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Ear to the Ground

Obama’s New Role Model: Ronald Reagan?

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Posted on Jan 27, 2011
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What could Ronald Reagan possibly have in common with Barack Obama, except, say, a certain demonstrable allegiance to Wall Street? Time’s Michael Scherer and Michael Duffy tease out some ways in which The Gipper’s legacy may be informing Obama’s own leadership style, despite their apparent differences. A stretch? Perhaps, but then, Obama himself and some of his close allies have invoked Reagan’s name themselves.  —KA

Time:

At a glance, it’s hard to imagine a President who had less in common with Reagan than the Ivy League lawyer from Hawaii who seeks larger federal investments, a bigger social safety net and new regulations for Wall Street and Big Oil. But under the surface, there is no mistaking Obama’s increasing reliance on his predecessor’s career as a helpful template for his own. Since the November elections, Obama has brought corporate executives into the White House, reached out to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and made compromise his new watchword. He signed a surprise $858 billion tax cut that would have made Reagan weep with joy and huddled with Reagan’s former White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein for lessons learned when the Gipper governed amid economic troubles. Over the Christmas break, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted that Obama was reading a Reagan biography, and just to confirm the bond, Obama recently wrote an homage to Reagan for USA Today. “Reagan recognized the American people’s hunger for accountability and change,” Obama wrote, conferring on Reagan two of his most cherished political slogans.

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By terry, February 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hello all. Scheer admirer since Ramparts currently stumbling in as a critical casualty of the intensifying Reagasm possessing Huffington Post, MSNBC, Sunday talk, and the usual corporate apologists, including Mubarack Obama.
Not here though to wring hands over the voting- more accurately nonvoting- patterns of the lumpen middle class, which will bring down upon them and their wide screens what they deserve.  I have no interest in Whatever Must Be Done to Avoid Whatever. As a matter of fact, I am deeply suspicious of crisis mentality- especially in our leftward camp. This is liklier another boring afternoon in the early autumn of American Empire. I sense an odd equlibrium within amazingly narrow parameters. Aren’t the Right and Left fighting in a phone booth in such close quarters no one can land a good punch? Aren’t we lucky that domestic fascists can be content with overpowered vehicles, gladiator sports, and sucking on the military? Aren’t we lucky that the corporate left defines itself by making fun of- and thereby elevating- a regional politician/housewife expressing a popular discontent the media minions of the President cannot tolerate. We are. Is crisis a left pathology contracted in utter defeat at the polls?
I vote Green and forget the rest; I’m obviously no analyst. But I respect analysis, enjoy dialogue, and admire to my soul the compassionate humanism of the young Left in what is still, thank God and His friend history, the rational West. When the Left advances a more fantastical apocalypse than the Christian evangelists, it’s time to question basic assumptions.
One is that everything matters when nothing does. Two is that the continuation of the world itself is bound up with our perceptions of the future. Three is to expect to control processes governed by natural and social laws predating science and civilization. But the illusion of control is itself the Imperial illusion. I’d rather the Imperium be values-based than force-based; but let me know when anything involving humanism fills a stadium on Sunday.  God am I glad the proletariat is in a stadium on Sunday and not on the street. I dig Hedges and David Cyr to pieces; but guys- don’t tell me anything like a popular mass movement in the street would go your way. Don’t kid me like that.

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By MarthaA, February 1, 2011 at 12:07 am Link to this comment

Namgnuoythgirog, January 31 at 1:34 pm and Namgnuoythgirog, January 29 at 10:11 pm,

It seems you are trying to hide behind backward spelling of my name, that you were incapable of accomplishing correctly, to avoid answering both mine and ThomasG’s posts.  You aren’t the brightest candle in the church, are you?

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By Go Right Young Man, January 31, 2011 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Aathram,

The entire premise of your questions are falsely framed thus cannot be answered. wink

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By ThomasG, January 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man, January 30 at 10:29 pm,

Go Right Young Man: “I live in one of the most tolerant, educated, inclusive, wealthy and healthy nations on the planet.  A place where the poorest suffer obesity.  Where one can cross from state to state without papers or having to “pay homage” to street thugs every 10 to 30 miles.  A place where any man or woman, who’s parents earn the lowest of wages, holding the lowliest of poistions, can grow to be the leader of the free world.” GRYM, January 30, 10:29pm Truthdig Forum ‘Obama’s New Role Model: Ronald Reagan’

ThomasG’s Answer:  Which America are you talking about, the class and cultural America of the American Aristocracy, http://www.hulu.com/watch/112523/the-american-ruling-class - the class and cultural America of the Middle Class singularity, or the class and cultural America of the American Populace that is excluded by the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class singularity from political representation by a political party and from the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that represents the class and cultural interests of the American Populace.

You must be more specific about which America you are talking about, Young Man.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Beaudigger,

I live in one of the most tolerant, educated, inclusive, wealthy and healthy nations on the planet.  A place where the poorest suffer obesity.  Where one can cross from state to state without papers or having to “pay homage” to street thugs every 10 to 30 miles.  A place where any man or woman, who’s parents earn the lowest of wages, holding the lowliest of poistions, can grow to be the leader of the free world.

Your warnings, while popular on this small piece of the Internet, will never widely resonate.

God Bless America!

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By ThomasG, January 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

Beaudigger, January 30 at 8:35 pm,

“What is wrong with you people, what are you drinking?” Beaudigger, January 30 at 8:35 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:  The answer to your question is that we first have to deal with what they are drinking, the elixir of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all that everyone is spoon fed from the cradle to the grave to give them a false sense of advantage based upon the American Dream, an illusion without substance.

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By Beaudigger, January 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

How can anyone educate the public on two points:
1. Reagan and BushII increased spending and debt like no other presidents in history.

2. Our system is broken and we need a real third party, not one catering to the whims of those who put us in the bad place we now inhabit.

America, open your eyes before it is too late.  They got your property value, now they want your social security.  It took so long to get:
40 hour work week
guaranteed disability
Child Labor Laws
Overtime
Paid Vacation
the list goes on…

What is wrong with you people, what are you drinking?

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By Go Right Young Man, January 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

Aathram,

All you do is spread hate and division.

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By MarthaA, January 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man, January 29 at 1:31 pm,

Thanks to “Zeitgeist” and all similar documentary type movies like The Bush-Nazi Connection and Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore, more and more people are becoming aware and Conservative Right-Wing Republican EXTREMIST sophistry and propaganda is hitting a brick wall instead of leading them against their best interest, and as more and more of the propagandized become aware, there will be a remarkable cut in the Jared Loughner type loner killers, with the exception of the <a href=“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKULTRA”>MK Ultra type, as an aware American Populace will know that individuals can’t do anything political as individuals, but have to use the power of their entire class and culture, the American Common Populace’s Class and Culture, NOT the American Middle Class and Culture that separated in the 1980’s from the American Common Populace’s Class and Culture when the <a href=“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Leadership_Council”>Democratic Leadership Council, DLC, was originated as their representation in cooperation with the http://www.hulu.com/watch/112523/the-american-ruling-class, the American Aristocracy.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 29, 2011 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Yes, thank you Aathram.  People are waking up to the fact that Jarad Loughner was, not unlike yourself, obsessed with the film Zeitgeist.

Thank goodness there are so few of you in the United States and on the planet.

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By prisnersdilema, January 29, 2011 at 1:28 am Link to this comment

Thanks for the link Martha, people are starting to wake up…

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By MarthaA, January 28, 2011 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment

prisnersdilema, January 28 at 10:57 pm,

Here is an exceptional movie about economics in the USA from Matt on another thread, “Where Liberals Go To Feel Good”, it is slow getting started, but every bit worth the wait:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

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By prisnersdilema, January 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

No, another conservative lie, among many others.

President Obama ran as a progressive and won as a progressive. He is taking to the right because, he is a fraud.

No conservative could have won the last election, that’s why Obama, was put forward, to continue the dismanteling of the country started under Bush. He was a staw dog, sent by Goldman Sacks.

Trying to convince others of your foolishness is only a way to convince yourself, because you know that inside there is doubt about what you believe. Otherwise there is no point.

This country doesn’t have the money to bail out the financial system, or the corporate crooks who run things again, they have bled the people of this country dry, and now they have no where to turn.

Obama, is a fraud, just like Raygun was a fraud, suffering from alzheimers, he was Don Regans puppet. He probably didn’t even know what day it was.

Conservative politics is a complete and total failur, all they can do is talk now. Because the financial disaster we are living in now is a result of them.

When you allow bankrobbers to run banks, this is what you get. They would be behind bars now under the old banking rules.  If it wasn’t for Clinton, another faud, baby Bush, and Obama they would be now.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

“Conservative politics have driven this country to it’s grave,  parroting the conservative lies, is (t)he symptom of brainwashing by the right.”

-

Yes, yes brainwashing.  The many “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” theories.

Now back to the point.  No outwardly progressive candidate for president can win the office these days.  It’s the reason President Obama is tacking to his right.  He and his team are not conjuring up images of Reagan in order to present an “progressive agenda”. - We should deal with the world as it is.  Not as we wish it to be.

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By prisnersdilema, January 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Try to be honest with yourself instead of oozing right wing lies from every pore.

Gore won the popular vote and was defeated by the supreme court not Bush.

Conservative politics have driven this country to it’s grave,  parroting the conservative
lies, is he symptom of brainwashing by the right.

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By Inherit The Wind, January 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Great…modeling after the 2nd worst president since Grant…If it wasn’t for the incredible fuck-ups Bush II, Grant, Tyler and Buchanan, “The Gipper” would be, IMHO, the worst President the US ever had.

As it is, since Grant, only Bush II has been worse—and he was FAR worse! Even such luminaries as Nixon and Harding were better Presidents.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

‘Yes a real progressive can get Elected.”

-

That must be why Clinton/Gore adopted the language of Reagan in 1991.  That must be why Clinton/Gore moved toward the middle and co opted republican issues in 94.  It also explains the reason Kerry/Edwards condemned Bush for Iraq but did everything possible to outdo Bush on seeming militarily strong and “Ready For Duty”.  All for the sake of “progressivism”.

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By prisnersdilema, January 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

No Obama won because independents voted for him. That won’t happen again.

Obama won because independents thought him to be a liberal and a progressive, not a
wolf dressed in sheeps clothing. Yes a real progressive can get
Elected.

What’s he have in common with Raygun, both men are liars, and sold out their
couintrymen for a fast buck.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 28, 2011 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

When not playing it safe by voting “present”, the most liberal voting member of the Senate outdid all others in tacking to the far left during the 2007-08 democratic primaries.  That’s what it takes in contemporary American politics to win democratic primaries.  No outward and outspoken so-called progressive can get elected president in America.  If Obama, or any other democratic candidate for that matter, wished to be president he had no choice but to tack toward the middle in the general election.

Well, election season is gearing up once again.  After a democratic agenda pushed through the House and Senate over the last two years, after passing major legislation which has failed to enjoy the support of the majority of Americans, the most progressive president since FDR has little choice but to tack back to, not only the center, but to “Reagan conservatives” in order to make himself more palatable to the majority of the voting public.

Mr. Obama is, first and foremost, a politician playing the game of politics.  Ronald Reagan won the presidency in two landslides elections and remains wildly popular today.  Mr. Obama is no fool.

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By madisolation, January 28, 2011 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Obama channels Reagan, not out of any core conviction because Obama has no core convictions, but because he it benefits him financially. I’ve never seen a president as self-absorbed as Barack Obama. Hand him a mirror and he can occupy himself for hours.

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By arnie, January 28, 2011 at 7:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the whole country and world is suffering the stockholm syndrom..we no longer see our oppressors as our enemys….when we do they do the bait and switch on us and we are no better off!!

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By Alan, January 28, 2011 at 1:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Concessions by O. to Reaganism are in large
measure by way of Clintonism.
Deja Clinton all over again.
Trade deals with no enforcement of
minimum social standards, we’ve seen that before.
It is arguable that
NAFTA caused more harm than good.
And another detail which should be examined is the
din of the constant corporate propaganda demanding
so called “tort reform” under various false banners and false claims.
There is little enough recourse for the simple
citizen confronted with an intimidating, imperious
corporate bureaucracy as it is.
Attention gun nuts! stop fixating on your right to
bear arms and start fixating on your right to fair
representation in the courts when
confronting corporate power!

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By Miko, January 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To be honest, there’s only one significant difference
between Reagan and Obama: Reagan was against torture.

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By MarthaA, January 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

I can see a president from the Liberal side of the spectrum playing politics with Reagan Right-Wing Republican Conservatism, but I can’t see a president from the Liberal side of the spectrum following Reagan Conservatism. Demented Reagan was a follower that led our country to the cliff, but, sadly, from the Liberal side of the spectrum,  it was the best Republican ever, Bill Clinton, that pushed our country over the cliff into NAFTA, CAFTA and all the other terrible trade agreements that destroy jobs in the United States.

It does appear Robert Novak is more the role model than demented Reagan, who said ‘If you say so, it must be true, but I can’t remember’——anything of his administration’s dastardly deeds——so it was OK, even though all of the Reagan administration led the charge, but were allowed to skate out of the Iran-Contra Affair, and really, those that are alive, still need to be held accountable.

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By Robespierre115, January 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

Why the surprise? Since Day 1 there have been many similarities:

Reagan supported brutal, despotic regimes in Central America and the Middle East.

Obama supports brutal, despotic regimes in the Middle East, Colombia, Peru, Honduras etc.

Reagan carried out brutal acts of terror and warfare in the the name of fighting Communism and “terrorism.”

Obama continues to rain death down on Pakistan and Afghanistan with the excuse of “fighting terrorism.”

Reagan stabbed the working class he claimed to support in the back.

Obama…well, need I go on?

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By Queenie, January 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

Channeling the Gipper, huh? Here I was thinking all the time Obysmal’s role model was Robert Novak.

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