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The Anti-Reagan

Clear as day, the budget speech displayed the difference between Obama's statism and Reagan's liberty.

by
Tony Katz

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April 16, 2011 - 7:11 pm
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Recently, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, assumed a stance behind the microphone, and proceeded to excoriate House Democrats by utilizing a well-known yet little used piece of legislative lingo — he quoted Led Zeppelin. He explained that House Democrats made him think of the band, for with the Democrats, “the song remains the same.” McCotter went on to fully explain why Democrats are neither inventive nor inspiring — watch it for yourself, and wonder (like many are behind closed doors) where McCotter is in the growing GOP field.

It is rare to see wit and wisdom, intellect and individualism, candor and cunning, and a solid amount of connection with the American people. We last saw it in totality with President Ronald Reagan. George Bush had folksy charm down, and Bill Clinton had (has) a level of smooth and political polish that is hard to deny. But Reagan did it all. You knew he knew the facts, you knew that he could lap his opposition on the intellectual race track, and you knew that America was inspired by his being, his actions, and his heart.

How completely awkward and politically tone deaf is President Obama’s attempt since the massive GOP victories of 2010 to compare himself to Reagan! It was on his vacation during Christmas break of 2010 (as opposed to all the others) that he took a copy of Reagan’s biography with him to Hawaii. Google the words “Obama Compares”: the first match that comes up is “himself to Reagan.” He referred to himself as “The Gipper,” and Time magazine had the two on the cover.

I have long accused this administration of being politically tone deaf: the strength exhibited in Obama’s presidential run is nowhere to be found in his running of government. He campaigns with poetry, he flounders and fails with remarkable frequency in prose. And in his most recent speech regarding the budget, Obama showed that he is — in every way — the opposite of Reagan, and showed why he is so dangerous for America.

While a full study of the text of Obama’s budget speech can show multiple stark differences between Reagan and Obama, the overall tone and sentiment of the speech best explains the difference between freedom and bondage. Obama’s speech certainly did not inspire. It was not about the budget, deficits, or what he has personally done to exacerbate what ails America. As Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) pointed out, this was not the commander-in-chief, but the campaigner-in-chief. Obama took this moment to attack Republicans, mock those who want cuts in programs, blame Bush, and Eat The Rich.

Obama’s speech demonstrated his belief that government makes all things possible. He stated (emphasis mine):

Part of this American belief that we are all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us. “There but for the grace of God go I,” we say to ourselves, and so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, and those with disabilities. We are a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further — we would not be a great country without those commitments.

How grating to hear that our greatness as a nation is not our people. It’s not the Bill of Rights or the Constitution as a whole. It’s not that we are a republic, not a democracy.  It is not: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Obama won’t recognize that “endowed by their Creator” is even in the Declaration.)

Rather, as Obama and the progressives foolishly believe, our greatness is based on entitlement programs that are going bankrupt!

In the very next paragraph, Obama stated:

For much of the last century, our nation found a way to afford these investments and priorities with the taxes paid by its citizens. As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. This is not because we begrudge those who’ve done well — we rightly celebrate their success. Rather, it is a basic reflection of our belief that those who have benefited most from our way of life can afford to give a bit more back.

As Roger Kimball of PJM wrote the day before the speech: “Expect the ‘Rich’ to be asked to ‘pay their fair share.’”

The “fair share” meme has proven itself to be code for wealth redistribution. The “fair share” meme is also a lie. The use of the term would make one think that all people pay something, for how else could two people pay a “fair share” if one person pays something and the other person pays nothing? Nearly 50% of Americans (in 2009) do not pay federal income taxes. Not everyone is sharing, and nothing about that is fair.

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