« My hero (or one of them) | Main | That unaccustomed noise »

02/25/2010

Comments

John
 Reagan, and especially the hard-core ideologues all around him, who were the real "power structure" for which Reagan was only a front man, had no interest at all in hearing what any Democrats had to say or thought or knew, no matter what their office or expertise. 
I remember that election well. My mother's cousin ("Uncle Tim" to me for all my life) came to our house specifically to convince me that voting for Carter would be a sin because only Reagan was a true Christian. I ignored Uncle Tim and voted for Carter anyway, as IMHO he had done the right thing in taking responsibility for the disastrous rescue attempt.

John
DoctorD42

I was working across the street from the White House during the Carter and Reagan administrations, and saw the main domestic policy events of both from very close up, on a daily basis.  That was my job.  And the people I worked with, all also governmental experts, were doing the same thing.  There wasn't much that got passed us.

Carter was a good man, and of course quite religious.  (I would say that he was far more clearly a Christian than Ronald Reagan!)  

And Carter had a huge interest in every detail of governmental operations.  However, he didn't understand the difference in "scale" between Georgia, where he had been governor, and the sprawling federal government in Washington D.C.  He wrongly believed that the same administrative changes that he had attempted in the backwaters of Georgia would be of great value in the federal establishment, a point of view that was extremely naive, though an honest mistake.

Reagan was cut from a whole different cloth.  So very genial, a movie actor of course, a master of the camera and of putting himself across to the public  (Kind of like the way that Jimmy Stewart played a member of Congress).  But he knew and cared little about government, certainly didn't work hard to find out, and was used by men with a very "hard edge" to advance an agenda that had been developed within the relatively new corporate-funded right wing "think tanks."  

He was "impressive," though, and it is clear that Obama accurately regards the Reagan administrations as being "transformational" in a way that the Bush administrations and the Clinton administration were not.  But he also helped establish a very partisan world of fantasy in which our politics remains enthralled today, and is bringing the country to immobilization, bitterness, and grief.

So I would say your Uncle Tim was mistaken--but really, some of the best and most informed people I knew did vote for Reagan for one reason or another.  It took a few years of having him in power for them to realize their mistake.  

And a lot of the articles I published in the late 1970s (about how the federal government had become too big, too unwieldy) probably would be read now as being very "conservative," although I certainly was not part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that was then taking control.  They were accurate statements, though:  the government was too big, and it was unwieldy.  Things would have turned out better if more Democrats had been willing to recognize that.

Anyhow, thanks for your comments, John.  Memories, memories!

PS--Another good thing about the Carter years:  peanut pie was served daily in the White House cafeteria.  Mmm, mmm good!

John

And a lot of the articles I published in the late 1970s (about how the federal government had become too big, too unwieldy) probably would be read now as being very "conservative," although I certainly was not part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that was then taking control.

I know the feeling - it is no fun being a prophet, especially if you are correct. Right now, what frightens me most is that both Buchanan and Stockman have adopted positions that I held back in the 80's (a progressive tax code, decreased spending, a balanced budget, across the board cuts). Was I that far ahead of my time, or are they just now realizing the truth? Either way, it gives me the shivers!

John
DoctorD42

As to the prophet business, I think it really is uncomfortable.  I felt I KNEW, absolutely, that the stock market and the economy would be in trouble in mid 2007.  I called my broker, though, and she insisted "that's not what the experts think."  I felt certain--I won't repeat the evidence now--but I got talked out of my fairly informed "gut" feeling.

She also talked me into selling some shares of Apple stock at $80; now it is around $200.  Sadly, really, I feel like (in my old age) I am "right" much more often than I expect to be, and I defer to the judgment of others too often.

You know the story about the Emperor's New Clothes?  It is that kind of a concern.  People generally speaking don't talk frankly, and honesty is hushed up.  I think that story has a lot of applicability, in many situations.  The enthusiasm with which Sarah Palin was greeted by so many certainly is one recent example, but there are indeed so many!

DoctorD42

I do take back everything I said that was favorable about Lamar Alexander.  Not how I felt about him back in the day, but how he is now.

Alexander's current claim is that putting health care reform to an up-or-down, simple majority rules vote would "destroy the Senate" and "eliminate minority rights."  Hah!

That is ridiculous, as he knows perfectly well.  What is called "reconciliation," which means "reconciling" differing versions of the same bill passed by the Senate and the House, is a frequent practice.  It has been commonly used for major legislation, and it has been especially commonly used by Republicans.  For instance, that's how they got major components of the Reagan economic recovery initiative (OBRA 1981) and how they got the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which were even more costly than the proposed health reforms.  That's how the "right" to have temporary health insurance after you lose your job came into being (COBRA 1986).

At the moment, Republicans are holding out for the idea that the objection of even one of their members--a single Senator--should be enough to stop legislation already agreed to by all the other 99.  And that is happening, right now:  certain benefits are ceasing, and certain government workers are being laid off.

The problem is not really so much with the individuals in Congress, although there are a quite a few "bad apples" in the barrel right now.  It is that the obstructionist legislative procedures being employed give those bad apples undue influence, really veto power, and deprive all of the rest of us--the people who voted the President and members of Congress--of our right to get our way, or in these cases, to even have our views considered.

Vote it up, or vote it down.  Take a public stand, don't hide yourself away.  Majority rules.  Let's get it on.

The comments to this entry are closed.