"Progressive" is becoming more of a dirty word, but all political labels – except "being like Ronald Reagan" - are falling into disfavor with many U.S. voters, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
"Liberal" is still the worst and remains the only political description that is viewed more negatively than positively. Being like Reagan is still the most positive thing you can say about a candidate.
So says the latest Rasmussen polling on the subject. Now for conservatives, "like Ronald Reagan" has been the only acceptable position for a politician to have, for a long, long time.
I’m sure the David Frums, Peggy Noonans, Colin Powells, and Kathleen Parkers of the world are hyperventilating right about now, as they are the ones always telling us the "era of Reagan is over." I guess they are wrong once again! Shocking, huh?
It’s been twenty years since the great Renaldus Magnus, as he is affectionately known, has sat in the Oval Office, so why is he just as appealing today as he was back in his prime? I think it’s because Reagan was such a strong leader, and just a great man, but that is probably way too simplistic.
Ronald Reagan was part of the American consciousness for most of the last century. I won’t attempt to write a biography here, there are plenty out there for folks to read and enjoy, but some of the highlights of Reagan’s career and how we came to love the man are certainly something to talk about.
Reagan was an actor, and while some called him a "B-Movie Actor," he also gave us one of the most memorable characters of all time when he played George Gipp in the movie "Knute Rockne, All American." While the movie itself was about famed Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne, one of the most memorable performances was Ronald Reagan playing George Gipp. Gipp was a great football player who died too young of a strep infection.
Now I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years. None of you ever knew George Gipp. He was long before your time, but you all know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame. And the last thing he said to me, "Rock," he said, "sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock," he said, "but I'll know about it and I'll be happy."
Pat O'Brien as Knute Rockne
Win one for the Gipper became part of the American lexicon. As for Reagan, the Gipper nickname stuck, and became just another affectionate name we know him by.
Reagan was much more than just an actor though. He was President of the Screen Actors Guild, and a solid spokesman. He was also a democrat, who famously said: "I didn’t leave the democrat party, the democrat party left me."
And Reagan, who had a sharp wit, never missed the chance to have fun with that:
In fact, one of the things that we all loved about Ronald Reagan was his ability to speak well and deliver great one liners as well as funny stories.
But Reagan was more than a good line and a bright smile. Reagan was also someone who loved America with all of his heart. He saw America as a "shining city on a hill" the world’s last best hope. Reagan was always concerned that Americans understood our great gifts of freedom, and kept a constant watch for things that would cause Americans to lose those freedoms.
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
What really sets Reagan apart, at least for me, is how not only were his warnings appropriate for their time, but can be applied to today’s events as well. In fact, it’s uncanny how the same things Ronald Reagan warned us about, communism and the slightly less oppressive socialism, are still real threats today.
For example, no one understood the danger to freedom and liberty that socialized medicine posed better than Ronald Reagan. Back in 1961 as they had been trying for decades, the democrat party was trying to shove socialized health care down an unwilling America’s throat. Reagan took part in the "Operation Coffee Cup Campaign" and went on a speaking tour, forcefully warning about the dangers of allowing the government to control health care.
Anyone who has actually read H.R. 3200, the most likely version of Obamacare to pass, knows Reagan was right then, and even more right now! Obamacare is nothing less than a complete and total usurpation of the Constitution. It totally remakes American society, turning it into a communist state, with a centrally controlled government, and centrally planned economy.
America was designed to be a lose confederation of states, coming together as a Republic for mutual benefit, but with each remaining sovereign. It’s what the 10th Amendment to the Constitution is all about. Once Obamacare is passed, states rights, and most individual rights go right out the window.
If we as Americans are to retain our freedoms and liberties, it is imperative that we listen to Ronald Reagan. It is imperative that we stop the government’s attempt to "reform" health care.
Now I am not saying health care doesn’t have it’s issues. It does. But health care in America is still the best in the world, and has the highest quality, and is available in the most timely manner, to the greatest number of people.
There are common sense plans out there. Plans that include major tort reform, and the ability for Americans to shop for insurance nationwide rather than just within their state. There are thousands of insurance companies nationwide. The Obama regime claims to want "more competition" for the consumer’s dollar. What better way than to open the door for all Americans to shop all of the various insurance companies nationwide?
Ronald Reagan didn’t just warn us about socialized medicine though. Few understood better than Reagan that liberalism was a losing proposition. That liberalism made absolutely no sense whatsoever. That liberalism was a contradiction all unto itself.
"Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
In another speech that absolutely applies today, Ronald Reagan speaks out on the dangers of allowing liberals to be elected to positions of responsibility.
In 1964 Reagan gave this speech at the Republican National Convention in support of Barry Goldwater, the candidate for President. The speech, titled "A Time For Choosing" is one of the most iconic of all time. In fact, it has come to be known simply as "The Speech."
If I had my way, this video would be required viewing by every school kid in America. It would be a required course, in fact, to get a high school diploma, and there would be advanced teaching on it in colleges and universities nationwide.
It’s just that important!
What is rather chilling, is how we can listen to Ronald Reagan 45 years later, and apply absolutely everything he is saying to our current situation.
This might help explain why "like Ronald Reagan" is still the best thing you can say about a politician!
Here’s a bit of an exercise for you. After watching the video, write down just how many things Reagan was talking about, that not only exist in our current climate, but are even a greater threat today. Reagan understood all too well just how dangerous it was to allow government to grow too large and too powerful.
Ronald Reagan also warned that the "once honorable democrat party" was on a strong march towards socialism, or Marxism, as he called it. Today, we understand it as communism, plain and simple. We now have a President who was raised by communists, mentored by communists, and is now surrounded by, and seeks advice from, self avowed communists.
"A socialist is someone who has read Lenin and Marx. An anti-socialist is someone who understands Lenin and Marx"
We are left asking ourselves just how in the hell this happened!
Ronald Reagan was an inspiration to America at a time when we needed it the most. America was in a slump. The American moral was as low as it had ever been, and current national embarrassment, Jimmy Carter, had all but destroyed the economy forever. Carter had also allowed our military readiness to become dangerously low.
Our foreign policy was a joke. Under Carter, radical Islam was able to come to power in Iran and the greater Middle East. We are all suffering to this day because of Carter’s failures in this area. And frankly, our current White House occupant is following Carter’s lead.
I always laugh at the imagery surrounding Barack Obama. We were told when he was elected that the sea levels would lower, the skies would be brighter, and it would be rainbows and unicorns for all.
Well, I remember just how defeated Americans felt during the Carter years. Just how bad it was. We actually had a "misery index" concocted by the media just to tell us how bad our life sucked on any given day. Double digit unemployment, double digit inflation, and double digit interest rates on loans was the way of life in America.
Ronald Reagan represented real hope. It truly was "morning in America" once Reagan was elected. Reagan brought an intangible, an "it" factor with him that many leaders will never have. Reagan exuded optimism. He was our oldest President ever to take office, and yet he was the very picture of virility. Reagan was both a strong and forceful leader and America’s father figure, a kind man with a reassuring smile that simply told you everything was going to be just fine.
In no time America’s moral was high. America’s confidence was on the rebound. People were very proud to be Americans again. I remember those days well, and they were simply electric. The new feeling of optimism was amazing. You honestly felt like you could achieve anything.
I was a young man back then, but the feelings of this energy effected me greatly. Reagan had so much confidence that it spilled over onto the rest of us. It made us all see that absolutely anything was possible.
Now it took more than a few years for America to start to recover from the Carter fiasco, in fact, almost all of Reagan’s two terms. If a person were to go back, and just look at raw numbers, they would see that much of Reagan’s presidency saw economic numbers, that until the Obama presidency, wouldn’t have been all that stellar, but compared to where we had been, there were great.
The greatest affirmation of the difference Reagan made, and the love for him back then, was his 1984 re-election. Now Reagan won an absolute landslide when he defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980. Reagan won 44 of 50 states in a three way race that saw Republican John Anderson run as an independent. Anderson being what we would call a RINO today. Reagan got 50.7 percent of the raw vote and Carter got 41 percent.
In 1984 though, the American people rewarded Reagan with an incredible 49 state win against former Vice President Walter Mondale, who barely won his home state and carried D.C. The Electoral College victory was 525 to 13, raw vote 58.8 percent to 40.6. To me that says it all about the confidence America had in Ronald Reagan.
History tells us that Reagan wasn’t a perfect man, but he was a great man. Reagan was able to shepherd American through some tough times. He defeated the Soviet Union without firing a shot. He brought new confidence to America, something that had been lacking. In time, it was the Reagan revolution that would end the 40 years of disastrous democrat party control of Congress, leading to a stunning victory for congressional Republicans in 1994.
It was truly Reagan’s moral compass though, his strength and integrity, that made him such a great leader. A man among men. It was the moral clarity he had that allowed him to look into the eyes of the American people and tell them liberalism, communism, and socialism were evil. It was that same moral clarity to allowed him to stand at the Berlin Wall and demand "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
It was that same moral clarity, that same strength and integrity Reagan had then, that still makes being "like Ronald Reagan" so desired today.
So where do we take it from here? Who is "like Ronald Reagan"?
Some names that come to mind are people like Dick Cheney. Say what you will about the former Vice President, when he speaks, he speaks with moral clarity, strength, wisdom, and with the love of our nation in his heart.
Liz Cheney is her father’s daughter. She is sharp, tough, and has a solid footing. There is Michelle Bachmann. While not as well known, she is certainly cut from the Reagan cloth. Strong, forceful, and unwavering in her beliefs and values.
But one simply cannot talk about leaders who are like Ronald Reagan without bringing up Sarah Palin. The comparisons are easy to make. Like Reagan, Sarah Palin is a strong leader with moral clarity.
Sarah has shown this clarity throughout her career. From battling her mentor on the Wasilla city council over his attempt to use his position to set up a monopoly for his company, to her legendary battle with Frank Murkowski’s "Corrupt Bastards Club."
For those that don’t know the story, Sarah had been appointed as Chairman of the powerful Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the agency that regulates oil and natural gas in Alaska. Sarah had been appointed by Governor Murkowski after she had lost her bid for Lt Governor. She was charged with overseeing ethics in her position.
Before long, Sarah realized she had a really corrupt shop. After being told to back off by her boss, the Governor, Sarah stepped down, "quit" as they say. Had to be a really tough decision. This was a high paying gig, six figures, and a powerful position from which to launch herself to even more powerful positions. After all, Sarah’s star was on the rise!
After Sarah "quit" she made it her project to go after the bad actors. As a result, she went after pretty much the entire Republican party leadership, a profile in courage in itself, and a sure fire case of political suicide. In the end, some went to prison, some paid fines, others were forced to resign. Then she ran and won the governorship.
Once in office, she was a strong leader. She was able to bring about sweeping changes and one by one fulfilled her campaign promises.
Claude Sandroff over at the American Thinker talks about the virtue of Sarah Palin. We all know the story of her post election experiences. Before Sarah ran for Vice President, the Republican party wasn’t exactly pleased with her, still smarting from the reforms she brought in, and the folks she took down, but she had a fairly cordial relationship with the Alaskan democrats in the legislature.
Then came the campaign. It has been well documented that Barack Obama brought Chicago style politics to Alaska through his campaign chief-of-staff, Pete Rouse, and Rouse’s longtime friendship with Alaska State Senator, Kim Elton. Their attempt to derail Sarah with the phony "Troopergate" witch hunt is also well documented
After Sarah lost her in her effort to be Vice President, no one would have thought the Alaska Mafia would have remained so dedicated to the Chicago masters, but how many times has a losing vice presidential candidate become even more popular and sought after!
The word came out from on high to keep the pressure on, and the Mafia started recruiting folks to file phony ethics complaints against her. There was already one misguided woman, Andree McLeod, who made a career out of filing outrageous complaints. But the rest were all manufactured to damage Sarah, a favorite democrat/communist tactic, right out of Saul Alinsky’s "Rules."
This is where Sarah’s strength, courage, and moral clarity came into play. It would have been very simple to sit still and fight this stuff. I mean these charges were all nonsense, and all thrown out. But the more she resisted, the more the Mafia filed, and at a quicker pace. And these leaches on society had not cost Sarah personally, they had also effectively stopped her government from functioning, and cost the taxpayers almost $2 million processing this mess. And if the pace of the complaints stayed the same for the rest of her term, these thieves were on track to cost the Alaska taxpayers as much as $10 million.
A lot of politicians would have stayed. They would have clung to power at all cost. Not Sarah Palin. As Sandroff puts it, this was:
"The very essence of virtue. It was Sir Thomas More resigning as Lord Chancellor and George Washington returning to Mount Vernon. It showed how rare virtue has become in our politics. It shows why we adore Sarah Palin and why we need her. And it explains why, even without office, she has become the most important political figure in America."
One can only imagine the struggle Sarah had with this, or maybe, it wasn’t a real struggle at all. Earlier in the year, just before a trip to visit her troops in Kosovo, Sarah Palin introduced Michael Reagan, the son of Ronald Reagan, at an event in Anchorage. While talking about how bad her critics wanted her to shut up and go away, she said this:
"They want me to sit down and shut up. But I won’t sit down, and I won’t shut up. Politically speaking, if I die, I die, but I will know I have spoken up! Stand up, speak up, be bold! Forget political correctness!"
History shows that Sarah has not sat down, and is not shutting up! Many, at the time, could not understand what Sarah was doing when she "quit." These people simply didn’t understand her unwinnable situation. These are the types who would have "fought to the end" costing their constituents more tax dollars, and damaging their state.
This was a stroke of genius though, and one I believe Ronald Reagan would have understood. Sarah, a star basketball player, was simply passing the ball off to someone, Sean Parnell, who could continue on with her policies, and not be hassled.
"He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared."
Sun Tzu, the Art Of War
Now that is a nice story, as far as it goes. A compelling one in fact. But it is not only the reason why Sarah Palin is "like Ronald Reagan"
No one can argue she is powerful. Who in the world, but Sarah Palin can change the entire national debate with a few paragraphs posted on a networking website?
Sarah Palin, not only had the moral clarity to understand exactly what Obamacare is, she was also able to distill it all down to a level of basic understanding. Her "death panels" said it all. And it wasn’t just the fact Sarah understood that Obamacare would most certainly lead to the rationing of care, she had the courage to say it the way she said it. She knew full well the wrath of both political parties, as well as the fringe media, Obama’s media, would come at her with full force. Sarah called Obamacare "downright evil."
We all know Ronald Reagan had moral clarity regarding the Soviet Union. He called them an "evil empire." His critics, in both parties, lost it every time he did this, but it didn’t stop him from saying it.
Before Reagan’s famous "tear down that wall" comment in his speech in Berlin, his advisers were telling him "no way" and to steer clear of that sort of thing. They had to be resuscitated after he said it! But Reagan knew in his heart it needed to be said.
Reagan lived to see the Berlin wall come down, and see millions of East Germans become free.
Before Sarah took up the fight, critics of Obamacare might as well have been talking to their houseplants. They were trying to nuance things. Trying to be "statesmen," at least in their minds.
Sarah looked at this mess, saw great evil. She saw a situation, that if continued, would lead America to certain disaster, and cause all Americans to lose precious liberties and freedoms. It’s that ability to not only recognize evil, wherever you see it, but to also have the courage to do something about it.
While the other so-called leaders in the Republican party were saying "slow down" Sarah wrote, "Not no, but HELL no!"
Because of Sarah Palin, and her inspiration to others, Obamacare is in shambles. And that gives us another "like Ronald Reagan" trait. Sarah Palin inspires people.
Sarah has been inspiring people for a long time, but her speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention was huge. Expectations were high, and she hit a home run. As Michael Reagan wrote days later in a column titled "Welcome Back Dad":
"I've been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we'd never see his like again because he was one of a kind.After Ronald Reagan lost his presidential primary bid to Gerald Ford in 1976, most considered him washed up, a has been. Critics, in both parties called him stupid, lazy, naive, inexperienced, even though he had been Governor of California! He was a B-Movie actor. Some even said Reagan was dangerous!
I was wrong!
Wednesday night I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he's a she.
And what a she!
In one blockbuster of a speech, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resurrected my Dad's indomitable spirit and sent it soaring above the convention center, shooting shock waves through the cynical media's assigned spaces and electrifying the huge audience with the kind of inspiring rhetoric we haven't heard since my Dad left the scene."
Reagan was from tiny Tampico, Illinois. He went to the "wrong" school, Eureka College. And Reagan was a small town, country boy at heart, his whole life.
The democrats hated Reagan with a passion, and so did the blue blood, country club elite, Rockefeller Republicans. The American people loved Reagan though, and obviously still do. God bless Ronald Reagan, and may his spirit always remain the spirit that inspires us all.