embrace Social Security increases
and denounce South Africa,
why should anyone be surprised that he now thinks more about history than Viguerie, more about peace than Perle?” George Will.
NOTE: I am using archival material primarily from The New York Times and the Boston Globe. There is a wealth of other material available, but these two publications have archives that are most easily found and their pay per view system the easiest to use.
MY RANT OF THE DAY
Conservatives and Ronald Reagan
The Painful Truth
Today, after doing my usual Saturday activity of checking out the blogs and postings I miss during the week, I realized that there is great weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. The GOP is lost. George W. Bush is the worst president ever. The cause is dead. The White House has betrayed us, etc. etc. & etc. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, the same thing happened to Ronald Reagan. Want proof? Well, I have it, and it has cost me a pretty penny, too! Most of the articles I quote here come from either the Boston Globe or the New York Times, neither of which was “the enemy” during the years Reagan was POTUS.
I think our blessed conservative talk show hosts, so rightly criticized by Trent Lott the other day, should sit down, shut up, and read history. I’m not talking about Brent Bozell’s revisionist blather, but just read the headlines and look at the quotes. It leaves one wondering if, had the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, or Laura Ingraham been around during the years Ronald Reagan was POTUS, they would have supported him or would have been his most vocal critics, the way they now criticize GWB. The words are the same, only the occupant of the Oval Office is different. I think anyone who reads this information and is the least bit honest will stop and re-examine the role our conservative pundits, talk show hosts, and bloggers play today. History has shown that the likes of Phillips, Weyrich, and Viguerie were completely wrong when criticizing Ronald Reagan. Makes you wonder about George W. Bush, doesn’t it?
The strange thing is we are dealing with three kinds of conservatives. There are those who are too young to remember the Reagan years, which were 1980-1988. I feel I need to mention this because there is wholesale amnesia concerning these years, especially by the very people on the Right who now lip-sync Reagan Worship but at the time where, outside of the Dems, his greatest and nastiest critics. We’re talking The Heritage Foundation, Patrick J. Buchanan, Howard Phillips, Paul Weyrich, and Richard Viguerie. These are the leading lights of today’s spider-web of cross-financed anti-immigration and anti-George W. Bush organizations. If they were wrong about Reagan, could they be wrong about Bush.
In the latter years of Reagan’s Presidency, these three men were at the forefront of a campaign to completely undermine not only Reagan but his legacy. His final years in office were those of constant battle with conservatives who even threatened to nominate someone else in 1984 to run against him. Fact is, they turned on RWR three days after his first inauguration, as you will see below. Rather pathetically they would wax hot and cold. During part of 1986 they were supporting him in language reserved for George W. Bush in pre-immigration days.
A few months earlier, in July of 1985…
NOTE TO OUR ANTI-IMMIGRATION CONSERVATIVES: It appears that you have only been able to pull about 750,000 names on misc. petitions in the internet age. Consider how difficult it was for the same people who are pushing those petitions today to get TWO MILLION NAMES before Algore invented the internet. And please note we are dealing with the very same people. The only changes are the issue, POTUS, and technology! The one thing this proves to me is the anti-immigration conservatives aren’t as powerful and plentiful as their fantasy life would have them be.
Let’s just face the fact that it is amusing. Simply replace the word “Immigration” with “Nuclear Disarmament”. The names are the same. The organizations are the same. The critics are the same. Reagan was weak they said. He was one of the worst presidents ever. His legacy would be big budgets. He was betraying the country with disarmament. The very same people who are leading the conservative crusade against George W. Bush and immigration are the ones who betrayed Reagan.
Everyone is stressed over the fate of the GOP. Well, looking back, I think we have nothing to worry about. Why? Well, in 1987 Reagan was a horrible POTUS, at least in the eyes of conservatives. If that is the case, consider the names, and fast-forward another twenty years. We have a Republican president who is trying to do something he believes is right. The very same conservatives, now a bunch of smelly old farts being pushed around in robot powered wheel chairs while being spoon fed pabulum. They will wax poetic about the Bush years, hailing him as one of the greats. I just want to be around to remind them exactly how they actually treated George W. Bush, the same way I am reminding them today about how they treated Ronald W. Reagan.
At least today’s conservatives have not stooped to taking out Laura Bush the way they did Nancy Reagan. Do you remember the days when conservatives criticized Nancy Reagan to get to her husband? Think not? Boston Globe, March 8, 1987
“On this and other foreign and domestic issues, the concern I have is that our options are not going to be presented forcefully . . .”
Weyrich is only slightly less gloomy.
“In the very short-term, we’re going to know whether conservatives are just window-dressing,” he said. “Howard Baker is saying to everybody and his mother that he wants to really reach out to us. We’ll soon see.”
Many White House watchers take the mood of those on the New Right as a clue to which direction Reagan is moving in, which means the signs appear to point toward the middle — recalling Reagan’s moderation and compromises during his second term as governor of California in the early 1970s. Howard Phillips accepts the analogy but adds a warning to all Republicans.
“As Reagan drifted to more of a consensus politician, he bought surcease from heavy criticism,” he said. “But in the process he also spent all his time responding to his opponents’ agenda, in effect legitimizing it. Just in case anyone has forgotten, I believe Reagan was succeeded as governor by Jerry Brown.’
I know I sound like an adult dealing with a spoiled child, but let’s look at this statement and then stand back and laugh.
1. Fred Thompson is Howard Baker’s protege.
2. During Reagan’s era conservatives disliked Baker.
3. The very same individuals now herald Thompson as the 2nd coming of Reagan.
5. Are they afraid of Rudy Giuliani and the end of their choke-hold on the GOP?
CONSERVATIVES AGAINST REAGAN
Let’s have some additional fun with today’s conservatives who worship Reagan, yet seem to forget that when he was POTUS, they were always lashing out at him for one thing or another. I am going to provide a e few links to prove my point. Because many are quite ‘old’ they require a a fee.
Reagan’s Shift to Center Brings Attacks from Right – NY Times, Sun. Jan 25, 1981 – Wait a minute, that’s just a few days after his first inauguration.
Reagan’s summit with Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, begins on Tuesday. The conservatives criticized the treaty to be signed by the two men…”
Asked how the conservatives’ anger could hurt the Republican Party or the Administration, a White House official who counts himself a new-right conservative thought a long moment. ”It may make it more likely that our convention may be bitter,” he said at last.
Edwin J. Feulner Jr., president of the Heritage Foundation, also paused and finally said, ”Whoever Reagan’s successor is will have a hard time mobilizing these people because Ronald Reagan walked away from them in the end.” But ”there probably will not be costs in the short term,” he acknowledged, because Mr. Reagan, with a year left in office, is not likely to need to galvanize conservative support behind another Supreme Court nominee or deficit-reduction package…”
Conservatives Disappointed with Shift by Reagan NYTimes June 26, 1983
The conservatives said in interviews this week that they agreed with most of Mr. Reagan’s goals but felt he had been too timid in fighting for them. As an example, they noted that he was no longer pressing Congress to abolish the Department of Education.
Howard Phillips, chairman of the Conservative Caucus, said Mr. Reagan, in adopting a ”nonconfrontational political strategy to mollify the Washington establishment,” seemed to have forgotten the people who ”sustained him in the political wilderness for all those years.”
”President Reagan has not proposed, much less achieved, a balanced budget; has not fundamentally changed the nation’s arms control policies, and has not stopped the buildup of Soviet power in the Western Hemisphere,” Mr. Phillips said. ”The failures are a result of his overarching strategy: articulating policy aspirations that inspire conservative hopes, but then pressing to implement those objectives only to the degree they can be accomplished by consensus. And consensus is impossible to achieve if fundamental change is the goal.’‘ Betrayal of Principles Seen
Joel M. Skousen, executive editor of Conservative Digest, a monthly magazine published by Richard A. Viguerie, the conservative fund-raiser, said that ”Mr. Reagan is now seen as untrustworthy by many conservatives who believe he has betrayed his own principles in an effort to appease his critics” on such domestic issues as education, welfare, the budget and taxes.
Ideological conservatives have been expressing similar views for at least a year, but their concerns take on special urgency as the 1984 election approaches. Many conservatives said the President seemed to take their support for granted, on the assumption that they had no place to go and would have to back him if he ran for re-election. The conservatives conceded they were unlikely to support another candidate, but said the more significant question was how hard they would work for Mr. Reagan if he ran.
”If the present trend continues, as we expect, ideological conservatives would withhold their support from the President,” Mr. Skousen said. ”We would not actively campaign for him.”
John D. Lofton Jr., a conservative columnist for The Washington Times who calls himself an ”unreconstructed Reaganite,” said: ”The President lacks the courage of his convictions, which are sound. Conservative activists are the core constituency of the Republican Party. If they sit on their hands in a close contest, Republican candidates for the Presidency, for Congress and for local office would all be in trouble.” Reagan Aide Acknowledges Debt
Morton C. Blackwell, a special assistant to the President who serves as his liaison agent with conservative organizations and religious groups, said he often heard such complaints. Insisting that Mr. Reagan did not take them for granted, Mr. Blackwell said, ”Without the support of these conservative groups, we would never have won the nomination or the general election in 1980.”
M. Stanton Evans, a syndicated columnist who is former chairman of the American Conservative Union, said the President had been ”illserved by some members of his staff who do not seem to share his commitment to the conservative program on which he ran.”
Mr. Evans contended that Mr. Reagan was surrounded by pragmatic advisers who were too willing to compromise. Foremost among these advisers, he said, are James A. Baker 3d, the White House chief of staff, and his deputy, Richard G. Darman, and Kenneth M. Duberstein, assistant to the President for legislative affairs.
”It is very difficult to administer a conservative revolution with people like that as your agents,” Mr. Evans said, ”because they are not conservative revolutionaries but pragmatists.” …
Conservatives should be weary of Reagan because he might betray them! NYTimes, June 14, 1981.
How about this one from the great William Safire, NYTimes, January 21, 1982
KNEE JERK CONSERVAITVES
The vile and anger that has taken over conservatives today is nothing new. Back when Reagan was PUTUS, they were at one another’s throats and his. NYTimes – Nov 24, 1985
Let-Reagan-Be-Reagan conservatives. An offshoot of that branch of the knee-jerk conservative bloc that believes President Reagan has double-crossed them, this sect believes that, to the contrary, President Reagan would die on the barricades if necessary for the big knee-jerk issues, if only he could regain control of himself. Unfortunately, the theory goes, control of the President has been seized by White House bureaucrats who refuse to let the President be himself…”
Heritage Foundation supporters feared Reagan would cave to the USSR. Boston Globe – Dec 3, 1987
Some of his his longest and most ardent conservative supporters have expressed dark thoughts and whispers that Reagan may be about to “cave in” to the Soviets in an effort to achieve a dramatic, long-range agreement to halve the number of long-range nuclear weapons possessed by the superpowers. Despite his repeated denials, these conservative critics charge that Reagan is about to compromise on development of the Strategic Defense Initiative, the proposed space-based missile shield that they portray as the cornerstone in future US nuclear defense capability….”There’s a real feeling among us that we are about to be sold out on arms control the same way it’s happened on budget cuts and taxes,” said James T. Hackett, a former official of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and now a senior scholar at the Heritage Foundation.
“While he’s given us his rhetoric about a strong defense, the only actions he’s taken involve compromising or overlooking their violations,” Hackett said. “Betrayal may be too strong a word for what we feel right now, but there is a very strong sense of disillusionment.”
Hackett theorized that Reagan might have made a secret deal with Gorbachev in October to persuade the Soviet leader to give up his sudden reluctance to participate in the Washington summit. The terms of the secret deal: Attend the summit and Reagan agrees to bargain on SDI. Under that bargain, Reagan would accept a narrow interpretation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which prohibits deployment in space of defenses resembling SDI, or agree to negotiate on limits on its testing…”
The Reagan Revolution is Dying by Patrick J. Buchanan (who else?)
LA Daily News November 8, 1987
“Better to lose in a cause that will someday triumph than triumph in a cause that will one day fail,” is a Wilsonian sentiment this president intuitively understands. “Make them feel the heat, and they will see the light,” is among his aphorisms. That is Ronald Reagan’s style….”
NYTimes Jan 22, 1982 Paul Weyrich deserts Reagan
After meeting for most of the day at a Washington hotel, spokesmen for the group repeatedly denounced Administration aides, whom they would not identify, contending that they were subverting Mr. Reagan’s conservative instincts.
Howard Phillips, national director of the Conservative Caucus, said these individuals were responsible for what they felt was the Reagan Administration’s mistake of trying to ”woo his adversaries rather than mobilize his supporters.”
Paul M. Weyrich, director of the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, said the ”Administration has been getting the image of not caring about some of the Middle-American voters who elected them.”
He contended that ignoring issues like abortion or relations with Taiwan carried a serious political risk, too. ”From a political standpoint, if all the issues in the 1982 election are economic issues, we may well suffer losses that we would not have to suffer,” he said. Cannot Support Reagan Foes
The spokesmen conceded that they faced a difficult time because they could not plausibly threaten to support Mr. Reagan’s foes. Mr. Phillips said support of Mr. Reagan and the hope of influencing him was ”our best option, indeed our only option for the time being.”
This Paul Weyrich Jan 10, 2007 article in Human Events, “The Need for Conservative Unity” is laughable considering the way Weyrich treated Ronald Reagan when Reagan was POTUS. Or, as the Boston Post put it on June 30, 1985, God Save Reagan from His Friends!
With prospects of a deal finally bringing the hostages home, there’s talk of scores to settle later. Along with possible retaliation against the hijackers, there are some domestic political scores to settle, as well. The loudest cries for the Rambo Response came from the right. Never mind the hostages’ lives, never mind the president’s own eloquent explanation that random retaliation against possibly innocent Arabs in Lebanon would make the United States no better than the terrorists themselv es. These folks were riled up, and they wanted us to Do Something! “Jimmy Reagan,” sneered the Wall Street Journal editorial page, as the president it adores on economics tried to be a statesman instead of acting like Sylvester Stallone’s shoot-first-and-grunt-questions-lat er Rambo character. Norman Podhoretz, one of the neo-conservatives who furnished intellectual window-dressing for the New Right, mocks Reagan as “a pitifully crippled hawk” who refuses to “risk life in defense of the national honor.”
Podhoretz speaks for all those who apparently really believed that massive military expenditures and saber-rattling rhetoric would make us rulers of the world. The vitriol with which some of Reagan’s closest supporters now question his conduct shows us that no one is safe from being branded a gutless appeaser when the New Right is in full panic. “While Reaganites fear their leader is being Carterized,” moaned conservatives Rowland Evans and Robert Novak in an alas-and-alack column, “a princip al perpetrator of the transformation is the president himself.”…. The brilliant organizer of the New Right revolution, Paul Weyrich, who first realized the potential of harnessing abortion foes, born-again Christians, critics of the Panama Canal treaty and school-prayer partisans into an effective political force, knows an inflammable issue when he sees one. So he whipped up a New Right claque to fan the flames for harsh retaliation.
“By failing to carry out our threats against terrorists, we have invited more terrorism,” said Weyrich in announcing his umpteenth pressure group, Coalition for Actions Against Terrorism. His first target: Secretary of State George Shultz. Shultz said last fall: “The public must understand before the fact that there is potential for loss of life of some of our fighting men and the loss of life of some innocent people.”
But Weyrich and his allies fear Reagan is pussyfooting, now that the nightly news shows our hostages in all their vulnerability. So Weyrich targets Shultz. Reagan is still untouchable; the president is beloved by all the folks whose $10 and $20 checks fuel the New Right’s direct mail operation.
The New Right savaged Carter all through the 1980 election campaign, assailing his manhood, his judgment, his nerve. The New Right can’t quite target Reagan with the same vehemence, so Shultz is dragged in as the surrogate weak sister….”
Stay tuned for Part II! There is plenty more where this came from, trust me. I do hope conservatives who are reading this and are staunch anti-immigrationists, and staunch anti-Bush people now will stop and realize they are being manipulated by the same people who betrayed Ronald Reagan time and time again and now pretend to worship him.