieving common goals. Repeat: COMMON GOALS. And all compromise must be achieved WITHIN THE RULES.

        So ardent Progressive Teddy and ardent conservative Amazona could sit down to work out a “middle ground” on a shared agenda, such as providing a safety net for the elderly who are vulnerable to economic fluctuations because they are on fixed incomes. OK. But the first obstacle that would have to be cleared would be whether this safety net would be federal in nature, or come through state and local government.

        Teddy could move toward that glorious “middle ground” because the commitment to big government doesn’t necessarily say HOW big. I could not, because the Constitution clearly lays out both the enumerated duties of the federal government and the restrictions upon what it can do.

        But overcoming that hurdle would let us work on finding a way to address the problem without compromising the core principles of each ideology. And that is fine But, and I repeat, it would all have to take place WITHIN THE RULES.

        When I read the posts in which you praise what you call “pragmatism” all I see is an elaborate effort to excuse your inability or unwllingness to take a stand and make a commitment. Now you appear to be trying to condemn me for not being equally rudderless, equally shifting according to whim or expediency or the lure of the moment.

        And I see you are still whimpering about these alleged posts of yours supposedly being removed, waaaa waaaa waaaa. Yet you refuse to repost them so we can see what you said. I doubt that there were any such posts and think you are just working a little victimhood scam, and trying to create the image of rico as a firebrand with alarmingly provocative ideas THAT MUST BE SILENCED.

      4. Ricorun

        Well then, Amazona, it seems you really DO think Teddy Roosevelt was a “leftist kook”. Getting back to the original topic, I then guess you have to defend Ronald Reagan (or vilify him as you do me) for this comment, “I admire ‘Teddy’ greatly and quote him often.” Reagan: A Life in Letters (2004) p 266.

        To answer your other question (and very long-winded on at that), I would define “pragmatism” as attempting to balance the public good with the private good, and doing so on a fact-based, logical level. Sometimes that requires one to take a firm stand against what you call the “21st century concept of liberalism”. And sometimes it requires one to take a firm stand against what you call the “21st century concept of conservatism”. An example of the former is that I am very much in favor of gun ownership and concealed carry. An example of the latter is that I am very much in favor of teaching evolution in science classrooms.

        And I appreciate your emphasis on “COMMON GOALS”. That suggests we have common ground. And I am certainly a strong advocate of acting “WITHIN THE RULES” as they are written at any given time. I suspect where we differ the most is to what extent we think the Constitution should be a book of statutes as opposed to a guiding principle.

      5. Amazona

        rico, why do you insist on lying? Is it that you know you can’t argue with what was really said, so you have to invent a straw man to knock down?

        “kook” is your word. Only yours. TR WAS a Leftist. A self-admitted Leftist. In case you remain abjectly ignorant of political ideology, Progressives ARE far-left. Do not claim I said something I did not say. It is tiresome and annoying and it only indicts you.

        I don’t “vilify” you, you silly twit. I merely point out that you are a silly twit. And based on the theory that even a blind pig can find an acorn, sometimes, I have no doubt that TR said some very interesting things.

        I also have no need to demand that anyone I respect and admire, as I do Reagan, must meet some arbitrary standard of perfection and never veer from complete and total agreement with every single thing I think. I probably like and quote people Reagan did not like. It is so inane, so irrelevant, so juvenile, to drag Reagan into this–what’s the point supposed to be?

        I scanned my posts and didn’t find a comment made by me referring to, as you claim to quote, a “…“21st century concept of liberalism”.” I’m not saying I didn’t say it, I’m just saying I would need to see it in context as in general I don’t think the ““21st century concept of liberalism”” is any different than the 20th century concept of liberalism. Which is, of course, Liberalism. One reason I am sure you are misquoting me—-again, you dishonest rascal you—–is that I almost always capitalize the political model of Liberalism, to differentiate from the classic dictionary non-political “liberal”, as the two have nothing in common.

        I have also never used the phrase “..21st century concept of conservatism”. Why not? Because it is meaningless. “Conservatism” in what context? Political, or, as I once said, not wearing plaid with stripes? The word “conservative” has several meanings and the nonsensical phrase “21st century concept of conservatism” is gibberish.

        What I DO say is “21st Century American Conservatism” because THAT is specific to a certain political model. (For example, an 18th-Century colonial conservative would have been a royalist. A literary conservative would object to placing Romeo and Juliet in modern times and speaking in hip-hop cadence. ) It is odd that you have so much trouble understanding that the word must be in a specific context to have meaning in a political discussion.

        Your inability to understand what I said, and what it means, and your willingness to restate what I said in a twisted version which has no relationship to the meaning of what I said, says a lot about you and your odd perceptions.

        Another example of your bizarre twisting of fact and what other people have actually said is “An example of the latter is that I am very much in favor of teaching evolution in science classrooms. ” “The latter”, of course, referring to this alleged “..21st century concept of conservatism”. Again, gibberish. For one thing, the political system is 21st Century American Conservatism, it relates as a political model only to the belief that the Constitution of the United States of America is the best blueprint for governing this country, and side issues like certain religious beliefs, which may OR MAY NOT be shared by people with this POLITICAL belief, do not define the term. For another, I know of no one who objects to teaching the theory of evolution in science classrooms.

        The objections that I have heard have been based on the determination to teach that all of life stems from an accidental and random cosmic accident and is the result of evolution among and between different species, and furthermore that this is proven scientific fact instead of theory. People merely want evolution to be taught as one theory, and also to have students taught the theory that while species have certainly evolved WITHIN THEMSELVES there is a very real possibility that life was created by a higher power and was not just a random event.

        As usual, you make a definitive statement which, when examined, is meaningless.

        But, as we so often see here, the effort to avoid taking a firm position often results in a revelation of a belief. In your case, you do this when you say “I suspect where we differ the most is to what extent we think the Constitution should be a book of statutes as opposed to a guiding principle.”

        Yeah. I am not surprised. But the simple fact is that the Constitution IS law. It is most definitely NOT, never has been and in spite of the best efforts of people like you never will be, nothing more than a compendium of mild suggestions on how people might consider running the country, if they are so inclined at any point in time.

        This one sentence seems to sum up your position, such as it is—that you are so rudderless and vague and wishy-washy that you even consider the law of the land to be nothing more than “a guiding principle”.

        As for me being wordy, you manage to pack so much goofiness into every post that it takes a lot of words to deal with it.

        “A guiding principle” !!!!!!! Ha !!!!!

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