Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ronald Reagan Was A 'RINO'

According to the current definition by some people, that is.

We find it amusing when we read that some wag has tagged a politician with a short-hand slap such as 'RINO' (Republican-in-Name-Only) and then slaps himself on the back for being 'so clever and funny'.

Many times, the facts just don't support the insinuations.

'RINOs' are Republicans who apparently stray from the doctrine in place at the time, whatever it may be. The most egregious of all heresies a RINO of 2010 can commit is to vote for any tax increase, or in the case of the current debate over the extension of the Bush 43 tax cuts, allow them to expire under current law as of December 31.

President Ronald Reagan signed laws that raised taxes 11 times: 1982 was the largest hike in history at that time. The 1983 Social Security payroll tax hikes are still with us in the form of the infamous 'SS surplus' which is ephemeral and only took in far higher payroll taxes than were necessary to pay current SS benefits for the past 26 years.

So was one of the most revered iconic figures of the American Conservative movement, President Ronald Wilson Reagan, an idiot; a communist or worse, a 'Progressive'?

Reagan signed these bills as part of his strategy to shrink government size and influence in our lives. Did he succeed or not? That remains for history to decide but he definitely had the overall goal of less government in mind in virtually all that he did while President from 1981-1989.

And now that President Obama has 'given in' and agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts, he is being savaged by the Left and being called, guess what? A 'DINO'--'Democrat in Name Only'.

What is going on here?

There is a difference between 'campaigning' and 'governing' in a pluralistic democratic republic such as ours, the 'worst' form of government ever devised, or so says a luminary such as Winston Churchill.*

We think the problem we have today is the way politicos identify and describe our current political differences. It used to be, going back to the Founders' times, that political parties centered around the basic fundamental differences between those who wanted more centralized power in Washington and those who didn't, namely those who wanted states to reign supreme.

'Big Government Versus Small Government'. That was the marquee billing for most of our nation's history in our political debates and disputes.

But long about 1988 or so, presidential politics started turning more towards issues of 'character' when doubts about Democratic presidential candidate, Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts, were raised concerning his support of a weekend furlough program for a convicted prisoner guilty of murder named Willie Horton who then raped a woman and assaulted her fiance while on furlough.

And since then, we have not really had a rip-roaring debate about any of the major issues facing us such as the budget deficits or reforming Social Security or Medicare, all critical issues that can make-or-break our economic future.

The bottom-line in these arguments would be thusly stated: If Democrats pass legislation that leads to 'bigger government', as in Obamacare, they 'win'. If Republicans would pass comprehensive legislation that leads to smaller government, they 'win'. It would be pretty clear delineation of political philosophies put that way and debated out in the open public.

Instead of defining a person as a 'small government' Republican first and foremost nowadays, here is the litmus test you have to pass in order to be considered true to the cause today in 2010:

1) Pro-Life
2) Anti-Gay Rights
3) Anti-Illegal Immigrants
4) Pro-Gun 2nd Amendment Freedoms
5) Pro-Tax Cuts, any time; anywhere; anyway....
25) Small(er) Government (or at least smaller than the Democrats want)
Priority #10,000,000,000) Balanced Budgets
Priority #10,000,000,001) Elimination of National Debt

And if you don't want to be a 'DINO', you have to adhere to the following set of core values as a Democrat or else you are banished into exile:

1) Pro-Choice
2) Pro-Gay Rights
3) Pro-Illegal Immigrant Amnesty
4) Anti-Gun Second Amendment Freedoms
5) Pro-Tax Hikes any time; anywhere; anyway...
25) More Big Government Programs to Fix Whatever Ails This Nation
Priority #10,000,000,000) Balanced Budgets
Priority #10,000,000,001) Elimination of National Debt

We think the reason why we now have such vacuous national and local campaigns is precisely due to the fact that these big issues are so complicated and painful to talk about. Each of the big issues are so fraught with risks of 'offending the senior citizens', all of whom vote in each election, for example, that politicians just default to the more simple issues and use them as proxies to convey to the voters who they are and what their core values are.

And here we are $14 trillion in debt later, soon-to-become $16 trillion when these tax cuts and unemployment benefits extensions pass Congress.

Something had got to change. Let it start to change with the way you define your own political beliefs and how you talk to your friends and political adversaries.

* 'No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.'
--Winston Churchill in a speech in the House of Commons, 11 November 1947

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