Posts Tagged ‘Reagan’
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. I remember standing in the living room of a friend of mine in Indiana in shock with what was happening. The first thing I thought of was Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, in which he said:
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
To think that only two years and five months later the wall came down. That’s power. That’s influence. That’s leadership.
Ronald Reagan’s statue was unveiled this week at the U.S. Capital. Nancy Reagan was back in the Rotunda for the first time since Reagan laid in state following his death.
Nancy Reagan was her typical humorous, unassuming self. She has been a stellar example of class and dignity in her post-White House years.
“You created that secure space from which he ventured forth to change America and to change the world,” Reagan’s friend and treasury secretary, James Baker III, told her. “As this ceremony honors him, Nancy, it also honors you.”
President Reagan embodied everything that makes a man a great President. He was willing to work with the other side to advance an agenda of peace through strength on the foreign policy front while expanding economic growth through his supply-side agenda on the domestic front. Most of all, he inspired a nation to see itself as the “shining city on a hill.”
Thank you Nancy, for sharing such a great man with the rest of the nation and the world.
Politico.com has a story that is just downright depressing. Our nation’s debt is about to hit $11 TRILLION. That is a staggering sum. It was half that size in 1996. In 13 years we have added as much debt as it took us to accumulate in the more than 200 years prior.
Back when I was a budget associate in the U.S. House, I always went straight to the appendix of the President’s budget to look at a couple figures: Government spending as a percentage of GDP and deficit as a percentage of GDP. Obviously, if the economy continues to grow, we can absorb some increases in government spending and debt.
For example, in FY 1983 federal spending was 23.5% of GDP. That reflected both weak economic growth and increased defense spending by Reagan. The deficit was 6% of GDP (a post-WWII high). By FY 1988 the percentage of federal spending was 21.3% and the deficit was 3.1%.
In Clinton’s first budget, FY 1994, the percentage of federal spending was 21% and the deficit was 2.9%. The budget following the Republican take-over of Congress dropped to 20.3% and the deficit was 1.4%.
Bush’s budgets tended to be on par with Clinton’s budgets (as a percentage, remember) with the FY 2007 budget at 20% of GDP and the deficit at 1.2%
How does Obama’s first budget stack up? Federal spending as a percentage of GDP will be a whopping 27.2%. And the deficit as a percentage of GDP? Buckle up… 8.3%, which shatters the previous high of 6% in 1983. To make matters worse, that 8.3% is BEFORE taking into account the stimulus package passed earlier in the year.
This is ugly.
Fred Barnes has a fascinating piece in the latest edition of the Weekly Standard. He evaluates Obama’s efforts to pass an ambitious agenda in a hurry, and Barnes believes that if Obama doesn’t move quickly, he’ll lose momentum.
Barnes also points out that if Republicans can bog down Obama’s agenda, it will become harder and harder to put into place. Already Obama’s numbers are starting to slip. Here is a paragraph you will not read in a major daily:
Like earlier presidents, Obama is slipping in popularity, as measured by job approval, as his first year progresses. At 63 percent approval, he’s roughly where George W. Bush was at this point in his presidency in 2001, but behind JFK, Eisenhower, Carter, LBJ, and Nixon. Pollster Scott Rasmussen has noted a sharp rise in those who “strongly disapprove” of Obama’s performance and a dip in those who “strongly approve.”
Can you imagine how horrified the leftist are that Obama’s numbers ARE THE SAME AS GEORGE W. BUSH at the same point of his first term? Even Nixon and Carter were more popular. Ouch. That’ll leave a mark.
As a result of his slipping popularity, Moderate Democrats are becoming the key players in whether Obama will see success:
So Obama needs to push his agenda through Congress before the public discovers what he’s up to. Time is not on his side. Moderate Democrats aren’t a tough breed, but they’ve begun to question many of Obama’s policies. They don’t strike fear in Pelosi’s heart. But if their ranks swell, they could cause trouble for her, Reid, and especially Obama.
Now is the time for Republicans to figure out how they are going to slow the momentum and save the country from the far-left agenda of Obama, Pelosi and Reid.
John Shadegg gave the best speech of his political career at CPAC last night during the Presidential Banquet. It wasn’t an easy task. It was a packed room, there was a rousing speech by rock star RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and a great tribute to Tom Winter by M. Stanton Evans. (That guy is funny!)
Shadegg started with a tribute to “the giants of the Conservative movement” like William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, M. Stanton Evans and Tom Winter and their “immeasurable contribution” to the cause.
He said that those gathered at CPAC are “engaged in a fight for the heart and soul of the nation.” He painted the stark contrast between the left and their “dependence mentality” with the conservative “individual responsibility.”
He called the conservatives in the room and watching on the web to unite again and fight for the cause, because we “are the last, best hope for this nation.”
He talked about Reagan’s speech to CPAC in 1974 in which he talked about America being “a city upon a hill.” He quoted Buckley (“Standing athwart history, yelling STOP!”) and the Bible (“Is there not a cause?”).
It was, in a word, inspiring.
(Note: Speeches are available at www.CPAC.org I’ll post specific links as soon as I can get my computer to work with the website.)
Sometimes the greatest men are those least known among us. Tonight, CPAC honored one of its founders, long-time Human Events Editor-in-Chief, Tom Winter.
Tom Winter is probably one of the most influential figures in the conservative movement that you have never heard of, or if you have heard of him, know very little about. He likes it that way. He is one of the most humble activists in the movement, and a towering figure.
Winter grew up under humble circumstances in Teaneck, NJ. He earned a spot at Harvard, getting both an undergraduate degree and a Masters in Business.
He caught the political bug and at the age of 24 went to D.C. seeking a job on Capitol Hill. However, 1961 was not a good year for Republicans on the Hill and there were painfully few jobs available. A friend told him about an opening at Human Events and he got the job as assistant editor and has been there ever since.
He didn’t just mark time, however. In 1964 he became the editor, leading the effort to support Goldwater’s candidacy in the press. Two years later, he and a friend, Alan Ryskind, bought Human Events and continued to report on the issues of the day from a distinctly conservative viewpoint.
Shortly after getting to D.C. he met a young lady and they started dating. And dating. And dating. She worked for Senator James Buckley (brother to William F. Buckley) and then, in 1976 for Senator Orrin Hatch. Finally, in 1978, Tom married her, ending what is to believed to have been one of the longest courtships in the history of D.C.
As award presenter M. Stanton Evans reminded the CPAC crowd tonight, Tom Winter was the Founder of Conservative Victory Fund, the brainchild of the independent expenditure campaign that American Conservative Union ran on behalf of Reagan’s presidential bid in 1976, and co-founder of both ACU and CPAC.
It is believed that the personal highlight of his professional career was when President Ronald Reagan hosted an event at the White House for Human Events. Human Events was a must-read for Reagan, starting in the 60’s and through his years in the White House. Reagan paid a special tribute to Human Events in this video.
Tom has always persevered. Even after his stroke in 2003, he barely missed a beat, never failing to be a force for the conservative cause. He continues to put up the fight, a fight that he says he will wage until he dies at his desk.
He is, as M. Stanton Evans said, one of towering leaders of the modern conservative movement and the greatest unsung heroes for the cause.
Most of all, Tom Winter is a husband and a father. He cherished his family and he held sacred the summer weekends the family would share in Rehoboth Beach, DE. There was no event – no wedding, no funeral, no reception, no dinner – that Winter would attend on any weekend between May and September.
He was obviously touched and humbled tonight as he received his award, and there was even a hint of well-earned pride. But he was never more proud than when he walked his daughter, Abby, down the aisle a few weeks ago as she married her sweetheart in a ceremony that was presided over by the same priest who had married Tom and his sweetheart nearly 33 years earlier in the same beautiful St. Peters on Capitol Hill.
That sums up Tom Winter the man. Quiet diligence to a cause greater than himself, and absolute devotion to the greatest cause of all, his family. Well done, sir. Well done.
I’ll be blogging from CPAC for the next couple days. I’ll be commenting on speeches by Sen. Tom Coburn, Congressman John Shadegg, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Gov. Mark Sanford and Rush Limbaugh who concludes the conference on Saturday evening.
For those who don’t know, CPAC is the premiere conservative event each year. It was at CPAC in 1974 that Reagan launched his Presidential run against Ford in 1976 with a speech about America being the “City upon a Hill” (sound familiar?)
To learn more about CPAC, go here.
In honor of Reagan’s birthday today, I have posted a Deep Thinking piece entitled “Reagan Republicanism: A 21st Century Opportunity.” I hope you like it.
Today would have been Ronald Reagan’s 98th birthday. Boy, do I miss him.
One of the best resources for Reagan stuff (speeches, etc) is Reagan 2020.
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“Isn’t our choice really not one of left or right, but of up or down? Down through the welfare state to statism, to more and more government largesse accompanied always by more government authority, less individual liberty, and ultimately, totalitarianism, always advanced as for our own good. The alternative is the dream conceived by our Founding Fathers, up to the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with an orderly society. We don’t celebrate dependence day on the Fourth of July. We celebrate Independence Day.” –Ronald Reagan
(Remarks on accepting the GOP Presidential Nomination, Dallas, Texas, August 23, 1984)
Arizona’s Republican Secretary of State, Jan Brewer, was sworn in as the new Governor today in an inaugural ceremony at the State Capital. The standing-room-only crowd heard an interesting contrast between President Obama’s inaugural address yesterday, and Gov. Brewer’s address today.
Obama’s laid out how bad it was, who was to blame, that we needed to have a “government that works” and that our faith and hope in government will get us through the troubled times. Brewer laid out the budget problems we face in Arizona, said that “government is going to get smaller” and it is through personal creativity, determination and entrepreneurial spirit that will get us through troubled times.
In her speech, Gov. Brewer echoed Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan – she talked about freedom. The best part of the speech for me was this:
“I’m therefore pleased to report that the legislative leadership, my transition team and I are not sitting idle while the new government in Washington plans another trillion dollars in deficit spending. No, we are planning a massive stimulus package of our own, to make Arizona the most economically vibrant place in the world. And just like the clever folks in Washington, we have a catchy name for it: It’s called “freedom.””
Now there is something we can cheer about.