Showing posts with label Ronald Reagan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ronald Reagan. Show all posts

Sunday, August 30, 2015

[COMMENTARY] Restoring American Exceptionalism

Restoring American Exceptionalism - WSJ
In 1983, as the U.S. confronted the threat posed by the Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan explained America’s unique responsibility. “It is up to us in our time,” he said, “to choose, and choose wisely, between the hard but necessary task of preserving peace and freedom, and the temptation to ignore our duty and blindly hope for the best while the enemies of freedom grow stronger day by day.” It was up to us then—as it is now—because we are the exceptional nation. America has guaranteed freedom, security and peace for a larger share of humanity than any other nation in all of history. There is no other like us. There never has been.
Born of the revolutionary ideal that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights,” we were, first, an example to the world of freedom’s possibilities. During World War II, we became freedom’s defender, at the end of the Cold War, the world’s sole superpower. We did not seek the position. It is ours because of our ideals and our power, and the power of our ideals. As British historian Andrew Roberts has observed, “In the debate over whether America was born great, achieved greatness or had greatness thrust upon her, the only possible conclusion must be: all three.”
No other nation, international body or “community of nations” can do what we do. It isn’t just our involvement in world events that has been essential for the triumph of freedom. It is our leadership. For the better part of a century, security and freedom for millions of people around the globe have depended on America’s military, economic, political and diplomatic might. For the most part, until the administration of Barack Obama, we delivered.
Since Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed us the “Arsenal of Democracy” in 1940, Republican and Democratic presidents alike have understood the indispensable nature of American power. Presidents from Truman to Nixon, from Kennedy to Reagan, knew that America’s strength had to be safeguarded, her supremacy maintained. In the 1940s American leadership was essential to victory in World War II, and the liberation of millions from the grip of fascism. In the Cold War American leadership guaranteed the survival of freedom, the liberation of Eastern Europe and the defeat of Soviet totalitarianism. In this century it will be essential for the defeat of militant Islam.
Yet despite the explosive spread of terrorist ideology and organizations, the establishment of an Islamic State caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and increasing threats from Iran, China, North Korea and Russia, President Obama has departed from this 75-year, largely bipartisan tradition of ensuring America’s pre-eminence and strength.
He has abandoned Iraq, leaving a vacuum that is being tragically and ominously filled by our enemies. He is on course to forsake Afghanistan as well.
He has made dangerous cuts to America’s military. Combined with the sequestration mandated in the Budget Control Act of 2011, these cuts have, according to former Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, left the Army as unready as it has been at any other time in its history. Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert has testified that “naval readiness is at its lowest point in many years.” According to Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh, the current aircraft fleet is “now the smallest and oldest in the history of our service.”
For seven decades, both Republican and Democratic presidents have understood the importance of ensuring the supremacy of America’s nuclear arsenal. President Obama seems not to. He has advocated cutting our nuclear force in the naïve hope that this will persuade rogue regimes to do the same. He has imposed limits on our ability to modernize and maintain nuclear weapons. He has reduced the nation’s missile-defense capabilities.
He says that he is committed to preventing nuclear proliferation. For more than 45 years, presidents of both parties have recognized that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is vital in this effort. Signed by 190 countries, including Iran, the NPT has been arguably the single most effective multilateral arms-control agreement in history. President Obama stands ready to gut it. Among the many dangerous deficiencies in his nuclear deal with Iran is the irreversible damage it will do to the international nonproliferation regime contained in the NPT.
Allowing the Iranians to continue to enrich uranium and agreeing to the removal of all restraints on their nuclear program in a few short years virtually guarantees that they will become a nuclear-weapons state, thus undermining the fundamental agreement at the heart of the NPT. President Obama is unraveling this international structure as part of an agreement that provides a pathway for the world’s worst state-sponsor of terror to acquire nuclear weapons.
Nearly everything the president has told us about his Iranian agreement is false. He has said it will prevent the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons, but it will actually facilitate and legitimize an Iranian nuclear arsenal. He has said this deal will stop nuclear proliferation, but it will actually accelerate it, as nations across the Middle East work to acquire their own weapons in response to America’s unwillingness to stop the Iranian nuclear program.
President Obama told us he would never accept a deal based on trust. Members of his administration, including his secretary of energy and deputy national-security adviser, said the nuclear deal would be verifiable with “anywhere, anytime” inspections. Instead, the Obama deal provides the Iranians with months to delay inspections and fails to address past clandestine work at military sites. Inspections at these sites are covered in secret deals, which is historic, though not in the way the president claims. Under the reported provisions of the secret deals, the Iranians get to inspect themselves for these past infractions. Inevitably these provisions will be cited by the Iranians as a precedent when they are caught cheating in the future.
The president has tried to sell this bad deal by claiming that there is no alternative, save war. In fact, this agreement makes war more, not less, likely. In addition to accelerating the spread of nuclear weapons across the Middle East, it will provide the Iranians with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which even the Obama administration admits likely will be used to fund terror. The deal also removes restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program; lifts the ban on conventional weapons sales; and lifts sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, on the Quds Force, and on Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani. Under Mr. Soleimani’s leadership, the Quds Force sows violence and supports terror across the Middle East and has been responsible for the deaths of American service members in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A vote for the Obama nuclear deal is not a vote for peace or security. It is a vote for an agreement that facilitates Tehran’s deadly objectives with potentially catastrophic consequences for the United States and our allies.
The Obama nuclear agreement with Iran is tragically reminiscent of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s Munich agreement in 1938. Each was negotiated from a position of weakness by a leader willing to concede nearly everything to appease an ideological dictator. Hitler got Czechoslovakia. The mullahs in Tehran get billions of dollars and a pathway to a nuclear arsenal. Munich led to World War II. The Obama agreement will lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East and, more than likely, the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The U.S. Congress should reject this deal and reimpose the sanctions that brought Iran to the table in the first place. It is possible to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, but only if the U.S. negotiates from a position of strength, refuses to concede fundamental points and recognizes that the use of military force will be required if diplomacy fails to convince Iran to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons.
As America faces a world of rising security threats, we must resolve to take action and shouldn’t lose hope. Just as one president has left a path of destruction in his wake, one president can rescue us. The right person in the Oval Office can restore America’s strength and alliances, defeat our enemies, and keep us safe. It won’t be easy. There is a path forward, but there are difficult decisions to be made and very little time.
We are living in what columnist Charles Krauthammer has called “a hinge point of history.” It will take a president equal to this moment to lead us through. America needs a president who recognizes that everything the nation must do requires having a U.S. military with capabilities that are second to none—on land, in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace. The peace and security of the world and the survival of our freedom depend on it. We must choose wisely.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Joy Reid Laments Voters Rejected ‘Carter’s Decency and Goodness’ for ‘Bluster’ of ‘Cowboy’ Reagan -

During a segment on Thursday’s The Last Word about Jimmy Carter’s cancer diagnosis, MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid complained that voters rejected “Carter’s decency and goodness” in the 1980 presidential election in favor of the “bluster” possessed by “cowboy” Ronald Reagan.  

Reid’s pronouncement was prompted by comments from host Lawrence O’Donnell about how Americans have “bought into [a] Trumpian concept of winners and losers” where you’re “utterly worthless as soon as you lose an election in this country” with Carter having “certainly suffered that imagery since losing the presidential election.” 

Nodding in agreement, Reid declared that: 
I think it says profoundly about who we are as a people that Carter's decency and goodness was taken for weakness and had to be remedied with the sort of bluster of a Ronald Reagan and that the idea we needed a cowboy to replace what people viewed as a man who wasn't cowboy enough to be president, that he was too nice.
Reid added a brief anecdote about how her mother had said that perhaps Carter “was too good of a man to be the President of the United States and he was just too nice” which she then used to scold the U.S. electorate for not seeing what Democrats saw in Carter: “I think it’s a bit sad that we, as a country, take a cerebral, gentle, a kind man for a weak man because that's not necessarily the case.”
Earlier in the segment, contrasting clips of Donald Trump and Carter (from his 1977 inaugural address) were played that allowed O’Donnell to tie together the now cancer-stricken Carter and Trump: “It took 38 years to go from Jimmy Carter's inaugural address, marked by humility and decency, to a front runner for a presidential nomination who has no humility and virtually no decency.”
Those remarks teed up former Carter speechwriter and journalist Walter Shapiro to bash Trump as “promising the American people a government as good as the worst elements and a shallow as the worst with elements of the American people” compared to Carter since he “promised the American people a government as good as its people.”
The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on August 20 can be found below.
MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
August 20, 2015
10:32 p.m. Eastern

THEN-PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER [on 01/20/77]: Your strength can compensate for my weakness and your wisdom can help to minimize my mistakes. 

DONALD TRUMP: I went to the Wharton School of Finance. You know, like really smart people go to the Wharton School of Finance, I will tell you.
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: It took 38 years to go from Jimmy Carter's inaugural address, marked by humility and decency, to a front runner for a presidential nomination who has no humility and virtually no decency. Watching Jimmy Carter's press conference today in which the former President dignified and humane as ever described his planned cancer treatment, journalist Walter Shapiro tweeted: “This is a moment to contrast the moment the grace of Jimmy Carter with the grotesque egotism of real estate developer to who thinks he is up for the job.” Joining us now is Walter Shapiro, fellow at the Brennan Center of Justice and a former speech writer for President Carter. Walter, please expand on that point. You have the floor. 
WALTER SHAPIRO: Well, first of all, Jimmy Carter when he ran in '76 promised the American people a government as good as its people. The way Donald Trump is running, he is promising the American people a government as good as the worst elements and a shallow as the worst with elements of the American people. I mean, the thing that gets me – forget his positions on immigration. The thing that got me is with Chuck Todd on Sunday when Trump was asked who are your military advisers and what he said is, oh, I just watch the Sunday shows. That's all I need. That, more than anything, is such a profound disrespect for the office and the whole Trump circus is more than anything scarily – he either sees the White House as a branding opportunity or he is totally oblivious to a job that Harry Truman decided as the sun, the moon and the stars all falling on you and I can't figure out which is worse. 
NATIONAL URBAN RADIO NETWORK’s APRIL RYAN: I mean, here you had someone who served in the military – there's no similarity at all. They are total opposites. You have Donald Trump, a man who's talking very negatively and I'm saying it in the best terms I can, about a war hero, John McCain and someone who served and believed in peace. He received a Nobel Peace Prize because he was trying to work out peace throughout the world, but tne thing also, that is blaring for me with Trump versus Jimmy Carter, you had Jimmy Carter who was someone who came from the south, Georgia, with steep still and racial problems in the '70s and he took the high road and he tried to stay away from that. He tried to build on integration, not segregation and here you have Donald Trump, talking about minorities the way he does. Particularly Mexicans, but one thing that really is blaring to me. What happened in Boston and how this homeless person was beaten up, urinated on and they are blaming it on Donald Trump. I will tell you this, Amos Brown, Dr. Amos Brown a board member of the national board of the NAACP said, you know, rhetoric like this is what started the situation in Charleston where that man went in and shot up nine people, shot them dead that that church. So, we have to be careful and you have Jimmy Carter who's a man of peace and this man who's not lily correct. We need some help in this time right now. 
O’DONNELL: Joy, the Carter presidency is – in America, we are I think bought in to Trumpian concept of winners and losers and you are utterly worthless as soon as you lose an election in this country. Jimmy Carter has certainly suffered that imagery since losing the presidential election. 
JOY REID: Absolutely and I think it says profoundly about who we are as a people that Carter's decency and goodness was taken for weakness and had to be remedied with the sort of bluster of a Ronald Reagan and that the idea we needed a cowboy to replace what people viewed as a man who wasn't cowboy enough to be president, that he was too nice. I remember growing up one thing my mother said to me is maybe he was too good of a man to be the President of the United States and he was just too nice and I think it’s a bit sad that we, as a country, take a cerebral, gentle, a kind man for a weak man because that's not necessarily the case. 
O’DONNELL: Walter, How did it feel inside the administration as you were approaching that re-election. 
SHAPIRO: Well, I didn’t get all the way through the reelection because I did the smartest thing in the entire world. I believe the Gallup polls and I got out in '79 and went to a place called The Washington Post, but the truth is, I have been thinking a lot about the Carter years as – and part of it is the things he doesn't get credit for. Number one, bringing human rights into the entire vocabulary of foreign policy. Number two, basically being pressing it beyond belief about energy. You could read Carter energy speeches, including the misnamed malaise speech from '79 and it reads like a Thomas Friedman column today and thirdly of all, 36 years we have had enduring peace in the Middle East and Israel's continued existence is the bedrock there as it’s negotiated by Jimmy Carter, peace with Egypt.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Donald Trump and all GOP candidates should pledge to authorize education savings accounts.
Republicans: Take the ESA Pledge | The American Spectator
The mainstream press and political pundits are bombarding us with a stream of warnings that Donald Trump and the other Republican candidates are driving minority voters away from the Republican Party by their “extreme” proposals and rhetoric. Whether or not one believes there’s any truth to this, Trump and every other Republican candidate can prove the dire predictions wrong with one simple act — sign a pledge that they support education savings accounts (“ESAs”) for all families and will work to pass legislation authorizing ESAs. No single policy proposal will do more to attract low-income black and Hispanic voters than treating the dreams and aspirations that those voters have for their children to be as important as those of families who can afford to move to the right zip code or pay private school tuition.

Mr. Trump and the other Republican presidential candidates should agree to sign the ESA pledge at the beginning of the CNN debate scheduled for September 16 at the Reagan Library. Nothing would be more fitting than for the leaders of the current Republican Party to honor the legacy of Ronald Reagan by signing this pledge in his library and before his wife, 32 years after the publication of A Nation at Risk. This Reagan initiative issued the alarm that “The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.” In its words, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war….” The authors of the report began with a restatement of a fundamental premise of the American Dream:
All, regardless of race or class or economic status, are entitled to a fair chance and the tools for developing their individual powers of mind and spirit to the utmost. This promise means that all children by virtue of their own efforts, competently guided, can hope to attain the mature and informed judgment needed to secure gainful employment, and to manage their own lives, thereby serving their own interests but also the progress of society itself.
Unfortunately, in 2015, we still do not give all children a fair chance since we only allow it to those with the economic means to segregate themselves in public schools in the right zip code, or in private schools. Mr. Trump and his fellow candidates would, by taking the ESA pledge, honor President Reagan’s beliefs, expressed at a White House briefing in January 1989, when he said:

Choice represents a return to some of our most basic notions about education. In particular, programs emphasizing choice reflect the simple truth that the keys to educational success are schools and teachers that teach, and parents who insist that their children learn.… And choice in education is the wave of the future because it represents a return to some of the most basic American values. Choice in education is no mere abstraction. Like its economic cousin, free enterprise, and its political cousin, democracy, it affords hope and opportunity.
Americans today still fundamentally support Reagan’s belief in the inherent right of parents to make the best choices for their children with as little interference from the government as possible.
For a more recent example of the power of parental choice, the Republican candidates should look to Nevada, where in January 2015 Republicans took joint control of the Nevada legislature and governor’s mansion for the first time since 1929. Less than six months later, Nevada Republicans passed a ground-breaking law allowing universal school choice for the first time in the history of the United States. The power of ESAs can be seen by the fact that those families whose children aren’t currently eligible for the program because their children attend private schools are clamoring for an amendment to include them. Nearly every poll shows that, regardless of political persuasion, economic class, or race, two of every three Americans support school choice. As Deborah Beck, a Democratic pollster put it, in announcing the results of her January 2015 poll showing 70% support for the concept:
“The poll clearly shows widespread support, among both political parties, for school choice. Any public official — or potential candidate for President — who ignores these numbers does so at their own peril.”
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and his fellow Republicans, by following the beliefs of President Reagan and authorizing ESAs, made it possible for families all over America to legitimately ask Mr. Trump and every political leader: If Nevada trusts its parents to make the right choice, why can’t my children have the same freedom and opportunity? As Assemblyman Ira Hansen said, when one of the bill’s opponents questioned whether parents are skilled in making the right choices for curriculum and instruction: “I think we need to have more confidence in our parents…”

Monday, August 17, 2015


Are Reagan Democrats Becoming Trump Democrats? | The American Spectator
The Gallup poll. December, 1979.

President Jimmy Carter — 60%. Former California Governor Ronald Reagan — 36%. So confident was Carter White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan of the coming year’s presidential election that he boasted: “The American people are not going to elect a seventy-year-old, right-wing, ex-movie actor to be president.” Hamilton Jordan was a smart guy — and he was also wildly wrong. A little less than a year later the American people — ignoring that Gallup poll — elected Ronald Reagan to the presidency in a landslide — in a three-way race. Reagan won 50.8% of the vote to Carter’s 41%. Third party candidate John Anderson, a liberal Republican who had been defeated by Reagan in the GOP primaries, won a mere 6.6% of the vote. Reagan carried 44 states to Carter’s six plus the District of Columbia.

What happened? How could Reagan go from losing a Gallup poll to Carter by 24 points — then winning the actual election by almost 10 points? Answer? The emergence of what would become known to political history as “the Reagan Democrats.” Who were they? Blue collar, working class, largely Catholic and ethnic, they originally emerged in Richard Nixon’s 1968 and 1972 elections. In which Nixon referred to them as the “Silent Majority.” In 1980, angered by Carter’s handling of the economy, the feckless handling of the Iran hostage crisis, and the left-wing tilt of the Democrats, these voters — many of whom had voted for John F. Kennedy twenty years earlier — returned with a vengeance. Famously, Macomb County, Michigan, which cast 63% of its vote for JFK in 1960, turned around in 1980 and voted 66% for Reagan.

On Tuesday night of this week, Donald Trump appeared in Birch Run, Michigan in Saginaw County. Here’s the headline from the Detroit Free Press:
A lovefest for Donald Trump in Birch Run
The story begins:
BIRCH RUN, Mich. — Addressing about 2,000 very enthusiastic people at the Birch Run Expo Center, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump touched on everything from immigration, China, the military, Obamacare and his Republican opponents. 
The crowd, some coming from outside of Michigan, ate it up, giving him frequent standing ovations and breaking into chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump!” and “U.S.A, U.S.A.”
The obvious question. Are Reagan Democrats returning to the center of the American political scene — this time known as Trump Democrats?
A new CNN poll in Iowa has some very revealing stats. The poll notes:
Donald Trump has a significant lead in the race to win over likely Iowa caucus-goers, according to the first CNN/ORC poll in the state this cycle. Overall, Trump tops the field with 22% and is the candidate seen as best able to handle top issues including the economy, illegal immigration and terrorism. He’s most cited as the one with the best chance of winning the general election, and, by a wide margin, as the candidate most likely to change the way things work in Washington.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

[VIDEO] Q&A with Bobby Jindal at #Red State Gathering 15

Bobby Jindal’s long been a friend of us here at RedState, so it should come as little surprise that he came to speak at this year’s Gathering. What you can view here is part of the question and answer session we had with him earlier this year. It’s a short video, but since he’s running for President in 2016, I think it’s nevertheless important to view. Check it out:

He does a great job of tearing apart the Iran Deal and why Obama’s attempt to compare himself to Ronald Reagan is laughable. He also discusses oil production in Louisiana and how the BP oil spill affected his state. In the process, he points out just how little the Obama administration knows about oil drilling. Of course, that revelation comes as a surprise to no one who has paid attention to the federal government over the last 6 years.
What this video showcases best is what might be Bobby Jindal’s biggest selling point in the 2016 campaign: he’s smart and he knows how to take apart an argument. I hope we get to see more of this on the campaign trail.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hard Truth for the GOP from its Base

The failure of the Republican presidential field (with one notable exception) to stand with its own voters on the burning issue of our time -- mass uncontrolled and unresisted illegal immigration to America -- is one of the most infuriating examples of electoral incompetence in living memory. Not only is this issue central to the concerns of an overwhelming majority of regular Republican and conservative voters, but it is the issue most likely to carve off substantial numbers of regular Democratic voters.  In short, vigorously opposing the ongoing, unprecedented, presidentially invited and abetted invasion of America across its southern border is not only obviously the right policy for the country on its merits, but very possibly the only issue with the potential to carry the Republican nominee not merely to victory but to decisive victory.

In America as in Europe, electoral necessity has placed the Left on the wrong side of illegal immigration for a perilously significant number of its own voters. In America many of those voters are there for the taking -- in Iowa, in Ohio, in Virginia, in Colorado, in Florida, to name but a few not insignificant places -- but the question, as always since Reagan, is whether the Republican Party wants to win the presidency or to lose politely.
In unmistakably blunt language, all the Republican candidates should be declaring the following:

  1. That our border to the south must be secured, whatever it takes, as an absolute, non-negotiable prerequisite to discussing how to deal with the tens of millions who are already here illegally.  The idea that real border security is unachievable is facially absurd to the American people, as is the morally spurious argument that any nation needs to apologize for defending its own borders or establishing its own immigration criteria.
  2. That, after election, the new Republican president will not, under any circumstances, grant any form of blanket amnesty to those who have entered the country in violation of our laws, and that he will work to achieve a complete reversal of the illegal and unconstitutional executive amnesty already granted by President Obama (which Hillary Clinton promises to uphold and enforce).
  3. That our immigration laws do indeed need comprehensive reform, but not the kind of “reform” the Democrats want, where millions of impoverished uneducated future government dependents are taken in and distributed among key states until the country becomes a dependable one party nation -- the 1965 Immigration Act has indeed done its work. We need a new immigration law that will favor assimilable immigrants, possessing skills and education that improve the competitiveness of the American economy and meet real needs.
None of the foregoing should be even remotely controversial in a well run, first world republic that wants to continue being one. None of it would be controversial to about 75% of the electorate.  All of it would be music to the ears, not only of virtually the entire voter base of the Republican Party but to substantial numbers of regular Democratic voters, both of whom see the connection between mass low skilled illegal immigration, on the one hand, and low wages, declining schools and neighborhoods, and increased crime on the other.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Michael Reagan: Trump Has My Dad's 'Passion'

Image: Michael Reagan: Trump Has My Dad's 'Passion'(Frederic J. Brown//AFP/Getty ImagesDonald Trump shares an important characteristic with President Ronald Reagan — and it could serve him well in next Thursday's first GOP debate of presidential candidates, commentator Michael Reagan tells Newsmax TV.

In an interview Friday with "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth, the son of the late president says the surging Trump speaks with the kind of "passion" his father so brilliantly conveyed.

"The best thing that these candidates can do is be themselves," Reagan said. "America wants to see who they are and what they represent and where they want to take America."

Reagan added "consultants get rich from these campaigns and meanwhile they give us losers."

"I want to see, and America wants to see, that campaign that says 'you know something, this is where I want to take America. I am passionate about it. These are my issues. This is what I want to do,'" Reagan said.

"That's why America right now has surrounded Trump, in this case, because he's off the cuff and he speaks from his own passion."

Reagan recalled a 1980 debate in which his father showed a rare flash of anger over the order of speakers, exclaiming, "I am paying for this microphone" — and helped turn the tide of his campaign in New Hampshire.

"[T]hat night my [late] sister Maureen and I… looked at each other … and said 'it's about damn time you lost your temper' because we had never seen our dad ever lose his temper — ever raise his voice at all to the children, to anybody — and then all of a sudden he comes up with that one and we said 'bravo Dad. It's about time. You deserve to be able to, in fact, do that,'" he recalled.

Reagan also teed off on Hillary Clinton's email scandal, asserting it won't topple her from the top of the Democratic heap in the presidential primary because of "the power that is wheeled by the Clintons" in the party — but that it might "eat her alive" in the general election.
"We've seen over the years that nothing really sticks to Bill [Clinton] but everything sticks to Hillary Clinton," he said. "The one thing that Bill has that Hillary Clinton has never had is likability. She is not likable and she certainly isn't relatable."

"Bill Clinton would get elected today again if he were the nominee of the Democrat Party and we had nobody run against him… she's hoping that just simply being a woman and selling that will bring the women to her table, but I don't think that's ever going to happen."

"I hope these emails eat her alive but [that] she stays at the top of the heap for the Democrats," he said. "[A]nyone of our possible candidates out there can beat Hillary Clinton in November of 2016."

Friday, July 31, 2015

[EDITORIAL] Republicans are embracing many versions of Reaganism

The Republican Party has a bigger problem than Donald Trump: It hasn’t figured out what it wants to be.
GOP candidates still worship the legacy of Ronald Reagan, and cast themselves as Reagan’s heirs; there’s hardly a GOP stump speech in Iowa or New Hampshire that doesn’t invoke the 40th president’s name. “Every Republican likes to think he or she is the next Ronald Reagan,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul noted last year.
But there’s little consensus among conservatives about what Reaganism means in 2015 beyond the basic principles of small government and lower taxes.
When Reagan arrived in the White House 34 years ago, the top federal tax rate was 70 percent and the economy was crippled by inflation and recession. Now the top tax rate is below 40 percent and the main economic problem is stagnant middle class incomes.
What Would Ronnie Do? The candidates can’t agree.
“The core of the Republican debate is over what Reaganism means today,” said Henry Olsen, a conservative scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “And the major candidates are giving quite different answers.”
Confusingly, each of the leading candidates can claim to represent at least one facet of their favorite modern president.
Jeb Bush is campaigning as Reagan the conciliator, an optimistic conservative who reached out to nonbelievers. But his measured tone — and his last name — have reduced his appeal to the right-wing base.
“There’s an element of anger among many conservatives that wasn’t present 15 years ago, but Bush seems to find it incomprehensible,” Olsen said.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is campaigning as Reagan the innovator; he’s done more than any other candidate to roll out new proposals, including a tax reform plan (co-written with Sen. Mike Lee of Utah) that would lower taxes for families with children. But that’s landed him in trouble with those who think the Gipper would have wanted to cut tax rates deeply instead; the Wall Street Journal editorial page condemned Rubio’s idea as “redistribution.”
Wisconsin’s Scott Walker is campaigning as Reagan the combative governor, an outsider who made his state government smaller. He’s likened his fight with public employee unions to Reagan’s decision to break the federal air traffic controllers’ strike in 1981.
And Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is campaigning as Reagan the ideologue, a conservative who — unlike the real Reagan — disdains the idea of compromise even in his own party. (He’s proposed a flat tax, which would lower rates on the affluent but raise them on lower-income taxpayers.) “Nobody quotes Reagan more and understands him less,” Olsen jibed.
There are more candidates — from the relatively moderate Ohio Gov. John Kasich to the libertarian Paul to the social conservative Rick Santorum — who also consider themselves Reaganites. And they might all be right. Reagan’s White House included conservatives of many different stripes, from the pugnacious Patrick J. Buchanan to the pragmatic James A. Baker III.
So when Republicans vote in primaries and caucuses next year, they’ll be choosing one version of Reaganism over another, but that may not be the most important choice they make.
Equally important will be the temperament of the candidate they pick, especially his or her ability to reknit a fractious party back together.
There’s nothing wrong with vigorous intra-party debate, of course. But today’s GOP is fragmented into at least five factions: libertarians, social conservatives, tea party conservatives, establishment conservatives and moderate conservatives. And that could make the process of unifying the party around a nominee longer and more difficult than it has been in the past.
When Reagan ran in 1980, there were only seven candidates in the race; this year there are 16. And many of them have access to seemingly endless supplies of money, which means they won’t feel much pressure to drop out even if they fare badly.
If Republicans are lucky, the winner will be a candidate who not only updates Reagan’s message, but also shares his ability to unify his party and broaden its appeal. That, too — not just the ability to communicate a conservative ideology — was Reagan’s political genius.
Editorial by The Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

All the way with LBJ and Obama

Count on it: When it comes to foreign policy, two-term presidents -- and even most one-term presidents -- will change course along the way. Since 1933, only two have not: Lyndon Johnson, who rode the Vietnam War all the way down, and Barack Obama. That's not a good sign.

Consider the record. When Franklin Roosevelt entered the White House in 1933, he began by torpedoing the World Economic Conference and accepting neutrality legislation. But over the 1930s, he moved from isolationism to leading the United States into the Second World War.

At first, Harry Truman drew down U.S. military strength rapidly after 1945, especially in Europe. But as the Cold War began to take shape, he reversed course and brought the U.S. into NATO.

Dwight Eisenhower moved from rejecting summits with Soviet leaders and opposing Western intervention in the Middle East, to holding summits and intervening himself. Jimmy Carter couldn't accept the Soviet Union was a problem, until it invaded Afghanistan.

Ronald Reagan confronted the Evil Empire, but after 1983, decided the time was right to negotiate with it. George W. Bush entered office saying that the U.S. military should be doing less in the world, but 9/11 changed many minds, including his.

The only real exception to the rule is Johnson, who hated the Vietnam War, but who got us into it and was never willing to get us out. True, the changes don't happen for the same reason. Sometimes, presidents are wrong and recognize it, like Carter.

Other times, presidents, like John F. Kennedy, deliberately reverse the policies of their predecessor, only to find out after a few years that the previous guy wasn't entirely wrong. At times, as with 9/11, the world changes, and the president changes as a result.

And sometimes, as with Reagan, their initial policies work, which allows them to move on to a new part of their strategy. But in most cases, change isn't a sign of failure. It's a sign of success, of adaptation, or at least of learning.

Nor is it a sign that presidents are giving up on their goals or their core beliefs. With the exception of genuinely clueless presidents like Carter, most changes are about means, not ends.

That's because it's not reasonable to expect presidents to change who they are. If they were so easily changed, they wouldn't have become president. But it is reasonable to expect them to look at how they're doing, at the world around them, and adjust accordingly.

Obama stands out because he is the same man we first elected in 2008 -- which is fair enough -- with the same foreign policy. Unlike almost all of his predecessors, he's not changed significantly. Unfortunately, that's a lot less reasonable.

Yes, there have been tactical adjustments. Obama talks less about the United Nations now than he did in 2009. But the first thing he did when he came into office was to reach out to Iran; over six years later, we're still riding that train.

Obama wanted to "reset" relations with Russia. He still hankers after the same thing, as evidenced by his comments about Vladimir Putin after the Iran deal. He wanted to reduce U.S. involvement in the Middle East, and reach out to adversarial regimes like Cuba's diplomatically, so that he could focus more on domestic policy. No change there, either.

I don't agree with these policies. But what is remarkable to me is the consistency with which Obama has pursued them. Obama has a perfect right to have his values. But precedent suggests that presidents who don't adapt how they apply their values are regarded by history as failures.

 - Ted R. Bromund is a senior research fellow in Anglo-American Relations in The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation.
Originally appeared in Newsday

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Charlie Daniels: ‘America Needs a Leader’ Like Ronald Reagan By Charlie Daniels

Remember back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when the Berlin Wall was coming down and all the talk about perestroika and glasnost were making the rounds, when Gorbachev came to power and was being viewed as the great Russian reformer who would bring about the long-awaited change that would bring the deprived population into prosperity and twenty-first century convenience, when scores of MiG fighter jets were mothballed at obscure Balkan air bases and the Russian leadership was making overtures about better relations and stronger ties with the west?
Remember when western leaders were acting as if the long east-west struggle between communism and capitalism had run its course and that the awful Mutual Assured Destruction policies were a thing of the past? Back when the KGB was disbanded – it was actually never disbanded – it just changed its name and never lost its intimidating power.
Remember when the old Soviet Union started to crumble, when the two Germanys were reunited and the eastern Europeans found themselves on their own for the first time since before the second world war, when the west was breathing an excited sigh of relief, thinking that, at last, Russia had seen the error of their repressive ways and were ready to become a true democracy? It was right then that I said, “This ain't real, and the Russians are not our friends” – the government that is, not the people.
The truth of the matter is that under Ronald Reagan's relentless military buildup, Russia's fevered attempt to keep up had finally caught up with them. The Soviet Union was broke, they couldn't enter the arena of supersonic war planes, “Star Wars” missile shields and all the technologic wonders that America was putting on the battle lines.
They were simply outspent, outgunned and outmaneuvered, left with little else but a very bleak future of ever-increasing military spending, which took the “guns or butter” proposition to an untenable level.
Russia's nuclear system was old and unproven. Its borders were long and expensive to patrol. The levels of secret police it took to control the restless populations were unsustainable. The war in Afghanistan, and the fact that they weren't being regularly paid, had drained the morale of the Russian army.
Their crops regularly failed, and after decades of the "one size fits all" Communist doctrine, the people had become unproductive and restive.     
So, Russia made their overtures and bided their time, waiting for the Western World to be lulled to sleep in their desperate quest for "peace in our day." They waited for the election of a leader of the free world whose idealism outweighed his good sense, someone who was unwilling to accept, that in most of the world, the only thing they respect is power and a leader who is willing to use it should it become necessary.
From 1987 to the present day, we have come from "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," to (tell Vladimir) “After my election, I have more flexibility.”
The Russian bear has come out of its long hibernation and is back in the business of empire building. The Crimea has fallen, and the Ukraine is just a matter of time. America and the west has lost its power to intimidate, and left to his own devices, it looks as if Obama will eventually strip it of its ability to be the greatest fighting force the world has ever known.
Russia will become more belligerent as time goes by, vying for influence in the Middle East and gobbling up the Balkans, reestablishing the parts of the old Soviet Union they consider to be profitable for them.
America has left a long trail of unfinished wars, broken promises, imaginary red lines and the likes in the decades since Reagan transformed the American military from an organization that couldn't even mount an operation to rescue the Iranian hostages into the best of the best.
America needs a leader, not a poll follower, an ideologue or someone naive enough to believe that if you'll be nice to the bad guys, they'll be nice to you. America needs a leader with the guts to stand by an ally and let the world know it, even in uncertain times.
America needs a leader who wants to preserve, not circumvent, the constitution. She needs a leader who has respect for the rights of the states and will leave them to a reasonable amount of self-governance, a leader who knows when to hold ‘em and knows when to fold ‘em. She needs a leader who recognizes political correctness for the sham it is and refuses to hide behind it.
Is such a person out there?
I truly don't know, but I pray to my God that there is, that they will come forth, and with His guidance, lead this nation out of the spiritual, fiscal and dangerous morass we find ourselves in. America needs a uniter, someone who would never sink to dividing the races for political purposes, someone who will bring back our military superiority, destroy ISIS by whatever means necessary and make this nation proud to go back to work.
Tall order?
Sure is.
Can it be done?
It’s happened before.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.

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