America: This time, it’s personal

posted at 7:45 pm on July 9, 2012 by J.E. Dyer

I’m trying to get a book finished, and it isn’t helping to keep stopping to write blog posts.  But this point is worth making.

I believe the Obama campaign is wasting its time with attacks on Mitt Romney.  That doesn’t mean Team Obama will wise up; it has only a few tricks in its bag, and it deploys them over and over.  But it does mean that the public is inured to the Obama shtick.  There’s no there there, and increasingly, the people know it.

There’s something else about this election that tends to rob the trademark Obama demagoguery of its effect.  A growing number of Americans perceive our nation to be at a turning point (or a precipice; choose your metaphor).  If Romney were a more galvanizing candidate for conservative Republicans, there would be a greater tendency to associate him with the prospect of an American turn-around, on the order of the Reagan presidency.

But Romney is not the object of widespread enthusiasm.  He comes across as a decent, accomplished man who wants to do the right thing, but he is perfectly comfortable with big government, and seems to have no philosophical underpinnings: certainly not conservative ones – constitutionalism, limited government, originalist philosophy – nor any of the kind that help meaningful policies weather the storms of political opposition.

Throughout the very competitive primary season, millions of voters were hoping intensely for someone else.  Yet Romney didn’t tack to the right much during the primary season, and his “inevitability” has meant that he sees little reason to do so in the general campaign.  He won’t be doing heavy lifting for small-government conservatism in the Oval Office.

His difference with Obama is more profound than merely a set of disputes over the precise content of big-government policy.  Romney comes across as having a better character.  He’s not steeped in cronyism, he doesn’t want to “Alinsky” his opponents – or Alinsky the middle class, for that matter – and he generally respects the people and the idea of their private property.  Romney in the Oval Office would not be a predator, ideological or otherwise.  But his idea of the proper role and scope of government is much closer to that of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and all the Democratic presidential candidates since 1964 – including, ultimately, Barack Obama – than that of Ronald Reagan.  Romney’s a Massachusetts pol; a Republican in Massachusetts would be a Democrat in a good 35 of the other states.

Reagan, by contrast, was a defining leader, even philosopher, of the limited-government conservative movement.  He did, in fact, do the heavy lifting for conservatism in Washington, DC.  He didn’t get everything he wanted, and he didn’t satisfy conservatives on every point.  But he was the person leading the charge, acting on a set of philosophical premises about the proper relationship of government to the people.  His premises were opposed in important ways to the assumptions of the New Deal and the Great Society.  Reagan, when he went to Washington, acted on the understanding that he had a mandate to literally reverse the encroachments of government on the people’s lives.

Conservatives in 2012 understand clearly that Mitt Romney will not do this.  He has never said he will, and he has never spoken in philosophical terms that suggest he might.  Electing Romney isn’t electing a champion of the American political idea.  It’s a tactical move to get Obama out of office.

The period of the Obama tenure, and now the 2012 election, are forcing Americans to reconsider, in a way I’m not sure we have for a good 200 years, what the vote means, and what politics means to our lives.  Since 1792, the sense has gradually crept upon us that when we elect a president, we are electing our collective future.  That sense took a giant leap forward with the FDR presidency, and frankly, it took another one when Reagan entered office.

Some of the most important (although not necessarily good) legislation in the 20th century was actually passed under other presidents, like Wilson, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, and Carter.  But FDR and Reagan were seen by their respective constituencies, in a way none of the other presidents in the last century was, as leaders who could steer our course decisively by using the power of the executive.  An idea has spread in the public consciousness that electing a president is tantamount to electing a savior.

The point here is not that it doesn’t matter who the president is; the point is that in sending saviors to Washington, the people have effectively minimized and relinquished their own role in the stewardship of America.  We have come to think of our main obligation as electing a president, who will then do all the important work while Congress roils around being, incorrigibly, Congress: annoying, posturing, legislatively incontinent.

The Founding Fathers didn’t see it that way – and indeed, it hasn’t turned out to be a very good idea.  Now the political turning point in 2012 rests squarely with the people.  There is no “champion” – no savior – running for president in either party.  It’s down to us now.

What is our character?  Can we see through demagoguery and even outright lies?  Do we acknowledge our responsibility for a government that today sees us alternately as lab rats and pack mules, and is currently spending our great-great-grandchildren’s earnings?  Are we willing to take responsibility for ourselves and our families?  Are we willing to help those in need ourselves, rather than handing the government an open-ended charter to remake us all?

What is our view of government?  What is government supposed to do?  What does it mean to elect someone to public office?  What are our responsibilities for self-government?  How well do we understand the competing philosophical justifications for small government and big?  What do we really think of them?

I see two ways for conservatives to view the vote in November.  One involves a pragmatic view of government as something to be handled, as much as possible, through prudent tactics.  This view emphasizes method and calculation over philosophy.  The other involves a view of government that makes the choice of president a form of positive affirmation of what we believe in.  With this view, philosophy is paramount; if philosophical sympathy is absent in the leading candidate(s), no mere method of politics is a way of correcting the deficiency.

Neither perspective stands alone.  In most election years, campaigning entails a combination of these perspectives, and a candidate is chosen who seems to marry them as effectively as possible for electoral politics.  In 2012, however, conservatives simply can’t make of Romney a “what we believe in” choice.  He is instead a “prudent tactics” choice: a placeholder who will basically not be Obama for the next four years.

The only strategically significant point of having a placeholder is so that the people themselves can regroup.  Romney cannot be a savior, and in policy terms, he is not the answer to our problems.  In the foreseeable future, we have to do the heavy lifting.

What I would like to suggest is that it has been unrealistic all along for American voters to imagine that we can find, every four years, a political avatar of all our hopes and dreams.  That is an unrealistic view of politics, and a dangerous view of the role government should play in our lives.  It is essentially the role defined by the left for its favorite sons.

It is also unrealistic to suppose that we can delegate to government, or to a particular president, the responsibility of standing up to bad ideas and trends in our society.  We ourselves have to stand up to them, in school board meetings and local zoning hearings, in state legislatures and the House of Representatives.  We have to stand up to them in our family lives and our personal lives, our lives as citizens, employers, employees, volunteers, philanthropists, and believers.

Even on the political right, we have come to assign government and particular politicians too large a role in correcting the problems around us.  Most of us believe in “government” too much now; instead of believing in the smallness of government and the benefits of our own liberty, too many of us have been induced to simply believe in the American government itself, whatever its size.

Our Founders were profoundly – and properly – skeptical of government.  They stated repeatedly that their reliance was ultimately on the good sense and character of the people.  In 2012, it’s all about the people: who we are and the clarity with which we see our predicament and our options.

That’s one of the biggest reasons why there is so little resonance with our spirits in this year’s election campaign.  The Obama campaign’s attacks on Romney are just noise in this season, but even Romney’s proclamations don’t matter all that much.  In 2012, the governing dynamic is the American people talking to ourselves, deciding who we really are and what we really believe.  Romney isn’t, at any point, going to intrude on that dialogue.  In an important sense, Obama is irrelevant to it, except as an example of the extremes to which our century-long practice of seeking saviors can take us.

The dialogue will continue for years after November 2012.  The dialogue is what matters, and if a sleeping giant is awakening, it will take some time for it to educate itself.  The need for the people to educate and improve ourselves, as self-governing citizens, is actually a good thing, in my view.  If we had another Reagan to elect this fall, we would remain passive, waiting for the president to try to do what only we can do.  It is good for the people to have to step up to our responsibilities, which start with character and knowledge.

This year, meanwhile, the great resolution we are working toward isn’t so much Democrat or Republican, Obama or Romney; this year, it’s America – liberty, self-government, responsibility – and us.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Weekly Standard online, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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Duh!

KOOLAID2 on July 9, 2012 at 7:46 PM

I believe the Obama campaign is wasting its time with attacks on Mitt Romney.

J.E. that’s all they know. Just look at all of Barry’s prior campaign. Oh Barry may stay “above the fray” but his acolytes revel in it.

Besides, do you actually expect the incumbent to “run on his record”?

Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

GarandFan on July 9, 2012 at 7:49 PM

There’s no there there, and increasingly, the people know it.

There never was, and never will be, any there there.

Schadenfreude on July 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Romney comes across as having a better character.

this is as true as it is intangible.

ted c on July 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

J.E., Thanks, great read, spot on. Now, back to the book! ; )

Bmore on July 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Our Founders were profoundly – and properly – skeptical of government. They stated repeatedly that their reliance was ultimately on the good sense and character of the people. In 2012, it’s all about the people: who we are and the clarity with which we see our predicament and our options.

…I don’t think they had any idea that the people that would follow after them…would get dumber!

KOOLAID2 on July 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

War with Iran in Sept. He doesn’t care how many die, so long as he wins re-election.

Schadenfreude on July 9, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Romney said that he wanted to cut Gov’t spending back to 17% of GDP, instead of the 25% we have today. That’s good enough for me, to start with anyway.

JimK on July 9, 2012 at 7:52 PM

It’s going to take a Mitt Romney to get us a Scott Walker so to speak.

Romney stops the bleeding.

gophergirl on July 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

This year, meanwhile, the great resolution we are working toward isn’t so much Democrat or Republican, Obama or Romney; this year, it’s America – liberty, self-government, responsibility – and us.

“You misoverestimate the American people of today; they are more like the Europeans now, for shame” — GWB…not that much better politically, but definitely a better man

Schadenfreude on July 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

gophergirl on July 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Romney/Walker

Schadenfreude on July 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Not even Reagan rolled back the size and role of government. I predict doom.

faraway on July 9, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Romney stops the bleeding.

gophergirl on July 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Gotta start somewhere

workingclass artist on July 9, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Terrific post. The Founders were knowledgeable of the predilection of each of us to fall to the siren song of power.

…I don’t think they had any idea that the people that would follow after them…would get dumber!

KOOLAID2 on July 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

I think they’d already seen it, and some of them worried terribly about it.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 7:59 PM

1st up for mittens: repeal barackycare. then on to repealing large segments of fed gov’t.

newrouter on July 9, 2012 at 8:01 PM

“It’s a tactical move to get Obama out of office.”

What ever it takes…!

Seven Percent Solution on July 9, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Boy we have alot of revisionist history regarding Reagan these days. Yes he was a great President one of the very best. However, he evolved into the great conservative that he became. For most of his life he was a Democrat and later a Big Union Leader.
People now remember Reagan the way that I remember living in New York City. I remember the good stuff. Great Theatre, Restaurants, 1986 World Series etc and tend to forget the Traffic Jams and two near muggings and one car stolen.

I believe Romney will become the same great President mostly due to his love of this great country of ours.

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Gotta start somewhere

workingclass artist on July 9, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Exactly and if Romney over delivers then we’re that further along in fixing this mess.

I can’t imagine how bad it really is.

gophergirl on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Half of the Republican Party precinct committeeman slots are vacant, on average, in every county in America. About one-third of the precincts nationwide have not even one Republican Party precinct committeeman.

In many counties in America, the elections department can’t fill up all of the poll worker slots — even the paid ones. And in many counties in America, there aren’t enough Republican precinct committeeman to be official poll watchers.

Fix that and you fix the outcome of the elections.

Go here if you want to learn the real solution. It’s rebuilding our Party apparatus from the precinct level on down.

http://theprecinctproject.wordpress.com

Here’s succinct summary of the problem and the solution — with charts!

http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blogs/what-we-need-to-do-as-soon-as

Also, go here:

http://precinctproject.us

http://concordproject.org

Thank you,
Cold Warrior

Cold Warrior on July 9, 2012 at 8:03 PM

JE, thank you for a wonderful article that will help in reviving our American Heritage.

Key West Reader on July 9, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

I for one am sick of people trying to drag Reagan down in order to prop Romney up.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I’m trying to get a book finished, and it isn’t helping to keep stopping to write blog posts. But this point is worth making.
==============================================================

So thats where you have been,excellent,SoldierEtte On:)

canopfor on July 9, 2012 at 8:06 PM

I believe Romney will become the same great President mostly due to his love of this great country of ours.

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Did you read the article?

*shakes head*

idesign on July 9, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Romney/Walker

Schadenfreude on July 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

From your mouth to Mitt’s ear. Nothing would make me happier.

Ygritte on July 9, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

I for one am sick of people trying to drag Reagan down in order to prop Romney up.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:05 PM

+1

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:08 PM

I for one am sick of people trying to drag Reagan down in order to prop Romney up.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Especially since, if we date Romney’s change-of-heart from the time he told a reporter he was “progressive,” he should have to wait another 15 years proving himself before ascending to higher office; it was 25 years between Reagan’s party switch and his ascendance to the Oval Office.

gryphon202 on July 9, 2012 at 8:08 PM

War with Iran in Sept. He doesn’t care how many die, so long as he wins re-election.

Schadenfreude on July 9, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Will the old media proclaim it “a quagmire” after seven days as they did with President George W. Bush in Iraq?

Not likely.

slickwillie2001 on July 9, 2012 at 8:09 PM

I really think we are two nations now. One American, and one Socialist. It’s almost time to amicably go our separate ways.

Kjeil on July 9, 2012 at 8:09 PM

War with Iran in Sept. He doesn’t care how many die, so long as he wins re-election.

Schadenfreude on July 9, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Or American civil war 2.0 would suit Obama just fine, so long as he ‘wins’ re-election. He doesn’t care how many die.

Harbingeing on July 9, 2012 at 8:09 PM

I believe the Obama campaign is wasting its time with attacks on Mitt Romney. That doesn’t mean Team Obama will wise up; it has only a few tricks in its bag, and it deploys them over and over. But it does mean that the public is inured to the Obama shtick. There’s no there there, and increasingly, the people know it.
==================================================

No kidding,I walked by the tv,and Obama was going on about tax cuts
and he was going on about taxing the RICH to fix the economy,and I
rolled my eyes…..NOT ANOTHER WAR…..again!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on July 9, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Not even Reagan rolled back the size and role of government. I predict doom.

faraway on July 9, 2012 at 7:58 PM

That wasn’t the point of the post. The point of the post is We the People.

Let me also say it’s easier to predict doom than to work against it. Cynicism is an easier posture than perseverance. Get to the library and check out a copy of Washington’s Crossing by David Fischer. When you have done more than those men did, then you can quit.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I really think we are two nations now. One American, and one Socialist. It’s almost time to amicably go our separate ways.

Kjeil on July 9, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Is it not too late for an amicable separation? Can’t see it going down easily.

Harbingeing on July 9, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Speaking of Obama on Tax Cuts,

heres a heads up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
===================================================

@CNBC tweeted:

CNBC
ALERT:

Treasury Secretary Geithner to meet with Senate Democrats Tuesday afternoon to discuss tax cuts.

Submitted 56 mins ago from twitter.com by editor

https://twitter.com/CNBC/status/222468791098019840

canopfor on July 9, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Romney stops the bleeding.

gophergirl on July 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

…well…at least the rectal bleeding!

KOOLAID2 on July 9, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Excellent points all. I’ve been reconsidering my own views of this matter lately. I’d been hoping for a conservative savior. It’s obviously not to be, and this, as you say, may be right. The Tea Party, after all, was entirely about our own recognitions of American principles and our own obligations as citizens. This is what Palin seemed to be saying herself. We cannot rely on five justices or one salvational leader, but take the long view of restoration.

rrpjr on July 9, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Our country will never survive the evil of the political left (and some on the right) unless we continuously hold vigil.

There is noone besides God that we can give the reigns to and
then walk away, hoping they will do right by the country.

Amjean on July 9, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Interesting. I noticed that Carly Fiorina is on the list of people speak at the convention.

crosspatch on July 9, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM
Did you read the article?

*shakes head*

idesign on July 9, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Yes I did. I believe it is a given that it is up to us to remain vigilent and ensure that our representatives and leaders are upholding our values, our rights, encouraging free enterprise, capitalism etc. As Reagan said “Trust but verify”

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:15 PM

I really think we are two nations now. One American, and one Socialist. It’s almost time to amicably go our separate ways.

Kjeil on July 9, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Kjeil:And I tend to agree with you,I will always remember John
Edwards Idiot/Stupid comment!!
======================================

Two Americas
************

Two Americas is a catch phrase referring to social stratification in American society,

made famous in a speech by former US Senator and former presidential candidate John Edwards,

originally referring to haves and have-nots.

[1] The speech has since become popular and inspired many parodies and similar metaphors.
======================

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Americas

canopfor on July 9, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Whoops, that’s the state convention, not the national convention.

crosspatch on July 9, 2012 at 8:17 PM

What I would like to suggest is that it has been unrealistic all along for American voters to imagine that we can find, every four years, a political avatar of all our hopes and dreams. That is an unrealistic view of politics, and a dangerous view of the role government should play in our lives. It is essentially the role defined by the left for its favorite sons.

It is also unrealistic to suppose that we can delegate to government, or to a particular president, the responsibility of standing up to bad ideas and trends in our society. We ourselves have to stand up to them, in school board meetings and local zoning hearings, in state legislatures and the House of Representatives. We have to stand up to them in our family lives and our personal lives, our lives as citizens, employers, employees, volunteers, philanthropists, and believers.

I agree. Ben Franklin said he gave us “A republic — if you can keep it.” Why people seem so surprised that they actually have to *do* something to keep it (i.e., that it won’t keep itself) is shocking to me. But you are right — too many are passive, thinking they just have to elect X — and nobody else but X! — and all the problems in this country will be solved in an instant. It’s just like those saying Romney is “Obama lite” — well, if he’s elected & we don’t elect the right people to Congress & don’t put pressure on those we have in their now to do the things we want (such as repealing ObamaTAX) who’s fault, really, is that? It is, and has always been, ultimately up to us what happens in this country, not just every election, but every day.

Dark Star on July 9, 2012 at 8:17 PM

*there, not their.

Dark Star on July 9, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Yes there is a lot of forgetfulness when it comes to Reagan and his political growth. You left something important out that distinguishes him from Romney. Reagan had made his changes before he became president. Romney hasn’t articulated the same philosophy while running. It is possible he will arrive at that point while governing but that really is speculation

chemman on July 9, 2012 at 8:19 PM

gophergirl on July 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

…well…at least the rectal bleeding!

KOOLAID2 on July 9, 2012 at 8:12 PM

KOOLAID:

D*mmitt,I knew I should of signed up for Political Service
in the Tip of the Spear,instead of Rear-Guard Trench Duty..
…OUWIEEEEEEEEEE!:)
(sarc).

canopfor on July 9, 2012 at 8:20 PM

great piece JE

cmsinaz on July 9, 2012 at 8:21 PM

“It’s a tactical move to get Obama out of office.”

What ever it takes…!

Seven Percent Solution on July 9, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Seven Percent Solution:Yup:)

canopfor on July 9, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Boy we have alot of revisionist history regarding Reagan these days. Yes he was a great President one of the very best. However, he evolved into the great conservative that he became. For most of his life he was a Democrat and later a Big Union Leader.

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

That darned flip-flopper.

davidk on July 9, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Impending fiscal realities/calamities will shape a Romney Presidency more then a limited government ideology. Romney will have no choice but to shrink government. I don’t think most people realize how fast this economy can crumble right now. Only thing holding it together is the Feds parlor tricks, but these tricks are just making an eventual collapse even worse.

lowandslow on July 9, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Yes I did. I believe it is a given that it is up to us to remain vigilent and ensure that our representatives and leaders are upholding our values, our rights, encouraging free enterprise, capitalism etc. As Reagan said “Trust but verify”

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:15 PM

I agree, but Romney is not the answer.

“Romney is not the object of widespread enthusiasm.  He comes across as a decent, accomplished man who wants to do the right thing, but he is perfectly comfortable with big government, and seems to have no philosophical underpinnings: certainly not conservative ones.”

I tend to agree with rrpjr…

The Tea Party, after all, was entirely about our own recognitions of American principles and our own obligations as citizens. This is what Palin seemed to be saying herself. We cannot rely on five justices or one salvational leader, but take the long view of restoration.

rrpjr on July 9, 2012 at 8:13 PM

idesign on July 9, 2012 at 8:23 PM

After seeing the horrors brought upon our nation by hysteria where Obama is concerned (or was), I’m of the perspective to welcome more among voters losing this “I’m voting for a savior” motivation.

It’s a good thing that voters are no longer looking — or starting to look — for a “savior” in a President. It was NOTICABLY irrational as to Obama, it was somewhat suspicious (to me) as to Reagan and it certainly has proved to be a ghastly affectation of irrationality and vanity as to Kennedy (JFK) (but please note I don’t lump Reagan in with Obama and JFK, nor they with one another, I simply refer to a heightened sense among their supporters of their “savior” presence which they each proved they were not, despite Reagan’s saving graces).

And regarding this part:

Electing Romney isn’t electing a champion of the American political idea. It’s a tactical move to get Obama out of office.

I’m voting for Romney because he’ll make an excellent President, a manager, a “Chief Executive Officer” for a nation that sorely needs one. We don’t need another “savior” campaigner nor campaign nor false-idol as was Obama to the gullible and easily misled. I like about Romney that he’s got skills and not vanity and it’s skills our nation sorely needs now, not vanity.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Is it not too late for an amicable separation? Can’t see it going down easily.

Harbingeing on July 9, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I’m sorry, but amicable separation is a complete fantasy.

MelonCollie on July 9, 2012 at 8:24 PM

I also think, as have a number of others concluded, that Obama was nothing more than a media phenomenon, a product of an organized media work to “win” the election by creating a public hysteria about a mysterious-man who doesn’t actually exist. Which also readily explains why Obama won’t reveal (or can’t, whatever) much about who he actually is with the exception of the “media generated” hype about the fictitious person he’s acting-out: because too many details about the reality of the person would dispel the mystery of the “celebrity” that is/was media-created about “him”…thus, big, giant, movie-star wonderman that proved to be a flat tire in reality.

I pray our nation never again falls victim to such mania. I venture to guess, however, that we will but I think if Obama has accomplished anything, it’s that he’s proved that it’s easy to lie well enough to the public to lead them over any cliff that’s handy.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Here is something worth remembering. Feel free to point out to me the similarities between Reagan and Romney after watching it. I’ll wait.

Bmore on July 9, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Boy we have alot of revisionist history regarding Reagan these days. Yes he was a great President one of the very best. However, he evolved into the great conservative that he became. For most of his life he was a Democrat and later a Big Union Leader.

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

That darned flip-flopper.

davidk on July 9, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Ronald Reagan Speech – 1964 Republican National Convention

When Romney can make a speech one tenth as eloquent as this and show the slightest signs of actually believing it I will start to consider the possibility of some similarities with Reagan.

And please note the year…1964.

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Choices …. Someone is watching who makes their choices, and why.
‘Tis VERY prophetic, if y’all will allow me to insert such.
Makes me shiver, some days.

CHOICES !!! We all will have them, but many will choose wrongly.
God bless America … PLEASE ??????? !!!!

pambi on July 9, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Voter from WA State on July 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM

He can always give a stop-loss order and recall them.

chemman on July 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Here is something worth remembering. Feel free to point out to me the similarities between Reagan and Romney after watching it. I’ll wait.

Bmore on July 9, 2012 at 8:28 PM

You beat me to it.

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Very good post, J.E.. It reminded me of the excellent stuff INC posted the other night, and especially this quote:

He thought it was a national habit of the American people (maybe all free people) not to deal with a difficult problem until it was nearly impossible. “Our republics cannot exist long in prosperity,” Rush wrote “We require adversity and appear to possess most of the republican spirit when most depressed.”

Well, here we are…

Night Owl on July 9, 2012 at 8:31 PM

The problem with all of this attention to the “character of the American people” being the ultimate check on the Obama disaster is that Obama is hard at work importing a new American people more to his liking. If the current “American people” don’t manage to get him out of there in 2012, they will quickly be vastly outnumbered by the new American people imported and legalized by Obama. It’s very possible that we’ve already passed that threshold.

Progressive Heretic on July 9, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Cold Warrior on July 9, 2012 at 8:03 PM

One of the best comment I’ve seen on Hot Air, and I’ve been here a long time.

jaime on July 9, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:23 PM

I agree we shouldn’t be dependent on the President, but I would prefer to have a president who would be a champion of the American political idea and use those skills should be used to take us in the right direction.

J. E. Dyer nails this:

He comes across as a decent, accomplished man who wants to do the right thing, but he is perfectly comfortable with big government, and seems to have no philosophical underpinnings: certainly not conservative ones – constitutionalism, limited government, originalist philosophy – nor any of the kind that help meaningful policies weather the storms of political opposition….

…He is instead a “prudent tactics” choice: a placeholder who will basically not be Obama for the next four years.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:32 PM

You beat me to it.

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Never, I got lucky, good to see you. ; )

Bmore on July 9, 2012 at 8:33 PM

J.E Dyer,I hope,this piece makes it into the ‘book’,
a great read,thank-you!:)

canopfor on July 9, 2012 at 8:33 PM

War with Iran in Sept. He doesn’t care how many die, so long as he wins re-election.

Schadenfreude on July 9, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Going to be kind of tough to do that because in September all of those in the military who were pink slipped months ago are gone. Our military is losing around 500K. 500K who will be hitting our unemployment rolls.

Voter from WA State on July 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Here’s what the stealthy in the White House has accomplished: taken our Pentagon into territory that is contentious and that has, in turn, affected our military contentiously; handicapped if not attempted to ruin our nation’s energy production (and, thus, attempted to cripple our nation, present and future); attacked citizen readiness as to self defense and in turn, national defense, especially as to affecting discourse by wrongly associating courageous, independent actions with scurrilous character — which greatly damages independent actions by citizens and encourages if not requires dependence on ‘government’; and undermined Allied relationships while going about encouraging dependency among our own population.

I can’t say that Obama has had good intentions or is otherwise a decent man. I think, instead, that he is, as are those who are his handlers and donors, up to no good and that the no good is our nation’s crippled state.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:34 PM

E N R O N

damian1967 on July 9, 2012 at 8:35 PM

In 2012, however, conservatives simply can’t make of Romney a “what we believe in” choice. He is instead a “prudent tactics” choice: a placeholder who will basically not be Obama for the next four years.

The only strategically significant point of having a placeholder is so that the people themselves can regroup. Romney cannot be a savior, and in policy terms, he is not the answer to our problems. In the foreseeable future, we have to do the heavy lifting.

If Romney manages to undo what Obama has done, he will have saved the Republic.

Romney may not be a conservative “philosophical” leader as Reagan was, but he certainly will not veto legislation advanced by a conservative Congress, as Obama would.

Romney ALONE is not the answer to our problems, although his not being Obama is part of the answer. The rest of the “answer” lies in gaining a conservative majority in the U.S. Senate, so that legislation passed by Boehner’s House can also pass the Senate and be signed into law by Romney.

It should be remembered that Romney, as Governor of Massachusetts, faced veto-proof Democrat majorities in both houses of the State legislature. If he is elected President, he will have a much friendlier (or less hostile) Congress to work with, and may be able to persuade a few Democrats in the Senate to break filibusters.

The bombshell from two weeks ago hopefully has woken up Romney to another crucial responsibility of the President–appointing Supreme Court Justices who will respect the Constitution, and inspire him to search long and hard for an Alito, not a Roberts.

Steve Z on July 9, 2012 at 8:35 PM

I D I O T

damian1967 on July 9, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Bmore on July 9, 2012 at 8:36 PM

And he was the CA Governor who signed in the abortion law into that state.

Voter from WA State on July 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM

That is something that has been frequently dragged out to justify Romney. It is a despicable use of the past.

Here’s one link. Give me a minute and I’ll pull up some more.

This is from a piece written during the 2008 campaign by Richard
Allen, who was there at a meeting in 1989, when this incident occurred between Reagan and his then-campaign manager, John Sears.

The topic of Reagan’s position on abortion was launched, with Sears intoning that the Reagan position would necessarily be one of support for “choice.”

I had often discussed the topic with Reagan in relaxed moments, and knew what his position was, at least since 1977. Reagan quickly said, “No, John..that ‘s not my position.” Sears reminded Reagan that, as governor of California, he had signed into law a measure that permitted abortion in the cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. Reagan responded, “Yes, I know I did. But I have given a lot of thought since to the matter; it was a mistake and that law paved the way for abortion on demand. I now consider abortion to be murder.” Sears countered, “Well, Governor, that can be your private position, but for the purposes of this campaign, the theme will favor limited abortion.” Sears countered, “Well, Governor, that can be your private position, but for the purposes of this campaign, the theme will favor limited abortion.”

At that, Reagan flushed, took off his glasses and flung them across the conference table – a classic sign that he was at his maximum anger level—saying, “Listen, dammit, John…I am running for president and you are not! Got it?” End of discussion; he never looked back, never wavered in his conviction, knew that he would be flying in the face of increasing pro-abortion sentiment, and instructed us to make sure that his position ultimately became the plank of the party platform that year.

That is called character.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:36 PM

E N R O N

damian1967 on July 9, 2012 at 8:35 PM

You worked at Enron as well?

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:36 PM

…He is instead a “prudent tactics” choice: a placeholder who will basically not be Obama for the next four years.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:32 PM

I disagree with that. I think Romney once elected will have a very, very tough row to hoe, our economy specifically, but that he will be the man for the task. I think his modest personality qualities cause some to underestimate his abiliies.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:36 PM

And Palin isn’t running.

Voter from WA State on July 9, 2012 at 8:28 PM

You don’t have to run to make a difference.

Maybe you should re-read the article..:)

idesign on July 9, 2012 at 8:38 PM


Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM
Yes there is a lot of forgetfulness when it comes to Reagan and his political growth. You left something important out that distinguishes him from Romney. Reagan had made his changes before he became president. Romney hasn’t articulated the same philosophy while running. It is possible he will arrive at that point while governing but that really is speculation

chemman on July 9, 2012 at 8:19 PM

You make a good point. However it is only made because you have the advantage of hindsight in regard to Reagan as we witnessed the great accomplishments of his presidency. In many ways this election is very similar to 1980 Reagan/Carter vs Romney/Obama, poor economy, dangerous world, progressive vs conservative.

Oh! I am sure I got a chuckle of two by referring to Mitt Romney as a conservative but I have heard him articulate deregulation to spur on american coal, shale, oil and gas exploration. Repeal Obamacare, Lower Taxes, Cut government spending, maintain a strong defense. He argues that American Business is sitting on their money because they do not know the financial impacts of OBAMACARE, Hiring and future corporate taxes. I beleive in the Free Enterprise System and I think a man like Romney is the best (because he knows business)to get the Private sector/Business stoked and running in order to lower unemployment and get the American Businesses and Industries rolling again!

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Voter from WA State on July 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Romney is going to have to stand alone on who he has been and who he is, without piggybacking onto Reagan.

Fred Barnes: Choosing Life How pro-lifers become pro-lifers. In it, he wrote:

In his first year as California governor in 1967, the legislature passed a bill to legalize “therapeutic” abortions…

His instinct was to veto the bill and the Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles urged him to follow that course. But he signed it into law. Reagan was disturbed by his decision, however, and continued to think long and hard about abortion. The bill, according to Lou Cannon in Governor Reagan, “permitted more legal abortions in California than occurred in any other state before the advent of Roe v. Wade.” Reagan’s worst fear was realized.

Also:

1. Lou Cannon in his book Governor Reagan His Rise to Power mentions on page 213, that in 1970 Reagan successfully opposed legislative attempts to further liberalize abortion law.

2. On a Marxist website, (which I won’t link to, but you can search if you like) in an article titled Our Bodies! Our Choice! Winning the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Evelyn Sell, she writes:

For example, an abortion rights rally was set for March 10, 1973, in San Francisco to protest Governor Ronald Reagan’s statements against abortion.

3. TIME Magazine, Uproar over Abortion, February 16, 1976, discussing Carter, Reagan and Ford on abortion:

Ronald Reagan has come out flatly against abortion on demand and in favor of the constitutional amendment outlawing abortion except in rare cases posing a clear risk to the woman’s life.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:41 PM

When Romney can make a speech one tenth as eloquent as this and show the slightest signs of actually believing it I will start to consider the possibility of some similarities with Reagan.

And please note the year…1964.

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:28 PM

I read the words of George Washington, Adams, Jefferson…and I wish they could be President/s again.

But they’re not going to be again our Presidents. Nor will Ronald Reagan. I think it’s not wise to dwell on wishful thinking about recreating the past and to focus on the present and future, instead.

Because we’ll never know if but what Reagan, or Washington, or Adams or Jefferson, if alive today would be able to successfully lead our nation in the Presidency what with current conditions.

It doesn’t mean we don’t admire and continue to respect and abide by former admirable Presidents’ actions, insights, courage and more, but that it’s not very productive to spend one’s time spinning fantasy wheels about things that won’t happen…because they’re not possible to happen such as long-gone persons reappearing in our present needy time.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:43 PM

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Strikethrough unintentional…

was supposed to be a quote of “sharrukin” not a strikethrough.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:44 PM

If you want to be socialist, vote obama

If you want to defeat socialism, vote Romney

….

Romney is like a stop plug on an old claw foot bath tub.

I’ll take that over socialism any day,.

Key West Reader on July 9, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I wasn’t thinking of his modest character qualities nor his abilities, nor do I dispute that the economy will be a tough row to hoe. My question is with what political philosophical underpinnings will he hoe it?

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:44 PM

I wasn’t thinking of his modest character qualities nor his abilities, nor do I dispute that the economy will be a tough row to hoe. My question is with what political philosophical underpinnings will he hoe it?

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:44 PM

What are Romney’s core beliefs?

Inquiring minds want to know..:)

idesign on July 9, 2012 at 8:48 PM

I read the words of George Washington, Adams, Jefferson…and I wish they could be President/s again.

But they’re not going to be again our Presidents. Nor will Ronald Reagan.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:43 PM

I agree. But that doesn’t make Romney similar to Adams or George Washington, nor does it make him in any way similar to Reagan. He’s more like Bob Dole or Herbert Walker Bush than Reagan.

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:49 PM

E N R O N

damian1967 on July 9, 2012 at 8:35 PM

I D I O T

damian1967 on July 9, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Bmore on July 9, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Bmore, I was going to go with M O R O N since it kind of sounds the same, but yours works too! Plus you beat me to it.

Night Owl on July 9, 2012 at 8:50 PM

My question is with what political philosophical underpinnings will he hoe it?

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:44 PM

As long as Romney’s not a hoe. Like Obama’s a hoe.

jaime on July 9, 2012 at 8:51 PM

I actually hope I’m wrong but it feels like most people have a choice in mind and the majority is waiting and looking out for some defining moment(s), not necessarily expecting any but on the look out for that glimmer nonetheless.

Soon the speeches will take center stage and the debates I think will be more important than they have in a long time.

The same trap is still there, voters will go for the real liberal if the Republican bends to moderation.

There’s no more important time for bold colors and bold Conservative principles, maybe ever.

Giving the majority reasons to expect that shining city on the hill could sway quite a number of people now. Don’t wait, help people make the right choice because changing their minds later is ten times as tough.

Speakup on July 9, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Natebo on July 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM

I for one am sick of people trying to drag Reagan down in order to prop Romney up.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I didn’t get from what “Natebo” wrote that he was “trying to drag Reagan down in order to prop Romney up” or even “trying to drag Reagan down” at all…

Reagan enjoys a wonderful and well deserved legacy BUT, as “Natebo” expressed there at 8:02, DURING HIS PRESIDENCY, he didn’t and that strife during his time in office, especially during his second term, is largely now dismissed if not intentionally forgotten. Thus, he’s now larger than life and his ‘inabilities’ as meager as they were are often waxed over in an effort to romanticize the man as bigger-than-reality.

It’s not a case of dragging him down but of being realistic and not falling for that “Obama-esque” error of perspective of romanticizing some fictitious character…

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:43 PM

I agree. But that doesn’t make Romney similar to Adams or George Washington, nor does it make him in any way similar to Reagan. He’s more like Bob Dole or Herbert Walker Bush than Reagan.

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Adams (first one, John) was not AT ALL well liked by the “general public” when he was in Office. DESPITE his mind being filled with exempliary ideas and goals and him possessing immense abilities to cope, invent, describe, analyze…to lead.

I’m only suggesting that each President be analyzed on their own merits. Prejudging Romney because prior to the Office he hasn’t shown some sort of ballet-flair, so to speak, is self-defeating.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Bmore, I was going to go with M O R O N since it kind of sounds the same, but yours works too! Plus you beat me to it.

Night Owl on July 9, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Yours is much better. I’ll wait next time. ; )

Bmore on July 9, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I did. It seemed the clear intention of his comment.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Romney similar to Adams or George Washington, nor does it make him in any way similar to Reagan. He’s more like Bob Dole or Herbert Walker Bush than Reagan.

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 8:49 PM

And I disagree with you there that Romney is “more like…HWBush (or) Dole.”

Maybe you need another variation of Obama, someone like a Marvel character or Spongebob? Not being sarcastic, but all the criticism of Romney because he lacks flamboyance (such as, yes, Reagan had, he was, indeed, a flamboyant character and that was a large part of his charm, good charm, granted, but the man was a polished actor and understood that degree of public display), all the criticism of Romney because he lacks an ongoing display of some sort of flamboyance is really an indication of putting one’s priorities in the wrong place.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 9:01 PM

idesign on July 9, 2012 at 8:48 PM

See Dyer’s 4th paragraph!

INC on July 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Voter from WA State on July 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM

The difference is not just words, but how long and to what extent did they fight, and for what.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I did. It seemed the clear intention of his comment.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 8:59 PM

I distinctly remember the days of Reagan and I distinctly remember the high negatives aimed his way. It was a rough time then, it’s a rough time now. But no one is a cookie-cutter of someone else, we’re all individuals and in the Presidency, same applies.

I don’t see anyone “dragging Reagan down” by pointing out that the man put on pants one leg a time like everyone else.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 9:04 PM

I’m only suggesting that each President be analyzed on their own merits. Prejudging Romney because prior to the Office he hasn’t shown some sort of ballet-flair, so to speak, is self-defeating.

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Reagan was obviously made of different stuff. Anyone who heard knew this… even those who hated him. It was part of why they attacked him so ferociously. Margaret Thatcher was the same. You could tell right away that they were different. That’s in my lifetime. The mediocre and incompetent have also made that clear with Dukakis, HW Bush, Dole and others.

Its not that hard to come to a reasonable conclusion about politicians.

Romney is the man he governed as and he isn’t going to magically blossom into something he shows no signs of being.

sharrukin on July 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM

damian1967 on July 9, 2012 at 8:35 PM

S.C.U.M.

You ran off earlier. What happened?

You’re a liar and for political gain to boot.

CW on July 9, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Lourdes on July 9, 2012 at 8:57 PM

You’re going to bring John Adams into this to hold up Romney? I can’t believe it.

I’m not talking about flamboyancy or drama or negatives. I’m talking about political philosophy.

INC on July 9, 2012 at 9:06 PM

See Dyer’s 4th paragraph!

INC on July 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM

I know…

Some people here can’t admit It.

idesign on July 9, 2012 at 9:07 PM

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