Skip to comments.RONALD REAGAN "A Time for Choosing"
Posted on 01/30/2008 4:47:21 PM PST by Yosemitest
Ladies and Gentlemen, this speech not only needs to be read, but needs to be heard while you read it. It needs to be felt from the heart, as it was given from the heart.
But most of all, this speech needs to be updated for today's CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT. I strongly recommend you open a second window to "http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ronaldreaganatimeforchoosing.htm" and play the windcows media player to watch and listen to Ronald Reagan give this speech ( 27 minutes 32 seconds long ). You have to go down that link about one page.
Program Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, we take pride in presenting a thoughtful address by Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan:
Reagan: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening.
The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own words and discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.
I have spent most of my life as a Democrat.
I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines.
Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used,
But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn't something on which we can base our hopes for the future.
No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We haven't balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. We've raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world.
We have 15 billion dollars in gold in our treasury; we don't own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are 27.3 billion dollars. And we've just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents in its total value.
As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely.
Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace?
There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.
Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.
Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said,
And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.
This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government
or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right.
Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down: [up] man's old -- old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
: In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the "Great Society,"
or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people.
But they've been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print.
These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say,
Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as "the masses." This is a term we haven't applied to ourselves in America.
But beyond that,
Now, we have no better example of this than government's involvement in the farm economy over the last 30 years.
Since 1955, the cost of this program has nearly doubled. One-fourth of farming in America is responsible for 85% of the farm surplus. Three-fourths of farming is out on the free market and has known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. You see, that one-fourth of farming -- that's regulated and controlled by the federal government.
In the last three years we've spent 43 dollars in the feed grain program for every dollar bushel of corn we don't grow.
Senator Humphrey last week charged that Barry Goldwater, as President, would seek to eliminate farmers.
He should do his homework a little better, because he'll find out that we've had a decline of 5 million in the farm population under these government programs. He'll also find that the Democratic administration has sought to get from Congress [an] extension of the farm program to include that three-fourths that is now free.
He'll find that they've also asked for the right to imprison farmers who wouldn't keep books as prescribed by the federal government. The Secretary of Agriculture asked for the right to seize farms through condemnation and resell them to other individuals. And contained in that same program was a provision that would have allowed the federal government to remove 2 million farmers from the soil.
At the same time, there's been an increase in the Department of Agriculture employees. There's now one for every 30 farms in the United States, and still they can't tell us how 66 shiploads of grain headed for Austria disappeared without a trace and Billie Sol Estes never left shore.
Every responsible farmer and farm organization has repeatedly asked the government to free the farm economy, but how -- who are farmers to know what's best for them? The wheat farmers voted against a wheat program. The government passed it anyway. Now the price of bread goes up; the price of wheat to the farmer goes down.
Meanwhile, back in the city, under urban renewal the assault on freedom carries on. Private property rights [are] so diluted that public interest is almost anything a few government planners decide it should be. In a program that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy, we see such spectacles as in Cleveland, Ohio, a million-and-a-half-dollar building completed only three years ago must be destroyed to make way for what government officials call a "more compatible use of the land."
The President tells us he's now going to start building public housing units in the thousands, where heretofore we've only built them in the hundreds.
But FHA [Federal Housing Authority] and the Veterans Administration tell us they have 120,000 housing units they've taken back through mortgage foreclosure.
For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan. The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.
They've just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area.
Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks.
And when the government tells you you're depressed, lie down and be depressed.
We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning.
Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer -- and they've had almost 30 years of it -- shouldn't we expect government to read the score to us once in a while?
Shouldn't they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?
But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater.
We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night.
Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet.
But now we're told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We're spending 45 billion dollars on welfare.
Now do a little arithmetic, and you'll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, we'd be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family.
It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.
Now -- so now we declare "war on poverty," or
But seriously, what are we doing to those we seek to help?
Not too long ago, a judge called me here in Los Angeles. He told me of a young woman who'd come before him for a divorce. She had six children, was pregnant with her seventh. Under his questioning, she revealed her husband was a laborer earning 250 dollars a month. She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise. She's eligible for 330 dollars a month in the Aid to Dependent Children Program. She got the idea from two women in her neighborhood who'd already done that very thing.
Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being against their humanitarian goals.
They say we're always "against" things -- we're never "for" anything.
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.
Now -- we're for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age,
and to that end we've accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.
But we're against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments to those people who depend on them for a livelihood.
They've called it "insurance" to us in a hundred million pieces of literature.
But then they appeared before the Supreme Court and they testified it was a welfare program.
They only use the term "insurance" to sell it to the people.
And they said Social Security dues are a tax for the general use of the government, and the government has used that tax. There is no fund, because Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and admitted that Social Security as of this moment is 298 billion dollars in the hole. But he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed to bail them out of trouble. And they're doing just that.
A young man, 21 years of age, working at an average salary -- his Social Security contribution would, in the open market, buy him an insurance policy that would guarantee 220 dollars a month at age 65. The government promises 127. He could live it up until he's 31 and then take out a policy that would pay more than Social Security.
Now are we so lacking in business sense that we can't put this program on a sound basis, so that people who do require those payments will find they can get them when they're due -- that the cupboard isn't bare?
Barry Goldwater thinks we can.
At the same time, can't we introduce voluntary features that would permit a citizen who can do better on his own to be excused upon presentation of evidence that he had made provision for the non-earning years?
Should we not allow a widow with children to work, and not lose the benefits supposedly paid for by her deceased husband?
Shouldn't you and I be allowed to declare who our beneficiaries will be under this program, which we cannot do?
I think we're for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think we're against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially when we have such examples, as was announced last week, when France admitted that their Medicare program is now bankrupt. They've come to the end of the road.
In addition, was Barry Goldwater so irresponsible when he suggested that our government give up its program of deliberate, planned inflation, so that when you do get your Social Security pension, a dollar will buy a dollar's worth, and not 45 cents worth?
I think we're for an international organization, where the nations of the world can seek peace.
But I think we're against subordinating American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unsound that today you can muster a two-thirds vote on the floor of the General Assembly among nations that represent less than 10 percent of the world's population.
I think we're against the hypocrisy of assailing our allies because here and there they cling to a colony, while we engage in a conspiracy of silence and never open our mouths about the millions of people enslaved in the Soviet colonies in the satellite nations.
I think we're for aiding our allies by sharing of our material blessings with those nations which share in our fundamental beliefs,
but we're against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world.
We set out to help 19 countries. We're helping 107. We've spent 146 billion dollars. With that money, we bought a 2 million dollar yacht for Haile Selassie. We bought dress suits for Greek undertakers, extra wives for Kenya[n] government officials. We bought a thousand TV sets for a place where they have no electricity.
In the last six years, 52 nations have bought 7 billion dollars worth of our gold, and all 52 are receiving foreign aid from this country.
No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.
Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.
Federal employees -- federal employees number two and a half million;
and federal, state, and local, one out of six of the nation's work force employed by government.
These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards.
How many of us realize that today federal agents can invade a man's property without a warrant?
They can impose a fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury?
And they can seize and sell his property at auction to enforce the payment of that fine.
In Chico County, Arkansas, James Wier over-planted his rice allotment. The government obtained a 17,000 dollar judgment. And a U.S. marshal sold his 960-acre farm at auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the system work.
Last February 19th at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said,
But as a former Democrat, I can tell you Norman Thomas isn't the only man who has drawn this parallel to socialism with the present administration, because back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his Party was taking the Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he walked away from his Party, and he never returned til the day he died -- because to this day, the leadership of that Party has been taking that Party, that honorable Party, down the road in the image of the labor Socialist Party of England.
Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people.
What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property?
And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.
Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues.
They want to make you and I believe that this is a contest between two men
-- that we're to choose just between two personalities.
Well what of this man that they would destroy
-- and in destroying, they would destroy that which he represents,
the ideas that you and I hold dear?
Is he the brash and shallow and trigger-happy man they say he is?
Well I've been privileged to know him "when." I knew him long before he ever dreamed of trying for high office, and I can tell you personally I've never known a man in my life I believed so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing.
This is a man who, in his own business before he entered politics, instituted a profit-sharing plan before unions had ever thought of it.
He put in health and medical insurance for all his employees.
He took 50 percent of the profits before taxes and set up a retirement program, a pension plan for all his employees.
He sent monthly checks for life to an employee who was ill and couldn't work.
He provides nursing care for the children of mothers who work in the stores.
When Mexico was ravaged by the floods in the Rio Grande, he climbed in his airplane and flew medicine and supplies down there.
An ex-GI told me how he met him. It was the week before Christmas during the Korean War, and he was at the Los Angeles airport trying to get a ride home to Arizona for Christmas. And he said that [there were] a lot of servicemen there and no seats available on the planes. And then a voice came over the loudspeaker and said,
During the hectic split-second timing of a campaign, this is a man who took time out to sit beside an old friend who was dying of cancer. His campaign managers were understandably impatient, but he said,
Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy "accommodation." And they say if we'll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems.
Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple:
We cannot buy our security,
our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain,
Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this,
but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement,
and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face
-- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender.
If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum.
And what then -- when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we're retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically.
He believes this because from our side he's heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he'd rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us.
You and I know
and do not believe
that life is so dear
and peace so sweet
as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery.
If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy?
Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs?
Should Christ have refused the cross?
Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world?
The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain.
Where, then, is the road to peace?
Well it's a simple answer after all.
You and I have the courage to say to our enemies,
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth,
or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.
We will keep in mind and remember
that Barry Goldwater has faith in us.
He has faith
that you and I
have the ability and the dignity and the right
to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.
Thank you very much.
you’d never hear the current candidates ever say “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
odd that people today simply refuse to govern themselves.
Thank you for posting this. Keep the faith!
what an amazing speech!!!!!!!!!!!!
(then again, he’s why i picked my name)
Lest there be confusion, I mean in respect to “a time for choosing” as in party nominee.
I found the book
Let the updating begin.
What the hell happened along the way? Just look at what we are faced with as conservatives. It is truley a sad time. This Mcain is a selfish, turncoat socialist with ideas he has already tested with fiengold, Kennedy, and the rest of these diabolical, despicable liberal skunks. Hillary, Obama, Mcain, can anyone find a difference between them? I thougth so!
This must begin to be taught.
One of the best - if not the best - speeches I’ve ever heard.
Sincerely, I believe it will help to activate the conservative base to rebuild this speech to today's issues.
With all due respect after Reagan gave this speech at the 1964 convention Goldwater went on to lose the election by a wide margin to LBJ. It took 16 more years to get a genuine conservative elected to President (both Nixon and Ford were moderates). During those 16 years Reagan remained ever optimistic about conservatism’s ultimate victory.
But more important, if you were using this speech as a base to build a new speech for today, how would you change it?
Amen to that! bump!
If you believe that, you haven't read much about Ronald Reagan's writing process. He'd spent years developing those themes and tidbits. At that point, it's the series of vignettes just as is this interview of me.
In content, not a thing. In delivery, he later learned to slow down, pausing between points to allow them to sink in. This one was just a bit rushed and disjointed.
But still, this wasn't a 'prepared' speech.
Watch him shuffle through those 3 X 5 cards. Each on contained the notes to each of the vignettes he covered. In fact, the speech is a series of speeches, or diatribes, each long practiced on a range of topics.
That is why it is so disjointed. As an example of what I'm telling you, watch his transition from a discussion of Social Security to foreign policy; he did it almost without a break and certainly not a segue.
LOL, the medium is the message.
But we miss the point.
How do we bing it up to today's date to be used for today's issues?
I think it wouldn't be terribly expensive to construct a comprehensive set of presentations by various experts on multiple topics, each a combination of speech, video, and PowerPoint. They could be posted on YouTube and emailed as a set of links, each with a link back to a discussion site to complete the thoughts and organize action.
It would make a very good start. What I've tried to do is to construct the framework in writing, but transposition to multi-media shouldn't be terribly hard.
The first step would be to go find, collect, and disseminate what already exists. Guys like Steve Frank in California have email lists of over 100,000 people.
I dug my key into the side of his pretty little suped up four wheel drive
Carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville Slugger to both headlights
Slashed a hole in all four tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.
Right now she's probably up singing some white trash version of Shania karaoke
Right now she's robably sayin "I'm drunk" and he's a thinkin that he's gonna get lucky
Right now he's probably dabbin on three dollars worth of that bathroom Polo
Oh and he don't know that...
I dug my key into the side of his pretty little suped up four wheel drive
Carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville Slugger to both headlights
Slashed a hole in all four tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.
I might a saved a little trouble for the next girl
Cause the next time that he cheats
Oh you know it won't be on me
I dug my key into the side of his prety little suped up four wheel drive
Carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville Slugger to boeth headlights
Slashed a hole in all four tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.
Oh maybe next time he'll think before he cheats
Oh before he cheats
Ohhhh Oh Ohhhh /ul>
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 31, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated. [ 5 minutes 32 seconds ]
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And Senator John McCain is gaining momentum, but not all conservatives are jumping for joy.
Senator McCain is a polarizing candidate for many. And critics point to his stance on immigration, his work with Russ Feingold.
But with a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy on the Democratic side of the aisle, will true conservatives eventually fall in line and support the Arizona senator?
Joining us now, author of the "New York Times" best seller, "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd be Republicans," our friend Ann Coulter.
How are you?
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "IF DEMOCRATS HAD ANY BRAINS": Fine, thank you.
HANNITY: Your thoughts about -
Look I'm standing on substance here.
HANNITY: It's immigration.
It's limits on free speech.
It's not supporting tax cuts.
COULTER: It's Anwar. It's torture at Guantanamo.
HANNITY: Class warfare rhetoric. It's interrogations. It's Guantanamo. It's Anwar.
These are not small issues to conservatives.
COULTER: No, and if you're looking at substance rather than whether it's an R or D after his name, manifestly,
if he's our candidate, then Hillary's going to be our girl, Sean,
because she's more conservative than he is. I think she would be stronger on the war on terrorism.
I absolutely believe that.
HANNITY: That's the one area I disagree with you.
COULTER: No, yes, we're going to sign up together. Let me explain that point on terrorism.
HANNITY: You'd vote for Hillary
COULTER: Yes. I will campaign for her if it's McCain.
HANNITY: If Hillary is watching tonight, you just got an endorsement
COLMES: I just heard the word no.
COULTER: I was touched when she cried.
That part isn't true.
But the rest of it is true.
He has led the fight against
well, as you say, interrogations. I say torture at Guantanamo.
She hasn't done that. She hasn't taken a position in front.
HANNITY: Without interrupting you, let me give you one distinction
that's what liberals do to you. Let me give you one distinction, he did support the war
COULTER: So did Hillary.
HANNITY: But he stayed with it. He supported the surge.
I didn't like his criticisms of Rumsfeld, but he was right
COULTER: OK, let's get to him supporting the surge.
He keeps going on and on about how he was the only Republican who supported the surge and other Republicans attacked him.
It was so awful how he was attacked. It was worse than being held in a tiger cage.
Okay, well I looked up the record.
Republicans all supported the surge. He's not only not the only one who supported the surge,
I promise you no Republican attacked him for this. And you know why he's saying that, Sean,
because he keeps saying it at every debate, I'm the only one. I was attacked by Republicans.
He's confusing Republicans with his liberal friends.
They're the ones who attacked him for it, his real friends.
HANNITY: Hillary Clinton, if she gets her way, will nationalize health care.
She's going to pull the troops out of Iraq.
COULTER: I don't think she will.
HANNITY: That's what she's saying she's going to do.
COULTER: Compared to John McCain, she will do better.
HANNITY: She says in a hundred days she's immediately going to begin to pull out.
COULTER: Look, she's running in a Democratic primary. He's running in the Republican primary, and their positions are about that far apart.
When George Bush said at the State of the Union Address that the surge is working in Iraq,
Obama sat on his hands,
Kennedy sat on his hands,
Hillary leapt up and applauded that we are winning in the surge and that the surge is working in Iraq.
She gave much better answers in those debates when Democrats like Obama and Biden were saying what do we do? What do we do if three cities are attacked. She said, I will find who did it and I will go after them.
HANNITY: You want to sit back.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Can I just say something Ann -
Coulter: I would trust any republican - any republican - but John McCain - more than Hillary Clinton
.HANNITY:)Hey, you want to sit back -
COULTER: - Because with John McCain - Hillary is absolutely more conservative.
COLMES: My work is done. My work is done.
COULTER: Moreover, she lies less than John McCain.
I'm a Hillary girl now.
She lies less than John McCain.
She's smarter than John McCain,
so that when she's caught shamelessly lying, at least the Clintons know they've been caught lying.
McCain is so stupid, he doesn't even know he's been caught.
In fact, could you fill in for me next week?
COULTER: If it's McCain, I will.
COLMES: Let me get this straight, would you vote for Hillary Clinton?
COLMES: You would actually go in a voting booth
COULTER: If it's close and the candidate is John McCain, because John McCain is not only bad for Republicanism,
which he definitely is. He is bad for for the country
He is very very bad for the country.
COLMES: Can I tell you the last thing that Hillary Clinton wants? Ann Coulter's endorsement.
COULTER: He will not give up on amnesty.
He will not give up on amnesty. Now -
Even now he's running as a Republican, he won't give up on amnesty. I'm at that debate the other night, he's coming in attacking profits, capitalism -
COULTER: I'm serious.
COLMES: I know, but let me get serious for a second, because so far I haven't been.
Look, are you telling me
look at all the people endorsing McCain.
I'm not talking about Johnny come lately Republicans.
Nancy Reagan is wrong?
Rick Perry is wrong?
Arnold is wrong?
Charlie Crist is wrong?
COULTER: Okay, other than Nancy Reagan
COULTER: No. I will explain. It's not that they're wrong other than Nancy Reagan. And by the way
we loved Nancy Reagan for loving Ron Reagan. We didn't love her for her political positions.
Who wants embryonic stem-cell research? And I'm moving Nancy reagan to the -
COLMES: Hello. Hello. Are all of these people are off the beat.
COULTER: I'm trying to answer the question. Stop talking.
I'm moving Nancy Reagan to the side, and I'm saying all the rest of these political endorsements mean one thing;
they think he's the front runner. They want a job in his administration.
Nothing means less than an endorsement from someone who wants a position.
COLMES: They're all hoes just looking for a job?
but they all do want jobs.
COLMES: I'm giving her the opportunity
COULTER: They do all want jobs. What they want -
It's good to be friends with the king.
Some people - like me -
HANNITY: Will you be careful.
COULTER: Some people don't care about being the king.
Read Mark Levin
I don't think most conservatives are interested in McCains class ranking at Annapolis or how many planes he was nearly killed in. There have been a few posts here mentioning it.
And I appreciate all the references to Reagan's efforts to advance his agenda, which did involve making compromises with a Democrat House and, throughout most of his presidency, a Democrat Congress.
And if John McCain showed this kind of temperament and vision in his political career, I don't think most who object to his candidacy during the primaries would be objecting to it today. I think we would be enthusiastically supporting him.
Painting Reagan as a tax-and-spend Republican, who basically went along with Washington and appointed a bunch of moderates to the Supreme Court, in an apparent attempt to build up McCain's conservative and leadership credentials and mollify his critics, has the opposite effect mostly because it is inaccurate. It reminds me of Bill Clinton's supporters using Thomas Jefferson's alleged adultery to explain the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Reagan challenged his party from the Right. He sought the Republican nomination in 1968 against Richard Nixon and lost. He sought the nomination against Gerald Ford in 1976 and lost. He fought the Republican establishment in 1980 as well, including Bob Dole, Howard Baker, and George H. W. Bush, and won.
McCain has challenged his party from the Left. I don't know how many more times I and others have to lay out his record to prove the point.
To put a fine point on it, when he had to, Reagan sought compromise from a different set of beliefs and principles than McCain. It does a great disservice to historical accuracy and the current debate to continue to urge otherwise.
Let me be more specific, rather than spar in generalities. Reagan would never have used the phrase "manage for profit" as a zinger to put down a Republican opponent. Reagan believed in managing for profit because he believed in free enterprise. That doesn't mean he didn't agree to certain tax increases (after fighting for and winning the most massive tax cuts in modern American history), which were incidentally to be accompanied by even greater spending cuts.
McCain believes the oil companies are evil, and said it during one of the debates.
Among his first acts as president, Reagan decontrolled the prices of natural gas and crude oil with the stroke of his pen because, as he understood, profit funds research and exploration. Reagan had a respect for and comprehension of private property rights and markets that McCain does not. There never would have been a Reagan-Lieberman bill, in which the federal government's power over the private sector would have trumped the New Deal.
Reagan opposed limits on political speech.
The Reagan administration ended the Fairness Doctrine and the media ownership rules, which helped create the alternative media that McCain despises. Reagan's reverence for the Constitution would never have allowed him to support, let alone add his name to, something like McCain-Feingold.
As for Reagan's Supreme Court appointments, it is wholly misleading to simply list those who turned out to be disappointing as evidence of Reagan's willingness to compromise on judicial appointments or appoint moderates, or whatever the point was.
In Sandra Day O'Connor's case, he was assured by Barry Goldwater and Ken Starr that she was an originalist. While on the Court, she started out on fairly sound footing, and then lurched toward the Left, something Reagan could not foresee or control.
Yes, Reagan appointed Anthony Kennedy to the Court, but only after:
Reagan sought to abolish all kinds of federal programs and agencies from the Department of Education to the Action Agency/VISTA and the list goes on and on.
I imagine it wouldn't be too difficult for someone with the time and inclination, such as a think-tank scholar, to go back and examine the early budgets that Reagan sent to Congress. Am I the only one who remembers all the horror stories in the media portraying Reagan's budgets
The one area Reagan drastically increased spending was defense.
And while McCain is said to be among the most capable of hawks, he used little of his political capital and media savvy to oppose the Clinton cuts or to warn the nation about the rising threat from al-Qaeda, for that matter. He did not call for the resignation of his good friend Bill Cohen, who was a terrible defense secretary. McCain was not alone, of course. But a more fulsome examination of McCain's senatorial record relating to defense, intelligence, and law enforcement is met mostly with silence or admonitions to avert our eyes.
Reagan would not have led efforts to grant the enemy constitutional and international rights, as McCain has. I believe he would have sided with President Bush. After all, as president, Reagan rejected efforts to expand the Geneva Conventions to cover terrorists.
This is a key area of departure for McCain not only from Bush but most national security advocates. But, alas, we must avert our eyes, again.
As for the 1986 Reagan amnesty for illegal aliens, we've been down this road time and again.
The bill was carefully reviewed within the Reagan administration, including at the Justice Department (at the time, the INS reported to the attorney general). Reagan agreed that amnesty would be conferred on 2-3 million illegal aliens as a one-time event in exchange for adequate funding for border security. The bill passed in 1987. The border security part of the deal was never enforced.
To say that Reagan supported amnesty and no more is to rewrite history. There would have been no Reagan-Kennedy bill, written largely by LULAC and LaRaza.
But we must rewrite history
if we are to make the case that McCain is no different from Reagan,
Reagan is no different from his predecessors,
and Reagan's speeches weren't all that revolutionary.
And if we object to such characterizations, then the argument shifts to Reagan wasn't perfect,
the Reagan era is dead,
these are different times, etc. Then, if we criticize McCain's record we are told
Look, I do not believe that McCain is a principled conservative.
I believe he is a populist hawk in the tradition of a Scoop Jackson. This isn't a perfect comparison, of course, but nothing is ever perfect, is it?
In my view, this is why the hawks will support McCain regardless of his record in virtually every other respect. Moreover, they see McCain as the only Republican who has the will or ability or whatever to fight terrorism. I don't.
But please, can we at least agree, on National Review's website of all places, to stop dumbing down or dismissing the Reagan record. If you are going to use it, at least be accurate about it. It isn't perfect, but it is far superior to the backhand it received earlier.
02/02 12:52 PM
Mark Levin isn't called the GREAT ONE for no reason.
Doug from upland, PLEASE, ... I'm begging you, ... Help us stop McCain.
All I can do is vote and give money to the Romney campaign. I don’t want McCain in the White House, and I don’t want him in the Senate. But if it is Hillary or McCain, I am not staying home. That woman was sent here from the bowels of hell. She must be stopped.
I wish I wrote songs for Shanklin.