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Obama: Farrakhan and Reagan
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, January 17, 2008

Senator Barack Obama, yesterday:
Senator Obama's decision yesterday to distance himself from his hometown minister and repudiate the Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, has drawn praise from leaders in the Jewish community. The issue arose after a Washington Post columnist, Richard Cohen, penned an article that pressured Mr. Obama to take a stand on a decision by his Chicago church to honor Mr. Farrakhan, who has made repeated anti-Semitic statements over the years. "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in any form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements by Minister Farrakhan..."
I'd say that's fairly definitive. But while he's decrying the Farrakhans of the world, he's embracing ... Reagan?
I don't want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what's different are the times. I do think that for example the 1980 was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. 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.
Now, I understand his point. For the most part I agree with it. Reagan figured out how to tap into the mood of the nation at the time. And he addressed it optimistically. What Obama is claiming is that same sort of mood exists (perhaps not for the same reasons) now and that he's figured out how to tap into that. And because he has, he will be able to "return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."

Of course the devil is in the details, and those details of governance are nothing like Reagan's. But it is interesting, at least to me, to see even Democrats - liberal Democrats - stretching to make the connection with Reagan.
 
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Of course the devil is in the details, and those details of governance are nothing like Reagan’s.
The problem is that the Reagan era (meaning both the Democrats and Republicans are to blame, not just Reagan) saw our debt grow from 30% of GDP to over 60% of GDP, near where it is now, and was also the time when we went from being a creditor nation to a debtor nation (our current account went from surplus to deficit), and we started down an economic path that has created real structural problems now. Again, I’m not blaming Reagan — both parties partook of this borrow and spend policy. Clinton and the Republicans cooperated to improve things in the late 90s, but it was possible only because of the stock boom/bubble and low energy prices.

The next President has to restore fiscal discipline and make some difficult choices. Obama may not be talking along those lines yet, but I think reality is going to force some real difficult choices in America’s economic policies. Maybe we need someone inspirational who can manage to get the American people to understand the need for such change. And perhaps a Democrat will have an easier time doing it than a Republican, since it might stifle some of the opposition Democrats would make if a Republican tried it (a sort of economic ’only Nixon could go to China’ thing).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It is certainly refreshing to see that The Gipper is no longer political kryptonite on the port side of the political divide.

Agreed that 80’s fiscal outcomes did not match the rhetoric. And the success during the Clinton era was more by negligent default than due to any active bi-partisan collaboration. Here’s hoping (perhaps against hope) for a return to gridlock...
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
Deficits and the national debt are the only protection that we have against more socialism. Reagan knew that and so did Milton Friedman, one of his advisors.

The national debt could be gotten rid of in fairly short order is we would get rid of its main cause: entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, and a handful of others. Once those are made private, and the reigning economic doctrine of the U.S. becomes that of privatization, then the national debt will be paid down and go away. The liberal position is to raise taxes (the idiot Krugman wants to see the Federal government’s portion of the economy grow from 20% to 40%, if I remember that correctly) and add in universal health care.

In addition, you have the states and local municipalities adding up their tax burdens.

The situation is murderous, but the "people" want more socialism, so that all can be grievously poor together.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
The problem is that the Reagan era (meaning both the Democrats and Republicans are to blame, not just Reagan) saw our debt grow from 30% of GDP to over 60% of GDP,
Mostly due to previous Democratic administrations. You know, social security, medicare, welfare . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Mostly due to previous Democratic administrations. You know, social security, medicare, welfare . .
Not really — otherwise debt would have risen before then, there was a steady decline in debt as a % of GDP from WWII to 1981. Also, most of the social welfare programs we had were supported by a Republican administration — one which also had a health care plan that in many ways was more comprehensive than the one Clinton wanted. We’ve got a Nixon-Ford social welfare system. Of course, there was a Democratic Congress.

But none of that requires high deficits. The Europeans (see my blog today) have started to get their house in order and look ready for a period of growth. We’ll have to do the same.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Of course he’s going to tie to Reagan. In case nobody has noticed, that’s the campaign book he’s using.

Not the political views, but the entire positive "vision thing".

I’ve been halfway expecting "Morning in America" ads to start running next.
 
Written By: Silussa
URL: http://
Silussa, morning in America is when he runs for re-election. You’re right, though, of all the candidates his campaign is the most Reaganesque.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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