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Reagan? Get Over Him

 

Over the last few of days, two nearly identical pieces of advice to the GOP have appeared. From “How to Save the Republican Party,” by Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner, in the February issue of Commentary:

And it is no wonder that Republican policies can seem stale; they are very nearly identical to those offered up by the party more than 30 years ago. For Republicans to design an agenda that applies to the conditions of 1980 is as if Ronald Reagan designed his agenda for conditions that existed in the Truman years. 

From “Reaganism After Reagan,” Ramesh Ponnuru’s column in today’s New York Times:

Today’s Republicans are very good at tending the fire of Ronald Reagan’s memory but not nearly as good at learning from his successes. They slavishly adhere to the economic program that Reagan developed to meet the challenges of the late 1970s and early 1980s, ignoring the fact that he largely overcame those challenges, and now we have new ones. It’s because Republicans have not moved on from that time that Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, in their responses to the State of the Union address last week, offered so few new ideas.

Well?

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  1. Profile photo of Michael Knudsen Inactive
    Joseph Eagar
    Hawkins1701: (cont’d) 

    Give me a GOP nominee who articulates small government as Reagan did, andloses, and then we’ll talk. 

    You know, Marxists say this all the time about communism: “it’s neverreallybeen tried.”

    The problem is that the most appealing part of smaller government, cutting regulations, we can’t do by winning elections. Most regulations are written by independent unelected bureaucrats, who are deliberately isolated from political pressure. That means Republican politicians have to argue for other, often unpopular ways to shrink government. · 2 hours ago

    I’m open to suggestions, while standing by my assertion (which I humbly submit has a bit more credibility than the usual Marxist line you mention).

    🙂 

    • #1
    • February 19, 2013 at 1:31 am
  2. Profile photo of Michael Knudsen Inactive
    KeystoneStater
    Mister D: Continually harkening back to a man elected three decades ago, to voters who barely knew him if at all, simply entrenches the image of conservatives as those stuck in the past.

    I’m not “harkening back to a man elected three decades ago” but pushing for an individual who can articulate conservative principles that are truly timeless and even better they work!

    How about those Dems though, so much of there agenda now is straight out of Wilson and Roosevelt which I forget is so hip, now and modern.

    Liberty and tyranny are as old as time and can be personified no matter what era we may happen to find ourselves. · 1 hour ago

    Excellent point. 

    How often does anyone suggest that the Dems forget FDR? 

    Exactly. 

    They know how to exalt their standard bearers, and keep pushing their ideas in the culture. (Not that I wouldn’t wholeheartedly agree with ending said exaltation of the man who opened the entitlement Pandora’s Box that will knock all the Federal dominoes down.) 

    • #2
    • February 19, 2013 at 1:35 am
  3. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive
    Peter Robinson
    Duane Oyen: Do you really think that that was the message of those pieces, Peter? · 3 hours ago

    ..

    Where he with us today, I suspect, the Gipper would heartily approve of Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Bobby Jindal of Louisana, and–well, you get the idea. · 4 hours ago

    Agree and think this is important. The difference between the states with republican leaders and what is taking place in Washington cannot be overstated.

    If we can get the federal government out of the states’ business and keep more resources in states and away from DC we will do even better, but there is no appetite for this in DC.

    • #3
    • February 19, 2013 at 3:53 am
  4. Profile photo of genferei Member
    Joseph Eager: The problem is that the most appealing part of smaller government, cutting regulations, we can’t do by winning elections.

    Sure we can. Win the election and abolish the DoE, EPA, FDA, NLRB, SEC, etc. etc. and suddenly vast swathes of bureaucrats and their regulations disappear.

    • #4
    • February 19, 2013 at 4:37 am
  5. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive
    Hawkins1701: (cont’d) 

    Give me a GOP nominee who articulates small government as Reagan did, andloses, and then we’ll talk. 

    Edited 5 hours ago

    Nothing scares republicans more than the lesson learned from the elections of 2010.

    • #5
    • February 19, 2013 at 4:52 am
  6. Profile photo of Xennady Member
    Joseph Eagar

    The problem is that the most appealing part of smaller government, cutting regulations, we can’t do by winning elections. Most regulations are written by independent unelected bureaucrats, who are deliberately isolated from political pressure.

    If cutting regulations cannot be accomplished by winning elections than it is time for a revolution to overthrow a government already too far gone into tyranny to be salvageable.

    In that case we need another Washington, not another Reagan.

    • #6
    • February 19, 2013 at 5:03 am
  7. Profile photo of Joseph Eagar Member
    genferei
    Joseph Eager: The problem is that the most appealing part of smaller government, cutting regulations, we can’t do by winning elections.

    Sure we can. Win the election and abolish the DoE, EPA, FDA, NLRB, SEC, etc. etc. and suddenly vast swathes of bureaucrats and their regulations disappear. · 25 minutes ago

    That’s absurd. The most we can hope for is that in the future we’ll win presidential races, and o appoint SCOTUS judges who will strike down legislative delegation. That process could take decades, though.

    • #7
    • February 19, 2013 at 5:06 am
  8. Profile photo of genferei Member
    Joseph Eagar
    genferei Sure we can. Win the election and abolish the DoE, EPA, FDA, NLRB, SEC, etc. etc. and suddenly vast swathes of bureaucrats and their regulations disappear. 

    That’s absurd.

    Completing the nationalisation of 1/6 of the economy, running trillion dollar deficits while not passing a budget and ruling by executive decree is absurd. Undoing that which has been done and found to be wanting is common sense.

    If democracy means the size of government inevitably ratchets upwards then I’m joining Xennady’s revolution.

    • #8
    • February 19, 2013 at 5:12 am
  9. Profile photo of katievs Member

    It’s not so much “the Reagan Solution” that we’re after, but a Reaganlike response to the evil now confronting us.

    It is, at bottom, the same evil that confronted him: an anti-God, anti-individual statistism using lies, fear, and manipulation to overwhelm the American idea.

    What do Islam and the left share? The impulse to control the masses through fear and power.

    What is our demographic problem? A loss of reverence for life and the other moral values that underpin America’s greatness.

    It won’t be easy to address our problems through policy. But we can forget solving them at all unless we address the deeper and more encompassing spiritual problem.

    That’s what Reagan got right. That’s what we need to get right now.

    Scott Reusser: What’s the “Reagan Solution” to reforming Medicare and Social Security to endure the retirement of the boomers?

    To the rise of Islamism? (Would he favor democracy in the Middle East?)

    To our demographic challenges, particularly re immigration reform?

    To skyrocketing healthcare costs and the hopelessly mucked-up health insurance industry?

    To coping with our 40-50% illegitimacy rate?

    To nuclear Mullahs?

    To $16.5 trillion in debt?

    • #9
    • February 19, 2013 at 5:30 am
  10. Profile photo of Joseph Eagar Member
    genferei
    Joseph Eagar
    genferei Sure we can. Win the election and abolish the DoE, EPA, FDA, NLRB, SEC, etc. etc. and suddenly vast swathes of bureaucrats and their regulations disappear. 

    That’s absurd.

    Completing the nationalisation of 1/6 of the economy, running trillion dollar deficits while not passing a budget and ruling by executive decree is absurd. Undoing that which has been done and found to be wanting is common sense.

    If democracy means the size of government inevitably ratchets upwards then I’m joining Xennady’s revolution. · 22 minutes ago

    Then do so, because what you want is impossible. We lost our chance to undo ObamaCare last November. What we need to do is figure out where the demand for bigger government comes from, and attack that (for example, monetary unions need fiscal transfers to survive; what if we found a way to make that unnecessary, or at least less so?).

    • #10
    • February 19, 2013 at 5:40 am
  11. Profile photo of Xennady Member
    EThompson

    These are the two most pressing issues of our time that truly require a leader with great fiscal acumen and experience. We had the opportunity to elect one and we failed.

    Pardon me for being so disagreeable as to disagree- but Mitt Romney was no Reagan and it showed, painfully so.

    Reagan was not only a great leader and a statesman- he was also a great politician as well.

    Compare and contrast with poor Mitt. RR was a successful two-term governor, Romney declined to run for re-election after one term fearing defeat. RR brushed aside the establishment candidates, and won election despite the additional hurdle of John Anderson soaking up votes. Mitt was the establishment candidate, yet had real trouble winning the nomination despite his wonderful resume- and then managed to lose to an utter disaster of a president. Reagan famously (and angrily) demanded that his microphone be restored, as he had paid for it. Romney was utterly befuddled by a lie told by Candy Crowley.

    That’s just not great leadership. Romney may have great fiscal acumen- but that just wasn’t enough.

    • #11
    • February 19, 2013 at 5:41 am
  12. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    People who are upset with the admiration of Coolidge and Reagan need to remember that conservatives, unlike progressives, know and try to learn from history.

    • #12
    • February 19, 2013 at 6:02 am
  13. Profile photo of Xennady Member
    Joseph Eagar

    That’s absurd. The most we can hope for is that in the future we’ll win presidential races, and o appoint SCOTUS judges who will strike down legislative delegation. That process could take decades, though. ·

    We don’t have decades. Nor do we need them.

    We just need a presidential candidate with actual political skills, competence, and vision. Yeah, Duh. But Mitt Romney just was not that candidate, alas.

    We need someone who can make the political case why the various agencies enumerated by genferei should abolished- and what would be different and better afterwards.

    As far as I can tell the GOP of late has regarded that grubby business as far beneath it, instead relying on those steely principles to sell themselves without anyone in the GOP needing to sully themselves to make that case to the American people.

    The result of that attitude is the last election.

    As I’m old enough- barely- to remember the 1980 campaign this is not a mistake made by Ronald Reagan.

    • #13
    • February 19, 2013 at 6:12 am
  14. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive
    Xennady
    EThompson

    These are the two most pressing issues of our time that truly require a leader with great fiscal acumen and experience. We had the opportunity to elect one and we failed.

    Pardon me for being so disagreeable as to disagree- but Mitt Romney was no Reagan and it showed, painfully so.

    Reagan was not only a great leader and a statesman- he was also a greatpoliticianas well.

    I was young when Reagan was elected and I remember California having a good reputation under his leadership and his campaign for President benefitting from the same.

    I don’t recall anyone saying ‘yeah – Massachusetts, Romneycare, that is what we want to model the country after’.

    Mitt Romney’s business acumen and integrity are unassailable, but his record as a political executive is that of expanding the welfare state and being a better manager thereof.

    • #14
    • February 19, 2013 at 6:16 am
  15. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive
    Xennady
    Joseph Eagar

    That’s absurd. The most we can hope for is that in the future we’ll win presidential races, and o appoint SCOTUS judges who will strike down legislative delegation. That process could take decades, though. ·

    We don’t have decades. Nor do we need them.

    We just need a presidential candidate with actual political skills, competence, and vision. Yeah, Duh. But Mitt Romney just was not that candidate, alas.

    We need someone who can make thepoliticalcase why the various agencies enumerated by genferei should abolished- and what would be differentand betterafterwards.

    As far as I can tell the GOP of late has regarded that grubby business as far beneath it, instead relying on those steely principles to sell themselves without anyone in the GOP needing to sully themselves to make that case to the American people.

    It wasn’t a mistake made by republicans it was most intentional. There is little desire among federal republicans to eliminate or reduce any portion of the welfare/entitlement state. The majority of members’ goal remains the same as 2006, manage the welfare state better for their constituencies.

    • #15
    • February 19, 2013 at 6:19 am
  16. Profile photo of Joseph Eagar Member
    Xennady

    We need someone who can make thepoliticalcase why the various agencies enumerated by genferei should abolished- and what would be differentand betterafterwards.

    Why do you think that will ever happen, though? We might one day be able to use the courts to abolish the executive bureaucracy, but I don’t see how elections will ever get us there, other than presidential races. Regulations isn’t within our power to control, at least in the short term; we need to find something else to run on. Promising the voters the GOP will cut regulations and then failing to do so in office is not good.

    • #16
    • February 19, 2013 at 6:19 am
  17. Profile photo of Joseph Eagar Member
    Xennady

    We just need a presidential candidate with actual political skills, competence, and vision. Yeah, Duh. But Mitt Romney just was not that candidate, alas.

    Except such people don’t come along often. People often compare Obama to Reagan, JFK and FDR, and if that pattern holds it will be quite a while before we get a figure like that.

    On the other hand, we could get a Clinton figure: a political genius who’d drag our party kicking and screaming back to the center. The problem is I don’t think the American center is a particularly good place to be right now policy-wise; I do think we should be closer to the center, but not that much closer.

    • #17
    • February 19, 2013 at 6:27 am
  18. Profile photo of Skyler Member
    Joseph Eagar
    • #18
    • February 19, 2013 at 6:34 am
  19. Profile photo of Joan of Ark La Tex Member
    CoveredUp

    Joan, I think you really mistook my posts.

    CoveredUp, thank you for clarification. I apologize for missing your point. I agree with you to the extent that replaying all day long about cutting taxes knowing it would only be spun into a message of heartlessness is not working. But I disagree that Obama communicate better. Liberals themselves aren’t warm and fuzzy about Obama. We lost because the campaign could not energize our own base. Which is becoming more apparent our base is only united with one single link – fiscal conservatism (not enough trusted Romney). Obama’s coalition tactics work – nevermind if he cannot speak without teleprompters,lies through his teeth and insults the American people. Obama is the President by Fluke. 

    I do however, really like your last question. What did Reagan taught us? For one thing – have some guts ( better described with CoC violation). The most Reaganistic speech I have heard in a while is Dr Carson’s. Speak the truth, draw unshakable examples and stand firmly on ones’ principles which includes Patriotism. Reagan made the world fall in love with America, not convince them how Apologetic America should be – which has been consistently, Obama’s theme. 

    • #19
    • February 19, 2013 at 6:49 am
  20. Profile photo of Kofola Member
    katievs: It’s not so much “the Reagan Solution” that we’re after, but a Reaganlike response to the evil now confronting us. 

    1 hour ago

    I agree. This argument about moving on from Reagan pops up once a year or so. It is nothing but a straw-man that beltway types pursue with the goal of trying to dupe grassroots conservatives into “settling” for candidates we do not like. They shoved Romney down our throats, and they are upset that we did not fall in lockstep. They think that if only grassroots conservatives did not have this slavish nostalgia to Reagan, we would have seen that Romney was the great savior and given him more support. The Republicans should be working to find good candidates, willing and able to fight, firm on their principles, and broadly representative of those who are willing to vote Republican. Instead, it is the same-old of trying to get conservatives to stop being conservatives.

    • #20
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:01 am
  21. Profile photo of Kofola Member

    In the past, arguments to “modernize” the party detached from core conservative principles brought us the individual mandate as the answer to our health care woes. Thank you, Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney for bringing us into the future…

    • #21
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:12 am
  22. Profile photo of Kofola Member

    (double post)

    • #22
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:12 am
  23. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    I think the most unlikely people to save the Republican Party are republicans. After Reagan, the Bush family has thoroughly supplanted his ideas with moderate socialism.

    • #23
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:16 am
  24. Profile photo of katievs Member

    What Reagan offered, and the main reason he’s still so admired, is clarity and largeness of vision, combined with personal goodness: courage, smarts, warmth, humor, love of country, simplicity of heart, reverence for life…

    He saw the big picture, and he helped the rest of the world see it too.

    Those who want the Republicans to be all about innovative policy ideas have been in Washington too long.

    • #24
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:26 am
  25. Profile photo of Frank Soto Contributor

    Does Ramesh have any new ideas? Or is he just chastising other Republicans for not having them?

    • #25
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:27 am
  26. Profile photo of Dave Roy Inactive

    Reagan kept true to his conservative principles (or admitted his mistake when he didn’t), but he used those principles to light the way out of the problems taking place at the time.Today’s conservatives need to keep Reagan’s principles and use them to solve current problems. The exact solutions may not be the same, but they should be guided by the same things.Many of these “forget Reagan” people seem to want to throw out the entirety rather than using what’s good and adopting the rest.

    • #26
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:29 am
  27. Profile photo of Scott R Member
    katievs: It’s not so much “the Reagan Solution” that we’re after, but a Reaganlike response to the evil now confronting us.

    It is, at bottom, the same evil that confronted him: an anti-God, anti-individual statistism using lies, fear, and manipulation to overwhelm the American idea.

    What do Islam and the left share? The impulse to control the masses through fear and power.

     

    Couple things, Katievs:

     True, but OK, what’s the Reagan-like response to the evil of Islamism and the hazzards of the Arab Spring? Would he be a Bush I type realist or a Bush II type neo-con? I really don’t know. With the Soviets he was very much the latter, but today the people behind the Curtain are pathological in many ways, not just their rulers, so what to do?

    Also, I don’t see that you differ all that much from Ponurru. His point , like yours, is we need “Reagan-like responses”, just not necessarily literal Reagan policy proposals — for instance, sweeping cuts to what are already pretty Reagan-like income tax rates. (Ponurru’s wonky, yes, but Team Reagan was plenty wonkish too.)

    • #27
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:35 am
  28. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member

    Do you really think that that was the message of those pieces, Peter? I thought that Gerson was actually saying that Reagan, he of formidable political instincts, would have tuned his message today to address the problems we face. Tax cuts and beating the Soviets aren’t the current challenges. Wouldn’t Ronaldus Magus, today, have emphasized affordable energy and free market choice rather than focusing on the debt?

    I disagree with Ramesh in his obsession with the payroll tax- anyone who has any flat tax instincts at all has to approve of the payroll tax so that everyone has some skin in the game. But his ideas on energy and previously stated (2006) thoughts on SS reform are pretty decent.

    I pretty violently disagree, however, with Skyler’s assertion that Jeb and GW are “socialists”. That’s the kind of thinking that makes me despair about us every effectively fighting the real enemy. Obama will do what he pleases while people on our side write off Rubio because he won’t demand that we bus 10 million people back to Tijuana in leg irons.

    • #28
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:36 am
  29. Profile photo of genferei Member
    Joseph Eagar
    Xennady

    We need someone who can make the political case why the various agencies enumerated by genferei should abolished- and what would be different and better afterwards.

    Why do you think that will ever happen, though? We might one day be able to use the courts to abolish the executive bureaucracy, but I don’t see how elections will ever get us there, other than presidential races. Regulations isn’t within our power to control, at least in the short term

    I’m a bit confused by your switching between ‘ever’ and ‘short term’. I agree that, given the assumptions and practices of the current political establishment, a significant reduction in regulation is not to be expected in the next few years.

    I do not agree that the executive or the judicial branch is best suited for downsizing the regulatory state: every regulation rests on a statute, so it is up to the legislative branch to repeal those statutes. (Of course, you need a President who will sign the repealing bills.) Presidents can influence, at the margin (albeit, due to the cowardice of Congress a growing margin), the tenor of some regulations and their enforcement. But_it’s_Congress’s_problem_to_fix.

    • #29
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:43 am
  30. Profile photo of Ontos Inactive

    What is so sorely needed is leaving behind the essential quality of Bush 41 and Bush 43: the inability to characterize the enemy. The failure to stand up and speak clearly of what one stands for has been missing since the end of RR’s term in 1989. The 2008 Housing & Financial debacle needed a GOP characterization as to who was responsible for it. The Community Reinvestment Act of the 1970s and its super charging by Clinton in the 1990s and how those steps together with the colonization of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac with Democratic Party empire builders arrayed around the fraudulent complaint of “red-lining” and 1990s Acorn Obama efforts toward creating “community organized” hate and outrage, all led to the subprime financial crisis. BUSH 41 whittled way a close to 90% approval rating by being unable/unwilling to characterize philosophical principles & then his son BUSH 43 essentially was unwilling or unable to contradict all the vicious lies that were told about (1) him and the Iraq war and (2) the financial success and failures of his administration. 43 let his administration be colonized by Citigroup at just the wrong time!

    • #30
    • February 19, 2013 at 7:43 am
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