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Obama is not a Reagan worshipper

Edwards and Clinton are really slamming Obama for his Reagan comments during an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal. But they're absolutely distorting the Senator's comments, and they know it. If they at least took the time to watch the brief Reagan comment (in a 50 minute interview), they'd know he wasn't endorsing Reagan or his policies.

Have you watched the clip? Where he talks about Reagan? He doesn't in any way praise Reagan or his presidency. He talks about how Reagan seized a moment in history, and completely changed the direction of the country. What's interesting is how he delivers it. It almost sounds like he's saying something in praise of Reagan. But he's not. He's just describing, in a very professorial way, what he sees as a parallel between this moment in history - 2008 - and 1980, when Reagan was first elected. In response to a question about his candidacy. Obama is saying that this is a similar time in history, with an opportunity to change the trajectory of the country (to the left, instead of the right) that is similar to what happened in the 1980 campaign.

Watch the clip:

After this interview, the Reno Gazette-Journal endorsed Obama. And remember, Obama is openly calling for tax increases, universal healthcare, getting out of Iraq, and doing something about global warming. Things Reagan would never support.



I read a bit of the transcript of the interview. What the hell is wrong with people? Can anybody seriously deny that Reagan did take advantage of a restless electorate or that Reagan was also extremely influential, whether one likes the outcomes of those influences or not? "Influential" all by itself doen't necessarily mean good. Hell, Hitler was influential. (No, I'm not comparing Reagan to Hitler and you know that.)

The problem with Obama's comments is that he reinforced a fictional historical narrative about the Reagan presidency, that it was an economic success, when in fact that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship was rekindled in America when Bill Clinton was president, not Ronald Reagan.

As Paul Krugman notes in today's NY Times, popular business reading of the 80s prominently featured the Japanese business model (well except for Lee Ioccaca who was CEO of Chrysler when the US govt bailed it out, which arguably was the Japanese business model).

Obama's comments strike me as more of the same of his double talk bullshit, whether intentional or not. Co-opt right wing soundbites when he speaks and then rely on others to "clarify" his remarks to make clear that he's really a good Democrat. Is he being stupid or cynical? an apt comparison to Ronald Reagan.

Obama on Reagan:

Rhetorically brilliant, apparently a bit too "high end" for the masses. But ballsy, shrewd, and a great analogy, to boot.

I think it's sad that people can't discuss the "greatness" of any given president in a sophisticated way lest they be seen as endorsing that president's policies. I am no fan of Ronald Reagan but I won't deny he was a great president--as in a president who had an enormous impact on the social and cultural legacy of his time. Reagan DOMINATES the 80s, good or bad. That's fact.

Reagan dominates even today--he is the patron saint and raison d'etre of the entire conservative movement, universally respected by Republicans, and the model of leadership to which they all look. This is an immense achievement in itself, especially given the state of the GOP before he came in. And his stance on the USSR was actually, truly brilliant (and contrary to the prevailing wisdom).

I was too young to have had the pleasure of voting against him, old enough to see through his policies, but not too cynical to admire his formidable natural leadership.

The thing that nobody's explained so far is what exactly are the excesses he's talking about - the excess of good music? i'm confused.

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