Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Does the GOP really understand Reagan's success?

Where's my Reagan?  That's a question that you may hear from time to time.

My opinion has been that the GOP really doesn't understand Reagan's success.  For if they did, they could repeat it, and wouldn't have to ask where he is.  It seems to me that the country was foundering before he was president and is foundering again after he left.  The GOP is in search of what they can't perceive, and as such, seemingly unable to put that successful formula back together again.

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of "The Speech" that is said to have launched Reagan's career.  In that speech, I believe that there's a key to understanding what's wrong with our politics today.  Reagan said:

“You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down.”

Reagan was non-ideological, yet conservative man.  How can that be?  Well, to me, it is the only way to be.  You don't get conservatism through ideology.  In fact, ideology can be said to be un-American, if you were to define America by its constitution.  For the constitution blocks ideological approaches.  For those relying upon ideology, the constitution is a barrier to their dreams.  With its checks and balances, it is a clear statement against the ambitions of politicians.  You just can't trust them.  Reagan knew that.  He pointed out that a leading politician of that time no longer trusted the constitution.  It sounds a lot like certain politicians today.

The thing that the GOP relies upon too much is money.  Money isn't wealth, it is a proxy for wealth.  If true wealth is squandered, the money is no good.  Therefore, money isn't going make good governance.  It may make a difference in an election, though.  Thus, to the politicians, it is all about the next election, and not about governing.  It is said that  70% of the people are angry about the direction of the country.  If there's one thing that the politicians should be thinking about it is that.  But their attention is upon the wrong thing, their attention is upon getting campaign donations and what the latest polls say.  People are angry because they don't see improvements.  People expect improvements, the kind of thing you get with good governance.  It's about governing, not about winning elections.

The irony is that if the GOP focused on governing, they might win this next election hands down.  Good government is about solving problems.  Their problem is not with finding the best personality, their problem is in how to best govern their country.  They're not offering an alternative when the public would consider one.  Instead of offering one, it all seems to be about political personalities and polls.  Reagan wasn't successful because of his personality.  Reagan was successful because he governed effectively.    Reagan's problem was to revive the economy and tame the Soviet Union.  He did this successfully, and he won big.  Repeat that pattern of good governance and you've got a formula that will win again and again.

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