“Government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people.”
— Ronald Reagan, 1964
Today marks the 50th anniversary of private citizen Ronald Reagan’s landmark speech in behalf of Barry Goldwater‘s presidential candidacy in 1964. Reagan’s remarks gave meaning to a campaign the establishment had said was a fool’s errand, and offered a response to those who said conservatism was not sophisticated or viable as a governing force.
The facts have proved otherwise, and that speech made Reagan the leading conservative in America. Years after his passing, he still holds that title. Who calls himself a Nixon Republican or a Bush Republican? Most call themselves Reagan Republicans, even if they don’t know the true meaning of Reaganism….(read more) LA Times
“I’ve spent most of my adult life as a Democrat. I’ve recently seen fit to follow another course”
Today marks the 50th anniversary of what has become known as simply “The Speech.” The actual title Ronald Reagan gave to the address with which he electrified a nation during a 30-minute broadcast for the failing Goldwater campaign was “A Time for Choosing.” Goldwater lost a week later to Lyndon Johnson, but conservative presidential politics had a North Star in Reagan after that. “It defined conservatism for 50 years,” Reagan biographer Craig Shirley concluded.
“This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote that the night of Reagan’s address represented “the most successful political debut since William Jennings Bryan” and his “Cross of Gold” speech in 1896. “I didn’t know it then,” Reagan wrote in his 1991 autobiography, “but that speech was one of the most important milestones of my life.”
“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.”
Financially, it raised a stunning $8 million (over $60 million in today’s money) for the flailing Goldwater campaign, most of which couldn’t be spent in those days when checks were delivered by regular mail. But as former Reagan aide Jeffrey Lord reminds us, “the real importance of the speech was that Reagan had looked Americans in the eye and stood for something.”
“If government planning and welfare had the answer, shouldn’t we expect government to read the score to us once in a while?” Shouldn’t they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? But the reverse is true.”
It was a different Ronald Reagan than the one many Americans remember as president who gave “The Speech” that night. As historian Steven Hayward noted in the Washington Post on Sunday, it “was not the avuncular, optimistic Reagan of his film roles, or of his subsequent political career that emphasized ‘morning in America’ and the ‘shining city on a hill,’ but a comparatively angry and serious Reagan, serving up partisan red meat against liberalism and the Democrats” (whose party he had been a member of only two years before). Read the rest of this entry »
As Barack’s Obama’s celebrity was exploding on the national scene during his historic first presidential campaign, a highly influential behind-the-scenes figure was quietly disappearing from it: Michael K. Deaver.
Michael K. Deaver, 69, the media maestro who shaped President Ronald Reagan’s public image for 20 years, transforming American politics with his powerful gift for image-making, died of pancreatic cancer yesterday at his home in Bethesda.
Deaver introduced the “photo op,” which positioned the former actor in visually irresistible locations where troublesome reporters’ questions could not intrude
As the White House deputy chief of staff during the first term of the Reagan presidency, Deaver orchestrated Reagan’s every public appearance, staging announcements with an eye for television and news cameras. From a West Wing office adjacent to the Oval Office, Deaver did more than anyone before him to package and control the presidential image.
After his years in the White House, Deaver endured a public fall from grace when he was convicted of perjury for lying to Congress and a federal grand jury about his lobbying business.
“Ever protective of the president, Deaver limited access to Reagan in a way unprecedented in the modern presidency.”
He later atoned for his misdeeds through unpublicized charitable works and regained his standing as a prominent Washington power broker.
A close friend of both President Reagan and his wife since their days in the California governor’s mansion, Deaver introduced the “photo op,” which positioned the former actor in visually irresistible locations where troublesome reporters’ questions could not intrude: atop the Great Wall of China, on the beach at Normandy for the 40th anniversary of D-Day or in front of a construction site as the president announced the latest government report on housing starts.
“I’ve always said the only thing I did is light him well,” he said. “My job was filling up the space around the head. I didn’t make Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan made me.”
“The more you expose yourself, the more you expose yourself to trivialization. And if things start not working, people are going to say, ‘Get off your rear, quit talking and do something about it.'”
— Deaver to the New York Times in 1993
Deaver once even saved the future president’s life. On a campaign plane in 1976, Reagan began choking on a peanut. Deaver wrapped his arms around the candidate from behind and drove his fists inward and upward below his diaphragm. On the second try, the nut flew out.
Ever protective of the president, Deaver limited access to Reagan in a way unprecedented in the modern presidency. “The more you expose yourself, the more you expose yourself to trivialization,” he told the New York Times in 1993. “And if things start not working, people are going to say, ‘Get off your rear, quit talking and do something about it.’ ”
Deaver’s belief in the importance of memorable visuals was confirmed to his own detriment. Not quite a year after he left the White House to start a successful lobbying business, he appeared on the March 3, 1986, cover of Time magazine. Well-dressed, telephone pressed to his ear, a smug-looking Deaver sat in the richly appointed back seat of a limousine, with the U.S. Capitol dome over his shoulder. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Leadership Contrast: President Reagan’s 1983 Address to the Nation on the Soviet Attack on a Korean Airliner KAL 007Posted: July 17, 2014
“Where human life is valued, extraordinary efforts are extended to preserve and protect it. And it’s essential that as civilized societies we ask searching questions about the nature of regimes where such standards do not apply.”
“First let me just say that Nancy and I were deeply saddened last night to learn of the death of Senator Henry Jackson. He was a friend, a colleague, a true patriot and a devoted servant of the people. He will be sorely missed and we both extend our deepest sympathy to his family.
“What can be the scope of legitimate mutual discourse with a state whose values permit such atrocities? And what are we to make of a regime which establishes one set of standards for itself, and another for the rest of humankind?
And now, in the wake of the barbaric act committed yesterday by the Soviet regime against a commercial jetliner, the United States and many other countries of the world made clear and compelling statements that expressed not only our outrage, but also our demand for a truthful accounting of the facts.
Our first emotions are anger, disbelief and profound sadness.
While events in Afghanistan and elsewhere have left few illusions about the willingness of the Soviet Union to advance its interests through violence and intimidation, all of us had hoped that certain irreducible standards of civilized behavior nonetheless obtained.
But this event shocks the sensibilities of people everywhere. A tradition in the civilized world has always been to offer help to mariners and pilots who are lost or in distress on the sea or in the air. Where human life is valued, extraordinary efforts are extended to preserve and protect it. And it’s essential that as civilized societies we ask searching questions about the nature of regimes where such standards do not apply. Read the rest of this entry »
For Reason, Matt Welch writes: One of the best ways to survive the grotesque and empty power pageantry of Washington’s annual State of the Union extravaganza is by visiting the University of California, Santa Barbara’s online archive of past addresses and looking up the speeches that corresponded to where the current POTUS sits in his term. Barack Obama took the podium during a midterm election year in his second term, corresponding to the addresses of George W. Bush in 2006, Bill Clinton in 1998 all the way back to George Washington in 1794.
Mourning in America
Some of these documents read like tales from another planet. “With the deepest regret,” the father of our country said in his last midterm year, “do I announce to you that during your recess some of the citizens of the United States have been found capable of insurrection.”
“As president, Obama has consumed Reagan biographies…His aides were tasked with studying how the 40th president realigned American politics…”
Others contain contemporary-sounding, calorie-free promises about “creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid” (Bush ’06), taking “all the necessary measures to strengthen the Social Security system for the 21st century” (Clinton ’98), or achieving energy independence within six years (Nixon ’74).
“‘Our hope,’ former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told Time in 2011, ‘is the story ends the same way…'”
But every once in a while you stumble upon a commander in chief in a strikingly similar situation singing a startlingly different tune. Such is the difference between President Obama in 2014 and Ronald Reagan in 1986.
“So did it?…by 2014 State of the Union time, such comparisons felt obscene.”
Linda Taylor, welfare queen: Ronald Reagan made her a notorious American villain. Linda Taylor’s other sins were far worse.Posted: December 19, 2013
Josh Levin writes: Ronald Reagan loved to tell stories. When he ran for president in 1976, many of Reagan’s anecdotes converged on a single point: The welfare state is broken, and I’m the man to fix it. On the trail, the Republican candidate told a tale about a fancy public housing complex with a gym and a swimming pool. There was also someone in California, he’d explain incredulously, who supported herself with food stamps while learning the art of witchcraft. And in stump speech after stump speech, Reagan regaled his supporters with the story of an Illinois woman whose feats of deception were too amazing to be believed.
“In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record,” the former California governor declared at a campaign rally in January 1976. “She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.” As soon as he quoted that dollar amount, the crowd gasped.
Four decades later, Reagan’s soliloquies on welfare fraud are often remembered as shameless demagoguery. Many accounts report that Reagan coined the term “welfare queen,” and that this woman in Chicago was a fictional character. In 2007,the New York Times’ Paul Krugman wrote that “the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen [was] a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews says the whole thing is racist malarkey—a coded reference to black indolence and criminality designed to appeal to working-class whites.
Though Reagan was known to stretch the truth, he did not invent that woman in Chicago. Her name was Linda Taylor, and it was the Chicago Tribune, not the GOP politician, who dubbed her the “welfare queen.” It was the Tribune, too, that lavished attention on Taylor’s jewelry, furs, and Cadillac—all of which were real.
As of 1976, Taylor had yet to be convicted of anything. She was facing charges that she’d bilked the government out of $8,000 using four aliases. When the welfare queen stood trial the next year, reporters packed the courtroom. Rather than try to win sympathy, Taylor seemed to enjoy playing the scofflaw. As witnesses described her brazen pilfering from public coffers, she remained impassive, an unrepentant defendant bedecked in expensive clothes and oversize hats.
Linda Taylor, the haughty thief who drove her Cadillac to the public aid office, was the embodiment of a pernicious stereotype. With her story, Reagan marked millions of America’s poorest people as potential scoundrels and fostered the belief that welfare fraud was a nationwide epidemic that needed to be stamped out. This image of grand and rampant welfare fraud allowed Reagan to sell voters on his cuts to public assistance spending. The “welfare queen” became a convenient villain, a woman everyone could hate. She was a lazy black con artist, unashamed of cadging the money that honest folks worked so hard to earn.
After her welfare fraud trial in 1977, Taylor went to prison, and the newspapers moved on to covering the next outlandish villain. When her sentence was up, she changed her name and left Chicago, and the cops who had pursued her in Illinois lost track of her whereabouts. None of the police officers I talked to knew whether she was still alive.
When I set out in search of Linda Taylor, I hoped to find the real story of the woman who played such an outsize role in American politics—who she was, where she came from, and what her life was like before and after she became the national symbol of unearned prosperity. What I found was a woman who destroyed lives, someone far more depraved than even Ronald Reagan could have imagined. In the 1970s alone, Taylor was investigated for homicide, kidnapping, and baby trafficking. The detective who tried desperately to put her away believes she’s responsible for one of Chicago’s most legendary crimes, one that remains unsolved to this day. Welfare fraud was likely the least of the welfare queen’s offenses.
Yes, A Democrat President of the United States really said that
America’s leading political pundit Charles Krauthammer guards his private life to the degree that, until this recent flush of publicity for his book, many people knew very little about the man. Myself included. Other than his authoritative TV news commentary, and his Washington Post columns. We know he’s former New Deal/Great Society Liberal, Mondale speechwriter, who shifted to the right in the 1980s and ’90s. We know he has a Medical degree from Harvard. And we know he isn’t above throwing a sharp elbow to Republicans who don’t meet his standards of restraint and moderation, branding them as suicidal extremists. Much to the delight of Democrats seeking anti-Republican ammunition from a respected figure on the right.
Most viewers, and half the people that meet him in person for the first time (including Sean Hannity) had no idea Krauthammer is disabled. (I didn’t know until 2012) because of his stoic, FDR-like avoidance of being photographed in a wheelchair. He’s successfully made it a non-issue, and rarely discusses it publicly.
Krauthammer is the originator of the *insert president’s name here* “doctrine” tradition, when he articulated Reagan’s foreign policy agenda–something Reagan himself hadn’t even done–in a 1985 TIME Magazine column, and the tradition stuck. Now every president is required to have a doctrine, as Michael Kinsley dryly notes. (as you’ll see in the video)
Another thing I didn’t know: unlike his peers–who publish stacks of books decade after decade (George Will has at least 12) before the newly-released Things That Matter, Charles Krauthammer published (that I know of) only two: Democratic Realism: An American Foreign Policy for a Unipolar World (Jan 1, 2004) and Cutting edges: Making sense of the eighties (1985) This book promises to be his most revealing.
An excerpt from Charles Krauthammer’s new book, Things That Matter
Moving from Left to Right
Charles Krauthammer writes: I’m often asked: “How do you go from Walter Mondale to Fox News?” To which the short answer is: “I was young once.” The long answer begins by noting that this is hardly a novel passage. The path is well trodden, most famously by Ronald Reagan, himself once a New Deal Democrat, and more recently by a generation of neoconservatives, led by Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. Every story has its idiosyncrasies. These are mine.
I’d been a lifelong Democrat, and in my youth a Great Society liberal. But I had always identified with the party’s Cold War liberals, uncompromising Truman-Kennedy anti-Communists led by the likes of Henry Jackson, Hubert Humphrey, and Pat Moynihan. Given my social-democratic political orientation, it was natural for me to work for Democrats, handing out leaflets for Henry Jackson in the 1976 Massachusetts Democratic primary (Jackson won; I handed out a lot of leaflets) and working for Mondale four years later. Read the rest of this entry »