Can Obama Pull a Reagan Out of the Hat?

By Doug Wead

As President Barack Obama stands to deliver his Sate of the Union address he will be the most unpopular one year president since, well, since, Ronald Reagan.  That’s right.  Perhaps the greatest president of our lifetime was very unpopular after one year.

In the midterm elections, the Reagan Revolution was spurned, the Republicans lost their congressional majority and the party was over as the country ticked back more to the middle.  The Republicans never again had both houses under Reagan.  Many of the goals that had helped drive his election victories were never realized.  Prayer in school, favored at the time by majorities of 70% didn’t happen.  Not even a moment of silence.  The abortion issue stayed where it was.  The Department of Education not only survived, its budget fattened grossly.

Like Obama, Reagan had defeated a very troubled presidency.  Jimmy Carter had allowed inflation to reach 14%.  A fundamentalist Islamic preacher had seized the American Embassy in Tehran and taken Americans and virtually the whole country, hostage.  When Carter sent in American helicopters to rescue them, the machines broke down in the desert, a metaphor for the atrophy of the military under the Democrat administration.  The election of Ronald Reagan was not just about him, it was an anti-Carter vote too.

Barak Obama followed what some call a “Republican Carter,” George W. Bush, who was perceived as going to war for his father’s honor and ballooning the national debt beyond recognition.  Even now, every time the Democrats spend they point back and say, like a little sibling, “It’s not our fault, he started it.”  Bush left with only evangelical Christian supporting him and then promptly appeared on ABC Nightline to announce that he didn’t really believe the Bible was true.

And so, Barack Obama and his people have to face the fact that their election was more about voting for the opposite party of George W. Bush than it was about putting a liberal in office.  In fact, liberal and conservative were terms he judiciously avoided.  Like Reagan, Obama called for “change.”

It is becoming increasingly clear that the sort of change both presidents proposed in their initial legislation was a bit too much for the country and the first electoral tests sent that signal.  The tactical question is this.  Will Obama, like Reagan, be able to make adjustments quick enough, and do so without sounding like a traitor to his own base?

There are some big differences between Obama and Reagan and their status after one year.  The country polled conservative in the 1980’s and it still does.  Obama is trying to force liberalism on a nation that doesn’t want it.  Reagan only had to adjust down a little bit.  Obama will have to make a radical U Turn.

Reagan surprised the press by being more reasonable than they thought.  Obama surprised the press by being the most liberal president in American history.  He continues to make Clinton and Kennedy look like Republicans.  Journalists who arrogantly prowled the left for years are now expressing alarm.

Reagan immediately began to expand his political base.  Obama treated the federal government like a Viking Raider, throwing out any loot he could find to his radical, shrill constituents, shutting out any offers of friendship from the other side, and ignoring the housing crisis that had got him elected.

Reagan stood tall for America overseas.  And while we were unpopular in every country in the world except South Korea and, embarrassingly, the apartheid government of South Africa, we did eventually see the end of the Cold War and the salvation of the planet from the specter of nuclear annihilation.  Today, Reagan commands respect everywhere, even in the former Soviet Union.

Obama offers no explanations for our policies.  He winks and nods knowingly at the nations that have hated us.  It has made him extremely popular outside America, but then, keep in mind, all those French and British and Turkish voters are not registered.  And lately, our overseas friends have spurned our charm offensive and returned to the blame game.

Of course there is something that Obama has that Reagan didn’t.  Obama is the first African American president and because of that the vast majority of Americans, including the bulk of the press, want him to be successful.   It would be the height of irony if race should be the reason he wins re-election but there you are.  Last week a commentator on the BBC referred to the election of Barack Obama as ending 200 years of American racism.  (One wonders when the British will ever end racism in their country. They have, as yet, still not elected a prime minister of African descent.)

So there you have it.  There is deep rage over the fact that we gave him the keys to the cupboard, expecting him to feed the hungry orphans, and he emptied it all for his own friends instead.  And now suddenly he wants more to take care of those orphans.  And yet, like Reagan, he is likeable.  He is calm and he talks nice.  And most Americans cannot bear the thought of being called a racist by voting against him on anything.

Watch closely the State of the Union address.  Will he dramatically signal that he is willing to turn this ship around and head in a more moderate direction?  Or will he re-engage the enemy, stubbornly holding onto healthcare and calling for another round of trillion dollar spending?  Will he pull a Ron Paul and call the boys and girls home from Afghanistan?

Don’t count on any of it.  None of it smacks of the art of politics.  If a politician ever needed doubletalk it is Obama and this State of the Union.  He will offer a little bit for everybody.  This will be a stall.  The White House needs time to see a way out.  Obama must finally focus on the purpose of his presidency, bring in all the players, like he should have done in the first place, like he promised he would.  And together, find a way to do some of the very basic things he should have done last year to end the housing crisis and to correct the banking crisis and to put some of the trillions he asked for into immediate employment.

And 2010?  Be warned.  Don’t count him out.  Reagan came back.  Historically, an administration that takes a beating in their first midterm election often wins re-election to the White House. Be prepared for those Obama political ads, with the  president standing on a scaffold in Springfield, Illinois, with a housing development rising behind him and hammers banging and saws buzzing as the narrator intones, “Once again, it is morning in America.”

11 Responses to Can Obama Pull a Reagan Out of the Hat?

  1. tex2 says:

    Expanding a bit, I think you are doing a great job at trying to rewrite history, Doug….

    As President Barack Obama stands to deliver his Sate of the Union address he will be the most unpopular one year president since, well, since, Ronald Reagan. That’s right. Perhaps the greatest president of our lifetime was very unpopular after one year. —- Compare Reagan’s speech and first year results to what Barry says tomorrow: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan's_First_State_of_the_Union_Speech

    In the midterm elections, the Reagan Revolution was spurned, the Republicans lost their congressional majority and the party was over as the country ticked back more to the middle. —- Here’s the Senate:

    97th Congress (1981-1983)
    Majority Party: Republican (53 seats)
    Minority Party: Democrat (46 seats)
    Other Parties: 1 Independent
    Total Seats: 100
    —————————————————————————————————-
    98th Congress (1983-1985)
    Majority Party: Republican (54 seats)
    Minority Party: Democrat (46 seats)
    Other Parties: 0
    Total Seats: 100
    —————————————————————————————————-
    99th Congress (1985-1987)
    Majority Party: Republican (53 seats)
    Minority Party: Democrat (47 seats)
    Other Parties: 0
    Total Seats: 100
    —————————————————————————————————-
    100th Congress (1987-1989)
    Majority Party: Democrat (55 seats)
    Minority Party: Republican (45 seats)
    Other Parties: 0
    Total Seats: 100

    1980 Election:

    Party Total seats (change) Seat percentage Popular vote
    Democratic Party 242 -35 55.6% 50.3%
    Independents 1 +1 0.2% 0.3%
    Republican Party 192 +34 44.1% 47.6%
    Totals 435 +0 100.0% 100.0%

    1982 Election:

    Party Total seats (change) Seat percentage Popular vote
    Democratic Party 269 +27 61.8% 54.1%
    Independents 0 -1 0.0% 0.3%
    Republican Party 166 -26 38.2% 43.4%
    Totals 435 +0 100.0% 100.0%

    As you can see, the number of Republican Senators was fairly constant, and the Democrats already had a majority.

    The Republicans never again had both houses under Reagan. —- See above, they never lost it, either.

    Many of the goals that had helped drive his election victories were never realized. —- This is true with ANY president. Reagan fixed the big things, turning around the economy and driving the U.S.S.R. into collapse. After all, Reagan spent a good part of his adult life opposing Communism.

    Prayer in school, favored at the time by majorities of 70% didn’t happen. —- And look at his speech above, you can see why in the last sentence of the second paragraph. The liberal press.

    Not even a moment of silence. —- So what? Republicans have had these issues in their plank for decades before AND after Reagan.

    The abortion issue stayed where it was. —- So what? See above.

    The Department of Education not only survived, its budget fattened grossly. —- This is a good lesson why it isn’t a good idea to have burueacracy in the first place, it tends to grow on its own.

    Like Obama, Reagan had defeated a very troubled presidency. —- Except Obama has the liberal press on his side, which criticized Bush for anything, good or bad.

    Jimmy Carter had allowed inflation to reach 14%. —- He put policies in place that guaranteed that.
    A fundamentalist Islamic preacher had seized the American Embassy in Tehran and taken Americans and virtually the whole country, hostage. —- And they were released the same day Reagan was sworn in. THAT is respect, mixed with some fear.

    When Carter sent in American helicopters to rescue them, the machines broke down in the desert, a metaphor for the atrophy of the military under the Democrat administration. —- It was an example of a poorly planned military mission.

    The election of Ronald Reagan was not just about him, it was an anti-Carter vote too. —- No doubt, this is usually the case when a sitting president loses a reelection attempt.

    Barak Obama followed what some call a “Republican Carter,” George W. Bush, who was perceived as going to war for his father’s honor and ballooning the national debt beyond recognition. —- The “father’s honor” is liberal press hype, and Barry has ensured Bush’s debt looks tiny.

    Even now, every time the Democrats spend they point back and say, like a little sibling, “It’s not our fault, he started it.” —- And their ability to be able to use this has expired, but they’re still using it.

    Bush left with only evangelical Christian supporting him and then promptly appeared on ABC Nightline to announce that he didn’t really believe the Bible was true. —- Not even close, Doug. You are also grossly exaggerating what he said about Bible: http://www.rawstory.com/news/2008/Bush_Bible_probably_not_literally_true_1208.html Do you believe every word of the Bible is literally true? Be careful if you say “yes.”

    And so, Barack Obama and his people have to face the fact that their election was more about voting for the opposite party of George W. Bush than it was about putting a liberal in office. —- It was mostly about the liberal press making him something he wasn’t, smoothing over issues, and not doing their job of investigative journalism.

    In fact, liberal and conservative were terms he judiciously avoided. —- ALL liberals do that, that’s how you know they are liberal!

    Like Reagan, Obama called for “change.” —- Except he never said what the change was, with Reagan we KNEW what changes he supported. Reagan also had significantly more experience, especially executive experience.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the sort of change both presidents proposed in their initial legislation was a bit too much for the country and the first electoral tests sent that signal. —- By all indications, Barry is setting records for going downhill one year after being elected: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_approval_rating

    The tactical question is this. Will Obama, like Reagan, be able to make adjustments quick enough, and do so without sounding like a traitor to his own base? —- No, he’s too liberal. Reagan didn’t make “adjustments”, he allowed his policies to take hold.

    There are some big differences between Obama and Reagan and their status after one year. —- Yes, one was for free enterprise, the other for socialism/communism.

    The country polled conservative in the 1980’s and it still does. —- Duh.

    Obama is trying to force liberalism on a nation that doesn’t want it. —- Duh.

    Reagan only had to adjust down a little bit. —- Where did Reagan “adjust?”

    Obama will have to make a radical U Turn. —- He can’t do it, his liberal “pals” would drop him.

    Reagan surprised the press by being more reasonable than they thought. —- Or was it the press that realized they were the ones being unreasonable?

    Obama surprised the press by being the most liberal president in American history. —- No he didn’t, they promoted him BECAUSE he is so liberal.

    He continues to make Clinton and Kennedy look like Republicans. —- Agreed.

    Journalists who arrogantly prowled the left for years are now expressing alarm. —- Yep. A bit too late as well.

    Reagan immediately began to expand his political base. —- Every smart and skilled politician does that.

    Obama treated the federal government like a Viking Raider, throwing out any loot he could find to his radical, shrill constituents, shutting out any offers of friendship from the other side, and ignoring the housing crisis that had got him elected. —- Agreed.

    Reagan stood tall for America overseas. —- Yes, he certainly did, I can personally vouch for that.

    And while we were unpopular in every country in the world except South Korea and, embarrassingly, the apartheid government of South Africa, we did eventually see the end of the Cold War and the salvation of the planet from the specter of nuclear annihilation. —- NOT true, I was welcomed into many foreign countries, BECAUSE of Reagan being a strong leader.

    Today, Reagan commands respect everywhere, even in the former Soviet Union. —- North Korea? Iran? Venezuela? Cuba?

    Obama offers no explanations for our policies. —- He doesn’t need to, his ego is enough.

    He winks and nods knowingly at the nations that have hated us. —- And accepts books from them (Chavez).

    It has made him extremely popular outside America, but then, keep in mind, all those French and British and Turkish voters are not registered. —- The French and British are NOT as smitten with Barry as you may think, such as the global warming conference.

    And lately, our overseas friends have spurned our charm offensive and returned to the blame game. —- They ALWAYS blame America, eventually. What planet have you been on for the past century?

    Of course there is something that Obama has that Reagan didn’t. —- A 3-point shot?

    Obama is the first African American president and because of that the vast majority of Americans, including the bulk of the press, want him to be successful. —- No, he’s the first mixed race president. Americans want America to win, they don’t care about the color of the president’s skin NEARLY as much.

    It would be the height of irony if race should be the reason he wins re-election but there you are. —- Don’t worry about that, the honeymoon ended a long time ago.

    Last week a commentator on the BBC referred to the election of Barack Obama as ending 200 years of American racism. (One wonders when the British will ever end racism in their country. They have, as yet, still not elected a prime minister of African descent.) —- The election probably made it worse, as Barry responded poorly to the police arrest of his black friend.

    So there you have it. —- Yes, all kinds of inaccuracies, Doug.

    There is deep rage over the fact that we gave him the keys to the cupboard, expecting him to feed the hungry orphans, and he emptied it all for his own friends instead. —- What did you expect from a liberal?

    And now suddenly he wants more to take care of those orphans. —- All talk, no action.

    And yet, like Reagan, he is likeable. —- No, he isn’t.

    He is calm and he talks nice. —- He hasn’t been calm since the Massachusetts election, he’s running scared.

    And most Americans cannot bear the thought of being called a racist by voting against him on anything. —- Pure BULLSHIT Doug, and I think you know it.

    Watch closely the State of the Union address. —- As I said above, I agree.

    Will he dramatically signal that he is willing to turn this ship around and head in a more moderate direction? —- Probably, but Reid/Pelosi and their brown-nosing liberal won’t let him.

    Or will he re-engage the enemy, stubbornly holding onto healthcare and calling for another round of trillion dollar spending? —- Probably.

    Will he pull a Ron Paul and call the boys and girls home from Afghanistan? —- No, even Barry isn’t this dumb.

    Don’t count on any of it. —- Don’t count on anything with Barry until you see it.

    None of it smacks of the art of politics. —- Barry is pure politics, liberal politics.

    If a politician ever needed doubletalk it is Obama and this State of the Union. —- That’s good, that’s all he CAN do.

    He will offer a little bit for everybody. —- Of course he will, he’s a liberal.

    This will be a stall. —- No, it will be what Joe Wilson correctly called it, a LIE.

    The White House needs time to see a way out. —- They don’t have time.

    Obama must finally focus on the purpose of his presidency, bring in all the players, like he should have done in the first place, like he promised he would. —- Thanks to Scott Brown, you are probably right, but don’t pretend this will be anything more than going through the motions.

    And together, find a way to do some of the very basic things he should have done last year to end the housing crisis and to correct the banking crisis and to put some of the trillions he asked for into immediate employment. —- We can only “hope” (Barry’s favorite word), can’t we Doug?

    And 2010? Be warned. Don’t count him out. —- He doesn’t run until 2012, remember?

    Reagan came back. —- Reagan fixed things.

    Historically, an administration that takes a beating in their first midterm election often wins re-election to the White House. —- Only if they recover. Carter didn’t.

    Be prepared for those Obama political ads, with the president standing on a scaffold in Springfield, Illinois, with a housing development rising behind him and hammers banging and saws buzzing as the narrator intones, “Once again, it is morning in America.” —- Yes, those will be the new low cost housing for the middle and upper middle class!

  2. joeydacat says:

    Let’s not discount the albatross around Obama’s neck: the economy.

    1. Most working Americans have yet to learn that their taxes are going up much sooner rather than later. Most of the “tax cuts” we received as part of the stimulus package as reduced withholdings will have to be paid back in April. The vast majority of Americans will have assumed they got to keep the extra money in their paycheck.

    2. The uncertainty of universal healthcare reform will keep small businesses from expanding and hiring as they otherwise would until the Dems lose a majority in the midterms.

    No amount of white guilt will overcome an economy in the tank. His only chance of being re-elected is that the Repubs take back one chambers in Congress, killing his economic agenda and giving the country a chance to recover before the 2012 election. It will also afford him someone (besides his own party) to blame for the country’s failures.

  3. brandonkruk92 says:

    Ronald Reagan was a dime a dozen that took the hearts of millions with his charm, all obama has is “promises” that people in a desperate time could try and believe and when they realize he cannot deliver they will crap him down the toilet and he will never be popular for the remainder of his term. So do i think Obama can pull a Reagan “No I dont” hehehe instead of “Yes We Can”

  4. sade001 says:

    Don’t judge, appreciate and its to early to see what Obama is going to do for the next three years>

  5. seo1faithful says:

    we do not know but let us hope he will.

  6. seo1faithful says:

    we may sometimes not support his views but we have to be supportive because he is our president atleast for now.

  7. philippseo says:

    I don’t think so..

  8. yafet1 says:

    true that

  9. donnaloo says:

    We can respect the office but not the gang that “stole” it with lies & deceptions .

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