Monthly archives "April 2012"

Reagan 1980/Romney 2012

Like most Conservatives (and even that dying breed called sensible Liberals) I see Ronald Reagan as a great President.   He ranks with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.   It is strange that GOP Presidents since (the two Presidents George Bush) and candidates Bob Dole and John McCain do not seem to see Reagan as a role model.   One realizes that there is only one Ronald Reagan in a lifetime–if that often.   But there are lessons to be learned and principles to follow.

I recall Reagan’s being told in 1980 that he was in trouble as people saw him as a trigger happy cowboy not suited for the subtleties of the Cold War.   The future President consistently answered, “I am not the issue.   It is the sorry record of Jimmy Carter and I am just going to keep talking about it.”   And he did on his way to a 44 state landslide in 1980.   It turns out Americans preferred a powerful Cowboy over a hapless Peanut Farmer,

We now have a President at least Carter’s equal for comical incompetence.   When Barack Obama came out for women at Augusta (which is none of his business) likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney said, “Me too.”   This was a chance to learn from Reagan and say, “I will let others decide about Augusta which is not the issue;  Obama’s sorry record is and I am going to keep talking about it.”   Or, “Women at Augusta will not lower the price at the pump one penny.   It will not produce jobs for women across the land.   Elect me and we will see more drilling, more jobs for women and men and less wasted rhetoric.”    Or maybe poke a little fun at Democrat icon, Bill Clinton, and say, “Women at Augusta will not feed a hungry child.”

Reagan also had a positive message of three points–cutting taxes, lowering interest rates and a building up our national defense.   He did all three and the economy recovered and the old Soviet Union crumbled.   Pretty good record and one Romney can learn from.   Certainly demagogue Obama cannot and four more years of his failed policies may make disaster irretrievable as Henry Kissinger would say.

There is another thing about the Ronald Reagan legacy that is priceless–his sense of humor.  He was a master story teller and could employ the same one in different settings with equal effectiveness.    Humor does not come naturally to Mitt Romney but he can learn to lighten up and poke a little fun at himself and certainly an opponent with an ear as over sized and tin as that of Barack Obama.

Finally, Reagan was always underestimated.   Jerry’s dad, Pat Brown in CA did this in 1966–thinking he would defeat novice Reagan easily and remain as governor.   Toward the end of the campaign he ran an ad where he told a group of children that he was running against an actor.   He asked them, “You know who killed Abraham Lincoln, don’t you?”   Ronald Reagan would later write that when Brown stooped that low, “I knew he knew he was finished.”

Former Governor Brown called then President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and said, “Don’t make the mistake I did and take this man lightly.   I did in 1966 and lost the race by 1 million votes.”  Carter did not listen and managed to win 6 of the 50 (not 57) states.

Right now the race looks 50/50 with Obama perhaps slightly ahead.   For some time 1980 looked rather hopeful for Carter.   It was not.   If Romney can be a bit more flexible and natural and can learn from the master rather than following Dole and McCain maybe he can be the 45th President.   As voters let us all get together and, “Go out and win one for the Mitter.”