Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reagan Never Said It

From Shaw Kenawe, a really good lesson on twisting facts. She did a post Sunday on a myth that hasn't held water, about Reagan's starving the beast, the government. That was thought up by Reagan budget director David Stockman, and elaborated by Grover Norquist.

For all those conservatives who believe Ronald Reagan said government is the problem. Think again.

I'd like to hear from my conservative friends what they think of this.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Republicans love to invoke Reagan, but if he’s watching right now, the Gipper is probably “smacking himself on the forehead, rolling his eyes and wondering who in the world these clowns are,” speculates former GOP Congressman (and longtime Reagan backer) Mickey Edwards in the LA Times. Today’s would-be Reaganites believe all government “is the problem,” and that small government is inherently better than big. “This is all errant nonsense,” writes Edwards, “wrong in every conceivable way.”

“In America, government is us,” Edwards reasons. What matters isn’t the size of government, but the limits of its powers. Bush Republicans obviously don’t get this, but Reagan did. In his famous inaugural, he said that “in the present crisis…government is the problem.” But he went on to say, “Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it’s not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work.” A sentiment echoed by Obama in his address.

Reagan wouldn't recognize this GOP

The Gipper may be the patron saint of Limbaugh and Coulter, but he'd be amazed at what's been done in his name.

"The Republican Party that is in such disrepute today is not the party of Reagan. It is the party of Rush Limbaugh, of Ann Coulter, of Newt Gingrich, of George W. Bush, of Karl Rove. It is not a conservative party." - Mickey Edwards

By Mickey Edwards

January 24, 2009

In my mind's eye, I can see Ronald Reagan, wearing wings and a Stetson, perched on a cloud and watching all the goings-on down here in his old earthly home. Laughing, rolling his eyes and whacking his forehead over the absurdities he sees, he's watching his old political party as it twists itself into ever more complex knots, punctuated only by pauses to invoke the Gipper's name. It's been said that God would be amazed by what his followers ascribe to him; believe me, Reagan would be similarly amazed by what his most fervent admirers cite in their desire to be seen as true-blue Reaganites.On the premise that simple is best, many Republicans have reduced their operating philosophy to two essentials: First, government is bad (it's "the problem"); second, big government is the worst and small government is better (although because government itself is bad, it may be assumed that small government is only marginally preferable). This is all errant nonsense. It is wrong in every conceivable way and violative of the Constitution, American exceptionalism, freedom, conservatism, Reaganism and common sense.

In America, government is ... us. What is "exceptional" about America is the depth of its commitment to the principle of self-government; we elect the government, we replace it or its members when they displease us, and by our threats or support, we help steer what government does.A shocker: The Constitution, which we love for the limits it places on government power, not only constrains government, it empowers it. Limited government is not no government. And limited government is not "small" government. Simply building roads, maintaining a military, operating courts, delivering the mail and doing other things specifically mandated by the Constitution for America's 300 million people make it impossible to keep government "small." It is boundaries that protect freedom. Small governments can be oppressive, and large ones can diminish freedoms. It is the boundaries, not the numbers, that matter.What would Reagan think of this? Wasn't it he who warned that government is the problem? Well, permit me. I directed the joint House-Senate policy advisory committees for the Reagan presidential campaign. I was part of his congressional steering committee. I sat with him in his hotel room in Manchester, N.H., the night he won that state's all-important primary. I knew him before he was governor of California and before I was a member of Congress. Let me introduce you to Ronald Reagan.

Reagan, who spent 16 years in government, actually said this:"In the present crisis," referring specifically to the high taxes and high levels of federal spending that had marked the Carter administration, "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." He then went on to say: "Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it's not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work." Government, he said, "must provide opportunity." He was not rejecting government, he was calling -- as Barack Obama did Tuesday -- for better management of government, for wiser decisions.

The rampant mythology that the right wing worships is generally about as valid as their tax cut demands. Having failed for eight years and leading this country into a financial disaster isn't in the reckoning when the party of hackery gets spouting. Reality based thinking sorts are not in their reckoning, since we don't qualify for the idiocracy.

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Anonymous larry, dfh said...

David stockman...isn't he in jail for being a swindler? And grover norquist...travellin' with rush and a handful of viagra to pound little boy tush in Haiti. You couldn't invent such depravity as these folks if you had to.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Larry, I'm not sure we would want to. Their opinions are as slimy as their activities.

5:44 AM  
Blogger Steve Roth said...

re: Starving the Beast

Feb 5: Stockman has disclaimed its validity:

"It doesn''t work. Game over."


2:33 PM  

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