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Margaret Thatcher’s buddy Ronald Reagan would be out of place among Republicans of 2013

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The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher brings to mind certain realities about the record of her close friend Ronald Reagan.

As I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, Reagan would be considered a RINO (Republican In Name Only) by current GOP standards.

Snarky pundit Slade Sohmer put it succinctly when he said Reagan’s tenure in the White House  “would have to be considered by current conservative standards the worst presidency in American history.”

This president is a president every conservative Republican and Tea Party member should loathe.

This president nearly tripled the national debt. This president signed an immigration reform bill that granted blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. This president talked with our enemies. This president raised taxes 11 times. This president, in fact, raised payroll taxes in order to pay for government-run health care. This president presided over double-digit unemployment. This president expanded the size of government and created new federal departments. This president cut and ran, withdrawing troops from hostile regions. This president put two justices on the Supreme Court that voted to uphold Roe v. Wade. This president closed tax loopholes to ensure “every corporation pay their fair share.” This president even advocated gun control on the op-ed pages of the, gasp, New York Times.

(Snip)

[C]ompared to the Palins, Limbaughs, Bachmanns, Tea Party leaders and Fox News commentators that make up the current ideological head of the conservative mega-beast, Reagan is at best a centrist. At worst — strictly looking at governance, not ideology — he governed far more liberally than the job-killing, tax-raising, enemy-appeasing, immigrant-loving Barack Obama.

Can you imagine the vitriol from Fox News if President Obama granted amnesty to illegal immigrants? Can you imagine the venom on Tea Party signs if President Obama raised taxes 11 times, called out corporations for tax loopholes and nearly tripled the national debt? Can you imagine the uproar from talk radio if President Obama actually wrote an op-ed advocating any restrictions on the sale of handguns? The right-wing echo chamber might implode upon itself in a fit of blind rage.

——————-

A less snarky, but no less accurate, account of the real Reagan record was offered eight years ago in an essay by Joshua Green in the Washington Monthly.

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s conservative lore that Reagan the icon cut taxes, while George H.W. Bush the renegade raised them. As Stockman [Reagan’s first budget director, David Stockman] recalls, “No one was authorized to talk about tax increases on Ronald Reagan’s watch, no matter what kind of tax, no matter how justified it was.” Yet raising taxes is exactly what Reagan did. He did not always instigate those hikes or agree to them willingly–but he signed off on them. One year after his massive tax cut, Reagan agreed to a tax increase to reduce the deficit that restored fully one-third of the previous year’s reduction. (In a bizarre bit of self-deception, Reagan, who never came to terms with this episode of ideological apostasy, persuaded himself that the three-year, $100 billion tax hike–the largest since World War II–was actually “tax reform” that closed loopholes in his earlier cut and therefore didn’t count as raising taxes.)

Faced with looming deficits, Reagan raised taxes again in 1983 with a gasoline tax and once more in 1984, this time by $50 billion over three years, mainly through closing tax loopholes for business. Despite the fact that such increases were anathema to conservatives–and probably cost Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush, reelection–Reagan raised taxes a grand total of four times just between 1982-84…

Reagan continued these “modest rollbacks” in his second term. The historic Tax Reform Act of 1986, though it achieved the supply side goal of lowering individual income tax rates, was a startlingly progressive reform. The plan imposed the largest corporate tax increase in history–an act utterly unimaginable for any conservative to support today. Just two years after declaring, “there is no justification” for taxing corporate income, Reagan raised corporate taxes by $120 billion over five years and closed corporate tax loopholes worth about $300 billion over that same period. In addition to broadening the tax base, the plan increased standard deductions and personal exemptions to the point that no family with an income below the poverty line would have to pay federal income tax. Even at the time, conservatives within Reagan’s administration were aghast. According to Wall Street Journal reporters Jeffrey Birnbaum and Alan Murray, whose book Showdown at Gucci Gulch chronicles the 1986 measure, “the conservative president’s support for an effort once considered the bastion of liberals carried tremendous symbolic significance.” When Reagan’s conservative acting chief economic adviser, William Niskanen, was apprised of the plan he replied, “Walter Mondale would have been proud.”

——————-

Another interesting chapter in the Reagan saga that today’s conservatives probably know nothing about is the curious tale of how a TV movie  altered his world-view and led to changes in his foreign policy.

First, a little background: Among his political aides, Reagan was known as an anecdotal thinker, a man of Hollywood who preferred the narrative arc of movies or homespun stories to the arcane prose of briefing books and analytical reports. Accordingly, key officials in Reagan’s presidential administration routinely prepared visual presentations to fill him in on complicated issues.

As National Security Adviser William Clark once put it, “It was far more interesting [to Reagan] to see a movie on Indira Gandhi, covering her life, than sitting down with the usual tome the agency [the CIA] would produce. And that would spark questions from the president that I could fire back to the agency. I knew from Sacramento days [when Reagan was governor of California] that he liked celluloid. After all, it was his profession.”

Therefore, when ABC aired  “The Day After,” a controversial movie about the effects of nuclear war on ordinary Americans in the city of Lawrence, Kan., Reagan was more receptive to the film’s emotional message than perhaps a more coldly analytical president would have been.

When “The Day After” was broadcast on Nov. 20, 1983, it attracted an audience of 100 million people, still a record for a TV movie, and a number that no doubt was boosted by massive advance publicity and controversy. Some conservative critics argued, even without benefit of having seen the film, that it was part of a sinister plot to disarm America in preparation for a takeover by the Soviet Union.

Ironically, by the time the right-wing campaign against the movie reached its fevered height in the weeks just before it aired, Reagan already had seen it in a private screening at the White House on Oct. 10 — and its impact on him was considerable, perhaps even profound.

Reagan wrote this about the movie in his diary: “It is powerfully done, all $7 million worth. It’s very effective and left me greatly depressed. Whether it will be of help to ‘anti-nukes’ or not, I can’t say. My own reaction was one of our having to do all we can to have a deterrent & to see there is never a nuclear war.”

Author Will Bunch has written that “in the second half of his administration, Reagan may have worked harder than any president before or since in trying to convert his imaginative vision that he personally could save the world from a nuclear Armageddon into a reality.”

Three months after having seen “The Day After,” Reagan said in a nationally televised speech that “my dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth.”

In July 1985, nine months after “The Day After” aired, a piece in the Washington Post was headlined: “What Happened to Reagan the Gunslinger? Now His Problem Is Convincing Skeptics He Isn’t a Pussycat.”

The story quoted conservative critics who were upset that Reagan seemed to have shied away from his 1981 pledge of “swift and effective retribution” in cases of terrorism.

The right-wing editorial page of the Wall Street Journal took to calling the president “Jimmy Reagan,” an uncomplimentary likening of him to his predecessor, Jimmy Carter.

Looking back on Reagan’s presidency, it’s clear that he preferred the use of regional surrogates to the commitment of American combat forces in trouble spots. The only time he deployed a sizable U.S. contingent in a combat situation was in  a relatively tiny skirmish in the Caribbean island nation of Grenada.

When Reagan got together with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 to sign the the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, his conservative critics were furious:

The Boston Globe reported at the time:

Congressional conservatives and right-wing activists angrily criticized President Reagan yesterday for saying that opposition to an arms control treaty is based on a belief that war with the Soviet Union is “inevitable.” Some critics accused Reagan of abandoning the conservative movement. Reagan’s summit with Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, begins on Tuesday. The conservatives criticized the treaty to be signed by the two men…

And The New York Times observed:

Conservatives were stunned by these “dangerous illusions,” wrote Human Events, the conservative weekly, and ever since, a long list of prominent conservatives have been hurling brickbats at the President. But to what effect? “The consternation is keeping some conservatives from supporting the I.N.F. treaty,” a senior White House aide said. “They’re afraid that because of all his new rhetoric, there must be something wrong with the treaty.” But this official and many others interviewed say they believe the treaty eliminating intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe is so well-liked by the American people that it will almost certainly be ratified, no matter how many conservatives inveigh against it. Asked how the conservatives’ anger could hurt the Republican Party or the Administration, a White House official who counts himself a new-right conservative thought a long moment. “It may make it more likely that our convention may be bitter,” he said at last.

Edwin J. Feulner Jr., president of the Heritage Foundation, also paused and finally said, “Whoever Reagan’s successor is will have a hard time mobilizing these people because Ronald Reagan walked away from them in the end.”

But, for his part, when Reagan signed the INF treaty, he sent a remarkable telegram to Nicholas Meyer, the director of “The Day After.”

The wire said:  “Don’t think your movie didn’t have any part of this, because it did.”

That was four long years after Reagan had seen the film.

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And then there’s the piece of a few years ago in Foreign Policy magazine in which Peter Beinart effectively challenged the popular image of Ronald Reagan as the ultimate hawk.

An excerpt:

These days, virtually every time someone on the American right bashes President Barack Obama for kowtowing to dictators or failing to shout that we’re at war, they light a votive candle to Ronald Reagan. Former presidential candidate John McCain has called his own foreign-policy views “a 21st-century policy interpretation of the Reagan Doctrine.” His running mate Sarah Palin invokes the Gipper so frequently that some now speculate that she might launch her 2012 presidential bid in his hometown. As Dick Cheney put it a few years back, speaking for his fellow conservatives, “We are all Reaganites now.”

No, actually, you’re not. Today’s conservatives have conjured a mythic Reagan who never compromised with America’s enemies and never shrank from a fight. But the real Reagan did both those things, often. In fact, they were a big part of his success.

Sure, Reagan spent boatloads — some $2.8 trillion all told — on the military. And yes, he funneled money and guns to anti-communist rebels like the Nicaraguan Contras and Afghan mujahideen, while lecturing Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down that wall. But on the ultimate test of hawkdom — the willingness to send U.S. troops into harm’s way — Reagan was no bird of prey. He launched exactly one land war, against Grenada, whose army totaled 600 men. It lasted two days. And his only air war — the 1986 bombing of Libya — was even briefer. Compare that with George H.W. Bush, who launched two midsized ground operations, in Panama (1989) and Somalia (1992), and one large war in the Persian Gulf (1991). Or with Bill Clinton, who launched three air campaigns — in Bosnia (1995), Iraq (1998), and Kosovo (1999) — each of which dwarfed Reagan’s Libya bombing in duration and intensity. Do I even need to mention George W. Bush?

In fact, Reagan was terrified of war. He took office eager to vanquish Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and its rebel allies in El Salvador, both of which were backed by Cuba and the Soviet Union. But at an early meeting, when Secretary of State Alexander Haig suggested that achieving this goal might require bombing Cuba, the suggestion “scared the [expletive] out of Ronald Reagan,” according to White House aide Michael Deaver. Haig was marginalized, then resigned, and Reagan never seriously considered sending U.S. troops south of the border, despite demands from conservative intellectuals like Norman Podhoretz and William F. Buckley. “Those [expletives] won’t be happy until we have 25,000 troops in Managua,” Reagan told chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein near the end of his presidency, “and I’m not going to do it.”

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Another good bit of Reagan history stands in contrast to the phony controversy of a few years ago surrounding President Obama’s decision not to attend traditional Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

Obama haters everywhere  jumped all over the decision, claiming that it showed the president’s lack of patriotism and falsely arguing that he was the first commander-in-chief to snub the doings at Arlington.

Most of these criticisms of Obama ignored the fact that he participated in Memorial Day ceremonies at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in a suburb of Chicago. The military veterans buried there were no less deserving of honor than those interred at Arlington, a parallel that seemed not to have occurred to the Obamaphobes.

Nor did Obama’s critics seem aware that past presidents have also skipped the Arlington ceremonies. George H. W. Bush never once attended those rites during his four years in office. Three of those four Memorial Day weekends he spent at his vacation home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Ronald Reagan participated in only four of the eight Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington while he was president. He missed two of them because of important meetings he was attending. The other two holidays found him at Camp David or at his ranch in California.

But there was another wreath-laying ceremony at a military cemetery that most of Reagan’s admirers either forgot or preferred not to mention, especially while they were preoccupied with impugning Obama’s patriotism.

The story goes back to 1985 when then-President Reagan made a visit to Germany to mark the 40th anniversary of V-E Day, the end of World War II in Europe.

At the request of West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Reagan participated in memorial services at a military cemetery near the town of Bitburg. Among the thousands of graves of German soldiers at Kolmeshohe Cemetery are those of 49 members of the Waffen-SS, an elite armed wing of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party. None of the graves are those of Americans.

Kohl had suggested the visit to Kolmeshohe as a symbol of the post-war reconciliation of the United States and Germany, and Reagan had readily acceded to the request, thereby touching off a huge uproar among Americans.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel implored Reagan not to visit the cemetery, and to find, instead, some other site to symbolize German-American friendship. “That place, Mr. President, is not your place,” said Wiesel.

Ninety-five Republican members of Congress objected to the Bitburg visit, as did countless other Americans. Former U.S. Army Sgt. Jim Hively mailed his World War II decorations, including a silver star and a bronze star, to Reagan in protest.

In response to the uproar, Kohl told The New York Times: “I will not give up the idea. If we don’t go to Bitburg, if we don’t do what we jointly planned, we will deeply offend the feelings of [my] people.”

The hubbub had the opposite effect of what had been intended. The Bitburg controversy strained German-American relations. White House officials said their German counterparts had assured them that nothing in the cemetery visit would embarrass Reagan. For their part, Chancellery officials said the way Reagan’s people handled the controversy “was not very intelligent.”

Reagan defended himself by saying:

These [SS troops] were the villains, as we know, that conducted the persecutions and all. But there are 2,000 graves there, and most of those, the average age is about 18. I think that there’s nothing wrong with visiting that cemetery where those young men are victims of Nazism also, even though they were fighting in the German uniform, drafted  into service to carry out the hateful wishes of the Nazis. They were victims, just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps.

The president’s statement, with its equating of Nazi soldiers with Holocaust victims, only heightened the controversy. Even Reagan’s wife Nancy was said to be opposed to the cemetery visit.

Robert McFarlane, an aide to the president, later said this: “Once Reagan learned that Kohl would really be badly damaged by a withdrawal, he said ‘We can’t do that; I owe him.’”

Reagan’s visit to the cemetery lasted only eight minutes, during which time he laid a wreath at a wall of remembrance and stood at attention as a short trumpet salute was sounded.

The fuss over Bitburg gradually faded and today is only barely remembered, if at all, by most Americans.

But there should be no doubt that if Barack Obama had done anything like what Ronald Reagan did on that day in May 1985, his detractors would have gone ballistic.

——————-

Further reasons why Reagan wouldn’t likely be embraced by today’s Republican Party  relate to his record as a governor before he became president.

Steve Benen summed it up thusly a few years ago:

In California, Reagan increased spending, raised taxes, helped create the nation’s first state-based emissions standards, signed an abortion-rights bill, and expanded the nation’s largest state-based Medicaid program (socialized medicine).

——————-

And finally, there was another beloved Republican president whose record would be considered scandalous to most GOPers of the 21st century:

Dwight David Eisenhower, who was president through most of the 1950s, was a champion of what he called “Modern Republicanism.” He resisted calls from right-wingers for repeal of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs and government regulations. He advocated government efforts to assist workers who had lost their jobs. He favored a helping hand from government for senior citizens. He said he wanted to lead America “down the middle of the road between the unfettered power of concentrated wealth . . . and the unbridled power of statism or partisan interests.”

Eisenhower endorsed an expansion of Social Security and an increase in the minimum wage. He signed legislation creating the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and supported government construction of low-income housing. He also oversaw creation of the gigantic public-works project that bears his name: the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System.

In short, most of what Ike stood for would be anathema to the extremists who now control his party.

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30 Comments

  1. I love asking union-bashing Republicans if they would ever elect someone who ran a large union before entering politics. Response? Hell no!

    Then I ask them what kind of leader they would like instead, and they invariably pick Reagan. D’oh!

  2. Neftali

    One of the things Pat, and most other liberals, can’t seem to understand is that Republicans are not against government spending. We are against TOO MUCH government spending.

    For example, under Eisenhower, average spending was under 18% of GDP. Under Bush 43, it was 20.5% (19.8% if you remove the outlier of 2009). No Republican approved of the increased spending under Bush, but we went along with it because it was better than the alternative.

    Today, we have that alternative, and it sucks. Spending under Obama is averaging 24% of GDP. And the only reason its not even higher is because House Republicans have thankfully managed to keep him in check.

  3. Brian Opsahl

    Old Ronny was quite the Liberal back in the day. Most of the deficet started with Mr. Reagan …I never seen homeless people until he became president..!! But I also admit I voted for him….my bad..!!

  4. Robert

    Neftali, How much of that spending increase you note under Obama, is because he included the war expenses in the budget, where as Bush funded the war with supplemental spending request?

  5. Nef, the only reason it is anywhere near 24% is that W did his best to ruin our economy with two unfunded and unnecessary wars.

    The S&P is setting records again and the Dow has nearly doubled since W was banished to Dallas.

    Can you imagine if W had gotten his wish and turned the Social Security trust fund over to Wall Street before the 2007-08 Republicession? Democrats thankfully managed to keep him in check on that issue.

    Now we have sound economic leadership, and a far more savvy electorate that won’t abide another disastrous wave of trickle-down-their-leg economics. Give thanks to the political phenom from Hawaii.

  6. Brian Opsahl

    Our deficet before Reagan took over was just 1 trillion dollars (look it up) Then Ronny blew-up not only what we owed he started cutting all those rich folks taxes and spent on the military like a drunken sailor….so how is it only NOW those deficets matter…I will tell you why, when GW ran things deficetd didn’t matter it was only when the other guy won was when Paul Ryan and his ilk started to suddenly transform into deficet hawks…remember

  7. Neftali

    Robert – Bush didn’t budget the war expenses fully within the DoD and that was wrong, although it’s very hard to budget the expenses of a shooting war a year in advance.

    Anyway, Bush did indeed pay for portions of these missions with ‘war supplementals’ that were written and passed by Congress and scored by the CBO at the end of the year. This practice may have camouflaged the true costs for that year only … and not even that if you paid attention.

    Basically they were taken out of the DoD column and added to total expenditures, that’s it. They were still counted by the CBO … just like the $106 billion war supplemental Obama signed in the summer of 2009 and the $59 billion supplemental granted by Congress in early 2010 for his Afghanistan surge.

  8. So what is too much government spending, Neftali? Where so you draw that line, and do you take into account the economic context?

    Moreover, your statement that “no Republican approved of the increased spending under Bush, but we went along with it because it was better than the alternative” is complete hogwash.

    Can you name a Republican who voted against all those “supplementals” to cover the chickenhawk war costs? Two wars on the credit card…how conservative.

    Who was the Democrat who forced W to author the Medicare drug coverage expansion, and the billions it added to entitlement spending? And who forced all those Republicans to vote for it?

    And this so called debt crisis? As Paul Krugman points out succinctly, “Interest rates remain stubbornly low, deficits are declining and even 10-year budget projections basically show a stable fiscal outlook rather than exploding debt… Deficits would indirectly be making us poorer if they were either leading to big trade deficits, increasing our overseas borrowing, or crowding out investment, reducing future productive capacity. But they aren’t.”

    Who will suffer for such blatant fear mongering by Republicans? Take a guess. If you care a whit about our nation’s children, read this article and embrace the truth about “generational warfare”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/opinion/krugman-cheating-our-children.html?ref=paulkrugman

  9. Neftali

    Luke – Please explain how in your backwards world two wars “ruined” the economy. Liberals are the first that jump up and state that spending creates jobs. Heck Pat continually praises that WWII spending is what got us out of the Depression. An an added bonus, most war manufacturing is required to be done in the United States, so no outsourcing!

    Further, over the long term, private investment is a much better use of your money than turning it over to the government in the form of Social Security. I would love to take the 6% currently being taken out of my paycheck and apply it to the 14% I put aside into my 401K and IRA accounts. I would retire with a lot more income and security that way.

    Brian Opsahl – Deficits matter. They always have. Cheney was wrong. Most Republicans didn’t like it when he said it. But the national debt was about 65% of GDP under Reagan, and got up to about 88% of GDP under Bush. Under OBama is going to go over 100% of GDP. It doesn’t matter who is President, its still way too high. Just because Republicans made the debt bad, doesn’t mean its okay for the Democrats to make it worse.

  10. Neftali

    Luke – Krugman has never stated exactly when would be the time to start to cut spending.

    When unemployment goes back under 5% ?
    When the economy is growing over 3 % per quarter?

    He doesn’t say. He’s just wants more and more spending. It. Never. Ends. Just because interest rates are cheap is not an excuse to spend more. Each job created under the stimulus bill cost something like $250K. It was absurd. Its too much money. At some point you need to quit the government tinkering of the natural flow of things and let the economy recover on its own.

    The only people hurting our children’s future are Democrats who refuse to combat the growing problems in entitlement spending which even Obama readily admits is by far the biggest driver of our deficit.

  11. Brian Opsahl

    That 1.3 trillion dollar mistake will go down in the history books as one of the worst plans for a war ever…6 weeks in Bush stood on that aircraft carrier and declared mission accomplished. almost 8 years later another President had to clean-up the mess.
    Now were reading about all the lies told by senior memebers of Bushs staff to get Congress and the rest of us to go along. WMDs were really just BS and mirrors that cost alot of Americans blood. They say over a 100,000 thousand Iraq civilians were killed …holy bat crap

  12. First Nef, spending billions to try and police and reconstruct another country (including many millions of cash dollars simply lost in Iraq) is not the king of spending that will create significant demand in the U.S. economy. Period.

    Second, war manufacturing is NOT required to be done in the U.S. Just ask Paul Ryan, who wants our Navy’s ships built mainly with foreign components to save a few pennies, theoretically through competition. “Built in the USA” language gets repeatedly vetoed/filibustered by Republicans. Get your facts straight.

    And where is your evidence that Krugman wants “more and more” spending with no end? Just because he doesn’t spell it out in that article, you assume never? Krugman is calling for investment in our infrastructure, which pays long-term dividends in jobs and growth. Ask your boy Eisenhower about that.

    “Each job created under the stimulus bill cost something like $250K. Where is your source for this BS? You only counting added jobs? What about the millions of people who DIDN’T get laid off because Obama stopped the bleeding?

    C’mon man! You might be able to make up crap and peddle it in your little echo chamber, but please cite some facts here.

  13. Brian Opsahl

    One guy ran our economy into the ground the other guy had to fix it…when will republicans admit there mistake and help fix the problems instead of making them worse (like now) Democrats helped Bush work the Government problems Republicans refuse to help this President…Facts

  14. Robert

    What gets me is how the Medicare Supplemental Drug coverage was written, allowing big pharma to get market rate/top dollar for their drugs bought through that program, thus allowing them to use that money to donate to the political parties for further considerations. So basically, we the tax payers are paying the money that big pharma uses to buy politicians favor. And when conservatives are confronted about this travesty, they usually respond that the cost of that program isn’t as high as was anticipated. BIG DEAL…. its still wrong. It’s the tax payers money. Were supposed to trust our politicians to spend it wisely. We should be getting huge bulk discounts for that program.

  15. Neftali

    Luke – I force myself to regularly read Krugman’s column just so I can keep up to date with the backwards liberal talking points. (Also why I read this blog). I’ve never seen Krugman propose how much spending is too much. Nor I have seen any concern from him on the billions we spend every year on the interest we have to pay on our debt annually. That’s evidence enough.

    As far as the stimulus cost per job, I could link to older articles citing my $250K number. But this one citing a CBO report puts the number at closer to $4.1 per job

    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/05/cbo-obama-stimulus-may-have-cost-as-much-as-4-1-million-a-job/

    Funny how I am the one constantly backing up my thoughts with links to back up my facts, but I never see you, Brian, Steverino, Robert, or any other leftist back up their opinions. Its your side that is lacking in the facts.

  16. Robert

    Neftali, what do you want from me?

  17. Craig Knauss

    Wow. The American Enterprise Institute. Now there’s a non-partisan group. About as non-partisan as the Heritage Foundation.

    As many of the article’s commenters noted, AEI manipulated the interpretation of the CBO report to get the worst possible connotation.

    BTW, Nef, I was in DoD when Reagan took office. I was astounded on how he could waste money. The B1 bomber, the battleships, the 600 ship Navy, the $500 hammers, etc. And why did we pay negotiated prices for fuel when there was on oil glut back then? The whole thing was a big scam.

  18. shawnnews

    Morrissey is a British pop singer on the political left. In America he is best known for his role as vocalist in the band The Smiths during the 80s.
    He wrote this for “The Daily Beast.”
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/08/morrissey-thatcher-was-a-terror-without-an-atom-of-humanity.html

    “Thatcher is remembered as The Iron Lady only because she possessed completely negative traits such as persistent stubbornness and a determined refusal to listen to others.

    “Every move she made was charged by negativity; she destroyed the British manufacturing industry, she hated the miners, she hated the arts, she hated the Irish Freedom Fighters and allowed them to die, she hated the English poor and did nothing at all to help them, she hated Greenpeace and environmental protectionists, she was the only European political leader who opposed a ban on the ivory trade, she had no wit and no warmth and even her own cabinet booted her out. She gave the order to blow up The Belgrano even though it was outside of the Malvinas Exclusion Zone—and was sailing AWAY from the islands! When the young Argentinean boys aboard The Belgrano had suffered a most appalling and unjust death, Thatcher gave the thumbs-up sign for the British press.

    “Iron? No. Barbaric? Yes. She hated feminists even though it was largely due to the progression of the women’s movement that the British people allowed themselves to accept that a prime minister could actually be female. But because of Thatcher, there will never again be another woman in power in British politics, and rather than opening that particular door for other women, she closed it.

    “Thatcher will only be fondly remembered by sentimentalists who did not suffer under her leadership, but the majority of British working people have forgotten her already, and the people of Argentina will be celebrating her death. As a matter of recorded fact, Thatcher was a terror without an atom of humanity.”

  19. Neftali

    Shawnnews – fascinating stuff. Do you have any political commentary from Macgyver? How about from Mr. T? Or perhaps that chic from Katrina and the Waves? I’m sure I can dig up something from John Schneider of Dukes of Hazard. All are experts on politics just like that Morrissey dude.

    Oh yeah, Morrissey claims Chinese are a “sub species”, he has a history of being accused as a racist, and describes himself as a prophet from “the forth sex.”. He sound just like the kind of person you liberals admire.

  20. Brian Opsahl

    Nef, If your going to put an argument on the table don’t cry when your refuted with facts.
    Are you questioning where my facts come from..? because anything I write about can be fact checked…you do know that right..?
    Opinions are like as&holes everybodys got one and anything I have writen can be checked I will not put website listings to gain my points or prove my opinions.

  21. Brian: Watch your language.

  22. Brian Opsahl

    Sorry Pat, wont happen again..!! got carried away

  23. shawnnews

    I selects Morrissey because that was probably the most vitriolic assessment I’ve read of her aside Tom the nameless interviews I’ve seen on the BBC of people saying the same thing. But really Morrissey’s quote is of more stature than in the UK than Chuck Norris, Ted Nugent or Pat Boone have here. These people who spout drivel about Obama or the Dixie Chicks on the other end can make a point if they like. Now that Morrissey has delivered the maladiction for her like Christopher Hitchens did aptly for Reagan, show where he is factually incorrect.

  24. expdoc

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204520204577249312904834768.html?mod=WSJ_World_MIDDLENews

    Margaret Thatcher had more impact on the world than any woman ruler since Catherine the Great of Russia. Not only did she turn around—decisively—the British economy in the 1980s, she also saw her methods copied in more than 50 countries. “Thatcherism” was the most popular and successful way of running a country in the last quarter of the 20th century and into the 21st.

    *snip*

    Thatcher’s long ministry of nearly a dozen years is often mistakenly described as ideological in tone. In fact Thatcherism was (and is) essentially pragmatic and empirical. She tackled the unions not by producing, like Heath, a single comprehensive statute but by a series of measures, each dealing with a particular abuse, such as aggressive picketing. At the same time she, and the police, prepared for trouble by a number of ingenious administrative changes allowing the country’s different police forces to concentrate large and mobile columns wherever needed. Then she calmly waited, relying on the stupidity of the union leaders to fall into the trap, which they duly did.

    She fought and won two pitched battles with the two strongest unions, the miners and the printers. In both cases, victory came at the cost of weeks of fighting and some loss of life. After the hard men had been vanquished, the other unions surrendered, and the new legislation was meekly accepted, no attempt being made to repeal or change it when Labour eventually returned to power. Britain was transformed from the most strike-ridden country in Europe to a place where industrial action is a rarity. The effect on the freedom of managers to run their businesses and introduce innovations was almost miraculous and has continued.

    Thatcher reinforced this essential improvement by a revolutionary simplification of the tax system, reducing a score or more “bands” to two and lowering the top rates from 83% (earned income) and 98% (unearned) to the single band of 40.

    *snip*

    Once Reagan was installed in the White House, the pair immediately reinvigorated the “special relationship.” It was just as well. Some foreigners did not appreciate the force of what the Kremlin was beginning to call the Iron Lady. In 1982, the military dictatorship in Argentina, misled by the British Foreign Offices’s apathetic responses to threats, took the hazardous step of invading and occupying the British Falkland Islands. This unprovoked act of aggression caught Thatcher unprepared, and for 36 hours she was nonplused and uncertain: The military and logistical objections to launching a combined-forces counterattack from 8,000 miles away were formidable.

    But reassured by her service chiefs that, given resolution, the thing could be done, she made up her mind: It would be done, and thereafter her will to victory and her disregard of losses and risks never wavered. She was also assured by her friend Reagan that, short of sending forces, America would do all in its considerable power to help—a promise kept. Thus began one of the most notable campaigns in modern military and moral history, brought to a splendid conclusion by the unconditional surrender of all the Argentine forces on the islands, followed shortly by the collapse of the military dictatorship in Buenos Aires.

    This spectacular success, combined with Thatcher’s revival of the U.K. economy, enabled her to win a resounding electoral victory in 1983, followed by a third term in 1987. Thatcher never had any real difficulty in persuading the British electorate to back her, and it is likely that, given the chance, she would have won her fourth election in a row.

    *snip*

    Thatcher’s strongest characteristic was her courage, both physical and moral. She displayed this again and again, notably when the IRA tried to murder her during the Tory Party Conference in 1984, and nearly succeeded, blowing up her hotel in the middle of the night. She insisted on opening the next morning’s session right on time and in grand style. Immediately after courage came industry. She must have been the hardest-working prime minister in history, often working a 16-hour day and sitting up all night to write a speech. Her much-tried husband once complained, “You’re not writing the Bible, you know.”

    She was not a feminist, despising the genre as “fashionable rot,” though she once made a feminist remark. At a dreary public dinner of 500 male economists, having had to listen to nine speeches before being called herself, she began, with understandable irritation: “As the 10th speaker, and the only woman, I wish to say this: the cock may crow but it’s the hen who lays the eggs.”

    Her political success once again demonstrates the importance of holding two or three simple ideas with fervor and tenacity, a virtue she shared with Ronald Reagan. One of these ideas was that the “evil empire” of communism could be and would be destroyed, and together with Reagan and Pope John Paul II she must be given the credit for doing it.

    Among the British public she aroused fervent admiration and intense dislike in almost equal proportions, but in the world beyond she was recognized for what she was: a great, creative stateswoman who left the world a better and more prosperous place, and whose influence will reverberate well into the 21st century.

  25. Neftali

    shawnnews – Where is he factually correct would be a better question. But I’ll amuse you anyway with a response.

    “She destroyed the British manufacturing industry” – If so, it was something that had already started. In 1970, manufacturing accounted for 20.57% of UK GDP. By 1979 that was down to 17.62% of GDP. By the time she left office, that decline had continued – albeit at a slightly slower pace, down to 15.18%. Now it is much lower, according to the ONS – down to 9.86% in 2010. A similar trend can be seen in all industrialized nations during this time.

    “she hated the arts” – Not true at all. She did cut back public funding for the arts, but mostly because she wanted it to thrive on its own merits. She loved Andrew Lloyd Weber, calling him one of “Britain’s greatest exports.” She liked how he was a role model of how to be successful and make money in the private sector through arts entertainment.

    “she had no wit” – Please. That’s the dumbest thing Morrisey could have said. Thatcher had more wit in her right pinky toe than a thousand Morrisey’s. I’d like to see Morrisey engage toe-toe in the debates at the House Of Lords/Commons.

    Here is Vice Admiral Sir Tim McClement on why The Belgrano was blown up. I trust his knowledge of the situation a millions times over that crack-head Morrsey

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9718000/9718018.stm

    “there will never again be another woman in power in British politics” – Another stupid thing to say. Apparently Morrisey never heard of these people:

    Rt Hon Theresa May MP (Home Secretary)
    Baroness Brenda Hale of Richmond (Supreme Court judge)
    Lady Justice Hallett (Appeal Court judge)
    Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP (deputy leader, Labour Party)
    Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Deputy First Minister of Scotland)

    I could go on, but in the end Morrisey’s column is just tabloid fodder for the moronic liberal masses.

  26. shawnnews

    I’ll call the Belgrano debatable like Wikipedia does. We don’t really have an intelligent Morrissey character in the US. We have Sean Penn — sigh.
    But let’s use your argument about Thatcher presiding over manufacturing decline in the UK — it was already happening anyway. If some Obama supporter were to say the same thing which they do about the economy — it was tanking anyway before he took office — I hope you would remember the cavalier way you seem to brush aside a major criticism of your “team.”
    I’m certainly no IRA supporter but I’m also no fan of what I’ve read about the UK’s historic treatment of Irish Catholics. It’s as though the UK touted anti-communism while maintaining domination over others. A different tyranny. I don’t what Hayek and Friedman would say.
    Your other arguments are good. You can only take Morrissey as far as you can take a professional contrarian.

  27. Together, they sold out the Middle Class of both our countries. Their effigies should be burned in the streets rather than memorialized. Reagan has a legacy so distorted by the Conservative idolization of him that we may never have a clear picture of the real man behind the television set beyond the elaborate myth now concocted around him. Did he really rid the world of commie scum? Did destroy or save our economy? Check out my portrait of The Gipper and help me figure it out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/02/happy-100th-gipper.html with some Cold War Hollywood!

  28. Cue expdoc, our resident art critic…

  29. Actually, I don’t really care about or for Brandt’s artwork. The reason I typically respond to his comments is more to make fun of Pat for letting someone shill for a product on Applesauce.

    I suspect if I was selling similar artwork that treated President Obama as Brandt treats Reagan I would have been warned and banned way before I hit 5000 comments.

  30. shawnnews

    Glenda Jackson chimed in on Margaret Thatcher too.
    http://youtu.be/XDtClJYJBj8

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