Remembering Ronald Reagan

Newsmax

Friday, 05 Jun 2015 11:30 AM

By Craig Shirley

3Today is the 11th anniversary of the death of Ronald Reagan. It’s also 26 years since he left office. And yet, his shadow continues to lengthen and grow over not just the GOP
but all of American politics.

To wit, President Obama does not invoke FDR, or JFK, or Lyndon Johnson but Ronald Reagan.

Ron Fournier of National Journal just wrote that Obama’s constant criticism of America was a form of American Exceptionalism.

Sure, if you view the world through a photographic negative, then maybe you can make the case telling American citizens how bad they are will some how lift them up.

Nothing could be further from the truth and the fact is, Obama is the mirror image of
Ronald Reagan. Newtonian physics is one thing, but the Third Law of Newton does not work in presidential politics.

Reagan knew you lifted people by lifting people.

Reagan was a realistic optimist, a populist, a forward looking conservative who believed in the individual over the state. Obama believes in the state over the individual. It is that plain and simple.

Reagan did not denigrate the individual, but instead celebrated each one, at the expense of the state and the corporation.

In truth, Reagan was a true American populist, suspicious of the concentration of power by government or by corporate America. Even in his day, he railed against the corruption of the Export-Import Bank and sought to curb its abuses and was successful.

In his announcement challenging Ford for the 1976 nomination, he sharply criticized all of the Washington Establishment including government, labor and corporations.

Washington, he said, “has become the seat of a buddy system which functions increasing for Its own purposes.

Today, it is difficult to find leaders who are independents of the forces which brought us our problems — the bureaucracy, the lobbyists, big business, and big labor. If American is the succeed and go forward, this must change.”

As president, he succeeded in limiting the growth of government, especially discretionary spending, but where he was really successful was in growing the private economy six times faster than government, thus diminished its influence.

Populism has taken on a renew popularity but it is impossible to be a collectivism like Elizabeth Warren and be a populist.

Actually, a level playing field is a tenant of American conservatism. Don’t mistake Warren’s rants against Wall Street as populism; they are not. The left has always railed against the private sector and while there remains deep concern about TARP, about favoring the big banks at the expense of the small banks, liberals’ motives are always suspect where business is concerned.

They don’t like the free market because it is beyond their control and not because of unfair federal handouts. Liberals, by their very nature, often favor unlevel playing fields and not just for reasons of race or sex. They support it for favored businesses too.

Culturally, it is difficult to see the rich elitist Harvard professor as being comfortable in a cowboy bar or an American Legion Hall or a Grange Hall. She would see such salt of the earth Americans as “tacky.”

Reagan railed against banks, against corrupt corporations, against unlevel playing fields in which one business sought to game the system to gain an advantage over another company or corporation. Elizabeth Warren, Martin O’Malley and other liberals are just that: liberals.

They are not populists.

Reagan was a conservative populist, heir to the conservative populism of Jefferson, Paine
and Madison.

Reagan was born for the Legion, the Grange, the VFW, and the family farm and the union hall.

He was populist before populism was cool.

Craig Shirley is the author of “Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America,” “Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All,” and “December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World.” He is the founder of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, which was chosen in 2005 by Springfield College as their Outstanding Alumnus, and has been named the First Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, Ronald Reagan’s alma mater, where he taught a course titled “Reagan 101.” He appears regularly on many network and cable shows including Newsmax TV, Fox News, MSNBC, and  CNN. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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