Posts Tagged ‘Reagan’
Neil Gorsuch being sworn in as a Supreme Court justice guarantees President Donald Trump will be forever known as appointing one of the most qualified, strict constitutionalist to the bench in modern history.
Gorsuch is every bit as an originalist as Justice Antonin Scalia, and at the young age of 49, he could have forty years of influence on the court. Just as Reagan’s legacy was solidified with Scalia’s appointment (following his appointment of the first woman to the Supreme Court, Arizona’s own Sandra Day O’Connor) Trump will enjoy kudos for this selection until he dies.
While I had suggested that Trump consider selecting Senator Ted Cruz, Gorsuch is a great pick. And given that he was confirmed to the federal bench unanimously, the hypocrisy of Senate Democrats in filibustering him is almost too easy to criticize. For one thing, by forcing McConnell to return to the pre-2003 standard of nominees being confirmed by simple majority, the Democrats have given up any leverage for future nominees. It’s almost certain that if Trump wins a second term he could get at least three and maybe as many as five picks.
If any of those picks are anywhere close to as solid as Gorsuch, Trump will do more to save this republic than any single person has done since Lincoln. Yes, that sounds like hyperbole, but it is, in fact, true. The invasion of government into the everyday lives of the American people over the last few decades is astounding when you really stop and think about it. There is no aspect of your own life that doesn’t have government fingerprints on it.
When you wake up in the morning and turn on your lights, you are paying fees to subsidize “green energy.” When you take a shower, you are paying extra for your water so your municipality can conduct water conservation programs. When you cook your breakfast, your butter, your jam, and your toast are more expensive because of regulations requiring nutritional information to be printed on the packaging.
You drive to work and you are paying gas taxes that pay for a lot of things that have nothing to do with roads and bridges (think light rail, bike paths, even hiking trails), and your car cost significantly more than it needs to because of government imposed miles-per-gallon requirements placed on car manufacturers.
When you work, you don’t earn your full paycheck, you pay income taxes, Medicaid taxes, Social Security taxes, state income taxes (in most states), to the tune of taking upwards of 40% of your paycheck before you even see the money.
And for what? What do you personally get for all that money that is taken?
As recently as 2000, the annual federal budget was $2.2 TRILLION and the debt was $5.6 TRILLION. Today, the federal budget is $3.9 TRILLION and the debt is an eye-popping $19.8 TRILLION! The share of the current debt is more than $61,000 for every single person in the U.S.
And yet, Democrats, and some Republicans want to spend more and more – the numbers are so out of sight even comparing it to monopoly money doesn’t do justice.
While Gorsuch may not have an immediate impact on reducing federal spending, there is no doubt that his influence on the court will help slow down and eventually turn back the invasion of government in our daily lives. It may take time, but it needs to start now.
Something stirred in my conscience in the fall of 1979. I was 9 years old, I had gotten into the habit of setting my clock radio alarm to go off at the very moment the local radio station was beginning its broadcast day with the Star Spangled Banner. I would leap out of bed, grab by younger brothers out of bed and stand stick-straight with my hand over my heart – and on more than one occasion, a tear in my eye.
Yes, I was that much of a nerd.
But that period of time was an ideological awaking. I began to read National Review, and my mother was teaching us about the Founding Fathers and the threat of the Soviets. And my parents had real hope in some guy named Ronald Reagan (I had never heard of him before I was nine) who was going to run for President again.
By the time the U.S. Hockey team beat the Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics, I was a full-throated American patriot. I believed (probably because my mom believed) that Ronald Reagan was going to win the presidency and save the nation from communism, because God helped a bunch of young scrappy amateurs beat the most fierce hockey machine in the world. Just like God helped the young scrappy amateurs of the colonies beat the fiercest army on the planet when we won the Revolutionary War.
That was my idealistic mindset: that God truly loved this nation and would help it succeed so that millions upon millions of His children could enjoy the blessings of liberty.
That’s what made me a conservative. It’s what motivates what I do to try to advance conservatism every day. It’s because I want my children to continue to be free. I cherish my conservatism – because I spent years reading the great conservative thinkers and plunging into a career in politics and public policy to defend and advance those ideals.
So you’ll forgive me if I fear what Donald Trump is doing to conservatism.
That theme was masterfully addressed by Jonah Goldberg in this piece last week. Here are a couple excerpts:
The late Bill Rusher, longtime publisher of National Review, often counseled young writers to remember, “Politicians will always disappoint you.” As I’ve often said around here, this isn’t because politicians are evil. It’s because politicians are politicians. Their interests too often lie in votes, not in principles. That’s why the conservative movement has always recognized that victory lies not simply in electing conservative politicians, but in shaping a conservative electorate that lines up the incentives so that politicians define their self-interest in a conservative way. But if it’s true that politicians can disappoint, I think one has to say that the people can, too.
And when I say “the people” I don’t mean “those people.” I mean my people. I mean many of you, Dear Readers. Normally, when conservatives talk about how the public can be wrong, we mean that public. You know the one. The “low-information voters” Rush Limbaugh is always talking about. The folks we laughed at when Jay Leno interviewed them on the street. But we don’t just mean the unwashed and the ill-informed. We sometimes mean Jews, blacks, college kids, Lena Dunham fans, and countless other partisan slices of the electorate who reflexively vote on strict party lines for emotional or irrational reasons. We laugh at liberals who let know-nothing celebrities do their thinking for them.
Well, many of the same people we laughed at are now laughing at us because we are going ga-ga over our own celebrity.
If I sound dismayed, it’s only because I am. Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to. And now, in a moment of passion, many of my comrades-in-arms are throwing it all away in a fit of pique. Because “Trump fights!” How many Republicans have been deemed unfit for the Oval Office because of comparatively minor character flaws or ideological shortcomings? Rick Perry in 2012 saw his candidacy implode when he couldn’t remember the third item on his checklist of agencies he’d close down. Well, even in that “oops” moment, Rick Perry comes off as Lincolnesque compared with Donald Trump.
Unsurprisingly, Jonah received a lot of hate mail and pretty harsh comments. As he wrote in his follow-up piece:
There’s no way I could — or should — respond to all of the criticisms or attacks. So I’ll just focus on a couple themes. The biggest criticism — in terms of quantity, not quality — is that I am a RINO squish faker fraud no-goodnik lib sucking at the teat of the establishment blah blah and blah. These usually take the form of angry tweets and e-mails. So I’ll fold my response to this silliness into my responses to the longer-form stuff.
He then does a pretty good job explaining why he feel strongly about this issue:
I don’t think Trump is a conservative. I don’t think he’s a very serious person. I don’t think he’s a man of particularly good character. I don’t think he can be trusted to do the things he promises. Etc. If all that hurts your feelings, I’m sorry. But there’s no need to make up imaginary motives. The reason I’m writing such things is that I believe them — and that’s my job.
Even though it may not necessarily be “my job” to point out that Trump is no conservative and is doing real harm to the conservative movement, I feel very, very strongly about it – because I became a conservative as a result of years of thinking, reading, arguing, debating, defending, and advocating.
Trump just decided the next step in his ego-fueled, reality-TV existence was to run for President as a Republican, so he magically became a “conservative” overnight. Terrific!
I believe if William F. Buckley were alive today, he would once again stand athwart history yelling, Stop!
29 years ago today, as millions of schoolchildren and other Americans watched live coverage, the space shuttle Challenger exploded during its ascent into space. For those of us who were watching it live, it will be forever seared into our memories.
As we watched, right after the command was given to “throttle up” the TV view went to a tight shot of the shuttle – and then there was an explosion. There were immediate gasps around us as the adults realized what had happened and we kids had yet to understand the tragedy unfolding before our eyes.
The realization of what happened began to sink in and I felt a profound sadness. It was especially profound because there had been significant media coverage and discussion at school about Sharon McAuliffe, the first teacher in space. I didn’t know her, but knowing she was a teacher somehow made it more poignant.
That night was supposed to be the State of the Union address by President Ronald Reagan. Instead, he spoke from the Oval Office comforting a shocked and grieving nation.
The entire speech, written by the unequaled Peggy Noonan, was the perfect balance of sorrow, respect, encouragement, and hope.
Here is the closing paragraph (entire speech below):
The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
It was the perfect imagery to help heal the nation and instill the courage to continue to move forward with the space program.
We still remember the Challenger Seven and the sacrifice they made for our nation.
Address To The Nation On The Explosion Of The Space Shuttle Challenger
January 28, 1986
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.
Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.
For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us. We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.
And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.
I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don’t hide our space program. We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute. We’ll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: “Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.”
There’s a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and an historian later said, “He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.” Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.
The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
November 4, 2014 will be remembered as the day that the GOP swept all statewide offices.
Here are the final predictions for the Arizona races:
Governor – Ducey 54.5%
SOS – Reagan 52.4%
AG – Brnovich 56.3%
CD 1 – Tobin 53.5%
CD 2 – McSally 54%
Corp Comm – Little and Forese 52%
The wild card is CD 9, where Krysten Sinema is in a dogfight with Wendy Rogers. If the tide turns, look for Rogers to squeak out a narrow win over Sinema.
Post Script: In the race for Superintendent of public instruction, Diane Douglas will win.
(picture courtesy of Dr. Fred Vidal)
Last year, I posted what is below. It’s even more relevant today:
On this day, 102 years ago, God made Ronald Reagan – ok, so He made him before that, but you get the point. Reagan was a blessing to America, becoming President at the very time that his country needed him. If there was ever a time we needed another Reagan, it is now.
Reagan embodied a concept of America very different than our current President. In his final address to the nation from the Oval office he spoke of the success of America as an example of freedom.
“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”
Happy birthday President Reagan. We miss you, we need you.
Four years ago, I wrote the post below. I think it bears repeating today:
Ronald Reagan gave two moving speeches on the 40th anniversary of D-Day. The first was at Omaha Beach and the second was at Pointe de Hoc, where Rangers scaled the cliffs to take out machine gun posts. Both are great speeches, but the Pointe de Hoc is the one I like better (probably because it was written by Peggy Noonan). Below is an excerpt of the moving prose, still inspiring 25 years later and 65 years from the day that changed the course of the War and the course of history.
Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.
These are the boys of Pointe de Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.
Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life…and left the vivid air signed with your honor….”
Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith, and belief; it was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.
You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.
This column by James Taranto (the second item down) is so good, it warrants a full cut and paste. Read it all:
Barack Obama isn’t a dictator, and as of yesterday neither is Hugo Chavez. The socialist Venezuelan demagogue died of cancer yesterday, as London’s left-wing Guardian notes in an over-the-top obit:
No one imagined it would end like this. A ravaged body, a hospital bed, a shroud of silence, invisible. Hugo Chávez’s life blazed drama, a command performance, and friend and foe alike always envisaged an operatic finale.
He would rule for decades, transform Venezuela and Latin America, and bid supporters farewell from the palace balcony, an old man, his work complete. Or, a parallel fantasy: he would tumble from power, disgraced and defeated by the wreckage of revolution, ending his days a hounded pariah.Oh give us a break. Chavez announced he had cancer almost two years ago, and it had been clear for months that his condition was terminal. It would take either an overactive imagination or none at all to fail to imagine “it would end like this.” Still, Chavez’s expected death calls to mind Hilaire Belloc’s “Epitaph on the Politician Himself”:
Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician’s corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged,
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.”The most damning critique of Chávez’s rule concerned not democratic credentials but managerial competence,” the Guardian obit claims:
After a decade of record oil revenues totalling around a trillion dollars, an unprecedented bounty, Venezuela is falling apart: roads crumbling, bridges falling, refineries exploding. A wheezing power grid produces regular blackouts. Public hospitals are dank, prisons filthy and barbaric. Murder and kidnapping rates have soared, imposing a de facto curfew in many cities. The currency was recently devalued for the fifth time in a decade. Many young professionals have emigrated.
The economy is warping from subsidies and controls. You can fill a car’s petrol tank for around 50 cents but battle for months to start a company. High-rolling parasites nicknamed “boligarchs” exploit government links to siphon off billions.
Harassed by expropriations, private agriculture and industry have shrivelled. Huge imports fill the gap, the containers stacked into pyramids at ports, though you would never guess it from Orwellian rhetoric trumpeting “food sovereignty” and “manufacturing independence”.”Managerial incompetence,” it seems, is a euphemism for socialism.
Jimmy Carter delivered quite a eulogy:
Rosalynn and I extend our condolences to the family of Hugo Chávez Frías. . . . Although we have not agreed with all of the methods followed by his government, we have never doubted Hugo Chávez’s commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.
President Chávez will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment. . . . Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time allowing them to participate more effectively in their country’s economic and political life.Carter was considerably less effusive when Ronald Reagan died in 2004, as MSNBCnoted at the time:
Carter said Sunday that the death of Reagan, who defeated him in the 1980 presidential election, was “a sad day for our country.”
“He presented some very concise, very clear messages that appealed to the American people. I think throughout his term in office he was very worthy of the moniker that was put on him as the ‘Great Communicator.” ‘
“I probably know as well as anybody what a formidable communicator and campaigner that President Reagan was,” Carter said before teaching Sunday school in his hometown of Plains, Ga. “It was because of him that I was retired from my last job.”We got to wondering how Carter marked the deaths of other thugs and dictators. He was as enthusiastic about Yasser Arafat as about Chavez:
Arafat’s death marks the end of an era and will no doubt be painfully felt by Palestinians throughout the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
He was the father of the modern Palestinian nationalist movement. A powerful human symbol and forceful advocate, Palestinians united behind him in their pursuit of a homeland. While he provided indispensable leadership to a revolutionary movement and was instrumental in forging a peace agreement with Israel in 1993, he was excluded from the negotiating role in more recent years.We couldn’t find statements on the deaths of Fidel Castro, Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, though we did find this quote in a 2007 interview with the hard-left TV show “Democracy Now!“: “I despised Saddam Hussein, because he attacked Iran when my hostages were being held. It was President Reagan who established diplomatic relations with Saddam Hussein after I left office.”
Which got us to thinking: How did Carter mark the death of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who not only kept “my hostages” in captivity for well over a year but released them immediately after Reagan’s inauguration, apparently just to rub Carter’s nose in it? Here’s the answer, from a 1989 Associated Press dispatch:
“I know he was a great hero in his own nation,” Carter told reporters outside his church in Plains, Ga., on Sunday. “My hope is that his successor will be more inclined toward peace and reconciliation.”So Carter praised Reagan only slightly more faintly than Khomeini.
Incidentally, as we were looking up old Carter statements, we came across a March 1989 Carter op-ed from the New York Times complaining that “Ayatollah Khomeini’s offer of paradise to [Salman] Rushdie’s assassin”–that is to say, the ayatollah’s effort to incite Rushdie’s murder–“has caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights.”
This is a must-see ad from Americans for Prosperity.
Everyone knows that State of the Union speeches are mostly for show. Still, the news that Warren Buffet’s secretary is going to be Michelle Obama’s guest in the First Lady’s box takes this speech from ridiculous to absurd.
Typically, the guest of the First Lady is a hero of some sort. Nancy Reagan was the first First Lady to have guests at the State of the Union. Her first State of the Union guest, in 1982, was Lenny Skutnik, a Congressional Budget Office employee who had jumped into the icy waters of the Potomac River to help rescue survivors after Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River in 1982.
Reagan said Skutnik demonstrated “the spirit of American heroism at its finest.” He then said, “We saw the heroism of one of our young government employees, Lenny Skutnik, who, when he saw a woman lose her grip on the helicopter line, dived into the water and dragged her to safety.”
Other guests have included: Alma Powell and Brenda Schwarzkopf, the wives of Gens. Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, who were leading military operations in Iraq; Richard Dean, a Social Security Administration employee, who helped rescue victims of the Oklahoma City bombing; flight attendants Christina Jones and Hermis Moutardier who helped thwart an attempted bombing by Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber.”
The other guest tonight with Michelle Obama is Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords. It is pathetic that someone who has demonstrated incredible courage and persistence in helping with the recovery of Giffords is sharing space with Warren Buffet’s secretary, who is merely a prop for more arguments for class warfare.
Warren Buffet pays a lower rate than his secretary because he does not have any “earned” income. All of his income comes from his investments so it is passive income – or capital gains – and taxed at the 15% rate.
This is why Mitt Romney pays the same rate. He doesn’t have earned income – it’s all investment income.
So we’ll get to see Obama demagogue wealth creators tonight, using a (well-paid) secretary as a prop.
Another year, another decade.
I’ve been thinking about my memories of 1980, 1990, 2000 and wondering what will standout in 2010.
In 1980, the most vivid memory I have was witnessing the greatest sports moment in American history – when the USA Olympic hockey team beat the Soviet Union (“Do you believe in miracles?”). It was the symbolic turning point of West triumphing over the East, with the actual turning point happening 10 months later with the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States.
By 1990 the Berlin wall had come down and the Soviet Union was headed to the dustbin of history, as predicted by Reagan. The United States went through incredibly prosperous times even as it went through some interesting political shifts. The 1992 campaign saw Ross Perot as the spoiler for George Bush (who had famously broken his “no new taxes” pledge) and the election of the boy from Hope. 1994 was the “revolution” with the sweeping election of Republicans to the House and Senate. The decade ended with an impeachment of the President in the House, but no conviction in the Senate.
2000 was the year that divided the country in half, with the razor thin margin of victory of George W. Bush over Al Gore. And then Sept. 11, 2001 the country came back together, at least for a little while.
Bush actually did a lot to strive for bipartisanship. Not one of his major legislative initiatives was passed on a party-line vote. Bush’s two biggest legislative initiatives, No Child Left Behind and Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, were opposed by conservatives in the House and Senate. But the war in Iraq and his push for big government initiatives had the dual affect of motivating the left against him and suppressing his base of support. The result was Republicans taking a beating at the polls in 2006 and 2008.
Looking at President Obama’s first year, bipartisan is not what comes to mind. In fact, there is a more partisan tone than I have ever witnessed myself. Is that a bad thing? Probably not. Big fights over policy are important. If everything big was just passed without strong debate we’d have a much more intrusive government. Partisanship puts a check on government, at least to some degree.
So 2010 will likely be the most partisan year in memory. There are going to be some big policy fights (health care will be the first) and this year will be fascinating to watch from an electoral standpoint. It could be a repeat of 1994. Time will tell.
One thing for certain is that time does not stand still. How will the decade of 2010-2019 be remembered? I don’t have any idea, but anticipation is half the fun.
Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!