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Rand Paul is the one distorting Reagan’s foreign policy



Ronald Reagan was such a successful President – especially in the foreign policy realm – that virtually all Republicans today want to project themselves as the next Reagan and claim that their foreign policy is the same as Reagan’s in order to woo national security oriented voters.

One such politician is Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Because his principal rival for the 2016 Republican nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has distinguished himself from Paul by adopting Reagan’s foreign policy principles while exposing Paul as the neo-isolationist that he is, the Kentucky Senator is desperate to defend himself.

Therefore, he has recently launched an attack on unnamed “Republicans” (presumably Cruz) on the Breitbart website, falsely accusing them of “warping” Reagan’s foreign policy.

But in fact, it is Rand Paul, NOT Ted Cruz or other Republicans, who is warping and distorting the Gipper’s foreign policy. Let me demonstrate how.

Rand Advocates Deep Defense Cuts

Rand advocates deep, crippling cuts in America’s defenses, including and beyond sequestration; withdrawing US troops from strategically important bases around the world which are needed for power projection; isolationism masquerading as noninterventionism; and opposes even the most modest sanctions on Iran, claiming they would lead to war (a false claim that the anti-defense Left, including the Ploughshares Fund, also makes). Indeed, Rand has said that “not only should the sequester be maintained”, but that government spending, including defense spending, should be cut even further – as if the sequester’s and pre-sequester Obama defense cuts were not deep enough.

As a reminder, in his first two years, Obama killed over 50 crucial weapon programs, including the F-22 Raptor fighter (the only aircraft capable of defeating the newest Russian and Chinese fighters), the Zumwalt class destroyer, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, the Multiple Kill Vehicle for kinetic missile defense interceptors, and much more. In 2011, Obama cut another $178 bn from the defense budget under the guise of efficiencies. And in August 2011, Obama demanded and obtained another $1 trillion in defense cuts over the FY2012-FY2012 decade, including a $550 bn sequester that will take defense spending to $493 bn (less than 3% of America’s GDP) next year and keep in there until the mid-2020s!

Yet, Rand Paul thinks these defense cuts are not sufficient and demands even deeper, more crippling, defense cuts. This completely belies his claim that

“I believe, as he did, that our National Defense should be second to none, that defense of the country is the primary Constitutional role of the Federal Government.”

If the cuts required by the sequester (let alone the deeper cuts Rand demands) are implemented, the US military will be gutted. It will be a paper tiger, not a military force “second to none.”

Reagan would NEVER advocate such idiotic policies, and indeed throughout his entire presidency implemented the very OPPOSITE of the policies Rand advocates. OTOH, Ted Cruz – unlike Rand Paul – does support a Reaganite foreign policy: rebuilding America’s defenses, standing up to dictators like Putin where it matters, but avoiding being drawn into irrelevant or murky jihadist viper pits like Syria.

But it gets even worse. In the Breitbart article cited above, Rand not only distorts the Gipper’s foreign policy, he shows he completely doesn’t understand what that policy was and how it worked, and demonstrates – there, as well as in his recent (Feb. 25th) Washington Post op-ed – that he does NOT support a Reaganite “Peace Through Strength” foreign policy.

He claims that:

“Reagan also believed in diplomacy and demonstrated a reasoned approach to our nuclear negotiations with the Soviets. Reagan’s shrewd diplomacy would eventually lessen the nuclear arsenals of both countries.”

Leaving aside the undisputable fact that cutting America’s nuclear deterrent has proven to be a foolish mistake, it was Reagan’s toughness, not diplomacy, that won the Cold War. In fact, it was his toughness that brought the Soviet Union back to the arms reduction barganining table in the first place.

The Soviets returned to the negotiating table because they knew the US could keep up the arms race for long, while their own economy was flagging (and in 1991, it collapsed, as did the USSR itself) and couldn’t really sustain the arms race any longer, especially with the costs of the Afghan war, the Chernobyl disaster, and the late 1980s’ oil glut added. (Reagan convinced Saudi Arabia to dramatically increase its oil output to cut global oil prices and thus undermine Moscow’s oil-dependent economy).

I’ll repeat it again: it was Reagan’s TOUGHNESS, his harsh policies towards the USSR, that brought the Soviets back to the bargaining table and eventually won the Cold War. Not diplomacy, not detente, not nice words, not his friendship with Gorbachev.

Reagan never sheathed the sword – the sword was always hanging over the Soviets’ heads. And that’s PRECISELY why Gorbachev agreed to make concessions.

Rand further claims that:

“Many forget today that Reagan’s decision to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev was harshly criticized by the Republican hawks of his time, some of whom would even call Reagan an appeaser.”

But, as demonstrated above, it was Reagan’s TOUGH POLICIES, not diplomacy or nicety, that brought the Soviets back to the bargaining table. And Gorbachev initially wasn’t in a mood to make concessions. It was not until he understood the US was in a far stronger negotiating position, and when Reagan revealed the documents Col. Ryszard Kuklinski (a Warsaw Pact defector) handed over to the CIA, that Gorbachev began to make concessions.

(At the first Reagan-Gorbachev meeting, in 1985, the Soviet leader was initially as stubborn as his predecessors, not willing to make policy concessions. Then, Reagan’s Defense Secretary, Cap Weinberger, took his ace out of his sleeve: he gave the maps [stolen by Colonel Kuklinski] of secret Soviet bunkers, built for nuclear war, to Reagan, who gave them to Gorbachev, who in turn gave them to Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, the Soviet Chief of the General Staff, who accompanied Gorby. Akhromeyev was very scared upon seeing the documents, and explained their importance to the civilian Gorbachev. From then on, the Soviets were more willing to make concessions.)

Rand also believes firmly in a soft, appeasement-like policy towards Russia – ignoring the fact that it was such policy that led to the current  Crimean crisis in the first place. He falsely claims in his WaPo op-ed that America’s relationship with Russia should be “respectful” and that:

“There is a time for diplomacy and the strategic use of soft power, such as now with Russia. Diplomacy requires resolve but also thoughtfulness and intelligence.”

No. Diplomacy has had its time – and has dismally failed, as usual. Now is the time for FIRMNESS and MANLINESS. Now is the time to impose the harshest sanctions on Russia that are possible and to dramatically increase oil and gas production in the US (ANWR, NPRA, OCS, shale formations, authorizing the Keystone Pipeline) and to export these fuels to Europe to dramatically reduce its dependence on Russia for hydrocarbons. This would strike Russia where it would really hurt Moscow – and accomplish America’s goals without a single soldier and without firing a shot.

As for a “respectful” relationship with Russia – tell that to Vladimir Putin. Lecture him about “respectful” relationships, Mr Paul, not your fellow Republicans. Putin’s Russia has, in recent years:

  1. Invaded two sovereign countries on false pretexts, and in reality because they started aligning themselves with the West.
  2. Threatened a nuclear attack on the US or its allies at least 15 times.
  3. Repeatedly flown nuclear-armed bombers into US and allied airspace (and even into the airspace of neutral Sweden) on many occassions, even once on July 4th,
  4. Provided diplomatic protection to Iran, North Korea, and Syria, nuclear fuel and reactors to Iran, weapons to Iran and Syria, and sold tons of advanced weapons to China – weapons which will be used to kill American troops.
  5. Murdered journalists and other dissidents (e.g. Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko), and jailed many others, opposing the Putin regime.
  6. Conducted a huge military buildup that continues to this day and is slated to continue for long but which long ago has exceeded Russia’s legitimate defense needs.
  7. Repeatedly violated the INF treaty by testing and deploying missiles banned by the treaty.

And the US is supposed to have a “respectful” relationship with such a hostile regime, Senator Paul? Are you on drugs? Who is your foreign policy advisor, Pat Buchanan?

In short, Rand has shown, once again, that he is NO Reaganite, that he is virtually indistinguishable from his father on policy matters, and that he clearly does not believe in a “peace through strength” policy. Furthermore, he’s distorting the Gipper’s foreign policy record. Conservatives must not allow him to fool them; he would continue and even double on Obama’s failed twin policies of unilateral disarmament and appeasement of America’s adversaries. Just like Obama, Paul advocates appeasement towards the world’s most dangerous regimes, from Russia, to Iran, to Syria. No real conservative would ever vote for him.

What Western powers should do in response to Russia’s aggression


ReaganPeaceQuoteThe Russian aggression against Ukraine, initiated by President Vladimir Putin, has surprised many but not me, and should have surprised no one.

It is simply an inevitable consequence of the West, and especially America’s, shameless appeasement policy towards Russia combined with a long-running policy of unilateral disarmament (while Russia, under Vladimir Putin, has been arming to the teeth).

For many years, and especially the last five, Western nations have been dramatically cutting their militaries, defense budgets, weapon programs, and ambitions, while Russia has been dramatically expanding its own.

And for the last five years running, this writer has been sounding the alarm about these suicidal policies, warning that they would only lead to Russian intimidation, coercion, excesses, muscle-flexing, and eventually, aggression.

This writer most notably sounded the alarm in May 2009, writing that:

“Unless European states and America suddenly adopt a hawkish foreign policy and strengthen their militaries, Europe will become a mere province of the Russian empire.”

And as usual, this writer was right all along.

Meanwhile, all those who falsely claimed that “the Cold War was over”, “Russia is our friend/partner, not our enemy”, “you are a Cold War dinosaur”, “you need to shed this Cold War mentality”, and “the 1980s are asking to have their policy back” were dead wrong.

All those who claimed Russia was a partner and not a foe, that it should be appeased and accomodated, that Obama’s “reset” policy was right, that the US could afford to cut its nuclear arsenal further – from Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and the Cato Institute, to the CNAS, Michele Flournoy, Michael McFaul, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, and Pat Buchanan – were DEAD WRONG ALL ALONG.

These people should now publicly admit being wrong and shut their ignorant mouths up. But we should be under no illusions that they will.

Now Ukraine, a strategically important country and a weak neighbor of Russia, has been invaded by that country under the utterly false pretext of protecting Russian citizens and ethnic Russians in the Crimea – who were not threatened by Kiev in any way – just like Hitler annexed the Sudetenland in 1938, ostensibly to protect the Sudetenland Germans from the Czechoslovakian government.

In any case, what can and should Western powers do to stop Putin from going any further?

The first and most important thing is to immediately and permanently STOP listening to the advice from the Powell-Kissinger-Flournoy-Clinton school of foreign policy, which has once again (but not for the first time) been proven DEAD WRONG.

This means no more cuts in the West’s nuclear or conventional arsenals, no more “arms control” treaties, no more accommodating of the Russians’ demands. By committing such a blatant act of aggression, they’ve forfeited the right to be heard on any issue and to make any wishes or demands.

But the West must do much more to convince Vladimir Putin that it’s serious. Mere promises of toughness, verbal condemnations, and “dialogue” won’t stop him from committing further aggression.

Therefore, the US, Canada, and European countries should, until such time as the Putin regime collapses:

1) Immediately institute a TOTAL embargo on ALL Russian products except raw minerals.

2) Hasten the deployment of all stages of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe, and build an East Coast missile defense site.

3) Immediately withdraw from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Partial Test Ban Treaty, the New START, and the CFE Treaty.

4) Ban the Russian national air carrier, Aeroflot, from flying into US, Canadian, or EU airspace.

5) Warn Russia that any of its military aircraft that venture into US, Canadian, or EU airspace will be shot down without warning.

6) Expel Russian ambassadors from Western countries.

7) Boycott the upcoming G8 summit and Paralympic Games in Sochi.

8) Reverse all defense (budget, programmatic, force structure) cuts undertaken in the last 12 years and start building Western militaries up. In particular, the US should reverse all the cuts in its nuclear arsenal and fully modernize it; revive the MEADS, Airborne Laser, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Multiple Kill Vehicle programs; cancel the F-35 program and resume F-22 Raptor fighter production; develop the Reliable Replacement Warhead and the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator; increase its inventory of MOP bombs; reintroduce S-3 Vikings into service; improve its Navy’s ASW equipment and skills; build a Conventional Prompt Global Strike system; develop ASAT weapons; order more THAAD brigades; speed up naval railgun and laser development and deployment; and make more Aegis-class warships BMD-capable.

9) Lastly, and most importantly, Western countries should strike Russia where it is weakest: its economy. Specifically, Western countries, led by the US, should:

a) Impose total economic sanctions, including a total embargo and asset freezes, on Russia; and

b) Start freeing itself from Russia’s oil and gas domination by opening the Outer Continental Shelf, the ANWR, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, all shale oil and gas deposits throughout the West, and the reserves in the Everglades; liquifying coal; using methane in lieu of natural gas; cancelling the South Stream pipeline; authorizing the Keystone Pipeline; and building the Nabucco Pipeline instead (and as quickly as possible). In addition, the US, which is already a net oil and gas exporter, should immediately start exporting these fuels to Europe to help it wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons.

The Russian economy is terribly dependent on raw minerals exports; 66% of the Kremlin’s revenue comes from these exports, while manufactured goods exports account for only about 10%. Moreover, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has already caused significant unrest at the Moscow stock exchange, whose main index has seen a 10% fall (and a 20% decline in the Russian currency’s value to the dollar) just today (as of 8:24AM ET, 18:24 Moscow time).

Moreover, Putin’s totally incompetent interference in the affairs of Gazprom, the Russian gas producing and exporting company, has driven it into a debt of $50 billion – equalling its turnover of one year.

This invasion, and Vladimir Putin’s entire buildup of the Russian military, would NOT have been possible absent the boon provided by high oil and gas prices (oil now stands at $105/barrel) and Russia’s stranglehold on their supplies to Europe. If that stranglehold is broken, and if these prices decline dramatically and soon, Putin will have no choice but to withdraw his troops, and his wannabe Evil Empire Redux will fall like a deck of cards.

Those who advocated the ridiculous policy of appeasement and unilateral disarmament that brought us into this mess in the first place now falsely claim that the only alternative to dialogue with Russia is war with that country. That is completely false.

No one wants war with Moscow. And since the Russian military is already more than strong enough to defeat the US military easily, it would be ill-advised.

But as stated above, Russia has one great glaring weakness – its economy – and as Sun Tzu wisely counseled, the right way to defeat your opponent is to strike his weaknesses, not his strengths.

Just as Ronald Reagan (who was vilified as a warmonger who would cause nuclear war) won the Cold War without firing a shot, the West, if it applies the right policies, can defeat Russia today, also without firing a shot, by pulling the economic lever. It absolutely can do so. The question is whether Western leaders will now have the intellectual courage to acknowledge the utter failure of their appeasement policy.

Ronald Reagan’s 102nd birthday: What Would Reagan Do?

Today, February 6th, would’ve been Ronald Reagan’s 102nd birthday. As is frequently done on February 6th and indeed, everyday, the question “What would Reagan do?” will be asked today. And it should be.

And I believe that if he were alive today, he would’ve been appalled to see what the GOP is today.

He would’ve been appalled to see the GOP slavishly agree to unfavorable, unilateral disarmament treaties (such as New START) and to massive defense cuts, including the sequester, which most Republicans voted for in August 2011 even though the sequester was Obama’s idea. By foolishly agreeing to it, they gave Obama and the Democrats a weapon with which to blackmail them and have forced themselves into choosing between two very bad options: either allowing Obama to execute the hostage (i.e. gut defense) or agreeing to tax hikes as a condition of sparing defense from draconian, salami-slicing budget cuts.

He would’ve been appalled to hear some Republicans advocate this (or a similar) course of action and agree with the disastrous, treasonous proposals of leftist, anti-defense think-tanks such as the “Project on Defense Alternatives”, the Cato Institute, POGO, TCS, and the Center for American Progress (three of these groups, namely Cato, POGO, and the CAP, take money from George Soros).

He would’ve been appalled to hear Ron Paul badmouth America and its troops everyday, call for isolationism and unilaterald disarmament, and call for a “hear no evil, see no evil, everything bad is America’s fault” foreign policy. He would’ve called on the GOP’s leaders to expel such politicians from the Party. He would’ve also deeply regretted ever endorsing Ron Paul for Congress, especially considering the fact that during his time, Ron Paul and his sidekick Lew Rockwell fought against him every step of the way.

He would’ve been appalled to see and hear pseudo-conservative, anti-defense, leftist libertarians such as Justin Amash (a Ron Paul clone), Tim Huelskamp, and Raul Castro Labrador be hailed as “Constitutional conservatives” and heroes.

He would’ve been appalled to see these people vote against a passable, fully workable, fiscally conservative budget plan, such as the Ryan Plan, simply because it wasn’t as good as they wished and to see the better become the enemy of the good.

He would’ve been horrified to see Republicans lose faith in supply-side, pro-growth economics and claim that the Ryan Plan would not jumpstart economic growth and balance the budget within 10 years under dynamic scoring. He would’ve been horrified to see Republicans reject dynamic instead of static scoring (a classic liberal method).

He would’ve been terrified to see that Republicans can’t prioritize federal spending and make cuts where they can be made safely – in domestic discretionary spending – even cut an Energy and Water Approps’ bill’s price tag by 1%!

He would’ve been horrified to see Republicans failing to understand the Constitution, let alone commit themselves to abolish unconstitutional federal agencies and programs.

He would’ve been horrified to see Republicans unable to commit themselves to abolishing the Departments of Education and Energy – a cause he fought for – even long after George W. Bush has left the White House.

He would’ve been horrified to see Republicans attrite and weaken each other in nasty primary battles, thus helping them lose the general election.

He would’ve been horrified to see Republicans prioritize abortion and gay marriage above all other issues, while America’s defenses are atrophying, China and Russia are on the march, and the US is sinking deeper and deeper into debt.

He would’ve been horrified to know that Republicans prioritize – and are dividing the party over – such divisive issues instead of uniting the party and the people around common-sense bread-and-butter issues like deficits, debt, taxes, spending, defense, and so forth.

He would’ve been horrified to see Republicans not only accept, but even embrace and advocate, the use of police-state-like measures to fight “terrorism” but in fact to expand the federal government’s power over American citizens through the cynically-named PATRIOT Act (AKA the Ermaechtigungsgesetz), Know Your Customer provisions, warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detention, and so forth.

And he would’ve been horrified to see Republicans repeat his own mistake from 1986 – accept and even advocate amnesty for illegal aliens, thus rewarding criminals who have broken the law and also committing suicide as a party.

He would’ve been horrified to see that, thanks to unlimited legal and illegal immigration, California has become a majority-minority state and such a liberal one that it’s incapable of electing any Republicans statewide anymore, with the consequence that state taxes and spending are rising and there’s no one left to pay the bill as most productive Californians leave the state in droves.

Come to think of it, maybe it’s better for Ronald Reagan not to be here today. He would’ve been horrified to see the state of the party and the country.

But we can finish his work and make him proud if we commit ourselves to doing the right thing and do it.

So today, on Ronald Reagan’s 102nd birthday, let us, as conservatives, pledge to each other that:

  • We will identify and work on issues that unite us, not divide us.
  • We will adhere to Reagan’s principles of fiscal and defense conservatism.
  • We will work to elect the most electable conservative/Republican candidate in each district and state.
  • We will work to make the entire GOP adhere to the Constitution’s strict limits on the federal government.
  • We will work to recommit the GOP to abolishing the Departments of Education, Energy, and Housing & Urban Development as a start.
  • We will stop pretending that the federal budget can be balanced by simply eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse (as important as that is).
  • We will work to commit the GOP to fundamental tax reform – either a flat tax or the FairTax.
  • We will not tolerate within the Party or the conservative movement those who have slandered America, its honorable military, or Ronald Reagan, nor will we tolerate those who, like Amash, Labrador, Huelskamp, and Mulvaney, advocate gutting the military and are collaborating with the House’s most strident liberals towards that goal.
  • We will commit ourselves and the Party to a commonsense, Reaganesque foreign policy: building the world’s strongest military while intervening militarily only where and when crucial American interests are at stake – and even then, only with clearly defined goals, a clear strategy to achieve them, an exit strategy to avoid endless entanglements.
  • We will never advocate anything that would infringe US citizens’ civil liberties and will commit ourselves and the Party to repealing all of the existing such measures, including the cynically-named PATRIOT Act, KYC provisions, warrantless wiretapping programs, and indefinite detention. And we will not tolerate within the GOP those who, like John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and Kelly Ayotte, advocate such police state measures.
  • We will wholeheartedly support the Ryan Budget Plan (at least until someone devises a better plan that can pass the Congress instead of being voted down by huge bipartisan margins) and work to secure its passage.
  • We will work towards the repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments and the abolition of the Federal Reserve.
  • We will leave divisive social issues, such as abortion, gay marriage, and euthanasia, to the states to decide. We will support the 10th Amendment all of the time, not selectively when it suits us.

Let’s win this one for the Gipper.

PS: A record 40 states, including even liberal states like California, Illinois, and New York, have issued proclamations designating today as Ronald Reagan Day. Only 8 states run by liberal Democrats have refused to do so, and 2 states run by Democrats are sitting on the fence.

Calling Ceasefire on the Boehner Bashing

120712_boehner_crying_reu_328_605After the deal on the fiscal crisis passed, disappointed Republicans began a rallying cry resembling those of medieval times yelling, “Off with his head!”. Except instead of Boehner’s head, Republicans want his gavel. Historically, the problem isn’t Boehner, it’s tired Republican strategy.

Republicans, for decades, have been sucked in by the Democrat Party’s last-minute engineered emergencies like the “fiscal cliff”. This crisis is manufactured under the transparent drive to increase taxes. Republicans walk into negotiations demanding spending cuts and come out with tails between their legs and higher taxes. Frankly, it’s as ancient a story as The Three Little Pigs.

Almost everyone knows the story of Ronald Reagan. He thought he went for a deal that raised one dollar in taxes for every three dollars in spending cuts. Unfortunately, the majority of those cuts never came. While the Washington Post refutes the claim, there is still strong evidence to suggest that this is what Reagan believed when signing the deal.

Continuing on, let’s not forget President George H.W. Bush who, in 1990, was promised two dollars in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax hikes. Sadly the story ended with a 137 billion dollar tax increase and an additional 22 billion dollars in spending.

Following suit yet again, Boehner and a host of Republicans believed that they could negotiate their way to a compromise with a party who simply wasn’t interested in a win-win scenario.

These examples aren’t meant to make Republicans out as martyrs. We are all big boys and girls with our own separate philosophies and motivations. The Democrat’s strategy works every time because Republicans refuse to learn their lesson every time.

But here is where the ball game changes: After all these years of misled Republicans, Speaker Boehner has made it clear that he will no longer negotiate with President Obama. Boehner has learned the lesson Republicans should have learned decades ago: Negotiating reasonably with Democrats is the way one loses to Democrats. Which is exactly why, moving forward, we need John Boehner as Speaker.


Michelle Stansbury

Michelle Stansbury

Michelle Stansbury has nearly a decade of experience in political strategy and has recently opened a consulting firm targeted at helping businesses and campaigns flip their marketing and public relations strategies through new media. Michelle is also a weekly commentator on the Hayden Collins Radio Program and a national speaker. To book Michelle for an event or inquire about her professional consulting services click here. To get more updates, follow Michelle on Twitter or Subscribe on Facebook


Job Creation: The True Narrative

There’s been a lot of hype about job creation in the news lately.

The Obama administration is basking in the glow of Friday’s report from the U.S. Labor Bureau that unemployment has made the monumental leap from 8.3% down to 8.1% (still a lot higher than the 6% we were told the stimulus would bring).

And the prevailing rhetoric at the recently concluded DNC, other than the insistence that free, Constitutionally-guaranteed contraception is the only issue women care about (and as a strong, independent woman, what else am I to do but run to the federal government when the big, bad Republicans deny it to me?) was the insistence that under a Romney-Ryan administration, all the jobs would be shipped overseas and the middle class would be left to rot in the streets, and under Paul Ryan’s plan, without even Medicare or Social Security to sustain them.

Because as Bill Clinton assured us, Democrats have created twice as many jobs as Republicans since 1961. (And we all know, Bill Clinton would never lie, especially not under oath.)

Unfortunately for the folks at the DNC, Political Math put together the following chart, using statistics from the Bureau of Labor:

Obviously, Bill Clinton paints a wildly different story than the facts do. Yes, Democrats have created slightly more jobs since 1961, but much of that has to do with the state of the economy when they took office.

But, since Obama likes to whine about how much worse the economy was than he could possibly imagine, let’s take a look at his job creation compared to the man he likes to both demonize and emulate- Ronald Reagan. Despite the absolute trainwreck of an economy Reagan inherited from Jimmy Carter, he managed to create 16.7 million jobs in his two terms. In comparison, Obama created 0.1 million as of May 2012. In the first 23 months of the Reagan recovery, an average of 285,800 jobs per month were added to the economy. During the same time period under Obama, an average of 23,000 jobs per month were added.

How did Reagan do it? Tax cuts (yes, even for those evil rich people who ‘don’t need them’) and ‘trickle down fairy dust’. Not the ‘wild eyed socialism’ Obama ascribes to Reagan. Perhaps President Obama should tone down the class rhetoric and fearmongering and take a page from the Reagonomics book.

The Gipper’s Protege

Obama and the Democrats have been eager lately to compare their “messiah” with Ronald Reagan. How they can do this and simultaneously decry him is of course a paradox only the Democrats can get away with. But since Obama is so eager to channel the Gipper, perhaps a comparison of the two bears examination.

Actually, there are a few similarities between them. Both ran on the promise of economic change and both inherited economies that were in the throes of a recession, in part caused by the policies of their predecessors. However, while the state of the economy may have been similar upon their respective inaugurations, that is about as far as the similarities go. The attitudes of Obama and Reagan could not be more different.

Reagan, of course, campaigned against the ineptitude of Jimmy Carter and his spending policies, blaming him, and rightfully so, for the economic woes of the time period. Unlike Obama though, once he stepped into office, Reagan actually took action to fulfill his campaign promises. He did not merely endlessly whine about Carter’s policies and their detrimental effect on the economy, nor did he blame economic headwinds. Rather, Reagan took action- cutting taxes, increasing work incentives and deregulating the economy. As a result of this, according to the Heritage Foundation, the GDP grew a total of 35.7% between 1983 and 1990. Obama on the other hand, continues to advocate massively expensive, intrusive New Deal reminiscent policies, despite the fact that such programs were not successful for FDR. And when, unsurprisingly, they haven’t worked either this time, all he can do is complain about economic head winds, and of course, blame Bush.

Economic policies aside, the attitudes with which Reagan and Obama have approached their presidency are also polar opposites. Reagan’s personality is perhaps chiefly what makes him so memorable and endearing, even to those of us who were not alive during his presidency. He had the ability to do what most politicians cannot- make fun of himself, and even his opponents without anyone taking serious offense. But despite his lighthearted manner, he still was very much a respected figure of authority and could take charge of a situation. Unlike Reagan, who famously said, in response to a question about his own age, that he wouldn’t take advantage of Walter Mondale’s youth and inexperience, Obama lacks the ability to joke about himself and position, and he certainly doesn’t treat his opponents with the same respect Reagan did. Obama has even called the Republicans enemies in the past, and despite the media’s promise to take more responsibility in eliminating so called ‘violent rhetoric’ from the public stage, he and his administration have had no harsh words when members of his own party have called Republicans terrorists and Nazis.

So maybe next time Obama gets up to speak before the nation, he can take a moment to conjure up the image of the man he supposedly is emulating, and speak with a grin on his face, a joke in his heart, and the knowledge that he alone is responsible for the actions of his administration, because in the words of the great Gipper himself “There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”

Political Economics Not To Be Mistaken For Economics

 “The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all try something.” 

FDR created this modern political economic cant. Democrats and Progressive Republicans alike have employed it resulting in extreme unintended consequences. FDR, for example, despite evidence that his policies deepened and lengthened the Great Depression, is still exalted by liberal America. FDR’s, Social Security System, has become a fragile entitlement program that is now a political third rail issue.           

Presidential hopeful Rick Perry recently called Social Security a Ponzi scheme, and has received significant criticism for the statement. Yet in defending social security Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Samuelson wrote, “The beauty of social insurance is that it is not actuarially sound… with real incomes growing at some 3% a year… A growing nation is the biggest Ponzi game ever contrived.” Social Security not being actuarially sound makes it categorically not insurance. Relying on a growing base of investors makes it by definition a pyramid scheme, a Ponzi scheme unfortunately; this has not stopped many pundits and politicians from attacking Perry for statements of fact on the subject.

The second portion of FDR’s advice is never used, accept through memoirs like that of Progressive Republicans Richard Nixon, discussing decisions like gas price and wage restrictions. Nixon admitted in his memoirs “The piper must be paid and there was an unquestionably high price for tampering with the orthodox economic mechanisms.” It is wishful thinking to believe politicians will heed his ex post facto warning. Nixon was cheered for his economic tampering, and won a second term in a landslide. An outburst of Nixon’s to a White House Aid explains this perfectly “I don’t give a good god damn what Milton Friedman says, he’s not running for reelection.” 

“Do something” politics has been invariably destructive and a detailed review of economic problems of the past one hundred and fifty years seem to show that regulation caused many destructive trends. While chief executives like Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan survived deeper stock market crashes than what confronted FDR, they watched dramatic economic resurgences during their terms in office that were followed by eras of high employment and low-inflation simply because they did not intervene in the economic process. Despite both Coolidge and Reagan’s success, they have been questioned as presiding over times of “excess.” In contrast, FDR has been hailed as our greatest President despite prolonging the great depression, even being called more moral regardless of the unneeded suffering he forced on an entire population.

 Economic incompetence is a very risky business. For most people, it is easy to be sucked in by lofty rhetoric and not bother to question economic legislation being offered, blindly hoping the desired goals will be achieved. It is easy to claim, “I am right!  Those people pointing out that this economic policy won’t work only have an interest in hurting you.” The, us-versus-them theme is much more useful politically than true economic solutions which all contain trade-offs. Doing nothing so the economy can rebound simply is not palatable to citizens, neither are massive spending cuts or cuts in programs. These are political realities that will not change until people start taking their roles as voters more seriously. The “dismal science” is simply not much fun.

 This economic political trend has come to a very visible head under President Obama. His policies have failed critically. The President’s healthcare bill has raised the cost of healthcare, despite assurances that it would not. The stimulus bill met none of the presidents stated goals, but on the political left it is deemed a success simply because he attempted to fix things, much like FDR’s debacles are viewed. 

The President’s most recent “Jobs bill” is no exception. Despite showing him self to be economically ineffective, people still want him to do “something.” So he is doing “something” Much as FDR did. But America is different now; we have multiple news networks, talk radio and a resurgent pride in the things that made our country the most successful in history. Preach the “dismal science” to your friends and neighbors, for though reality is dismal, blind hope creates hell.