This one actually made me laugh out loud when I read it last week — and then I promptly forgot about it because it seemed so ridiculous, it was hardly worth a post. I’ve changed my mind about that part of it, however. Here’s what made me snort my morning gin out my nose:
So as Republicans survey the Trump defeat and the debris of yesterday’s unseemly chaos in the nation’s capital, we would do well to reflect on past moments of success and consider how we can recapture the moral high ground, the policy initiative, and the hearts of American voters in the next election.
I submit the following question for consideration: Can we consider, once more, some of the guiding principles of Ronald Reagan? To be sure, these principles are not exclusive to Reagan, but he seemed to bring the right blend of substance, vision, and communication skills that made these ideas consequential.
Yup… here we go again with the old (and failed) “moral high ground” argument, where it’s okay to lose as long as you do it with style and grace. It’s called the “magnificent loser” mentality, and Republicans have, over the years, turned it into a high art.
The problem (for those of my few Younger Readers who never heard of the man, another topic for another time) is that Reagan managed to communicate his vision and policies in an era when the Press was not a bunch of rabid Leftist dogs and Congress was not the cage fight it is today. It was, amazingly enough, a more gentlemanly era, maybe the last gentlemanly era in American politics, where one side listened respectfully to the argument of the other, admitted its good points, and then set about coming to some kind of compromise because Reagan wasn’t the Worst Thing Since Hitler, his policy initiatives were not Eeeevil Rayyycism and the consequences of White Entitlement, and all Reagan’s supporters were not NaziFascist scum who should be sent to reeducation camps.
Reagan’s governing style was very much a product of his time — actually, it was a style which hearkened back to a still-earlier time than the 1980s, but a style which most people (both Right and Left) not only recognized, but respected.
It should also be remembered that while Reagan did a lot of good, many of his policies would prove to be an abject failure — “Just Say No To Drugs” being perhaps the most egregious of them all, as we have since discovered.
Reagan’s adherence to the Marquis of Queensberry’s Rules of Boxing, in other words, wouldn’t work today when the other boxer brings his brother into the ring with him armed with brass knuckles and a baseball bat, the referee turns a deaf ear to his protests, the judges award his opponent twice as many points for the same number of blows landed, the Boxing Commission always rules against his appeals, the Press think that he’s a cheating bastard, and half the public is in favor of banning boxing competition altogether.
That is the world we conservatives find ourselves in now, and even to imagine that a return to the rules of a bygone era has any chance of success is not only idiotic, it’s subversive — which, to be frank, the Gentry Republicans have always been towards actual conservatism anyway.
And no greater example of idiocy can be found in the article’s title, which suggests that “Trumpism” is something to walk away from, despite the fact that more people voted for Trump (both in raw numbers and as a percentage of total registered voters) than ever voted for Reagan — this number coming in spite of many conservatives not voting for Trump because they despised him, but still more not necessarily liking Trump the man himself, but voting for him anyway because they approved of his handling of the economy, foreign policy, trade policy and immigration policy.
That is the point of Trump’s presidency: if you ignore all the petty stuff like those annoying off-the-cuff tweets and silly personal attacks on not only opponents but sometimes supporters too, Trump’s achievements would actually rank right up there with the records of any U.S. Presidents, and a lot better than many (Carter, Obama coff coff ).
And this is what Establishment Republicans (GOPe) want us conservatives to walk away from?
No wonder I laughed.
In the near future politics will become irrelevant, extinct.
Who wants to choose which bully to rule over them?
Now, it really is street gutter work.
Stealing, lying, etc., decent folk will shun it and distance themselves from it like they do most urban trash.
Honestly, I’m not so sure about your premise that politics was more gentlemanly back then. I was in college for Reagan’s first term, and in the beginning of my career in his second. The prevailing wisdom among my peers was that we were all going to die after we got drafted because RR started a war with Russia, the press called him Mr Teflon, his wife was despised, feminists insisted he wanted to keep them barefoot and pregnant, his Stars Wars Defense was stupid, Reaganomics, etc ad nauseum. I knew people just a few years ago who credited Bill Clinton with the fall of the USSR and the tearing-down of the Berlin Wall.
Reagan’s great ability was not to rise to the bait his detractors placed before him, refusing to get into arguments over unimportant things (like the White House china). In that way HE was gentlemanly, and it shut down the non-gentlemanly antics of his detractors. Completely unlike Trump, has Twitter banned him in 2018 he’d probably be President for the next four years, because they wouldn’t have been able to print enough ballots to keep him out.
It will interesting to see whom Trump has pardoned in his last hours as president.
As Mark D said, things weren’t necessarily better during the Reagan era. I’m guessing we are about the same age, in school during the first term and college/career during second term. They were savage to him constantly. The “gentlemanly era” that everyone on both sides remembers is nothing but a rose-tinted view of the false past and ignores the actions of the dems and the media.
And while Reagan’s style was certainly gentlemanly, it wasn’t style that made him the second best president ever (I put George Washington first). It was Reagan’s substance. Conservatism wasn’t just opposition to whatever the liberals thought. We had our own ideas, our own concepts of what this nation should be and Reagan was unashamed about promoting it. He stood firm on what America should be, without apology. He didn’t roll over and tuck tail whenever the media called him mean. He was able to communicate his message, but more important is that he had a message.
Today’s R party thinks that style will win with no real message, and no balls to back up a message if they had one. The fact that every last one of those SOB’s just accepted, hook line and sinker, the narrative that last week’s demonstration was an “insurrection” simple shows the complete moral cowardice and abject failure of the R party.
And I’ll add that it wasn’t Trump’s style that won the election in 2016, it was his message. That America was a great country and the role of the president/govt should be to put America first and Americans first. That we should actually work to promote our own interests. That message, whether it was build the wall, force the EU to pay for their own defense, support our allies over our enemies, reduce taxes to help the common man, etc and so forth, is what put Trump in office.
The R party wouldn’t dare run on that message again. Too scary for them.
Sorry, but your thesis is utter BS. The press attacked Reagan every bit as much as they did Trump, possibly more if you account for the relatively fewer news outlets at the time. Oh, also there was no conservative news at all at the time so it was a constant drumbeat of attack with no balance the other way at all.
The difference was that Reagan conducted himself with probity and class such that the majority of the attacks against him were ineffective and did not stick (thus the Teflon president moniker that was just the press complaining that their smear tactics did not work.)
The biggest difference was that Reagan could communicate directly with the people in clear succinct ways that got his message out in ways the news mavens could not counter. He could do that because he had been developing and communicating those ideas for 25 years before he became POTUS. This drove the press and the broader Left crazy.
Trump could not do that because he spent his whole life up until he ran for POTUS as a good NYFC liberal whose understanding of conservativism did not go beyond their stereotypes- which is why he sounded like such a shit show when he talked about anything close to first principles.
The problem that he has is the same that Bush (both of them) had, and Romney and McCain for that matter, none of them are conservative in any real fashion, it is something they put on like a costume to play at politics. All if them would have been just as happy to be Dems if that is what would have given them a path to get elected.
I didn’t support Trump in the 2016 primary because I felt he was just paying lip service to conservative principles. I thought it was politically wishy washy, moving with the wind to get whatever he needed from which ever party controlled New York’s political scene.
I was stunned when Trump appointed conservative judges and enacted conservative policies. The only problem I see with Trump is his ineffective use of Twitter to effectively communicate his policies and why they were the right policies. Reagan did that through television speeches, press conferences and daily briefings that got through the liberally biased media.
All the Republican presidents have faced horrendously partisan media. Twitter would have short circuited the liberal statist moonbat propaganda arm of the Democrat party if Trump had used it effectively. Twitter if used effectively could have been Trumps direct connection to the American people along the lines of FDR’s fireside chats. Instead, Trump used Twitter to get into the weeds of pointless name calling.
Sorry, but the repugnant party is now dead. I will never vote for a repugnantcan ever again after their total betrayal of Trump and those who voted for and supported him. I expect a huge blue wave in 2022 as republicans stay home.
Haven’t commented in ages. Had to put my two cents in here. I believe that having high morals is a sought after quality for which we should all strive.
That said, there is such a thing as street fighting. If a mugger attacks you on the street, there is no reason on God’s earth that you should take the moral high ground and ask him politely to stop. You kick him in the teeth and rip off his balls and stuff them down his throat so he doesn’t mug anyone ever again.
Another one that does not remember the Reagan days the same way you do Kim.
The student newspaper at my university dug up a picture of him when he starred in a movie with Erroll Flynn where he was in a Nazi uniform (He was wearing it as a disguise to escape from occupied Europe in WWII) and published it regularly. Along with pictures of him with the monkey from Bedtime for Bonzo labeling him as the dumber of the two.
The very usage for the term “Star Wars” for the Strategic Defense Initiative was a term of contempt for a program promoted by doddering old fool who didn’t know the difference between movies and reality (a common theme in the what we now call the MSM).
Lots of stories about how “proper people” felt embarrassed to admit they were Americans when traveling in Europe.
All the Right People were as convinced that Mondale would win in 84 as they were about She Who Will Not Be Named in 2016. And were just as outraged and butt-hurt about the results.
Of course all of that didn’t matter ’cause we were all going to die some night when he reached for his water glass on the night stand and hit The Button instead.
But you are correct that the politics of the day were not the cage match to the death Thunderdome spectacle we have to endure today. Back when some Democrats recognized the threat of the Soviet Union and would work with the Republicans on national security and foreign policy issues even while fighting tooth and nail (usually respectfully) to implement socialism domestically.
Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.
I was in 3rd grade in 1980, and 11th in 1988, so I was pretty young during the Reagan Years, but even I remember the constant insults and contempt the press had for him. My elder sister coming home from high school in tears at the awful meanie lefty social studies teacher and his awful misrepresentations of all the good he was doing (oddly enough, that same sister is now as loony-left as you can imagine, but it was college away from the influence of our parents that did it to her…). He was a Nazi, he was going to get us into a nuclear war with the Soviets, “Star Wars” wouldn’t work, no couldn’t work, so it was a boondoggle that he shouldn’t be pushing, acid rain from his bad environmental policies was going to kill us all (this was after Global Cooling hysteria ended, but before Global Warming hysteria began).
Yeah, it wasn’t any better then. I just think that overall more people were still willing to talk to each other and reach compromises and agreements — wasn’t it Reagan who said someone who agrees with you 80% of the time isn’t an enemy, but your closest ally? I don’t know that right and left were at that level of agreement, but it felt like it was higher than now, and the principle of “live and let live” seemed much more prevalent then also.
We’re about the same age and my recollections match yours. It wasn’t just the news media that gave Reagan a hard time, it was the entertainment industry, as well. It seems like every sitcom managed to work some sort of smear or insult into the script. I remember Golden Girls being particularly egregious.
I’ve got to disagree with you about Reagan, Kim. What he did was rise above it and turn it into a joke. For instance when challenged on age he said that he would not make an issue of his opponent’s youth and inexperience.
And I think you are missing something important: the number of people who voted for Trump increased significantly. I wonder if the Democrats’ success lay not in policy or character but simply getting the voters to vote? The ground game, if you will.
When Reagan was president the media was an absolute echo chamber with no dissension or competitor, who mocked him.
But when he was governor of California, he wasn’t afraid to take on and rightly place the blame on those who prevaricated over students who knew the law and ignored it, as seen here.
Mockery of GOPe, along with a change of wardrobe of fitted tar and feathering, seems appropriate.
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