Monday, July 28, 2008

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right!

I haven't been able to get into my Blog lately, but I had this one planned for a while. I have been doing a fair amount with the "Profiles in American Leadership" lately, all while fretting over the current political and economic, not to mention social, landscapes. Though I have several more historical figures to spotlight in the near future, I think it only right that I take a moment to vent my spleen on things politic. And so...

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a
member of Congress.. But I repeat myself."

--Mark Twain

Who, with any understanding of the politics of today can argue with Mr. Twain? We cannot blame the Democrats alone for the fuel prices and the slow economy, though they deserve the bulk—notice I did not say a “recession”, we’re not there yet. But, if the Dems and the media have their way we will be in a recession by the end of the year. The Republicans, though they regularly argued against current legislation prohibiting drilling in promising places and the building of new refineries and nuclear power plants for over thirty years, had control of both the legislative and executive branches for several years and did literally nothing to correct the governmental energy policies that have brought us to this scary point in time.

True, we have been trying to fight a war against terror on more than one front in the Mid East--and against the Dems and the media at home--but the Republicans have lost their way. Republicans try too hard to get along, even when it when it is against their interest to do so. The crazy Democrats have taken the opposite position to the Bush administration at every turn, no matter how ludicrous and idiotic, trusting that the public is fickle enough and uninformed enough to be warn down and turned in public opinion; if the Dems can drone on without serious questioning of facts and argument from the Republicans and Conservatives; and if the mainstream media is complicit enough to carry water for them. Of course, his had been the case for ever, but most obviously self destructive since 9/11/01.

The war in Iraq is winding down and new violence in Afghanistan is being quelled effectively, and the terrorists are getting their heads handed to them--I only wish it were in a literal sense*--wherever they can be found. Clearly, our efforts must continue in this regard, or perhaps even up the anti by putting more pressure on the other clowns in the area. But, any success we have against terror, though good for America, will be ignored by the Media or painted black by the Dems and Libs, because it hurts their chances in the polls.

The Republicans, however, have been frightened off by the Dems wins last election. They are in disarray and don’t know where to go or what to do. Let’s face it: they are just are not in the same league as the democrats when it comes to hard nosed politics. Republicans can be shamed by obvious misdeeds into eating their own, while the Democrats can stare into the sun and declare that it’s midnight. And the Media will never point out the obvious discrepancies.

Now we have an opportunity to slap the Democrats wit a resounding defeat in the upcoming elections. Although we have a pretty weak presidential nominee in John McCain—he actually buys into the “Global Warming” con game that the left has been playing for the last twenty years—the fuel prices and oil drilling issues we are faced with today should not only easily keep us from losing seats in Congress again this time around, but could easily give us back control. The Democrats chickens have come home to roost in regards to the nation’s energy policy, and the public needs to know who laid the rotten eggs that these ugly chickens were hatched from. However, the question arises: Do the republicans have the good sense and the guts to play the game hard? If we let this opportunity go by, we are as stupid and leaderless as I have begun to believe us, since the elections of 2000.

Even with McCain, our chances are good. Let’s face it: Obama is another gift. We cannot be afraid to call him what he is: an empty suit with empty rhetoric trying to distance himself, with help of the fawning media, from crazy leftist extremists in his past and present. We can pressure McCain to fight with the gloves off and to choose a V.P. who actually knows something about the economy and who is conservative enough to appease some of us conservatives who are holding our noses while we vote for him. We might even be able to coax some conservatives back who have refused to vote for McCain or wait till 2012. Romney is my obvious pick. Jindal would be my second.

The truth is that the American public is not as smart and informed as it has been in the past. Reagan was able to got them and explain why he was right and why they should follow him. I think that, if we take the facts to the voting public and articulate our argument with logic and without fear, not even the leftist media will be able to hide the truth. Lincoln said, “You can deceive some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t deceive all of the people all of the time.” The Dems and the mainstream media have had a good run lately, but I hope that we can turn the tied back again and that Mr. Twain will be only partially right this time around.

note *(I've thought for a long time that it should be made known to all prospective suicide bombers that their remains will be gathered up and sewn inside of pig carcases and buried appropriately. I'm not sure, but I suspect that for some of the literal minded Muslim Crazies, it might be a deterrent. After all, what self respecting Muslim virgin would sidle up to a martyr in paradise wearing a pigskin suit.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008


As a boy I watched a lot of television. In those days, old black and white movies were broadcast in the afternoons throughout the week on local stations. I suspect that I watched hundreds of old movies in those days and I had my favorite films and my favorite actors. I cannot say that there were many Ronald Reagan films that I remember thinking were outstanding, but I remember liking Ronald Reagan. In my later childhood years, I would see him in guest appearances on television productions, generally westerns, and eventually I saw him as the host of Death Valley Days. I continued to like him. When he came on the national scene as a candidate for president of the United States and I began to familiarize myself with his political beliefs, I not only liked him, I began to LOVE him. I saw him as everything I wanted in a president. I was so disappointed when he lost the 1976 republican nomination for president, that I threw my vote to a third-party candidate—an action that I vow to never do again, thank you Jimmie Carter. When Reagan won the presidency in 1980, I was jubilant. When he was re-elected four years later, I had hopes that the Reagan revolution would have a long-term impact on American politics. When Reagan died in 2004 and I watched his funeral and the various tributes to him on television, I was convinced that an historical giant and one of the greatest American Presidents had lived and died during my lifetime. Ronald Reagan was one of my true heroes.

Ronald Wilson Reagan
(February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004)

Ronald Reagan, nicknamed “Dutch” by his father for his Dutch boy haircut he wore as a child, was the second of two sons born to John and Nelle Wilson Reagan in Tampico, Illinois, in a small apartment over the local bank. As a boy, he moved around with his parents to various small Illinois towns, often living in poor circumstances due to his father’s alcoholism and employment as a traveling salesman. Reagan’s mother’s influence on him was critical during his youth, when he learned to have respect for minorities and faith in God and the basic goodness in people and an optimistic view of life. Reagan said that his devoutly religious mother would invite black people passing through Dixon, Illinois—persons who he would habitually bring home with him because they were not welcome at the local inn—to pass the night in their home and breakfast the next day before traveling on.

Reagan was a good athlete in high school and college, excelling in football, and attended the local college in Eureka, Illinois, where he worked summers as a lifeguard. He graduated from college with a BA in economics, but he moved to Des Moines, Iowa, and began a career as sports announcer at WOC radio. On a road trip with the Chicago Cubs in California in 1937, Reagan made a screen test for Warner Brothers Studios and landed a film contract which launched a successful acting career that lasted until 1964 and featured 60 feature films and appearances on more than 15 television shows as an actor or host.

Through a home-study program offered by the US Army, Reagan studied toward an officer’s commission and enlisted as a private as a cavalry soldier in Des Moines, Iowa in April of 1937. The following month he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corp of the US Cavalry. After his move to California and the start of World War II Reagan was called to active duty. His poor eyesight precluded him from serving on the war front but he found important service in the Army’s 1st Motion Picture Unit making films to promote the armed services and the war effort. Before leaving the service in 1945, Reagan had earned the rank of Captain.

During the same time period Reagan made choices that would eventually take him to the White House. It was then that became involved in the Screen Actor’s Guild and was eventually elected its president and served from 1947 to1952 and again in 1959. It was during these years that his political beliefs began to come to the forefront, dealing with labor-management disputes and testifying before Congress in the House Committee on Un American Activities. He defended the rights of Americans to have the political beliefs they chose but condemned those that chose to act as agents for a foreign country. By 1948, Reagan began to have political aspirations—a partial cause for his divorce from actress, Jane Wyman, with whom he shared three children—and began to have reservations about the direction of the Democrat party. Reagan became a Republican in 1962 and married actress, Nancy Davis, who bore him two additional children and supported his political ambitions. He would later say that he did not leave the Democrat Party, but that the Democrat Party left him.

During his time as the spokesman for General Electric, Reagan honed his skill as a speech writer and developing the style of public speaking that would serve him so well in politics. At the 1964 Republican Party Convention, Reagan was given the opportunity to speak in behalf of Barry Goldwater and conservative ideals. It was this “Time for Choosing” speech that so impressed his fellow Californians that they began to see him as the Governor of their state and Reagan’s political career was launched. Reagan was elected Governor two years later and served in that office from 1967 to 1975.

Reagan began looking towards the White House almost immediately, enter the Presidential frey seeking the republican nomination in 1968 to give his party an option besides Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller. After two terms as Governor of California and largely successful effort to bring the California economy more sound and the state government more solvent, Reagan began a more earnest attempt to capture the Republican nomination for President. Richard Nixon had resigned from the oval office during his second term because of the Watergate scandal and his then Vice President, Gerald Ford finished his term and was running as incumbent. This made it difficult for Reagan to win the nomination, but he came very close, winning 1070 delegates to Ford’s 1187. But again, Reagan established himself as the Conservative answer to liberal (Carter) and moderate (Ford) political positions. Four years later, Reagan would easily win the republican nomination and even more easily win the presidency over Jimmy Carter in a landslide. Reagan also had long coat tails—the Republicans recaptured control of the Senate after almost 30 years and gained 34 seats in the House of Representatives. Reagan easily won re-election in 1984 by an even great landslide than before, winning every state but Minnesota and the District of Columbia, with record 525 electoral vote and nearly 59% 0f the popular vote.

Reagan’s administration began in dramatic fashion, with Iran releasing 52 hostages who had been held for 444 days which had caused great frustration for the American people and had weakened further the already weak Carter administration. The prevailing thought at the time was that the Iranian government did not expect Ronald Reagan, who was generally perceived abroad as a “Cowboy”, to sit passively by as Jimmie Carter had. This only propelled Reagan’s image to greater heights with the American people and began to re moralize the American military, something that Reagan had promised would be a priority of his administration.

Reagan’s prevailing philosophy on domestic issues throughout his presidency was that "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." Reagan’s policies were geared to allow more personal freedom and to ween people away from dependency on the government, to cut taxes and government controls, to allow more Americans more of their own money to spend as they saw fit, which would, in turn grow the economy. His supply-side economic philosophy and his desire to eliminate government restrictions on businesses were criticized roundly by liberal democrats and most of the media, but he persisted and he prevailed by calling on public support.

Reagan’s ability to connect with the common man suggested to many analysts the title “The Great Communicator.” He turned often to the American public in televised speeches explaining his plans and goals to drum up support for his policies and explain respectfully his difficulties with his advisories in Congress. This practice was very effective. The American public responded time and again by calling their congress men and women to express their support for the president and Congress would concede. Through this practice he was able to pursue his domestic and foreign policies to great effect. He also rebuilt the image of the United States and respect for it’s military strength abroad.

Reagan’s economic policies and tax cuts eventually grew the economy to unpresidented levels—the longest stretch of largely uninterrupted economic prosperity in American history of 28 years to date—and, as he predicted, vastly increased federal revenue. Detractors would later decry the fact that government spending during the Reagan years actually increased and that United States’ debt increased to record levels, however, most of the increase in spending was due to Reagan’s efforts to rebuild the United States military. The renewed prosperity that followed his tax polices has continued for nearly thirty years, in spite of major hits to the economy during the past couple of decades by such events as natural disasters, terrorist attacks and military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past.

Reagan’s focus on rebuilding the Military was a large part of re-establishing the United States as the greatest military power on the earth and to back his desire to promote democracy throughout the world and to protect America’s interests abroad. Reagan increased military spending by 40% in his first six years as president and proposed the “Strategic Defense Initiative” (SDI), a missile system designed to shoot down enemy missiles in flight before they could reach America. Detractors called his plan “Star Wars” and claimed that it was infeasible. Today the system has proved not only feasible, but very successful and promises to be strong deterrent, as it is perfected and put in place. The Soviet Union could not match
America’s economic might and could not keep up in the arms race. When Mikhail Gorbachev came into power in the Soviet Union, Reagan saw an opportunity to push the Soviets toward more openness, understanding that freedom of speech would eventually spell the end of the Soviet Union. Reagan met with the Soviet leader at 4 summits to discuss arms reduction and push the Russian for concessions on human rights, insisting that the SDI program—a system that the Soviets knew they could not afford and could not duplicate—was not on the table for negotiation Though many feared Reagan’s unapologetic anti-communist rhetoric and in-your-face foreign policy, would lead us into war—early in his presidency he described the Soviet Union as an evil empire—he was proven correct again. In a speech at the Berlin Wall near the end of his presidency, Reagan, sensing that the time was right, called for Gorbachev’s government to “tear down this wall.” In 1979, the Berlin Wall was disassembled and two years after that, the Soviet Union followed suit.

Reagan had some difficult times as well, but he took adversity in stride and with usual optimistic good humor. Early in his first year as president, Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt. Though he was near to death in the hospital, as he was preparing to go into surgery, he quipped to the doctors, “I hope you are all Republicans”. Also early on, he felt compelled to fire 11,345 Federal Air Traffic Controllers who chose to strike against his warnings not to do so. In 1983, 241 marines were killed in a terrorist bombing of a barracks in Lebanon, where the marines had been stationed as a peacekeeping force. The US forces were removed, giving some of our enemies the opinion that America would not stand against terrorism. Later, Reagan ordered US forces to Granada to put down a communist takeover of the Island state and protect American citizens and interests there. After suffering numerous terrorist attacks, Reagan was able to establish a connection to some of the terrorist activities with Lybian dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. On April 15, 1986, Reagan ordered air strikes on Lybia declaring, "When our citizens are attacked or abused anywhere in the world on the direct orders of hostile regimes, we will respond so long as I'm in this office."

Perhaps, Reagan’s most difficult challenge was his attempt to aid anti-communist forces in Nicaragua against opposition from Democrats in Congress, which resulted in the "Iran-Contra Affair". The National Security team in his administration orchestrated sales of weaponry to Iran and gave some of the proceeds to support the “Contra Insurgents in Nicaragua who were fighting the Communist government there. The Tower Commission, who investigated the “Iran-Contra” scandal when it became known, determined that there was no evidence that Reagan knew of the “scheme”, but criticised the President for being inattentive in his duties.

Though his popularity dipped from 67% approval to just under 50% for a short time after the Iran Contra scandal, Reagan left office as one of the most popular President in American history and became an icon for Republicans and especially for Conservatives. During a vacation in Mexico in 1989, Reagan took a fall from a horse and received a concussion and underwent surgery to relieve subdurl hematoma. Doctors suspect that the event hastened the onset of Alzheimer's that eventually caused his death on the 5th of June, 2004. The national mourning and tributes that followed testify of the great love and respect that the American public held for President Ronald Wilson Reagan. No one loved his country more or respected the office he held more than Ronald Reagan. He would never enter the oval office without a coat and tie and expected the same of others. He was poetic in his expressions about his country as a “shining city on a hill” and often proclaimed the it’s greatest days were in it’s future.

In 1986, the Space Shuttle, Challenger, exploded during takeoff killing all aboard. Reagan’s response was a speech considered by many to be one of his greatest: “The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them... We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God.” Ronald Wilson Reagan should likewise be remembered. He was an island of optimistic and visionary leadership for America's future in a sea of unimaginative status quo modern practitioners of politics.