Barack Obama gave an interview to the Reno Gazette-Journal last Monday, and committed the mortal sin of talking about Ronald Reagan without using the words “decade of greed” or “antichrist” or “oppressor of the working poor.” Here is what he said:
“I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10-15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not, and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. He tapped into what people were already feeling, which is we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a, you know, a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”
Didn’t sound like a compliment to me so much as a political judgment. Whether you like what Reagan did or not (I myself wasn’t a big fan of his “poor by choice” remark, or the military obsession with missile defense), he did truly build a Republican coalition of fiscal conservatives and foreign policy realists, he was an incredibly skilled communicator who was able to instill optimism in everyday Americans, and he could rock a cowboy hat better than any President since Theodore Roosevelt. Politically, he left a substantive legacy, and of course your feelings on that legacy will vary. That’s just a fact acknowledged by political historians of all stripes, it’s not a value judgment. But you can’t attack a fact, so the ambitious Senator from New York by-God turned it into a value judgment instead.
Well that’s quite a leap. Good for Hillary, seizing the opportunity to drag out the Reagan boogeyman as a way of showing the Democratic base that Senator Obama is nothing but a Reagan sympathizer, a traitor to the cause. Hillary wouldn’t be caught dead saying nice things about the GOP hero!
On an utterly, totally, completely, 100% unrelated note, here’s a quotation from Tom Brokaw’s new book, Boom! that I just thought I’d throw out there. Because it has Reagan in it.
“When he had those big tax cuts and they went too far, he oversaw the largest tax increase. He could call the Soviet Union the Evil Empire and then negotiate arms-control agreements. He played the balance and the music beautifully.”
“Played the balance and the music beautifully.” Wow, that’s pretty effusive. Wonder what talk radio Reagan acolyte Brokaw dug up to say THAT! Wait, hold on a tick…why it was Hillary Clinton!
BONUS HILLARY MENDACITY!
When the opportunistic carpetbagging Senator from New York met Sir Edmund Hillary in 1995, she told him that she was named after the legendary climber. It’s an anecdote she often repeated, and it even made its way into her husband Bill’s 2004 autobiography
Women Other Than My Wife I Have Remorselessly Slept With My Life. Aaaaaannnnndd…Hillary Clinton was born in 1947, and Sir Edmund Hillary did not become famous for ascending Everest until 1953. My my, she does love her tidy narratives, doesn’t she?