Thursday, November 3, 2011

Reagan Was Elected President on November 4, 1980

By Alan Caruba

Certain dates take on a greater significance with the passage of time and surely, November 4th is one of them as it marks the day Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980. He repeated that achievement on November 6th in 1984.

Republicans in general and conservatives in particular look back on those eight years with more than a feeling of nostalgia. We have been measuring Republican candidates and Presidents against his template ever since, but a Reagan doesn’t come along that often, no matter how great the need.

He is best remembered in his own words. Here are a few quotes.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men are free.”

“It was leadership at home that gave us strong American influence abroad, and the collapse of imperial Communism. Great nations have responsibilities to lead, and we should always be cautious of those who would lower our profile, because they might just wind up lowering our flag.”

While the current President tells us we have lost our ambition, our motivation to make and keep America great, the need for his replacement becomes obvious to everyone.

“This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan for ourselves.”

Obamacare, anyone?

“We hear much of special interest groups. Our concern must be for a special interest group that has been too long neglected. It knows no sectional boundaries or ethnic or racial divisions, and it crosses political party lines. It is made up of men and women who raise our food, patrol our streets, man our mines and our factories, teach our children, keep our homes, and heal us when we are sick—professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies, and truck drivers. They are, in short, ‘We the people’, this breed called Americans.”

Contrast this with a political party, the Democrats, and a President who is doing everything in their power to divide Americans into the rich and the poor, who derides those who create and maintain our corporations; he wants more taxes on workers, small business owners, and the middle class who he mocked as people who “cling to their guns and religion.”

“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.”

Compare the debt of the 1980s with that of present times. Republicans have put forth a plan to reduce our debt and reform our tax system. The problem of our debt has grown since Reagan’s days and, regrettably, both parties must share the blame. During his time in office he reduced taxes, cut inflation, and saw a growth in employment. Reagan was right then. He is right today.

“We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five 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.”

Barack Obama is the first President to see our nation’s credit rating downgraded—ever. He is the President who ended the U.S. manned space program. We must now hitch a ride from the former Soviet Union to transport our astronauts.

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

“So, you can see why, to me, the story of these last eight years and this presidency goes far beyond any personal concerns. It is a continuation, really, of a far larger story, a story of a people and a cause. A cause that, from our earliest beginnings, has defined us as a nation and given purpose to our national existence. The hope of human freedom, the quest for it, the achievement of it, is the American saga.”

Americans set things right in 1980 and 1984. We must do it again.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


Unknown said...

Trouble is, a president can hire expertise in foreign affairs. C. Rice comes to mind. But policy viewpoints on such things as capitalism and business come from within.

Ronbo said...

Reagan was like my father and mother written large - a member of the Greatest Generation who survived the Great Depression and World War II - and made the United States the greatest nation in history during Cold War era by means of God, guns and guts.

We who are the sons and daughters of the Great Generation and our children are spoiled little brats in comparison to those giants! We have become a nation of small selfish Hobbits who drank too much, eat too much and worst of all - sit on our fat butts and complain too much between steins of beer and football games!

In the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbits finally get their act together and along with diverse allies defeat evil, and as a reward are allowed by the Wizard to be big people once again.

Maybe in the hard years ahead another race of giant Americans will walk the earth and bring order out of chaos. I hope so. If not, I'm afraid we are headed for the New Dark Ages.

Lime Lite said...

Reagan was the silver lining to the disastrous Jimmy Carter. Who will be the silver lining to the incompetent Obama??

retch said...

There was at least one problem with Reagan, let's not go overboard: his wife regularly consulted a soothsayer and he let himself be influenced by her soothy sayings. What to say?

Alan Caruba said...

Retch: I believe, from all that I have read, you are overstating it. I doubt Reagan was influenced in matters of significant domestic and foreign affairs. This is a man who arrived at the White House fully informed and with a sound philosophy.

retch said...

Alan, hope you're right. Maybe my informants were overstating it; what do I know, getting only filtered info.