Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

Good government gone … not forgotten

Do you remember when government at all levels — from Capitol Hill, to state capitols, county courthouses and city halls — worked for the people who pay their bills?

It wasn’t necessarily a government run by liberals. There once was a conservative movement that railed against government, but whose adherents didn’t stand in the way of government seeking common ground.

Those days are gone. I hope, though, that good government as I recall it isn’t extinct, like the dodo bird and the woolly mammoth.

I long for its return.

Even during the Ronald Reagan era, government could rise to the occasion. The 40th president declared at his first inaugural that “government is the problem” and the cause for the nation’s ills in the early 1980s. President Reagan, though, found a way to work with his old nemesis/drinking buddy Speaker Tip O’Neill to find a way into the light.

We have an entirely different climate today in D.C. Those damn MAGA morons have taken obstructionism to a new level, almost turning it into an art form. The progressive caucus on the other side also has dug in deeply, seeking unaffordable government actions, such as Medicare for All and forgiving every former college student’s debt.

For the purposes of this blog, though, I am going to aim my rhetorical fire at the MAGA cultists.

Because of the MAGA crowd’s ignorance, the U.S. House this year required 15 ballots to elect a speaker … and then only after he conceded so much to the MAGA morons that he made himself vulnerable to the ouster vote that booted him out of office.

This Congress has proved to be among the least productive legislative sessions in history. Why? Because the MAGA crowd insists on seeking something on which to impeach President Biden.

This isn’t good government in any possible form.

Just maybe there will be enough Americans who are as fed up as I am to dropkick the MAGA crowd to the sh***er. I don’t have a problem, per se, with conservatives as long as they understand the value of outreach on occasion to the other side of the aisle.

President Reagan understood it clearly. If only he were around today to lecture the MAGA morons on how to govern while standing firm on their principles.

Gipper called for ‘open border’

I came across an astonishing social media video today of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States and the one-time godfather of American conservatism.

His topic was immigration. President Reagan spoke of the need to buttress U.S.-Mexico relations by maintaining what he called a “two-way open border.” He said the United States should allow Mexicans into our country “legally,” where they would work and “pay taxes” and then return to their homes in Mexico.

He feared that the nations were headed toward a state of hostility. Reagan believed the best way to ensure tranquil relations would be to keep the border between the U.S. and Mexico wide open, enabling citizens of both nations to travel freely — back and forth — across an “open border.”

He also spoke of the dangers of building walls to keep residents of Mexico out of this country.

Hmm. Wow!

The late president’s remarks only heighten the divide that exists between the Republican Party of his era and today’s GOP. The party activists today will have nothing to do with the immigration ideology espoused by Ronald Reagan.

Go … figure.

‘Are you better off … ?’

If only Ronald Reagan hadn’t used that all-time campaign zinger in 1980 while running for president of the United States.

Joe Biden well could co-opt or repurpose the question today as he seeks re-election to the office. It’s a tough sell, given that millions of Americans recall when Reagan posed the question during a debate with President Carter. The answer then, of course, was “no, we’re not better off!”

Today, were Joe Biden able to pose the question, the answer would be a resounding “yes!” We are better off today because we have gotten through a killer pandemic, we have recovered many millions of jobs lost during that terrible time, our jobless rate has returned to near-historic lows, manufacturing is up.

Yes, we have that nagging inflation issue, but that, too, is getting better.

It does puzzle me that President Biden’s job approval rating remains low, in the low to mid-40% range. Why it remains low is a mystery. I guess it has to do with the effectiveness of the opposition’s messaging machinery.

The MAGA morons have planted seeds of fear in the minds and hearts of voters, many of whom believe the clap-trap swill being offered by the MAGA goons.

I ain’t buying it. Nor should other American patriots.

We are better off today than we were at the start of the Biden term because the president has made good on his pledges to: fix the infrastructure, reduce the cost of drugs, whittle down the annual federal budget deficit; invest in clean energy development … and act like a president who governs all Americans not just those who voted for him.

Architect of Cold War end dies

Americans have spent a lot of emotional capital over the past 30 years congratulating two U.S. presidents over their role in the demise of the Cold War and of the Soviet Union.

Yes, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush deserve credit for their roles in ending the “original” Cold War.

However, I want to offer a tribute to a third world leader who today passed from the scene. Mikhail Gorbachev, the final premier of what we used to know as the Soviet Union, died at age 91.

He, at least as much as the two U.S. presidents, is responsible for ending the age of duck-and-cover drills and worries about nuclear-missile strikes from the Evil Empire.

Gorbachev surrendered his office when the Soviet Union evaporated. He turned it over the Boris Yeltsin, who then had the unenviable task of trying to turn an ironclad dictatorship into something that resembled a democratic society. It hasn’t worked out … yet!

The United States was able to win the Cold War of attrition by forcing the Soviets to build weapons they couldn’t afford. The Soviets bankrupted their economy by building nukes and all manner of military hardware they still like to put on parade in Red Square.

Gorbachev recognized what so many of his communist predecessors ignored.

So, when President Reagan stood at the Hindenberg Gate in Berlin and declared, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” the Soviet leader well might have actually listened on that day.

The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, thanks to Gorbachev’s acknowledging he was on the wrong side of history. Two years after that? He said goodbye to the Soviet Union.

Hey, don’t misunderstand me. I stand with those who applaud Presidents Reagan and Bush for the strength they showed in waging the Cold War with the Soviet Union. I also want to applaud Gorbachev for acting on the realization that the communist experiment in his country was a monumental failure.


And I cannot pay tribute to Gorbachev’s wisdom without mentioning one of his descendants’ idiotic view that the Soviet demise was a “dark day” in the history of his country. Vladimir Putin is as wrong to want a return to that hideous system as he was wrong to presume that he could take over Ukraine in a matter of days.


Waiting for phony SCOTUS objections

Let the debate begin now that President Biden has presented us with a historic selection for the U.S. Supreme Court. What will intrigue me for certain are the phony objections that U.S. senators are going to present as they argue against the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the latest justice on the nation’s highest court.

The trumped-up objections will come from Republicans in the Senate. They will cling to ridiculous notions that Joe Biden engaged in an “affirmative action” hire in selecting Judge Jackson. Why? Because as a presidential candidate in 2020, Joe Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to the court if he got the chance. Justice Stephen Breyer delivered that chance to President Biden when he declared his intention to retire from the court at the end of its current term.

The president vowed to find a stellar jurist. He found her in the person of Ketanji Brown Jackson. There should be no debate over her qualifications.

I want to make the point that I have sought to make for many years when these nominations come forward. Elections have consequences. I have said so when Republican presidents have made these nominations, as well as when Democrats do so. President Biden’s election in 2020 means that he gets the chance to deliver on his constitutional duty, which he has done.

Judge Jackson by all accounts is a first-rate, top-drawer, stellar jurist. She has a well-rounded background in the law, serving as a public defender as well as a prosecutor.

I am not going to listen to those who gripe about President Biden’s decision to look exclusively for a Black woman to fill this important lifetime post. Ronald Reagan made a similar pledge in in 1980, as did Donald Trump in 2020. They both delivered on their pledges and Republicans said not a single thing to object to their commitments.

Whatever phony excuse they come up with now should be greeted with all the derision they deserve.

Ketanji Brown Jackson deserves to take her seat on the nation’s highest court … period.


World has flipped

What in the name of political sanity has happened to this old world of ours? I mean, we have Republicans and conservative media voices speaking fondly of a Russian dictator while Democrats and more progressive media voices are yelling loudly to get tough with the strongman.

There once was a time when the roles were reversed. No longer, folks.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has positioned his forces to invade Ukraine. A former GOP president has declared Putin to be a “genius” for the way he is preparing for the bloodbath. The current Democratic president is vowing punishing sanctions on Russia if Putin goes through with what the whole world believes he will do.

I remember the age of the Evil Empire that became the target of scorn and anger from Republicans in Congress and the president of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Democrats were seen as being squishy on the communists.

Now it’s the Democrats who are staking out tough-guy positions against the Soviet descendants and Republicans are questioning why the president is all fired up about seeking to stop the Russian advance on Ukraine.

What the … ?

I can’t figure this out, other than linking all of this to the arrival of The Donald on our political scene. He cozied up to the strongman and actually denigrated our intelligence network’s assertion that Russia interfered in our 2016 election.

Hmm. Therein might be Donald’s enduring legacy. He has helped flip the political calculus totally on its ear. Frankly, I prefer the side that remains angry with Putin and the Russians.


Morning in America dawns again

Ronald W. Reagan campaigned for re-election in 1984 as president on the theme that it was “morning in America.” By golly, it worked as President Reagan steamrolled to a smashing landslide victory, winning 49 states and rolling up an Electoral College margin of 525 to 13.

Well, guess what, ladies and gentlemen. I believe it’s “morning in America” is dawning yet again in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Economic reports show that the Gross Domestic Product grew at a rate not seen since 1984. Unemployment is now down to 3.9%, which is about where it was prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. More jobs have been added to non-farm payrolls at any time in the first year of a presidency, which is something that Joe Biden has been proclaiming for a good while.

What does this mean for the president? It means he has some grist on which to build a campaign in advance of this year’s midterm election, which will be a setup for the 2024 presidential campaign.

I am aware of the hurdles that remain. We need to rein in inflation; the Federal Reserve Board is poised to do that by increasing interest rates this year. There are some foreign-policy issues with which to deal, such as Russia and Ukraine, China’s bellicosity and threats against Taiwan, the ongoing Middle East tensions. Of course, we also have climate change … and the pandemic.

Economically, it is morning once again across the land.

The president needs to be careful to avoid hogging more credit than he deserves. I have noted for longer than I can remember that POTUSes don’t deserve all the blame nor do they deserve all the credit for swings in the economy.

The good and the bad, though, occur on their watch. Thus, they become the hero or the zero, depending on which way the economy is tracking.


Hey, Gipper said so first!

President Biden pledged once again today to make an unprecedented appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. He will find an African American woman to nominate to the court to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer.

OK. That’s unprecedented. I get it. However, he ain’t the first president or candidate for POTUS to make a pledge to find someone of a particular gender to the court.

Ronald Reagan did so while running for the presidency in 1980. He said a few weeks before that election he would nominate the first woman to the court. He won big that year. And in 1981 President Reagan made good on the promise by nominating Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court.

We’re good so far, right?

Conservatives then hailed the choice.

Their reaction to President Biden’s pledge? Why, he’s slamming the door shut on qualified judges; they say he is launching an affirmative action program to the court selection process; we can’t allow the president to pick someone who might not pass judicial muster, as if the person’s racial background by itself is an impediment.

The duplicity is stunning.

I am going to hold onto every confidence on God’s good Earth that President Biden is going to find a top-drawer, first-rate, learned jurist … who just happens to be an African American woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.


11th Commandment? Goner!

Donald J. Trump might be the only major Republican political figure who never invokes the principles espoused by the godfather of the current conservative movement: Ronald Wilson Reagan.

That’s no surprise, though, given that Trump has no knowledge, let alone appreciation, for what Reagan brought to the country upon his election as president in 1980 and re-election four years later.

It also explains why Trump has trashed Reagan’s cherished 11th Commandment, which he stated as “Thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans.”

You see, Trump is harvesting a handsome bit of political cache by trashing Republican officeholders and those who seek to hold office. If they aren’t loyal to Donald Trump, then they’re “losers,” or “has beens,” or “disgraceful human beings.”

Don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t vote for The Gipper either time when he ran for president. I wasn’t much of a fan of him, although I did develop a good bit of empathy for him and his family when he told us he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease; I remember vividly that poignant letter he released to the public on Nov. 5, 1994, announcing he would recede into the shadows to fight the illness that eventually claimed him a decade later.

But real Republicans usually find something common ground with what President Reagan espoused. Plus, they have remained somewhat faithful to the 11th Commandment.

Trump, though, is not a real Republican and isn’t faithful to anything on this good Earth other than his own ego.


Reagan assailant goes free? Oh, my!

You may consider me as one American who believes John Hinckley does not deserve an unconditional release from custody.

I mean, all he did  was shoot President Reagan in March 1981, damn near killing him, while grievously wounding others in a melee outside the Washington Hilton hotel. One of his other victims was White House press secretary James Brady, who never recovered from the grievous brain injury he suffered; Brady has since died of complications suffered from that shooting.

U.S. President Reagan’s shooter John Hinckley wins unconditional release (msn.com)

A jury would acquit Hinckley on grounds that he was insane when he did the deed. He spent decades in an institution. Then he was released in the custody of his mother, who has since died.

Now a judge has said he can walk free among the rest of us, without condition.

Bad call, judge.

The late president’s daughter, Patti Davis, has argued that Hinckley has shown no remorse and shouldn’t be allowed to roam free. I agree with her.

If the assailant had demonstrated any actual remorse, then might be different. I am unaware of anything he has said or done since the trial to suggest any feeling of the sort over what he did.

The entire nation needs to keep a sharp and vigilant eye on this individual once he is free of the restrictions under which he has lived.

Just one more point. Hinckley is now 66 years of age, meaning that he is still capable of doing harm to others.