Ronald Reagan on Foreign Policy

Friday, May 4, AD 2012

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two world wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We’ve learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.

Ronald Reagan

Ditto.

Continue reading...

13 Responses to Ronald Reagan on Foreign Policy

  • This is the correct response to Ron Paul’s foreign policy.

  • Pretty words. But if I recall correctly, wasn’t taking shelter across the sea, and rushing to respond after freedom was lost exactly what we did in WWII, and we won that one? Seems the lesson we can take is that responding ONLY when necessary is the prudent course. Of course, one’s man’s optional is another man’s necessity.

    I also recall another great statesman warning that we should not go about the world searching for monsters to slay. His name currently escapes me.

  • I would note that I posted this merely to make my own views clear and not as a critque of Bonchamps’ post on Ron Paul’s foreign policy. We obviously differ in our views, but commenters should address our posts as separate and not attempt to engage us in a duel which is not my intention. This is a group blog and contributors are occasionally going to have different viewpoints, not a rarity actually at TAC.

  • “Pretty words. But if I recall correctly, wasn’t taking shelter across the sea, and rushing to respond after freedom was lost exactly what we did in WWII, and we won that one?”

    400,000 dead Americans later cmatt, with a world wide death toll of around 62,000,000, not to mention of course that we could have lost that War if events prior to our entry had played out differently. If we had been isolationist for a few more years we might well have ended up confronting Nazi Germany, victorious over the Soviet Union, armed with nuclear tipped ICBMs. We and the world were quite lucky as to how WW2 turned out; history could have very easily taken a much darker path.

  • With all due respect, Donald, you were the one in previous posts here at TAC who called Ron Paul “Dr. Delusional.” Now you say that yours and Bonchamps’ are simply different points of view. The derisive term “Dr. Delusional” (with which I happen to agree) bespeaks of more than simply a different point of view.

    Either your point of view is correct and Bonchamps incorrect, or vice versa. Either Reagan is correct in his speech above and Ron Paul incorrect, or vice versa. This “ain’t no dictatorship of relativism.”

    I guess now my comment is going to get me in trouble. Again, no offense is intended towards either you or Bonchamps (who is indeed a great writer). But one can’t discuss Reagan’s foreign policy in today’s post without considering Ron Paul’s foreign policy in yesterday’s post (and vice versa – darn, used that word too much!). That the two are published so close together means something.

  • One of the purposes of TAC Paul is to allow each contributor to write about whatever issues they wish to write about and to proclaim their views. Too much back and forth between contributors in the comboxes can negate that purpose. Bonchamps has set forth his views ably on foreign policy in his thread, and I have given my agreement with the views espoused by Reagan. Contributors are free to comment on each thread, but it is not my purpose to debate Bonchamps on his views on foreign policy but rather to merely assert my own.

  • In fact, Hitler wanted to wait until he had defeated Great Britain to draw the U.S. into the war. For this reason, Germany had mixed feelings about the Japanese attack n Pearl Harbor. Having split the alliaince between would ahve been devastating for the U.S.

  • Sounds like a walk softly but carry a big stick president. What countries did Ronald Reagan create more perpetual occupation? How about W? I rest my case.

  • Rest your case? You haven’t even made your case! Try again.

  • Indeed, we hurt for another Gipper to appear; our present political landscape is sadly bereft of anything larger than the occasional bump in the plain.

    He was absolutely right. The Soviet Union (and its puppets) was our enemy and it had an overt and stated goal of World Communism. Our backs were against the wall and 15 years of Liberal Democrat appeasement had cost us a war, 52,000 needless deaths and brought us to near desperation. Thank God – literally – that RWR, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II were where they were. We would not be here had they not been there.

    But that threat in that form is gone today, for the same reason. Strategies wrought in the Cold War dichotomy aren’t needed today. So, read his words carefully: “We’ve learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.”

    To obviate: “tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent”

    Which government best fits that description today?

    Again, which government – including the one that attacks religious liberty at home, exports $70 billion a year to Mexican criminals as well as millions in taxpayer funded weapons, supports its cronyist supporters through whole-cloth fiat bailouts, abandons freedom fighter abroad, appoints “czars” and wages intrusive wars while ignoring Congress, supports Social Fascist protestors who occupy and destroy private property, puts its own ideology before Constitutional process and perpetuates generations of poverty and ignorance through redistributionist programs, just to name a handful of egregious crimes – which government best fits that description today?

    Ironic, no?

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us!”

  • “Which government best fits that description today?”

    Iran. Next question?

  • “Which government best fits that description today?”

    “Iran. Next question?”

    Perhaps a better question would be “which governments [plural] fit that description”

    In addition to Iran, you can add China and Russia and a few others to that list, all of whom are dictatorships that have Obama’s lips surgically implanted on their backside.

    What isolationalists/non-intervetionist like to throw around the “The U.S. cannot be the world’s policeman” fail and/or refuse to understand is that is we are not, these tyrannical regimes would be more than happy to step into that breach. In fact, they are trying to do just that. I shudder to think of what the world would be like if they are ever successful in that endeavor. A United States willing and able to unapologetically defend its own vital interests is the only thing that stands in their way. Reagan understood this very well.

    In his “Shining City on a Hill” speech, Reagan quotes Pope Pius XII:

    “The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.”

  • What isolationalists/non-intervetionist like to throw around the “The U.S. cannot be the world’s policeman” fail and/or refuse to understand

    Is that the sums readily attributable to the ‘world police’ function are a modest fraction (~6%) of total military expenditures since 1953.

Reagan and Me

Monday, February 6, AD 2012

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Ronald Reagan

Today is my 55th birthday and the 101rst birthday of Ronald Reagan, the man who gets my vote as the best president of my life time.  As the video clip above indicates, Reagan was a liberal Democrat for the first half of his life.  He often referred to this, sometimes humorously:

Sometimes seriously:

The classic liberal used to be the man who believed the individual was, and should be forever, the master of his destiny. That is now the conservative position. The liberal used to believe in freedom under law. He now takes the ancient feudal position that power is everything. He believes in a stronger and stronger central government, in the philosophy that control is better than freedom. The conservative now quotes Thomas Paine, a long-time refuge of the liberals: ‘Government is a necessary evil; let us have as little of it as possible.’

I of course lived during the time of Reagan’s life after he had become a conservative.  When I was seven years old I watched on television a speech, often referred to by Reagan biographers as The Speech, that Reagan gave in support of Barry Goldwater.  That speech led me to become a conservative.  The clip below is from a section of the speech that I have recalled all of my life:

Continue reading...

38 Responses to Reagan and Me

7 Responses to General George S. Patton: Art and Life

  • Donald,

    Just in case no one else tells you – Keep posting stuff like this. I love it.

  • Thank you Nicholas. The Law pays my bills, but History always rules my mind.

  • I remember seeing this powerful movie – but not the opening speech as much as the size of the flag. Thanks for the replay because, as is said, after all these years …
    When I was little, I found a leather case in my father’s top drawer which contained a little medal and paper that said Lucky Bastards Club. There was a picture of him with soldiers (airmen? Air Force) next to an airplane. He was a tailgunner between England and Germany, later an aircraft mechanic. I always felt embarassed by whatever that club could mean and didn’t ask him. Think I get it now.

  • Your father was a very brave and lucky man PM.

    “The casualties suffered by the 8th Air Force in World War II exceeded those of the US Marine Corps and the US Navy combined.

    The B-17G carried a standard crew of 10: comprising a pilot, co-pilot, bombardier/chin turret gunner, navigator/cheek gunner, flight engineer/top turret gunner, radio operator, ball turret gunner, two waist gunners, and tail turret gunner.

    The area of England known as East Anglia, about the size of Vermont, became what flyers called an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” and was the home for more than 130 American bases and 75 airfields. Almost 350,000 airmen passed through these 8th Air Force airfields during the war. The very *British* names of these bases became familiar to all who flew — Glatton, Snetterton, Stowmarket, Lavenham, Bassingbourne, Polebrook, Molesworth, Martlesham Heath, Podington, Eye, Bury St Edmunds and Kingscliffe to name just a few.

    The typical airfield in East Anglia was home to about 50 B-17’s or B-24’s and had a compliment of about 2500 men who flew, repaired, serviced and supported the air operation. Not to be forgotten were the men who “kept ’em flying”. For every bomber at the field there were 30 or more men who did not fly. They repaired the plane, loaded the bombs and munitions, policed the field, maintained the radios, cooked and fed 2500 men a day, operated the laundry, worked in the PX, and handled the many other duties required to keep the planes flying and the field operating — all essential to the successful launching of the air strike.

    The average flyer was about 20 years of age and even for these young men the effects of flying very long missions under extreme cold, the constant hum and vibration, and being exposed to enemy fighters and flak, resulted in unusual stress that sometimes resulted in a breakdown. Most flyers slept long hours when not flying. I can attest to that.
    In the early years of the air war crews were required to fly 25 and later 30 and then 35 missions before they were returned to the States. This was called a “tour” and upon completion the survivors automatically became members of the “Lucky Bastards Club”.”

    http://www.galbreath.net/bill/b-17g.htm

  • “KIll them with kindness”, General George Patton. “I can attest to that” means that you, Donald R. McClarey, were a flying man? God love you. In my humble opinion your posted photograph reminds me of Ulysses S. Grant.

  • Thank you so much for the story behind the medal – have been trying to imagine how it was. He spoke little about the time. I suspect that, since his father and mother emigrated from Germany and Austria in the 19-teens to NY just west of Mass. border, the gunning missions began a lifelong off and on vodka disease. He did say that mechanical work was his avocation before and after WWII – cars, trucks, airplanes, even buses – until the need for conversion to metric tools in the 1970’s. The picture of the airmen was taken on an airfield with a B-17 and they had the expressions that spoke of something happily accomplished.

  • RE: AAF air crew bravery. See the movie, “Memphis Belle.” When I was in SAC, I served with men who been bomber crew in the War. Our group CO had been shot down over Ploesti and was a POW.

    I am reading Unbroken by the author of Seabiscuit. I recommend it. It gives a good description of a successful B-24 bomber raid on a Japanese occupied island and of an air raid the air and ground crews endured on an island air base. The author also reports the large numbers of training and accidental air deaths and the pressures and angst suffered between missions (both combat and training). The B-24 ditches at sea on a search mission for another lost aircraft and crew. Our Lord’s bitter agony in the Garden of Gethsemani comes to mind.

    Also, lest we forget: I think 40,000 young Americans (America’s finest) gave the “last full measure of devotion” with 3 Army from Normandy through Czechoslovakia.

    All the WWII men (RIP) with whom I grew up have gone to their rewards. They were the greatest generation, without a doubt.

    Greet them ever with grateful hearts.

November 2, 1983: Ronald Reagan Signs Bill Creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Monday, January 16, AD 2012

Mrs. King, members of the King family, distinguished Members of the Congress, ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, I’m very pleased to welcome you to the White House, the home that belongs to all of us, the American people.

When I was thinking of the contributions to our country of the man that we’re honoring today, a passage attributed to the American poet John Greenleaf Whittier comes to mind. “Each crisis brings its word and deed.” In America, in the fifties and sixties, one of the important crises we faced was racial discrimination. The man whose words and deeds in that crisis stirred our nation to the very depths of its soul was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King was born in 1929 in an America where, because of the color of their skin, nearly 1 in 10 lived lives that were separate and unequal. Most black Americans were taught in segregated schools. Across the country, too many could find only poor jobs, toiling for low wages. They were refused entry into hotels and restaurants, made to use separate facilities. In a nation that proclaimed liberty and justice for all, too many black Americans were living with neither.

In one city, a rule required all blacks to sit in the rear of public buses. But in 1955, when a brave woman named Rosa Parks was told to move to the back of the bus, she said, “No.” A young minister in a local Baptist church, Martin Luther King, then organized a boycott of the bus company—a boycott that stunned the country. Within 6 months the courts had ruled the segregation of public transportation unconstitutional.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to November 2, 1983: Ronald Reagan Signs Bill Creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Red Tail Angels

Tuesday, January 3, AD 2012

The video above was produced by the United States Army Air Corps in 1945 and narrated by Captain Ronald Reagan.  The film is a salute to the Tuskegee Airmen.

Blacks have served in all of America’s wars, in spite of the racial hatred that was often directed against them during their service.  In World War II the military was still segregated, and opposition to blacks serving as pilots was intense.   However, the Army Air Corps could not ignore that blacks had passed the tests to qualify as aviation cadets. Trained at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, the 99th Pursuit squadron was activated in 1941 and sent overseas to North Africa in April 1943.

The 99th served in the Sicilian Campaign and in Italy.  In the Spring of 1944 it was joined by the 100th, 301st and 302nd pursuit squadrons and formed the all black 332nd fighter group.  The 332nd flew as escorts for bombers flying bombing raids into Czechoslavakia, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Germany.  The 332nd became known as the Red Tails, or Red Tail Angels, for the red paint on the tails of their planes, and for the skill with which they guarded the bombers they escorted.  The men of the 332nd in their time in combat destroyed 261 enemy planes, damaged another 148, and flew a total of 15,533 combat sorties.  They suffered 66 pilots killed.  95 Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism were earned by the pilots, along with other awards for valor, and the 332nd received three President Unit Citations.  A bomber group, the 477th Medium Bomber Group, consisting of the 616th, 617th, 618th and 619th bomber squadrons, was formed from Tuskegee Airmen, but the War ended before the unit was deployed overseas.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Red Tail Angels

  • That would be narrated by Captain Ronald Reagan, a liberal Democrat! 🙂

  • With age comes wisdom Kurt! Reagan used to say he didn’t leave his party, his party left him. To a certain extent that was true. I could easily, for example, have seen myself voting for Harry Truman, on the strength of his foreign policy, over liberal Republican Tom Dewey.

  • Yes, but as you know, I’m pretty firmly on the side of the wisdom of the youthful Reagan, with his liberal activism for Blacks and workers.

    I’ll be honest, I’ve long had warm, social relationships with a number of “ex-liberals” of the Jeanne Kilpatrick, Norman Podhoretz, Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, and, in a way, Joseph Ratzinger variety. Ben Wattenberg was once even kind enough to support me in a political race. Folks of this tendency I’ve considered pleasantly free of any conservative baggage from their past, particularly on race issues and pre-WW2 isolationism. And, of course, I made my own neoconservative drift to the Right during the 1980s, giving me somewhat more symapthy for those whose conservatism is of recent vintage rather than historical.

  • I dunno. I used’ta read in history.

    It seems it was Dems that were against the Civil War and the vicious racists, e.g., the 1863 NYC draft riots. It was the donkey, not the GOP, that ran with the KKK and, for decades, ruled the Jim Crow, segregation “solid South.” Barnet Schecter wrote a book, The Devil’s Own Work about the draft riots.

    GOP and conservatives were not the racists in this country.

    Historians will marvel at how a system so dishonest, dull and illogical as the dem lib big lie could have exercised such sway over so many for so long. I guess it has something to do with the nature of evil.

Steve Jobs: Thanks Mom For Not Aborting Me!

Sunday, November 27, AD 2011

 

A follow up to my post, which may be read here, regarding Steve Jobs, Adoption and  Abortion.  Pro-lifers have gotten some static for bringing up the fact that Steve Jobs could have ended up aborted if his mother had not chosen life for him.  Well, it appears that Steve Jobs was thankful that his mother did not choose to kill him through abortion.

“I wanted to meet [her] mostly to see if she was OK and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion,” he said. “She was 23 and she went through a lot to have me.”

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Steve Jobs: Thanks Mom For Not Aborting Me!

  • We are all Gods creatures of his image. Steve Jobs as well as many other people thank God that they were not aborted. If a person doesn’t want to have a baby they should at the very least let the baby live. If we think about are parents are suppose to care and love us not kill us. If you look back in history there was a lot of famous people that would of never lived if their parents aborted them.

  • Pingback: MONDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • “If a person doesn’t want to have a baby they should at the very least let the baby live.”

    Actually, if a person doesn’t want to have a baby, then that person must remain sexually abstinent. What are we? Wild baboons without sentience, given to the passing whims of the lust of the flesh that we cannot control our own bodies, and when we fornicate or commit adultery, we think we should be given a free pass for our lack of self-control?

    No sex outside of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. No adultery. No fornication. And while it doesn’t cause pregnancy, no homosexual behavior. God gave us brains and He expects us to use them.

November 9, 1989

Wednesday, November 9, AD 2011

Twenty-two years ago today my wife and I arrived home from buying software for our Commodore 64  (Yeah, it is that long ago.) and watched stunned after we turned on the tv as we saw East Germans dancing on top of the Berlin War, tearing into it with sledge hammers.   It is hard to convey to people who did not live through the Cold War how wonderful a sight this was.  Most people at the time thought the Cold War was a permanent state of things.  Not Ronald Wilson Reagan.  He knew that Communism would end up on the losing side of history and throughout his career strove to bring that day ever closer.  His becoming President so soon after John Paul II became Pope set the stage for the magnificent decade of the Eighties when Communism passed from being a deadly threat to the globe to a belief held only by a handful of benighted tyrannical regimes around the world, and crazed American professors.  In most of his movies, the good guys won in the end, and Reagan helped give us a very happy ending to a menace that started in 1917 and died in 1989.

Here is an interview Sam Donaldson did with Reagan immediately after the fall of the wall:

Continue reading...

7 Responses to November 9, 1989

  • This is of course the world-changing “9-11” in Europe.

    And, though Carter is hardly is hardly my far from my favorite president I’ve always thought he deserves some of the credit for the Wall’s demise. His “human rights” campaigns and the Helsinki accords forced the USSR to open up at least somewhat and that was enough to expose the cracks in the system.
    They humored Carter by allowing a “little” freedom here and there but discovered “a little” freedom doesn’t work, esp. when Reagan followed up with his arms build up.

  • The Soviets and the Warsaw Pact were doomed Thomas when they failed to crush Solidarity in Poland. A system built on little but force simply cannot long endure when its domestic adversaries no longer fear it. Solidarity, backed by the Pope and Reagan, demonstrated that the Soviets no longer had the will, or the stomach, to engage in the type of repression necessary to keep the Communist regimes in power.

  • Two cool things:
    I got to touch a chunk of the wall at the “Newseum” in DC, and my oldest daughter was born on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall.

  • “This is of course the world-changing 9-11 in Europe”

    Interesting that it is (because European usage is to put date first, then month), because 11-9-89 and 9-11-01 just about perfectly bookend the decade of the 90s, when some people were actually convinced that “the end of history” was at hand and America would reign forever as an unchallenged superpower.

    I do remember the fall of the Wall; it is probably the one historic event in my lifetime that really gives me hope that anything is possible and no evil is so entrenched that it cannot be conquered, or destroy itself from within.

  • Foxfier your daughter had an auspicious birthdate!

    Elaine, the hand of God places into each human soul a desire for freedom. Tyrannies can do their worst to suppress that desire, but what God places into us no mere human regime can ever triumph over forever.

    “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;”

  • My good friend’s son-in-law,Lance King was in Berlin when the wall came down. He has a piece of stone from the wall which has pride of place on his mantlepiece in his living room.
    Certainly a memorable time. Now there are different tyrannies that attempt to subjugate us.

  • Indeed Don. The bad news is that in every generation new tyrants arise. The good news is that there are plenty of us ready to fight them if necessary.

October 27, 1964: A Time For Choosing

Thursday, October 27, AD 2011

Ronald Reagan launched his political career with this speech 47 years ago on behalf of Republican Presidential Nominee Barry Goldwater.  Goldwater went on to be clobbered in November by Lyndon Johnson, but the reaction to Reagan’s speech by conservatives was overwhelmingly positive.  In 1966 Reagan ran for and won the Governorship of California.  14 years later he was elected President of the United States.  Reagan had a relatively brief political career, and it all started with The Speech as this address has gone down in history.  Here is the text of the speech:

Continue reading...

Malaise II

Friday, September 30, AD 2011

On July 15, 1979, after an abysmal time leading the nation, Jimmy Carter, worst President of the United States except for James Buchanan and the present incumbent, gave a speech in which he blamed the ills of the land on the American people.  The problems certainly could not be due to him and his wretched policies, they had to be the fault of everyone else.  The speech became known as the spiritual malaise speech, although Carter did not use the term malaise.

Continue reading...

39 Responses to Malaise II

  • Yep, what the American people need are a cheerleader. Bring in the Dallas Cowgals!

  • Throughout our history Joe the American people have responded to good presidential leadership. We do not need a cheerleader; we desperately do need a good leader.

  • The following was posted on Instapundit a short while ago.

    “ . . . Well, I am quite deliberately rubbing it in, as the ridiculously inflated expectations for Obama are regularly and repeatedly exposed as . . . ridiculously inflated. But what’s really juvenile is expecting that an inexperienced former community organizer could successfully execute the office of President of the United States. And if I’m peeing all over the wave of hope-and-change hype that got him into office despite his obvious unsuitability, it’s to help ensure that nothing this disastrous happens again in my lifetime. I realize that it’s painful for those who fell victim to the mass hysteria to constantly be reminded of their foolishness, but I hope it’ll be the kind of pain that results in learning. . . . “

    “UPDATE: Prof. XXX emails:
    ‘Nicely said.
    ‘Many all too willingly wanted to follow the piper and now that it’s proven to have been a disastrous choice, would prefer that all that was forgotten. Well, no it shouldn’t be. Votes matter, and their gullibility, or pursuit of easy absolution, or confirmation of some imagined moral superiority in support of the President’s election has led to the disaster we now face. Many among these people, in particular those with a public voice, bear a large measure of responsibility for having brought us to this point. What is truly juvenile is that among many of these same people there exists a continued denial of the reality we face and of their role in helping to bringing it about.’

    “Indeed. Which is why I continue to rub it in.” Instapundit

  • The Carter Administration made a number of mistakes in policy. Notably, the President reacted to the Federal Reserve’s dysfunctional monetary policy with a series of Potemkin measures, not addressing escalating currency erosion until the appointment of Paul Volcker as chairman thereof in the fall of 1979. Even so, they insisted that Volcker not implement his plan for controlling the growth of monetary aggregates during an election campaign. (Please recall, though, that the Board responsible for the decay in price stability in 1977-79 was largely appointed by his predecessors). There were some decisions made in late 1978 and early 1979 regarding the turmoil in Iran which should be regretted later, but much of his trouble with Iran was largely imposed and would have bedeviled anyone in similar circumstances.

    I think you need to recall that Mr. Carter was operating within constraints imposed by the internal culture of the Democratic Party, that he tried to educate his party on certain matters, and that the Democratic congressional caucus had little use for him because his priorities were so different from theirs. (Hence Ted Kennedy’s presidential campaign).

    It was Mr. Carter who promoted the removal of residual wage and price controls in 1977 (in the teeth of a filibuster run by George McGovern); it was Mr. Carter who promoted the removal of aging and dysfunctional regulatory systems in the transportation sector; it was Mr. Carter who attempted to persuade Congress (with no success) to stop using the tax code to sluice benefits to the oil industry and other favored economic sectors; it was Mr. Carter who attempted (without full success) to persuade Congress to pass a balanced budget for the fiscal year ending in 1980; it was Mr. Carter who began arming the insurrection against the Communist government in Afghanistan.

  • Well, I do think we need to hear something like what Carter said. Donald, if you didn’t think society needed to hear a ‘Carter speech’ about society’s building blocks, waste, sloppiness, loss of nerve, immorality, laziness, etc., you wouldn’t post many of your posts. I do agree that Carter may have been kind of ineffective overall. But when he got up and told us we needed to look at ourselves, he spoke truly. By the 70’s, we needed to hear that.

  • Couldn’t disagree more Pat, unless I tried very hard. The main problem this country faced in the late Seventies was Carter’s idiot policies. His speech was not a serious look at the failings of the American people, and I think such generalized Jeremiads are usually useless execept to make the person on the soapbox feel superior, but was rather an exercise at blame shifting from him to the people who had the misfortune to live under him. The American people gave the appropriate response to this tripe in November of 1980.

  • The main problem this country faced in the late Seventies was Carter’s idiot policies.

    Donald, in 1978, the country had had two decades of escalating rates of social pathology. Carter’s policies did not cause that and, from his post in the federal government, the only components he was in a position to do much about were illegal immigration and the international drug trade. You could likely point to various and sundry disagreeable things emerging from the regulatory state during those years. The thing is, positions in any administration are staffed by camp followers drawn from abiding Democratic constituencies. Carter commonly thought and acted in counterpoint to those constituencies, but he still had to operate in that matrix.

    You really do not say what policies to which you were referring. Monetary policy was poorly conducted. Perhaps critics of Carter have found the memoranda which show that Arthur Burns, et al were taking instruction from the President in these matters. We know from the whole history of the period after 1965 that Burns was quite capable of bollixing things without Mr. Carter’s intervention. Carter should have foregone gimmicks and told Burns, Miller, et al to get the growth rate of monetary aggregates under control. Keep in mind, though, that the Democratic Party’s cognoscenti was populated with characters like James Tobin who insisted that this could not be practically implemented and that the congressional caucus was occupied by characters like Hubert Humphrey and Gus Hawkins who thought you could garner full employment via legislative fiat.

    Iran was a godawful mess, but it is de trop to attribute to Mr. Carter the structural weaknesses of the Shah’s regime or the ruler’s personal failings. It is conceivable that a military coup executed in January of 1979 might have allowed some sort of sensible regime to take control. Then again, it might have failed utterly. You only see the downside of the policies you elect to implement. (The same observations apply to troubles in Central America).

    The military’s skill set had been deteriorating for years. He could have and should have been more vigorous about promoting improvements. That was a sin of omission, and one he sought to rectify as he was leaving office.

  • Art, let me count some of the ways:

    1. A completely ineffective energy policy which involved wearing sweaters and lowering thermostats.
    2. Raging inflation and interest rates. In 1980 inflation hit 13.5% and the prime interest rate charged by banks was 15.26.
    3. Afghanistan-Carter’s intial response was the plaintive cry that Brezhnev had lied to him, a symbol that with him at the helm our foreign policy was truly “Innocents abroad”.
    4. A hollow military-The military despised Carter for producing a weak military. My brother was commanding an armored platoon in Germany on night manueveres when news that Reagan had been elected reached them. Cheers rang out through the column.
    5. Iran-The failure of the rescue mission was a sign of what the military had been reduced to under Carter. His Deputy Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, when the cabinet was being briefed on the mission, asked if the weapons could be shot out of the hands of the Iranian guards rather than harming them. The disbelieving briefing officer told Christopher that shooting guns out of hands was only something that happened on television.

  • 1. Effective energy policy would have required the following: comprehensive removal of controls on the price of petroleum and its derivatives; abjuring the use of general tax revenues and financing of road construction and maintenance with tolls, excises on gasoline, and vehicle registration fees; the imposition of green excises on petroleum and its derivatives; and extension work with builders and architects promoting insulation technology. A federal laboratory investigating alternative energy technology and also improved technologies for disposing of nuclear waste might have been helpful also. Such a policy would also have required time for its salutary features to take effect. Carter fought tooth and nail with Congress (with partial success) to remove controls on the price of petroleum (and Reagan was able to accelerate implementation of decontrol by executive order). To sell the rest, the President would have to tell a truth most people did not want to hear: that they were not paying the full freight for their consumer choices and they needed to do so for reasons of economic efficiency and reasons of state. Aspects of that the President attempted. I cannot think of any of his successors who would have even made the attempt.

    2. I agree with you regarding inflation. I do point out, however, that the President was making decisions in a particular intellectual and political context. You need to ask yourself which of his opponents in 1976 would have made better decisions. This is speculative, to be sure, but that is inherent in evaluating a President because what you are evaluating is a contingent response to circumstances. (I suspect Mr. Ford, Mr. Reagan, and Mr. Brown would have done a better job with this. Messrs. Udall, Church, Wallace et al? Nope.)

    3. This is trivia. (And after what you call his plaintive cry, Mr. Brezhnev got hit with a policy innovation that had never been attempted in a sustained way: equipment of an insurgency intending to overthrow a Communist government).

    4. Carter did not manufacture such a military, he inherited it. Carter should have been far more vigorous about improvements in the military’s equipment and skill set. You have to recall, though, that he was facing a Congress for which this was not, in 1977, a priority. Mr. Reagan would have done things differently, but I think you are forgetting how atypical Mr. Reagan’s views were at the time. (And please note, the Reagan Administrations methods – an arbitrary annual increase in the real military budget – could be somewhat crude.

    5. The President makes 3,000 discretionary appointments. Some of them are bound to be crummy. Warren Christopher and Robert Pastor had no business being any position in the foreign policy apparat and Cyrus Vance was certainly in the wrong position (as the President came to realize). The real problem with the Iranian mess (at that point) is that the Administration allowed ABC News to turn it into a saga and the President appeared to have ruled out pro-active measures (e.g. asking for a declaration of war and then jailing Iranians in the country as enemy aliens – suggested by George Kennan) to resolve the crisis.

    You set yourself a high bar referring to Carter as the worst president since the antebellum. The man’s bad decisions in their consequences do not compare unfavorably to those of Herbert Hoover or Lyndon Johnson and you completely neglect the man’s virtues (such as his allergy to public sector borrowing and his willingness to tackle issues which did not arise from constituency pressure). He had an unpleasant public personality, he could be opportunistic in a disagreeable manner, he was caught up short by events. However, Carter did not stink. The Democratic Party stank. Mr. Carter was more antagonistic to the culture of that political nexus (as manifested in our wretched federal legislature) than any of his Democratic predecessors or successors).

  • 1. As to energy Art, Carter’s policy was rigidly focused on conservation and sponsoring what is now called “green technologies”. They are an economic boondoggle now, even more so in Carter’s time, as the technology to make solar, wind, etc simply isn’t there, even more so in the Peanut Farmer’s day.

    2. Oh Carter was probably no worse on the economy than the Democrats he ran against in 1976, which speaks volumes about the rot besetting that party. To be fair, I also regarded Ford as a poor president and voted two-handedly in November of that year. I think only Reagan had the political guts and the imagination to undertake the stern measures need to wring inflation from our economy.

    3. It’s not trivia Art, it is revelatory. The arming of the Afghan resistance was almost entirely the work of Brzezinski, Carter’s national security adviser, and was hotly opposed by the rest of Carter’s foreign policy team. It was a rare foreign policy success, other than the Camp David Accords, in an administration otherwise noted for American retreat around the globe.

    4. No Art, Carter was content to gut the military. I remember it vividly since I was in the Army at the time. The contempt that most people in the military had for the man is hard to exaggerate. His neglect of the military was part and parcel of his foreign policy which could be summed up in his statement that we were outgrowing our “indordinate fear” of communism.

    5. Warren Christopher and Vance were typical of the appointees of Carter running our foreign policy. National security advisor Brzezinski was very much the exception. (As I recall Brzezinski was booed at the Democrat convention in 1980 by delegates there.)

    I call him the worst president except for James Buchanan Art because the man was a walking disaster in both domestic policy and in foreign policy, all the while being the most sanctimonius president we have ever had. I have never relished a politician’s defeat more than I did his on election night 1980.

  • 1. There is nothing bad about conservation. There are arguments to be made for and against government engaging in scientific and technical research outside its usual book. It gets to be a boondoggle not in the doing but when you create a state-dependent businesses and laboratories – i.e. corporate welfare and higher education pork. Carter faced a problem when he took office generated by public policy at all levels: petroleum products (and hence activities like motor vehicle use) were underpriced. Attacking that problem (and he put a great many chips on the table in so doing) puts you on a collision course with Congress and the general public. He was willing to take these hits. Attacking him for his energy policy is ill-informed and graceless.

    2. Both men who chaired the Federal Reserve Board during the period running from Carter’s inauguration to the summer of 1979 performed wretchedly. Please recall that the first of these men was a Republican appointee who had performed wretchedly for the previous seven years. The academic economist who correctly diagnosed the source of the problems manifest after 1968 was Milton Friedman, whose insight was that the empirically discernable trade-off between inflation and unemployment was crucially-dependent on public expectations of future price trajectories. This insight did not penetrate the Fed during those years nor the business press.

    3. It is trivia and your elaboration on the policy decision – that he over-ruled most of his advisors – undermines your argument.

    4. I am not going to second guess you on the subject of morale in the Army. The man ‘committed to gutting the military’ expended 5.67% of gross domestic product on it during his first years in office as opposed to Mr. Ford’s 6.13%. Please note, the ratio of military expenditure to domestic product saw an almost monotonic decline after the end of the Korean War. There were three reversals in this pattern: one during 1956-58, one during 1965-67, and one extending over the period running from 1979-86. Mr. Reagan’s military buildup antedated Mr. Reagan’s administration.

    5. The salient officials for high politics in any Administration are the Secretary of Defence, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of State, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the staff director of the National Security Council. For the trade, development, and monetary component, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the director of the Agency for International Development are salient. The director of what was called the U.S. Information Agency &c. bring up the rear. The chief of mission at the United Nations is quite prominent but not very important (Mr. Carter used that job for political patronage and eventually fired its occupant after repeated reprimands). Dr. Brzezinksi’s conflicts with Cyrus Vance were well known. It was Vance, not Brzezinski, who ended up leaving. I do not recall that Harold Brown, a physicist from CalTech with a previous history in the Defense Department’s research apparat or Gen. David Jones, a military professional, had much of an ideological profile. The Central Intelligence Agency was directed by another military professional, Stansfield Turner. Adm. Turner has been criticized for a number of things – e.g. firing a great many people he should not have and placing too much emphasis on technical collection over espionage. The agency is such a black box and has such a history of dysfunction it is hard to evaluate these claims. Vance and his subordinates aside, I am just not seeing an incorrigible dovecote here. (You recall Carter himself had been a Naval officer).

    —-

    C’mon. Herbert Hoover presided over a catastrophic economic implosion largely attributable to wretched monetary policy (and inadequate banking supervision). Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, and William Westmoreland prosecuted a war so ineptly we ended up with 58,000 dead soldiers and we lost anyway. (Did I mention the Office of Economic Opportunity?). Woodrow Wilson promoted the disestablishment of central Europe’s monarchies and assisted in perpetrating the Treaty of Versailles – all in pursuit of his ideological fixations and dippy collective security schemes. The competition is just too stiff for Mr. Carter to win, place, or show in the Worst-President-Evah sweepstakes.

  • “1. There is nothing bad about conservation.”

    There most certainly is when it doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. All of the sweater wearing and theromstat diving in the world didn’t make a dent in America’s energy problem. Carter relied on pie in the sky initiatives rather than implementing policies which would spur domestic American energy production. His legacy has become one of the central core beliefs of his energy-luddite party.

    “2. Both men who chaired the Federal Reserve Board during the period running from Carter’s inauguration to the summer of 1979 performed wretchedly.”

    Wretchedly sums up the performance of the entire Carter administration in regard to the economy Art.

    “3. It is trivia”

    No, it is a simple indication of his world view, a world view he has doubled down on during his career as our most ex-of ex-Presidents. He took the advice from his national security advisor on Afghanistan, a very atypical response from Carter, I think largely due to the fact that 1980, election year, was the next year. Carter was a “useful idiot” otherwise in office for our enemies, just as he has been a “useful idiot” out of office for our enemies.

    4. Hollow military:

    “Joint Chiefs of Staff Break With Carter On Budget Planning for Defense Needs” p. A1: “Right now, we have a hollow Army,” responded Gen. E. C. Meyer, Army chief of staff, in what turned out to be the bluntest response. “I don’t believe the current budget responds to the Army’s needs for the 1980s,” said Meyer of Carter’s fiscal 1981 defense budget. “There’s a tremendous shortfall in the ability to modernize quickly” in response to the Soviet threat.”

    Washington Post, May 30, 1980

    5. “Dr. Brzezinksi’s conflicts with Cyrus Vance were well known. It was Vance, not Brzezinski, who ended up leaving.”

    And outside of Afghanistan it was Vance’s policy of retreat and accomodation in regard to our adversaries which continued to be followed.

    Art, I remember those years vividly. I think Jimmy Carter came very close to derailing the American economy and placed us on a very dangerous path where his weakness and dithering encouraged Soviet adventurism. I can only imagine the shambles that this country would have experienced if he had had a second term. No, for all around bad performance as president Carter will get my vote right after James Buchanan, the man whose tilt to the South helped bring on the secession crisis, and who helped convince the South that the North would not fight.

  • I have Jimmy Carter to thank for making me a Republican. When Carter was elected, I was 13 and I bought into my parents’ view that the GOP was the cause of the nation’s problems and now that the Democrats ran everything in Washington, things would improve.

    Carter cured me of ever believing anything that came out of the mouth of a Democrat.

    Carter was an incompetent, limp-wristed, ineffectual and diastorous president. His overall incompetence did lead us to Ronald Reagan, the greatest president of the 20th century.

    Obama was the second pop culture president. The slimy Bill Clinton was first. As modern pop culture is infested with leftist politics and lack of morality, it has become the religion of far too many young people. I remember Forbes Avenue in Oakland (Pittsburgh) was closed down because it was filled with college students from Pitt celebrating Obumbler’s election. Those fools back in 2008 are now the unemployed and under employed – and that bunch, across the nation, helped put Obumbler in the White House, because it was the “cool thing to do”.

    Sometimes, people have to learn the hard way, more often than not. Perhaps some of the nation’s young people will look elsewhere than Jon Stewart and other late night talk show hosts for their political information next time around.

  • Carter will never get another “shot” at ruining us. Obama may be given four more years to finish us off.

    There were a lot of bad presidents. Obama sets the standard.

    Make no mistake. It’s not only his destructive ideology and incompetence, add dishonesty and ill-disguised calls for violence.

    New Harris poll: 51 – 49: Ron Paul over Obama.

    You can fool some of the people . . .

  • I remember those years as well. So do most of the regulars here. If Darwin or Paul Zummo do not mind an unsolicited suggestion and want a sense of the feel of contemplating public life at that time, the movie Americathon or Ann Beattie’s novel Falling in Place might be helpful toward that end.

    I think one problem people have in recalling the Carter years has to do with a pervasive anxiety that dissipated after 1982. There was tremendous and unanticipated social entropy after 1958 manifest in all spheres. Things fall apart and everything looks absurd. Few people, even very perceptive and intelligent men like my father, had an idea where the bottom was. Around about 1982, the bottom showed up, for the most part. There has continued to be decay in one important sphere (attitudes toward sex and family life), but other than that, we could feel the bottom.

    I think Jimmy Carter came very close to derailing the American economy

    Just what does that phrase mean in terms of measurable results? We had a brief and mild recession in 1980 (in an economy that was otherwise growing); the labor market was not in the best of shape, but unemployment rates never exceeded 7.5%; the troubles in the banking system (savings banks losing money on their loan portfolios and money center banks with uncollectable sovereign loans) were as yet not manifest; there was an eruption in commodity prices in 1979-80, but such eruptions happen without much regard to public policy and households can (and did) adjust; and we had chronic problems with currency erosion, as we had had since 1966. Much of the inflation experienced in 1979 and 1980 was a temporary phenomenon, but there was a baseline of about 8 or 9% in annual consumer price increases. It was a problem that could have been and should have been addressed, but re-stabilizing prices need not cause an economic depression and it was accomplished here without one.

    The man who accomplished that was Paul Volcker, and if you wish to undertake counter-factual speculation as to what would have happened had Mr. Carter been returned to office in 1980, you do need to take account of the fact that Mr. Carter appointed Mr. Volcker.

    and placed us on a very dangerous path where his weakness and dithering encouraged Soviet adventurism.

    I imagine that was part of it. Prestige – your reputation for power – is an asset. Mr. Carter dissipated a certain amount of it. Since leaving office, Mr. Carter has manifested a bourbonish learnt-nothing-and-forgot-nothing aspect to him. However, at the time, he was willing to make adjustments in the face of circumstances and in the face of failures (something Obama does not do). That included putting the military budget on an upward trajectory, planning a commando raid in Iran, unloading first Andrew Young and then Cyrus Vance, and beginning a military aid program to counter the red insurgency in El Salvador. Appointing Paul Volcker, an experienced central banker with a radically different view of monetary policy than his predecessor, was another act of reassessment.

  • Ron Paul over Obama by 51-49? Really?!!? I’d take that one with a boatload of salt…

  • “Expect more blaming of the American people from our Excuse Maker in Chief as his administration …”
    It took him some search time for the word ‘country’ after he said ‘great – uh’ in the video. Symptomatic of malaise, too, considering his title.
    Abominable is his ever so dead-eyed, ‘righteous’ castigation of only certain sectors of the American people, not even the American people as a whole, thus developing good guy-bad guy mentality into a voting block where good and bad become meaningless. The psychic wounds inflicted, one way or the other, on all the American people of whom he is President, will probably be festering by mid-2012. The bandages offered will probably be in shades of gray.

  • President Carter was man enough to sacrifice his presidency for the good of the American economy. No presidency could have survived the bloodletting remedy that Mr Volcker applied. It was the retrenchment of the economy achieved at the tail end of the Carter presidency that gave the US the leaness to spring forward. For Afghanistan, Carter had offered a mere $400 million to Zia-ulHaq, which he derisively dismissed as ‘peanuts’. Ronald Reagan blundered in with his billions and CIA training, thus ensuring that the rise of militant Islam followed the the end of Communism. The Reaganites were played like a violin by the Saudis and the Pakistanis. It cannot be denied that the Communists in Afghanistan tried to make a go of it through education and improved healthcare. The Islamists would have none of it. President Carter was basically a decent man who became embittered in his later years. Now Obama on the other hand is without doubt the least qualified, most vacuous man ever to be President. This is perhaps all for the good, as he has the moral and historic sense of an Alinsky agitator. The saving grace here is that unlike the legendary agitators he lacks the ability to carry through his all plans. As the saying goes, God takes of little children and the USA.

  • Carter sacrificed nothing Ivan. He had absolutely no clue about the economy or what Volcker’s policies would lead to. His appointment of Volcker was done reluctantly and under pressure from Wall Street. His first pick for the Fed, G. William Miller, believed that inflation was a necessary product of “priming the pump” of the economy, and fought against raising the interest rates of the Fed. That Carter had little understanding of the issues involved is demonstrated by the fact that he made Miller his Treasury Secretary as an inducement for him to leave the Fed so that he could appoint Volcker, thereby ensuring that Treasury policy and Fed policy would be at war with each other during the remainder of his administration.

    There is a revisionist view that it was the tax cuts of Reagan, and not Volcker’s policies, that actually produced the reduction in inflation:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/briandomitrovic/2011/02/07/volcker-and-the-reagan-legacy/2/

    I do not know that I accept that, but it is true that what Volcker was doing had proven counter-productive until combined with the Reagan tax cuts of 1981. Certainly since Reagan tax cuts have not proven to be inflationary in the US, contrary to the dogma of many economists prior to Reagan. Additionally, Volcker did not fully clamp down on the money supply until Reagan had defeated Carter/

    As for Afghanistan, your misreading of history is complete. The Soviet imposed puppet regime was despised by almost the entire Afghani population. The Afghanis were going to be fighting in any case and the US simply assured that they would be doing so with something better than the leftovers from the Anglo-Afghani wars of the nineteenth century. The rise of the Islamic militants has nothing to do with US aid. Bin Laden and his cronies were products of Saudi Arabia and Bin Laden’s involvement in Afghanistan had nothing to do with the US effort. The Taliban came into being just before Soviet withdrawal in 1992, and were a completely indigenous Afghan creation. To blame US aid for them is fanciful.

  • Donald, that the communists were hated is true. The Reaganites clearly saw it as a godsend to create the USSR’s Vietnam. It is perhaps understandable that the Americans were itching for payback. But it does not excuse the Americans of their folly in proping up an evil Islamist military regime in neighbouring Pakistan, which has now metastasised into perhaps the greatest menace to peace. The foundation for all this was laid right under Reagan’s nose by Zia-ulHaq. Any Indian (such as myself) could have told Weinberger and co. even then that the road to peace in Afghanistan runs through Pakistan.

  • No presidency could have survived the bloodletting remedy that Mr Volcker applied.

    Ivan, you seem to have forgotten that Mr. Reagan was returned to office with 58% of the vote. I think that qualifies as ‘surviving’.

    There is a revisionist view that it was the tax cuts of Reagan, and not Volcker’s policies, that actually produced the reduction in inflation:

    The “revisionist view” is nonsense. Inflation is a monetary phenomenon, though the effects of monetary policy are intermediated through the real economy. Unless it is someone’s contention that tax cuts increase households’ propensity to hold cash balances or increase banks’ propensity to hold reserves, I cannot see how tax cuts would promote price stability. That aside, the timeline alone is incongruent with such a thesis. The tax cuts were implemented over a three year span of time with just 20% of the proportionate reduction implemented in the first year. Re-stabilization of prices had been completed by the fall of 1982 and the Federal Reserve was already relaxing monetary policy.

    For Afghanistan, Carter had offered a mere $400 million to Zia-ulHaq, which he derisively dismissed as ‘peanuts’. Ronald Reagan blundered in with his billions and CIA training,

    You are conflating two separate programs. The Carter Administration did offer Zia an aid program, quite publicly and explicitly. It also began a covert program of equipping the extant insurgency in Afghanistan.

    As for Mr. Volcker’s medicine, they began in the fall of 1979 with targets for the growth of monetary aggregates (the monetary base, M1, M2, M3). Mr. Carter insisted in March of 1980 that he replace this with a policy of credit controls because the country was heading into a recession during an election year. He re-imposed the original policy, with Mr. Reagan’s blessing, when Mr. Carter left office.

  • I was in school and learned my (little, paltry amount of) economics before they screwed up everything and decided economics was studying about everyone getting something for nothing, i.e., free lunch/income redistribution.

    Yer second worst POTUS somehow managed the impossible. His fiscal actions (spending and taxation) and whatever influence (full employment with stable prices with social spending) he exerted on the Fed, resulted in rampant inflation and rampant unemployment.

    Obama says we are soft.

    Obama Day-One Today
    Poverty 13% 14%

    Unemploy Really 14% 16%

    Median Income $52,000 $49,400

    Jobs 142,200,000 139,600,000

    Inflation 0% 3.77%

    Gasolinbe $1.82
    It wasn’t Carter’s fault. He couldn’t have done it all by his little self. He had 30 or 40 years of Dem Congresses and the Great Society unproductive additions to money supplies and cost push inflation from the Cold and Vietnam Wars, and it was Nixon’s, no Ford’s, no Eisenhower’s faults . . .

    He signed Humphrey-Hawkins in 1978, that improved the 1946 Full Employment Act. It politicized the Fed and set hard economic goals that run against each other. It confused full employment with price stability with trade balances with halitosis, all of which often move in opposite, uncorrelated or divergent directions and magnitudes.

    And, the global terror war against us would have never happened if he hadn’t “sold down the river” the Shah to be replaced by fanatical terrorists: in the name of fairness?

  • My general sense of Carter was that he was a nice guy. He seemed thoughtful.

  • Carter was and is pat a mean-spirited sanctimonious little twerp. I have written on this aspect of his character before:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/12/12/jimmy-carter-anti-catholic-bigot/

  • Ivan is off base regarding the rise of militant Islam. Militant Islam as we face it today was originally fueled by Hitler, who had his mufti, as Rabbi Davis so clearly explained in his book about Pope Pius XII. That mufti was Yasser Arafat’s uncle.

    The USSR was one of the chief sources of funding and support for the PLO. The USSR helped instigate the 1973 Six Day War by providing fake intelligence to Arab states in the hope that they would destroy Israel.

    Past policies from several administrations led to the Shah taking power in Iran and to his brutal holding of that power. What replaced the Shah is far worse. Iran has been a terrorist client state for more than 30 years. Their support of Hezbollah is proof.

    Jimmy Carter was not a nice guy. He is, even today, a mean spirited and spiteful man. Yes, Carter appointed Volcker. Yes, Carter signed legislation to begin deregulation of so many parts of the economy. Yet, Carter and the arrogant beyond belief Democrat Congress wrecked the economy and emaciated the military.

    Reagan was not played by Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. They helped the Reagan Administration get rid of the brutal Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In retrospect, the Western world did nothing to help Afghanistan after the USSR left. The USSR should have been compelled to pay war reparations to Afghanistan, but the West was too wimpy to back the old Soviet codgers into a corner. The power vacuum that filled Afghanistan should be blamed primarily on the Soviet invasion that caused so much death and destruction.

    Obumbler is truly Malaise, Part II. The four years of the Nancy Pelosi controlled House are four of the worst years economically the USA has ever faced.

  • More revisionism regarding Volcker’s role in defeating inflation:

    It is twaddle from beginning to end.

    Carter was and is pat a mean-spirited sanctimonious little twerp.

    C’mon, Donald. He has managed to stay married for sixty-odd years; his children are among the least embarrassing of presidential offspring; and, other than Gerald Ford, no occupant of that office in the last 40-odd years has been so free from being sliced up by his employees after the fact. He cannot be that bad.

    He has some character and personality defects. He has some virtues as well. Musn’t overdo it.

  • “He has managed to stay married for sixty-odd years”

    I rejoice that he and the “Steel Magnolia” kept each other out of the marital market. I recall her comment that Reagan made people “comfortable in their prejudices”. Considering the history of the Carter family and blacks, I found that rich.

    Carter of course has always been quite willing to accuse political opponents of being racists:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/jimmy_carters_sanctimonious_gu.html

    These comments by former secret service agents are on a par with numerous others who had the misfortune to work under Carter:

    “But the president subject to the greatest scorn is Jimmy Carter.

    Carter is portrayed as a phony according to the agents interviewed by Kessler. Carter would put on a show for the public to convey himself as a common man, but it was never anymore than an act. For instance, we are told that when Carter would make a point of carrying his own luggage in front of the press, he was really carrying empty bags. He expected others to carry his real luggage. Unfriendly, Carter “didn’t want the police officers and agents looking at him or speaking to him when he went to the [Oval] office,” explained an assistant White House usher. “The only time I saw a smile on Carter’s face was when the cameras were going,” one former agent told Kessler.

    After his presidency, Kessler reports that when Carter would stay at a townhouse maintained for former presidents in D.C., he would take down pictures of other presidents and put up more pictures of himself! “The Carters were the biggest liars in the world,” one agent told Kessler of the Carter era.

    Carter, not surprisingly, denied to Kessler through a lawyer many of the allegations in the book.

    The man who sent Carter packing from the White House could not have been more different according to accounts from agents. Ronald Reagan would constantly interact with his secret service agents and other staffers who worked for him. He was apologetic when he would take secret service agents away from their families on holidays. While Carter would make secret service agents pay for any leftover food they consumed after White House parties, we are told Reagan would insist the secret service eat leftover food (without charge, of course).”

    http://www.northstarnational.com/2009/10/14/secret-service-agent-opens-window-private-lives-presidents/

  • This fellow Kessler is an ‘investigative reporter’ currently employed by Newsmax. Scandal is what his stock and trade is. He is in scant danger of a defamation suit if he makes stuff up out of whole cloth. (Here he is passing along the anonymous gossip of supposed Secret Service agents). This is the sort of thing properly taken with a large hunk of rock salt.

  • Art Deco, isn’t targeting the M1, M2 and M3 growth simply a fancy and as it turned out a blunderbuss way of achieving credit control? President Carter was a successful businessman and a nuclear engineer. He probably felt that the claims of the monetarists to be able to fine tune a complex plant like the economy were bogus. He re-imposed the original policy, with Mr. Reagan’s blessing, when Mr. Carter left office. Mr Reagan would not have been too unhappy with this seeing that that the next electoral test – the midterm – was a full two years away. I come from a country where elections turn on the price of onions; timing the recovery is everything. The Reagan Democrats were looking for a robust response to the likes of Iran; they were prepared to accept some incidental pain to see it through. Overall President Reagan was a better leader through his sunny optimism and an ability to quickly learn from his mistakes. But he failed bigtime in Afghanistan, though the poor man was probably not even aware of it.

    Penguin Fan, the final cause of militant Islam is the Islamic religion itself. Nonetheless it could have done without proximate American help. Pakistan had giddy dreams over Central Asia which the American sponsored through their naivete. We Indians made matters worse with our sanctimonious lectures and congenital hypocrisy.
    The USSR should have been compelled to pay war reparations to Afghanistan…

    Go easy on this: haven’t they suffered enough already through fatuous and at times cynical American “advice”.

  • The last link does not work. Try this if required:

    Go easy on this: haven’t they suffered enough already through fatuous and at times cynical American “advice”.

  • Kessler is indeed an investigative reporter Art who in his career has worked at the Boston Herald, the Wall Street Journal and fifteen years at the Washington Post. Your sneer at his credentials is unwarranted.

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

  • The reference to Newsmax was for identification only (though the site has a poor reputation). It is ‘investigative reporters’ of which I am skeptical. What someone pointed out about Richard Clarke applies to anyone who writes this sort of thing – if you have no scandal, you have no book and you do not earn your advance. ‘Investigative reporter’ is a trade for people of dubious ethics for reasons inherent in how these chaps earn their living. The American Spectator and Gary Aldrich were taken to task for trading in gossip about the Clinton’s and their entourage. The thing was, the state troopers who fingered Mrs. Clinton as a terror to work for put their names on it and Aldrich was a witness to much of what he described. This fellow Kessler is trading in what career civil servants supposedly told him. Journalists reviewing the book grant other journalists professional courtesies (which Aldrich did not receive), such as not raising the possibility that much of it could be fabricated by the author or his sources. Trust car salesmen before you trust these guys.

  • Art Deco, isn’t targeting the M1, M2 and M3 growth simply a fancy and as it turned out a blunderbuss way of achieving credit control?

    Ivan,

    Targeting interest rates had been the policy of Mr. Volcker’s two predecessors. You can see where that got us. Targeting monetary aggregates succeeded in re-stabilizing prices with 19 months of continuous application. You can say it was not worth the candle (I know a leftoid economist who does). You cannot say it was an unsuccessful policy or that there was a ready alternative to the ends it sought to achieve. James Tobin was of the opinion, ca. 1980, that restabilizing prices would require a process of adjustment of 15 years in duration. The economic recovery from the end of 1982 to the spring of 1985 was so rapid the process was completed in five years.

  • Carter was and is pat a mean-spirited sanctimonious little twerp.

    One of the standard characterizations of Carter is that he was a poor president but a nice guy. As you’ve outlined, he isn’t a nice guy either. His outsized ego was in fact one of the reasons he was such a poor president, as he could never learn to appreciate that he in fact did not know everything, and this contributed to his disastrous management style. He is, simply, a jerk.

    Worst president ever? The pre- and post-Lincoln bunglers still take the cake. Pierce was invisible, Buchanan fiddled while the country tore itself apart, and Johnson’s pigheadedness destroyed any possibility of a real reconstruction effort. Johnson’s sins were in particular egregious as he lacked Lincoln’s ability to mollify the radical Republicans in Congress. So we had two extreme factions – one in the White House and one in Congress – and no clear leadership.

  • One of the standard characterizations of Carter is that he was a poor president but a nice guy. As you’ve outlined, he isn’t a nice guy either.

    I have to say that in 30-odd years of reading newspapers, I have never seen Jimmy Carter characterized as a ‘nice guy’. Mr. Ford and Mr. Reagan and the elder Mr. Bush, certainly; Mr. Nixon and Mr. Carter, no. The toothy grin aside, his public persona was fairly sober and even melancholy. The complaint that he was mean of spirit was heard from time to time as well, though it was a minority view. I do not think his ethics were much questioned, though there was the complaint (from Michael Kinsley, among others) that he had a habit of cynical reversals of policy undertaken without even acknowledging the reversal.

    Lot’s of folk are not affable. That really is not a character defect or worthy of much critical comment except among sales managers. There is no reason to savage Mr. Carter for his common-and-garden human flaws. Messrs. Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton, and even Nixon provide ample fodder for that sort of commentary.

  • Worst president ever?

    The functions of the federal government have varied so over time that I am not sure why you would attempt to evaluate them in a common pool.

  • In regard to pre Civil War presidents Paul, Buchanan will always have my top slot for worst President.

    In regard to Carter, he believes that we are currently more polarized than we were during the Civil War, indicating that he must have slept through the American history classes at Annapolis. He also states that he enjoyed a bipartisan relationship with Congress during his term of office which is simply delusional.

  • IIRC, Mr. Carter had rather cold relations with all components of Congress.

    At the time, however, roughly 20% of those in Congress had a set of policy preferences closer to the median of the opposition caucus than to the median of their own caucus. I think the use of Cadillac filibusters and holds was more sparing then, so there were more opportunites for bipartisanship of a sort than the younger Mr. Bush would have had.

3 Responses to Reagan: The Speech

  • There have only been a handful of leaders of Reagan’s ilk. When you think about it, that’s what makes him stand out. After all, if every political leader matched Reagan’s skills he wouldn’t be so special.

    That’s why it’s a bit of a mistake to constantly try to re-create the magic. You’re not always going to be able to draft the next Michael Jordan, but it isn’t so awful having the next Tim Duncan.

  • Leaders like Reagan are important in that they help raise the bar in what we expect from leaders. Too many leaders, through their acts of omission and comission, spend every waking second attempting to lower the bar of expectations, and they usually succeed in doing so.

  • ……he was the best…..he “hit the nail on the head”…when this counrty goes, the rest of the world is done……and we’re “going” fast !!!!!!! Happy Memorial Day……we probaly don’t have many left !!!!!!!!! God help us !!!!!!

    Michael S.

Reagan’s Normandy Speech

Friday, May 27, AD 2011

The first law firm I worked for in 1982 after I graduated from law school had three attorneys.  The senior partner had a son who fell at Omaha Beach.  Another partner was an officer in the Eighth Air Force helping to plot bombing missions in support of D-Day.  The attorney I replaced, who had been appointed to be a judge, had been badly wounded at Omaha Beach and still walked with a very pronounced limp as a result.  On Memorial Day  weekend I will remember those men, and all those who have sacrificed on behalf of our nation.  Here is the text of President Reagan’s speech on the 40th anniversary of D-Day:

Continue reading...

Divini Redemtoris

Sunday, May 1, AD 2011

“Over half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this is happening.’ Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat; ‘Men have forgotten God; That’s why all this happened.'”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Today is the feast day of Saint Joseph the Worker, instituted by Pope Pius XII on May 1, 1955  as an alternative to the Communist May Day marches.  Today is also the beatification of John Paul II.  (I will have much more on Blessed John Paul II tomorrow.)  Today is also the Victims of Communism Day.  Hattip to Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy who began the campaign to make this day a day to remember the some one hundred million men, women and children murdered by Communist regimes and movements.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to Divini Redemtoris

  • Pingback: Victims of Communism Day | The American Catholic - Christian IBD
  • I had completely forgotten about Commie Holy Day until I took a walk earlier this afternoon and noticed some people with SEIU and AFSME jackets and T-shirts on and “Recall Scott Walker” buttons heading down to the Milwaukee lakefront. There was a stage set up but the size of the crowd was really pitiful. In fairness, I was down there at 3 p.m. and so I might have missed the main festivities. Still, I got the idea from the cars parked along Lincoln Memorial Drive – most of them festooned with numerous leftist bumper stickers – that these were the hard-core believers. Not an impressive turn-out at all.

    Then I started to wonder: when did it become acceptable for AMERICAN union members to celebrate May Day? I grew up in a blue collar, unionized neighborhood and certainly none of the union folks I knew as a child – staunch patriots, church-going Catholics and strong anti-Communists (many of them had relatives behind the Iron Curtain, like my family did) – would have dreamt of celebrating May 1. Maybe that was acceptable behavior among the far-left unionists of Western Europe, but certainly not in the States.

    Obviously, at some point after Nov. 1989, that attitude changed. I wonder if it is because unionists are now so much further left than they were 40 years ago that they are unfazed by the association of May 1 with Communism or if many of them are just ignorant. To many Americans, the Cold War is now ancient history.

  • To many Americans, the Cold War is now ancient history.

    Let me add to my own post: most of the union folks I saw headed toward May Day celebrations were at least my age if not older. Therefore, they are certainly of an age to recall the Cold War. So I’m leaning toward my first thesis – that union true believers have moved so far left that they are no longer embarrassed to be associated with Communism.

    I’m surprised I didn’t see any Che T-shirts.

  • Pingback: MONDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • Since we already have a Labor Day in September, I’m all for having a Victims of Communism Day on May 1. I’d forgotten the association until Raymond Arroyo brought it up during the beatification ceremony. But once he said it, all the associations came back. How could I forget? Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago was an eye-opening, absorbing work.

  • Yes, we should promote the Victims of Communism Day. Many have never known or forgotten what Communism is. I say is because it is still quite alive in many faculty lounges, union halls and even a few clerics’ hearts.

    We must work to see that Communism is scorned as National Socialism is.

  • I tip my hat to you. Great! Yesterday the Bishop read a letter before the end of Mass with the usual “the machinery of of Capitalism is oiled with the blood of the workers” tripe. The prayer intentions were full of “may politicians see the folly of free markets”, “may the rich nations see their errors and stop the exploitation of the 3rd world”, etc. Nice to see this for a change.

  • Today is the feast day of Saint Joseph the Worker, instituted by Pope Pius XII on May 1, 1955 as an alternative to the Communist May Day marches.

    Just for the record, May Day as a labor holiday originated not with the Communist Third International, but the social-democratic Second International. Both the Catholic Church and the Commies followed the social-democratic lead and used the same date to honor labor. While the USA and Canada observe Labor Day in September, most of the rest of the world does so on May 1st, enacted as a public holiday by Christian Democratic and Social Democratic governments across the globe.

    However, I am all for including a commemoration of the victims of Communism as part of the holiday.

  • It’s happening right here, right now in our own country.

20 Responses to Easter Message From President Reagan

  • A wonderful address … made all the more painful when you consider the prospect of 4 more years of Obama.

  • $5.00 gas, three wars, and the continuation of the Great Recession may shorten that timespan considerably! (I hope! :))

  • It was a wonderful address 🙂

    @Donald
    “$5.00 gas, three wars, and the continuation of the Great Recession may shorten that timespan considerably! (I hope! 🙂 )”
    I hated this kind of comments when President Bush (e.g. wished for the economy got worse so a democrat got in , guess what it did and we have a democrat in office. who won? not the American people ) was in so you would want America to fail to push your political agenda right or left? I feel comments like this does not move us forward as a country, but its this mindset that is part of the problem for the last 30 years.

    I will instead pray for our country to maybe one day remove all the corruption on both left and right. And maybe have completely new parties in the future.

  • “I feel comments like this does not move us forward as a country, but its this mindset that is part of the problem for the last 30 years. ”

    Hilarious. No, the main problem for this country at the present time is that we are saddled with a President who is completely clueless. He represents a wing of the Democrat party that sincerely believes that the government can legislate prosperity, and that chanting “bring the troops home” will solve our foreign policy problems. His nostrums on the economy have made a bad situation worse, and his foreign policy illustrates the same ham handedness. Criticizing Obama is not the probem, keeping mum about the fact that he is the worst President since James Buchanan is.

  • Alex,

    Please pray strenuously. If Obama gets re-elected, this country (if in November 2012 anything survives) will need a MIRACLE. Hope and change: the end of the World as we knew it.

    Obama is purely and simply a demagogue. Everything he says and does is either a lie or an act meant to tear down certain citizens and wreck the (he believes) evil, unjust American way of life. Either that or he and his hundreds of “geniuses” are complete idiots. And, want to you compare our communications of the evil he is doing to us to eight years of dishonest, vicious attacks on a decent man.

    Reagan was invited to Princess Di’s (she improved that inbred gene pool 10,000%) wedding. Obama no. Class shows.

  • Juxtaposed to Lincoln, of course, Buchanan comes off badly, but, given time, Obama will prove to be the worst ever. At least Buchanan had a much better resume than Obama going into the White House and actually believed in restraint of government. Don’t laugh, but I think Pat Buchanan would have made a good president because isolationism sounds awfully good right now.

  • Might I remind people that President Reagan’s foreign policy supported murderous regimes in Central and South America, leading to the deaths and/or torture of thousands of Catholics, including backing the government in El Salvador responsible for the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero, along with other Catholic clergy and layworkers. He supported bloody insurgent groups, like the Contras in Nicaragua and UNITA in Angola. He provided support to the apartheid regime of South Africa.

    And yet, he is held in high esteem here.

  • He was probably napping at the time. : )

  • Actually David you need reminding that Reagan was fighting against movements that planned to create carbon copies of Cuba throughout Central America. Many Catholics on the left in this country supported these movements, ignoring their human rights abuses and the miserable treatment of the Catholic Church by all Communist regimes. Under Reagan the Communist insurgeny in El Salavador was ultimately stimied, with the insurgents laying down their arms and agreeing to participate in elections. In Nicaragua the Sandinistas were forced by the pressure of the Contras to agree to a fair election which they lost in 1990. Of course John Paul II was a dedicated foe of the Sandinista regime as he made clear in his visit in 1983 and rejoiced in their electoral defeat.

    In regard to Unita, the MPLA were kept in power by Cuban military intervention. US support for Unita allowed for an eventual negotiated settlement leading to the withdrawal of the Cuban troops and the Angolan government moving away from its Communist roots. Unita is now a political party in Angola and recognized the 2008 elections as fair.

    Reagan did not support the South African regime. He called for constructive engagement with it, which actually was quite similar to the policy he followed with the Soviet Union under Gorbachev.

  • Donald, you need to catch up on your history. The El Salvador conflict started when there was a coup, which we supported. A leftist insurgency was put together in response, but the right-wing authoritarian government set up paramilitary groups and death squads–sometimes associated with the School of the Americas–which murdered civilians, most of whom were Catholic. The truth commissions that have been established since have found that about 85% of the killings were done by government forces.

    Similar situations took place in Guatemala and Honduras.

    Reagan’s support of Savimbi, who led a right wing insurgency in a civil war costing 500,000 lives, is well documented. For the record, UNITA won all of 16 seats out of 220 in the past election.

  • Obama sound bite at pre-Easter prayer breakfast: “…there’s something about the Resurrection …”

    Can’t quite put his finger on it, can he?

  • David, you need to catch up on your history.

    Every US president from Truman through Bush the elder, pursued the consistent foreign policy known as “Containment.” The Reds (Cuba and the USSR), aided and abetted by nuns and priests preaching “LIBERATION THEOLOGY”, armed and organized the peasants, who waged desultory terrorism against anyone with property.

    Of course, useful idiots (parroting the comintern script) called US foreign policy “imperialism.”

  • David,

    WWII started when the objectively pernicious leaders of Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland and divvied it up. Hitler turned on Stalin and they became enemies. FDR and the US gave massive amounts of aid to Stalin and the Soviet Union even to the point of becoming allies. Do you suppose FDR was generally fond of Stalin and his policies of mass extermination and imprisonment of Russians and wanted to assist him for those reasons? Or do you suppose FDR simply made the calculation that helping Stalin maintain power and his war effort against the common enemy that was more of an immediate risk to the US and her primary allies was in the US and world’s best interest?

    For the most part I think the latter and I think that is how the American people largely viewed it. Though I confess to being disappointed with FDR in that I think he was somewhat indifferent to the nature of Stalin and his regime and enabled him far too much.

    I don’t see much of a difference w.r.t. Reagan. Reagan was a champion of justice and freedom and it’s not like he could just jump in and rule these various countries. What he could do however, is help prevent a worse regime, especially those that would be under the influence of Moscow, from establishing itself. We can only help influence bad regimes for the better if they fall under our sphere of influence.

  • Although Obama and Reagan may seem light years apart, consider the following:
    1. Under Reagan, the national debt tripled from $1 trillion to $3 trillion. Under Obama, went up from $11 trillion to $14 trillion.
    2. Reagan bombed Tripoli, Obama bombed Tripoli. Reagan bombs killed Khaddafi’s adopted daughter; so far Khaddafi’s family not hit (as far as we know).
    3. Reagan once fell asleep during an audience with the Pope. Obama reportedly stayed awake but might as well been asleep.
    4. Reagan ordered military actions to suppress social and political changes in Afghanistan. Ditto Obama.
    5. Reagan was known as “The Great Communicator.” Obama has become “The Great Prevaricator.”
    6. Reagan read from a cue card while hosting GE’s TV Theater; Obama reads every speech from a TelePrompTer.

  • RL…the problem is that every president since FDR has intervened either directly or indirectly in unjust ways, often justifying these actions in the name of the Cold War or the so called War on Terror.

    Often times, these actions led to the deaths of thousands, if not millions. Vietnam is the epitome of such actions. However, it is not alone. In Central and South America, the US has an atrocious record. This is one of the reasons why many Catholics protest at the School of the Americas every year.

  • David,

    I’d agree about all the presidents intervening in unjust ways with qualifications. I’d include FDR and many presidents prior to him as well. I’d also probably have some serious disagreements with you about which interventions were just and which weren’t – as well as the how.

    I know there are a number of people, Catholics included, who think the Korean and Vietnam wars were unjust, but I disagree. In both those wars the injustice was on part of the North and the Soviet Union. I do not believe it is unjust for one nation to come to the defense of another who is fighting a just war or resisting injustice. It matters not to me if they are poor or look different, they are innocent people with dignity. How anyone can look at North Korea today and contrast that with South Korea and not see the justice in defending the South is baffling to me. The real shame is that for generations, millions of innocent people are oppressed and suffering, the bright side is that millions more aren’t suffering that plight – in large part due to the US. Also consider the horror in Vietnam. Why do you suppose all those people risked the lives of their families on makeshift rafts? FTR, it’s not that I think our government executed those wars correctly and didn’t do injustices during them, but I believe they were just causes.

    I have no doubt that people who went through the SOA participated in great evils and killed innocents. However, it seems to me that that must have been a very small minority and I would seriously doubt that the SOA’s mission is to teach people how to slaughter innocents. I couldn’t care less about the SOA really, but that there are a small number of Catholics who protest it doesn’t carry much weight in regard to the justice/injustice of the US with Latin America. Frankly, I would say the greatest commonality of the the SOA protesters is leftism.

  • The Reds (Cuba and the USSR), aided and abetted by nuns and priests preaching “LIBERATION THEOLOGY”, armed and organized the peasants, who waged desultory terrorism against anyone with property.

    Hawkish Cold War Democrat that I am, I’ve never been ashamed to support “exporting democracy.” And while that has at times led me to common cause with anti-communists on the Right, I guess I do need the occassional reminder that some on the Right do see these situations as the peasants vs. the property owners, and are ideologically and without question with the later.

  • @Donald
    Hilarious. No, the main problem for this country at the present time is that we are saddled with a President who is completely clueless. He represents a wing of the Democrat party that sincerely believes that the government can legislate prosperity, and that chanting “bring the troops home” will solve our foreign policy problems. His nostrums on the economy have made a bad situation worse, and his foreign policy illustrates the same ham handedness. Criticizing Obama is not the probem, keeping mum about the fact that he is the worst President since James Buchanan is.

    I didn’t indicate I was for or against the current administration, but rather we have an issue in both parties. After seeing this response I now know that this blog is not about viewing the world from a catholic perspective but instead a tool for the Republican Parity. Much like those pundit sites for the democrats. Please stop just taking peoples comments out of context like it or not both parties are just tools to destroy America and this has been happening for the last 30+ years. It will not change until we have some kind of unity on some issues to get this Anti-Americans from both parties out of office. We need “change” from both sides and by continuing with this binary thought process is what the powers that be want to continue to divide everyone instead of coming to a middle ground. The true middle ground is what all politicians are fearful. People like you play into this grand game of Shepard and sheep. Thanks for continuing to be sheep because that is what the right likes.

    @Shaw

    Obama a Demagogue? What told you that? For that matter you can say the same with Bush Jr.,Clinton,Bush,… etc. The last good president was probably Dwight D. Eisenhower. If you see after Dwight D. Eisenhower the great society started to fall apart. I think like @Donald you are a nicer tool, but a tool ,none the less, for the party system. We need to throw this evil/good, good/bad mentality and see that we are all as Americans getting screwed.

    I will be praying that people will wake up. Don’t you think it is interesting that the republican party does not have any ‘real’ contenders to win the white house? Why because Mr. Obama like Mr. Bush are just Manchurian candidates and you are the tools the find no fault in Bush, but every fault with Obama. So please stop.

    @ David
    You are just a tool for the democrats if you look at all your arguments you are really no different then the Republican tools of this blog.

  • “After seeing this response I now know that this blog is not about viewing the world from a catholic perspective but instead a tool for the Republican Parity.”

    I have never made any secret of the fact Alex that I am a conservative Republican, as all faithful readers of this blog know. Catholicism doesn’t give us a political road map, being rightly concerned with higher things. The Church speaks forcefully on a few issues, like abortion, but usually, and wisely, leaves her sons and daughters free to forge their own political paths for themselves.

    I disagree with your “pox on both their houses position.” I believe you indicated in another thread that you voted for Obama. I sincerely hope you are now feeling a severe case of buyer’s remorse, as his truly incompetent administration makes a complete hash of their attempt to lead this country. I believe that Obama is the worst President since James Buchanan, and by the time he is done he may be giving “Old Buck” a run for the top spot. These views do not make me a “Republican tool”, but rather someone with political views that differ markedly from yours.

  • Donald, your second paragraph was well said, but then you throw it away in your third.

    By arguing that President Obama is the worst president ever merely incites. I will admit to having argued George W. Bush was the worst ever in different forums. Both are probably closer to the middle of the spectrum, given that each faced serious difficulties that many presidents manage to avoid. We could both spend time arguing about accomplishments or failures, but the end is polarization.

    If you truly wish to have a dialog which emphasizes Catholic teachings, then you will have to drop the partisan rhetoric. I promise to try to do so as well (though I’ve been trying to be polite since joining these discussions).

    After all, we’re trying to discuss religion AND politics at the same time!

Ronald Reagan, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation

Sunday, February 6, AD 2011

There are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.

Ronald Reagan

Today is my 54th birthday.  I am pleased that I share my natal day with the man I consider the greatest president of my lifetime:  Ronald Wilson Reagan, who was born one hundred years ago today in Tampico, Illinois.  I greatly admire Reagan for many reasons:  his wit, eloquence and good humor;  his prime role in bringing about the destruction of Communism as a ruling ideology in the former, how good it is to write that adjective!, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe;  his restoration of American prosperity by wringing inflation from the American economy;  his rebuilding of the nation’s defenses;  his restoration of American pride and optimism.  However, there is one stand of his that, above all others, ensures that he will always have a special place in my heart, his defense of the weakest and the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.

In 1983 Reagan submitted an essay on abortion to the Human Life Review, then and now, the scholarly heart of the pro-life movement.  He entitled it, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation.  Go here to the Human Life Review’s website to read it.

Reagan in the article attacked Roe on its tenth anniversary and stated that Roe had not settled the abortion fight:

Make no mistake, abortion-on-demand is not a right granted by the Constitution. No serious scholar, including one disposed to agree with the Court’s result, has argued that the framers of the Constitution intended to create such a right. Shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision, Professor John Hart Ely, now Dean of Stanford Law School, wrote that the opinion “is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” Nowhere do the plain words of the Constitution even hint at a “right” so sweeping as to permit abortion up to the time the child is ready to be born. Yet that is what the Court ruled.

As an act of “raw judicial power” (to use Justice White’s biting phrase), the decision by the seven-man majority in Roe v. Wade has so far been made to stick. But the Court’s decision has by no means settled the debate. Instead, Roe v. Wade has become a continuing prod to the conscience of the nation.

Reagan saw that abortion diminished respect for all human life and quoted Mother Teresa as to the simple truth that abortion is the “greatest misery of our time”:

We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life—the unborn—without diminishing the value of all human life. We saw tragic proof of this truism last year when the Indiana courts allowed the starvation death of “Baby Doe” in Bloomington because the child had Down’s Syndrome.

Many of our fellow citizens grieve over the loss of life that has followed Roe v. Wade. Margaret Heckler, soon after being nominated to head the largest department of our government, Health and Human Services, told an audience that she believed abortion to be the greatest moral crisis facing our country today. And the revered Mother Teresa, who works in the streets of Calcutta ministering to dying people in her world-famous mission of mercy, has said that “the greatest misery of our time is the generalized abortion of children.”

Continue reading...

16 Responses to Ronald Reagan, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation

  • Thank you Larry. I will enjoy it in my customary style of celebration with my family, and thinking that 54 isn’t so old if one views it in dog years!

  • Happy Birthday, Mac!

    Happy happpenstance your birthday coincides with President Reagan’s.

    Not only a great president, Mr. Reagan, was a truly gentle and good man.

    He is much like Washington.

    They are to be emulated. We should each day resolve to be as good as these two examplars Christian mahood, who unlike some others who held the executive, were good and honest men.

    Now, get down and give us 54 pushups.

  • Ah, T. Shaw, I used to do 10 pushups a night until I was 50. Then I noticed that I was often spending a few days recuperating from the pushups, so I moved on to other exercises. Now I fear if I attempted to do 54 correct pushups, I’d never live to see 55!

  • Happy birthday to two great Americans.

    Oh man, now I sound like I should be calling to the Hannity Show.

  • Why, thank you Paul! Babe Ruth was also born on February 6, and it is nice of you to bring him up! 🙂

  • Thank you RL. Any day I get to spend with my family and not at my office is always happy enough for me! 🙂

  • A huge THANK YOU! Ronald Reagan had it right–he understood what America is truly all about–He needs to be remembered among other American “greats”–like Washington and Lincoln.

  • Happy Birthday Don.

    54 eh ? Still some very good years ahead – even if you can do only 5 pushups.( Don’t like to boast, but when I was 54 I was still doing 30 + per day 😉 )

    You share your birthday with the NZ National Day, known as Waitangi Day – when in 1840 many of the maori chiefs of NZ signed the Treaty of Waitangi, ceding sovereignty of NZ to the British crown. (Although today, amny maori claim that this was not the case, and there have been growing radicalisation and protest at Waitnagi every year, so much so that the bulk of NZ pakeha (European descent kiwis) and many conservative maori are getting a gutful of it and are starting to call for a different day to mark as a

  • Don’t know what happened there – wordpress apeared to cut me off.

    To continue…..
    are starting to call for a different day to mark our national day.

    And this day last year, my dear mum died after a fall. Mum always had the ability to pick the appropriate moment for an entrance or departure and she certainly chose well a year ago. Or should I say, the Lord ensured she had an auspicious exit. 🙂

    So after a hiccoughed comment, again, happy birthday Don. I’ll have a beer for you, and perhaps even a coke (without the rum).
    Kia kaha. (stay strong)

  • I recall reading some time ago that Reagan was originally not phased about abortion, but later changed his mind to being strongly pro-life, and I seem to recall reading a letter he wrote – perhaps embodied in this post – which explained his change of heart.

    During his presidency, Reagan was much maligned by sections of the press, and I recall our press down here were in the van of that criticism, and many, including myself initially, followed that vein of thought. However, when he commenced his co-operation with JP II in his condemnation of comunism and actively working to defeat it, I started to see him in a different light, and radically changed my opinion of him.

    He was certainly a great American. It is a pity that his attempt to overturn Roe v Wade was unsuccessful. That piece of disgusting legislation was the trigger that opened the floodgates and the rest of the western world rushed madly after the US, not the least here in Godzone, and it is a huge stain on our society – around 25% od pregnancies in this country end in abortion – around 18,000 per year. I pray that the USA wiill find a way to eradicate Roe v Wade from there statute books, so that the rest of the world can follow again, this time for right.

  • Thank you for the kind birthday wishes Don! 30 pushups, eh? I doubt if I’ve been able to do that since I turned 40!

    In regard to Reagan, in 67 he signed a liberal California abortion law. He agonized over it, but ultimately signed it with restrictions because he feared that the legislature would pass one without those restrictions. Here is a section of a letter he wrote to Congressman Henry Hyde on the subject in 1976:

    “The only circumstance under which I felt [abortion] could be justified was self-defense, a concept deeply rooted in our laws and traditions. If a mother’s life is endangered by her own unborn child, she has a right to protect her life. I do not believe, however, that abortion of a less-than-perfect child, or abortion for convenience sake or abortion because “a mistake” has been made can be justified.

    The bill I signed followed the self-defense concept. As time was to prove, however, it contained one flaw. The self-defense concept also included a provision in cases where a mother’s mental health might be irreparably damaged. This required professional certification, but as we were to learn, it became subject to very liberal interpretation by some psychiatrists to justify abortions that should not have been made.”

    Reagan was a proud man and hated to admit a mistake, but he frequently acknowledged that signing the 67 abortion law was one of the biggest mistakes of his life.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/258564/reagan-and-abortion-some-perspective-steven-f-hayward

  • Here is more on Reagan and the 67 California abortion law:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/223437/reagans-darkest-hour/paul-kengor

    “For Reagan, one good thing did come out of this disappointment. As Georgetown’s Matt Sitman notes, “It is impossible to understand his later staunchly pro-life positions without grasping the lessons he learned from this early political battle.” Reagan, says Sitman, survived the ordeal with a “profoundly intellectual understanding of the abortion issue…. It was in 1967 that his ideas concerning the beginning of human life were fully formed.” He now had a cogent understanding, politically and morally, of abortion and its implications.

    Reagan would later denounce abortion so strongly and so frequently from the Oval Office that Bill Clark has compiled a 45-page document of Reagan’s quotes on abortion, collected from the official Presidential Papers. Reagan even authored a small book — Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, featuring contributions from Bill Clark, Malcolm Muggeridge, and Mother Teresa — that was published by the Human Life Foundation in 1984. White House moderates wanted Reagan to delay publication until after the 1984 election, fearing it would turn off pro-choice Republicans, but Reagan refused. He would not be burned again on abortion. No more compromises.”

  • Happy belated birthday, Don, to you and to President Reagan. I concur with Paul on this one: two “great Americans”.

    😉

  • Thank you Jay. I agree with you as to Reagan!

November 9, 1989

Tuesday, November 9, AD 2010

Twenty-one years ago today my wife and I arrived home from buying software for our Commodore 64  (Yeah, it is that long ago.) and watched stunned after we turned on the tv as we saw East Germans dancing on top of the Berlin War, tearing into it with sledge hammers.   It is hard to convey to people who did not live through the Cold War how wonderful a sight this was.  Most people at the time thought the Cold War was a permanent state of things.  Not Ronald Wilson Reagan.  He knew that Communism would end up on the losing side of history and throughout his career strove to bring that day ever closer.  His becoming President so soon after John Paul II became Pope set the stage for the magnificent decade of the Eighties when Communism passed from being a deadly threat to the globe to a belief held only by a handful of benighted tyrannical regimes around the world, and crazed American professors.  In most of his movies, the good guys won in the end, and Reagan helped give us a very happy ending to a menace that started in 1917 and died in 1989. 

Continue reading...

12 Responses to November 9, 1989

  • Pingback: November 8, 1989 : The American Catholic « Deacon John's Space
  • My close friend’s son-in-law was in Berlin at the time on his OE, and he collected 2 small rocks from the wall, which he considers priceless souvenirs.

  • I have a piece also Don, and I agree that such bits of the wall are priceless reminders that tyranny can be defeated.

  • Small correction – the USSR fell on December 25, 1991, I believe.

  • A good point Mark, but I think 1989 was the decisive year for the ending of Communist regimes in Europe. 1789 ushered in the era of totalitarian regimes in Europe and 1989 ushered them out. God has an exquisite sense of humor.

  • My daughter will remember the date, and tell folks about it, because she was born on the 20th anniversary.

    Can’t ask for a better start!

  • Indeed Foxfier, and happy birthday to your daughter!

  • Ahhh I remember being in 6th grade and winning 1st place ribbons and a gold medal for all the physical fitness tests our school went through. I was the fastest girl runner in the whole school. But what I remembered the most, and cherished, was my physical fitness award signed by none other than the greatest president of my time, Ronald Reagan. It was great to be a kid back then. So many hopes and dreams. I’m sad to say my kids don’t have those same hopes and dreams of the America today. But , I do believe that the hope we all still have is eternal life after death. So know matter how bad it gets here in this life we always have the after life to look forward to and if that’s the only hope I can encourage my kids with then I’m one up! 🙂

  • Happy birthday to your daughter, Foxfier. My eight year old daughter was born on D-Day. I affectionately call her my D-Day girl and her birthdays serve as an opportunity to recall that great and horrible day. Last birthday when I asked “And what is D-Day again”, she replied in one of those questioning tones, “when we won the war.” I replied, “No no no. It was when the Allied Powers assaulted Fortress Europe at the rocky beaches of Normandy to begin the long drawn out process of wresting the continent free from the dark power of the National Socialism.” Oh what fun it was to say that!

  • “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall” is the perfect ante-upper to “Ich bin ein Berliner,” in my opinion.

  • “An OCED (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) study of 1985 carefully examined the performance of the advanced capitalist economies and concluded… [that] Sweden, with one of the most generous welfare states, outperformed Ronald Reagan’s America at a time when he was cutting programs… As the Wall Street Journal editor computed those Reagan percentages [of his public spending ratio], they were over 23 percent of the GNP and therefore higher than at the end of the Carter presidency, which Reagan himself had excoriated for its big spending… ” – Michael Harrington’s Socialism – Past & Future