Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ronald Reagan, Agent of Change

Excuse me while I foam at the mouth. Ronald Reagan made some changes all right, while you're thinking about change, you might think about what changes you like. Charming Hollywood almost involved Presidential change isn't what I'd call greatness. The ability to charm people while you're actively screwing them isn't something I admire.

James Watt, was Ronnie's first Secretary of the Interior, advocate of slash and burn forestry and unrestricted mining. If BushCo's Secretary of Interior Gail Norton is on your fan list, consider that she was Watt's protege at Mountain State's Legal Foundation a conservative reactionary arm of the natural resources industries. Even Republicans opposed Watt, and the West suffered for his policies. Much of the over-reaction of environmentalists today is a direct result of Watt. Backlash from the obvious abuse of the environment has resulted in the unending lawsuits plaguing even reasonable forest management today. Maybe it would be piling on to mention his 1996 conviction of attempting to sway a grand jury in the '80s resulting in 5 years probation and a fine...some change.

The air traffic controllers' strike and subsequent union busting by Reagan was the beginning of government harassment of unions and the decline of union power. The slide in blue collar wages dates to Ronnie Reagan, from several sources. Reagan's amnesty of illegal immigrants cued up the blitz of illegal entries, showed business it had nothing to fear from the unenforced Federal laws regarding hiring, and pulled the unions out of the market of pulling up non-union wages.

Ronnie Reagan proved that deficits don't matter to Republicans as he presided over the largest Federal deficit to that date. Republicans tend to try to blame the Democratic legislature, though the veto was available even then. What Ronnie did do was begin the Republican tendency to hand tax breaks to the plutocrats whether the government could afford them or not.

The absolute boondoggle of Star Wars missile defence system is a remnant of the Reagan defence budget, the idea being that it is reasonable to try to shoot down a fly with a rifle. Despite being blocked repeatedly it keeps showing up in Republican administrations. For some obscure reason Republicans claim credit for Ronnie ending the Soviet Union, evidently something ending in his administration is reason enough. This despite over many years most economists, Democrats, and Republicans taking the stance that communism would eat itself economically. Calling something the Evil Empire scarcely breaks it.

The tough talk of Ronnie doesn't seem to have been backed up by any sort of action, we got the cowboy movie star heated rhetoric without any teeth. The identity and location of the group responsible for the truck bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon was known. The definitive action taken was the withdrawal of US troops. The arming of the Afghan jihadis was undertaken with no vetting of their stances, simply opposition to the Soviets was sufficient.

The list of Reagan administration malfunctions from Iran Contra through the gross influence peddling, bribery, fraud, illegal lobbying and sundry abuses that engulfed the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Justice Department, and the Pentagon, to name a few of the most notorious cases. The Reagan quote,"Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem," ought to be the defining statement regarding his administration, though it seems BushCo has taken it to new lengths. In his 1991 book "Sleepwalking Through History: America in the Reagan Years," journalist Haynes Johnson came up with an unflattering statistic: "By the end of his term, 138 Reagan administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations."

Reagan said as he signed the Savings and Loan deregulation bill, "All in all, I think we've hit the jackpot." Some jackpot, the estimated costs of that piece of work is $1 trillion. Just get government out of the way, was the Reagan mantra. Sound real familiar today?

When a Democratic politician calls Reagan an agent of change, my head explodes. It is not an agent of change who turns the clock back to the deficit of the American people. George II has augmented the reversals of the progress of the general citizen of the US, but it was Ronnie Reagan who started the decline. I don't care if the politician is Barak Obama or Joe Blow, it is a load of hogwash promulgated for the benefit of the ignorant and Republican leaning. Thanks, but I'll take somebody who talks like and acts like a Democrat.

***Update***
Fine, make this mean something else:

Obama. "He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing." Sure, Ronnie's my hero, too.

16 comments:

KISS said...

I really know little of Obama's record in the Illinois legislature, but I do know about his US Senate record. As a willing student to Lieberman he learned the art of lying out both sides of his mouth.Check his voting record. Like Lieberman choosing repugs side of issues came easy. Yup, both idolize Reagan. Gore was chump enough to make Lieberman his choice for VP.Another dimmo without morals. Now Lieberman is an independent that votes repug every time. With Obama do we expect anything different? I could well said this of Hillary, as well.
It looks a though our experiment in democracy failed.
As for change, think short-changed.

bdunn said...

Chuck, look at Obama's comments. Nowhere did they suggest that Regan was an agent of change for good. Rather, Obama said that Regan redefined American politics so that what was considered the center moved significantly right. Obama wants to redefine American politics in a more progressive way, where center moves left. Recognizing how Regan's framing allowed that change to happen and learning from it so that progressives can fight back is exactly what I want in a Democrat running for President.

Chuck Butcher said...

bdunn, maybe you'd better reread the Barak comments. Which 60s/70s excesses is it you have a big problem with?

KISS said...

Part of Reagan's legacy was setting up globalization. Another South Carolina textile mill is leaving for Brazil where workers earn less..South Carolinians never made much to begin with. Where is Hilliary and Obama on this? Nowhere. The loss of almost 2000 jobs from 2003 to the present. Only Kucinich and Edwards address the plight of these workers.
Here's a shot from Kucinich:
"NAFTA, GAT, the WTO, China Trade, and every other trade agreement that's passed in Congress has been passed with the help of either the leadership of or with the help of the Democratic Party, knowing that each and every one of those agreements was devoid of protections for workers, knowing that if you don't have workers' rights put into a trade agreement then workers here in the United States are going to see their own bargaining position undermined because corporations can move jobs out of the country to places where workers don't have any rights. They don't have the right to organize, the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike. So what I see is that the Democratic Party abandoned working people, and paradoxically they're the ones who hoist the flag of workers every two and four years only to engender excitement, and then to turn around and abandon their constituency. This is now on the level of a practiced ritual. At least a biannual ceremony, or every two years. So you can see how pernicious this becomes when the minimum wage increase was tied to funding the war. That, to me, says it all. Because it is inevitably the sons and daughters of working Americans that are the ones who are led to slaughter. Aspirations for health care. "
Again where is Obama? we know about Hillary, her husband championed the free trade fiasco.

Steve Culley said...

LOu Dobbs and Ron Paul address these issues. Dobbs is pushing for people of both parties to reregister independent. It's the only way real change for the average American will ever happen.

Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between talking about Reagan's communications abilities and endorsing his policies. And frankly, you should know that Chuck. This whole line of attack is totally disingenuous.

Obama has never -- at any level -- supported right to work laws. Obama opposed CAFTA. And KISS, I'm not sure if you've seen this, but Lieberman supports McCain; Ned Lamont supports Obama. And maybe you're not aware of Obama's record in Illinois, but he was instrumental in expanding health care to more than 160,000 people, passing one of the most sweeping ethics reforms bills in the state's history, and bringing more fairness to Illinois's criminal justice system.

This Obama-as-Republican-lite-meme is a joke.

-- Charlie Burr
(Sorry, I had trouble logging in for some reason.)

Chuck Butcher said...

Charlie,
His voting record in the US Senate speaks for itself, and re: authoritarianism see BOR #2. BushCo's policies regarding the BOR are all based on percieved security. When a black man proposes to infringe my Constitutionally protected Rights I think my head has exploded. Now there is spit difference between the Clibamas, it comes down to who is more bellicose in foreign policy.

I am aware of his Illinois record, I'm also aware of the number of and related occasions of "present" votes. Political expedience won the day quite a few times, and not just on BS like OR HR2.

Now I may have to eat the plutocratically approved peon illegal labor with the Democratic candidates, but the rest of it is too damn much. I'll stand with the workers of America.

Don't worry about the log in, I ash canned it. I detest word verification, but thanks to spammers and hundreds of posts archived and accessed regularly I have to have some protection.

We don't agree on Obama, I am surprised, but I do give him an A+ in oratory. (and wife) I am left enough to not expect to get what I'd like from candidates, but it ticks me off to get Republican lite. The Reagan thing is simply putting icing on his existing record. I'll ask again, WHAT excesses? Maybe the Civil Rights Act? Maybe anti-Vietnam war? Maybe sex isn't the government's business? The list of what Reagan hated is long...

Reagan was a bullshit artist, coded race words, hot rhetoric backed by cowardice, open honest government that was anything but... Maybe a politician that admires that doesn't get my love, either. You've got nowhere to go with this one.

While we're doing the sub-prime melt-down explain the credit vote? Do you care to explain how turning the Federal govt into a cash cow for the rape artist insurance cos is an improvement?

The joke is calling this guy a liberal. If he's a liberal, why isn't Billary?

Anonymous said...

As Kos said over at his site, just because you don't like an idea doesn't mean that it's not an idea. And conservatives and Republicans have done a better job at funding right wing think tanks and coming up with infrastructure for their movement. I believe that. Does that make me a conservative? Really?

Oh, and again with "present votes." Obama is pro-choice and has always been pro-choice, Hillary mail pieces notwithstanding. Planned Parenthood encouraged members to vote present on the bills in question.

Do you want me to defend Reagan's policies? Seriously? I'm not going to defend the indefensible. You continue to totally miss the point. You can acknowledge how Reagan changed the country without liking how he changed the country. If you're seriously arguing that Barack Obama, as a community organizer working in the South side of Chicago, was a fan of what Reagan's policies were doing, you are seriously mistaken.

I didn't call Obama a liberal. Obama does have a more progressive voting record than your preferred candidate, but of course there are issues where I differ with him. I wish he voted against class action reform, but I also am disappointed with Edwards's support of tort reform. And I have no interest in getting into a back and forth with you about Edwards's record since I have a lot of genuine respect and appreciation for the guy.

--Charlie Burr

P.S. Spare Obama supporters the lectures about how you're paying attention and we're not.

Chuck Butcher said...

I guess I count things like the yeas on Credit bill and tort reform against Obama. Silly me, after decades of taking a screwing at the hands of the plutocracy with a progressive Democtrat quite able to win nationally that I'd prefer to see economics count.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, I don't think you're being silly, just intellectually dishonest. You accused Obama of voting for the bankrupcty bill. Obama did not. And it is an absolute, undeniable fact that your candidate, John Edwards, did. In 2001.

So, yeah, Edwards wasn't in Congress in 2005. But I'm having a hard time telling if you're misinformed or just intentionally misleading. You just posted over at Blue Oregon that Edwards wasn't part of the bankruptcy vote: Do you seriously believe that? Tell me why 2001 doesn't count? Tell me what Edwards was apologizing for in the last debate then?

And the "credit bill" -- as you call it -- was an amendment to the bankruptcy bill. If you support a bankruptcy bill with an interest rate limit together as a package, then sure, vote for both. If you think it's a lousy tradeoff, then voting to make a bad bill (bankruptcy) a little better doesn't make sense if you're trying to kill the bill as a whole.

Oh my God! Shades of grey! And in the legislative process of all places! I will now await the latest mouth foaming....

--Charlie Burr

P.S. I don't have a clue what you're talking about with the "some call me a conservative" stuff btw. This seems to be a big deal to you, but you haven't really offered any context or anything.

Chuck Butcher said...

finally found Edward's vote,
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s2001-36
aye
did not become law.

Zak J. said...

The only liberal left in this race is Edwards, who is probably already finished as a force. In the S.C. debate tonight, the stupid bickering between the smug and the self-righteous Hillary & Barack served to make John seem completely irrelevant, like an afterthought. If he doesn't win on Saturday, and after 4% in Nevada who really thinks he will, there won't be a liberal left running for the Democratic nomination. It'll be Ms. Walmart board of directors vs. the slum-lord lawyer, with both of them vying to drag the Dems as far to the right as they can. The only hope that someone from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party will take the nomination will be in the slim hope of a brokered convention. Don't hold your breath.

Chuck Butcher said...

Well, Democrats had a real chance to run a truly progressive candidate and win this time around. Barak leaves me cold and his stance on the 2nd truly sucks. Hillary just plain offends me. Nothing to do with what the Rs hate, hell, I'd like her if she were what they cry about, oh well.

I don't know how far behind Obama I can get, cripes, I'm only warm on Edwards. As for Hillary, it's damn good thing we've got a Senate race, along with a couple others to keep me in the Democratic fold. If she's the nominee I'd take a hike except for the Oregonians we've got.

Maybe it's time to start a new Party, the Democrat Democratic Party. We could run Edwards/Kucinich...

Zak J. said...

Well, with Hillary I understand for the first time why so many progressives voted for Nader...but look what that got us: W. I'll vote for the Democratic nominee because that nominee's win will empower the Democratic party and power structure. True, that power and the good it could do would be greater with a progressive candidate, but we've seen what Republicans do with even the slimmest mandate and I just can't abide by that for another 4 years.

KISS said...

Chuck, you is changing. lol You use to berate me for what you now are thinking. I truly am sad that this terrible string of events are taking place. You already know my feelings for these bastard politicians, groveling for their own ego and benefit and could care less of us proletariat. A third party? Why not no primaries except one national and top five contenders face off in Nov.?
I could easily make do with 4 or 5 parties. In true Keynesian theory think of how much Corporate would have to spend? How's that for trickle down economics?

Chuck Butcher said...

Nah, I'll ride the horse that brung me. I've put a lot of work into the DPO and no Hillary is gonna run me out.