Skip to main content

A well-written diary presently on the rec list makes the case that President Obama is the Democrat's version of Ronald Reagan. That is a substantial claim. In my opinion there have been only two Presidents in the last one-hundred years who significantly changed the underlying philosophy of the role of government. The first was FDR and the other was Reagan. If President Obama becomes the third, that will be quite an accomplishment.

Many of the comments in that diary didn't understand the point the diarist was making. He was not equating President Obama's character or actions with those of Reagan. Neither am I.

Reagan was responsible for over a quarter million deaths with his dirty wars in Central America. The impact of his murderous policies on Central America was devastating.

Another commenter wrote that he was responsible for escalating the the war on drugs. The blowback from these policies on the US continues today.

Reagan's economic policies resulted in a thirty year assault on the middle and working classes of this country and the impoverization of millions. I find it interesting that many DK commenters believe that Reagan wouldn't be at home in today's Republican Party. IMO he would be quite comfortable and in fact would be pushing the party further to the right.

So the diarist was not equating the beliefs or ideology of the two men, but rather was comparing the lasting impact of the Reagan and Obama presidencies. It is here that I disagree.

Reagan may have been a huckster and a thug, but he was effective in changing the dialog in this country.

From FDR until Reagan, government was viewed by the majority of citizens as part of the solution. Reagan was able to convince the US that government was part of the problem and that the answer was the "magic of the marketplace".

His effectiveness was demonstrated when Clinton and the DLC Democrats in essence ratified Reaganiism and his idea of looking primarily to the private sector for solutions.

I disagree with the assertion that President Obama has changed the underlying philosophy of the role of government. President Obama hasn't changed the basic dialog as Reagan did. The Reagan ideology is alive and unfortunately incorporated in too many Democratic policies.

One only has to look at the President's educational policies to see that he adheres to the neoliberal values.  He may not use the "magic of the marketplace" rhetoric, but his economic team is neoliberal, and his economic policies are not a significant departure from the neoliberal playbook. Free trade, continued derugulation, privatiztion and a devotion to private sector solutions remain as foundations for economic policy.

President Obama has another four years. We will then be able to judge his overall impact. Simply having more people vote for Democrats doesn't change the underlying economic premises and assumptions.

I am a socialist and President Obama (or any major Democratic politition for that matter) is much too conservative for me. The fact that anyone considers him a socialist is ludicrous. If, however, he is as effective as Reagan in changing the basic conversation regarding the role of government, I will consider him a success.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  How then, do you think (0+ / 0-)

    liberals could equate Reagan's ability to change the dialogue and assumptions in the country? I certainly hope it's not an answer pointing (yet again) to Occupy.

    "If you don't turn onto politics, politics will turn on you" -Ralph Nader; 2000

    by Soviet Reunion on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 11:55:40 AM PST

    •  Obama is changing the dialogue. (4+ / 0-)

      51% voted for we are all in it together, a communitarian view of America.

      I'm glad Barack Obama is our President.

      by TomP on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:04:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In It Together While Most Wealth Remains (5+ / 0-)

        with the very rich. A Dickensian wealth concentration but with some doctors and some safety net.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:23:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It will be interesting what happens to (0+ / 0-)

          Social Security and Medicare, two of the most significant programs from the New Deal and the Great Society. What happens to those programs will give us a fairly good idea on whether or not the philosophical foundation is shifting.

          A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

          by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:32:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  A communitarian view of America... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, slatsg

        ...existed long before Obama entered the scene.  He's benefited from being identified with that perspective to a certain degree, but he did not transform perceptions.

        I personally would not count Reagan as all that transformative, either, as I think he, too, benefited from existing ideas more than he altered them.  Maybe that does make Obama another Reagan, but not in the way the other diarist intended.

        Back to transformation.

        Obama seeks bipartisanship and bargains, and is (imho) a little obsessed with them, to the benefit of achieving small steps, to be sure, but also to the detriment of diluting larger goals.  Those bargains, those reaching-across-the-aisle moments for their own sake, even when some of those are unnecessary, are not the goals of a transformative vision, but merely tactics to try to achieve a vision, whatever vision, one espouses, and those are tactics that Reagan used as well.  It's the vision that matters, that makes a leader the transformative figure an FDR was and a Reagan was not.

    •  Asking a question and... (7+ / 0-)

      ...pre-emptively discounting one possible answer is an odd way to start a dialogue.

      That said, Occupy is a movement, not a president, but it has done more to change the way we regard current conditions than any elected politician has recently.  Credit where it's due.

      Now, back to looking for a liberal politician who'll have that kind of impact....

  •  I think Obama is changing the dialogue. (6+ / 0-)

    Time will tell whether we can reverse the 30 years of massive income inequality growth.  He has changed teh narrative from Yopu're On You're Own of Reagan to We're All In It Together.  That changes will help make polices possible that were not posisble before.  Changing the narrative is more important than any one policy.  Thus, your education polciy argument is unconvincing to me.  

    I agree with you on this:


    I find it interesting that many DK commenters believe that Reagan wouldn't be at home in today's Republican Party. IMO he would be quite comfortable and in fact would be pushing the party further to the right.
    We're too close to determine whether Obama changing the narrative beyond his presidency.  That's my hope and what I will be working for.

    I'm glad Barack Obama is our President.

    by TomP on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:03:18 PM PST

  •  Most He's Doing is Backing Away From the Extreme (5+ / 0-)

    of the rightwing movement.

    He's leaving Reaganomics intact as did Clinton, merely tweaking details.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:27:57 PM PST

  •  President Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is the first Presidential candidate of a major party to run on a promise of raising taxes since Mondale.

    And Obama won.

  •  Agree, kinda sorta (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dotalbon, slatsg, NotGeorgeWill
    President Obama has another four years. We will then be able to judge his overall impact.
    Even four years from now is too soon to "judge his overall impact" in historical context.  We can begin to make some of these judgments about the Reagan presidency only now that it is decades later.  That is, measuring overall impact is largely a function of measuring the duration or lasting effect.

    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

    by winsock on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:03:23 PM PST

    •  I agree that the impact of his presidency ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      will not be settled for decades. However whether or not there is a significant shift in the philosophical framework  should be evident much earlier.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:27:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I believe he has changed the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dotalbon, slatsg, NotGeorgeWill

    terms of the popular discourse, from a simplistic libertarianism/magic of the free market/ownership society, to more of a justice/equal opportunity/we're in this together/I am my sister's keeper frame.  I do think that Obama's rhetoric and actions have had powerful effects thus far, and I hope that they will be lasting.  Only time will tell if the generation being shaped by this political environment will carry this forward and create the kind of networks of policy and research institutions that gave the Reagan Revolution such lasting force.

    90% of Republicans give the rest a bad name.

    by Mother of Zeus on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:06:28 PM PST

    •  His rhetoric is inspiring ... (0+ / 0-)

      But his actions, especially in the areas of economic policy and education, still indicate an underlying neoliberal approach.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:22:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We'll know the "sea change" has happened (4+ / 0-)

    when union-busting goes out of fashion, teachers/public employees aren't demonized, working Americans in every walk of life are truly honored, the right-wing media outlets go away and the lunatic fringe is no longer in charge of the GOP.  

    Maybe it's starting.  But we have a LONG way to go.  

    I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones. (John Cage)

    by dotalbon on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:15:49 PM PST

  •  There have been several presidents associated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slatsg, NearlyNormal

    with changes in the view of the role of government.  Jackson, Lincoln, and TR come to mind, as does LBJ.

    •  My diary focused on the last one hundred years (0+ / 0-)

      I will stand by my statement regarding FDR and Reagan. LBJ was a New Dealer. The Great Society was IMHO the culmination of the reforms initiated by the New Deal.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:40:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I apologize (0+ / 0-)

      I originally had "the last one-hundred years in my article. When I transcribed it to the diary I failed to include that phrase. I have changed the diary to reflect my original intent.

      I agree with you regarding the three other Presidents you mentioned. I would probably add Jefferson to that list.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:25:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Presidents who have changed the role . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NearlyNormal, slatsg

    of government.

    I would add more than two to the list.

    Jackson and Lincoln also have to be on the list of transformational presidencies.  

    It's also important to add that while the president plays a role in "weaving the warp" of history, the emergence of these presidents is as much a symptom of the public mood as any individual is a cause of changes.  

    e.g. Reagan's rise coincided with the rise of evangelical voters and the shifts inaugurated by the GOP southern strategy a decade earlier.  The Obama coalition is a reflection of the changing demographics of the country.  He wouldn't have been elected at any other time in history before the present and very recent past.  This reality is a  testament to the change that has taken place in the country.  Reagan's rise is a similar story.  

    Some of these re-alignments are due to random historical movements.  e.g. Reagan's term coincided with a huge increase in interest rates, which resulted in a big economic slow-down, the change in Fed policy, more than any action undertaken by Reagan helped to produce a strong economic recovery in the mid to late part of his two-terms.  However, in terms of perceptions Reagan's policies are what get the credit and these factors helped to change voting behavior for at least a generation of voters.

    In much the same way, there's a strong possibility that Obama could have been blamed for not fixing the set of circumstances that he inherited fast enough.  Had he not won re-election, I think the future course would have been much less settled.  A future re-alignment also depends on how things play out in the second term.  However, he has an opportunity to inaugurate a long-term re-alignment and there are factors at work which could aid the Dems in that objective.

    •  Good post (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I agree that the second term will tell the story. theone718 's comment just below is interesting, indicating that Reagan didn't become Reagan until his second term. I'm not sure I agree but it does suggest possibilities.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:54:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  sadly, Obama missed the chance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In 2008, I thought there was a small chance that the Obama victory would lead to a transformative Presidency. In the Hegelian sense, he might have been the new synthesis, vaulting past the thesis of post-War consensus and its Reagan/neo-con antithesis.

    Alas, he turned out to be just another get-along/go-along centrist in the Clinton mold (I think he might be slightly to Bill's left, but being that close to what I often call "the best Republican President since Teddy Roosevelt" is hardly high praise). He's just kicking the anti-government can down the road.

    I agree with the diarist that FDR and Reagan did transform the Presidency. I'd add Lincoln to that very short list as well. Obama had the opportunity to approach that degree of influence, but that chance is long gone.

    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

    by N in Seattle on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:41:57 PM PST

    •  If there are not significant philosophical changes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      N in Seattle

      in the second term then I will have to agree that, like Clinton, he simply kicked the anti-government can down the road.

      I don't believe the opportunity is gone, but he needs to act.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:04:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There was a wonderful article (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill, Uncle Moji

    I read. I believe it was in the New Yorker,talking about this exact subject. Reagan didn't even become "REAGAN" until his SECOND TERM. He was pretty handicapped his first term and it was after winning reelection where he became the.......myth and legend that he is today. President Obama has that opportunity and chance to do the same. We shall see what he does.

    For me his policies HAVE changed the dialouge and his beliefs ALREADY have changed the playing field.
    Think about it this way, 20 years ago, would anyone be reprimanded for gay bashing? Woman bashing like Republicans do?  He's the first ever sitting President to openly state he supports Gay marriage. Health Care reform and the soon to be passed immigration reform are two policies that will last as long as the Union will. They will change America FOREVER.

    "I don't want a line in the Sand lines can be moved. They can be blown away. I want a six foot trench carved into granite."

    by theone718 on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:43:57 PM PST

    •  Thanks for the comment (0+ / 0-)

      I have a couple of problems with the Reagan article.

      First, if memory serves correctly, and it often does not, Reagan's economic program was initiated in his first term. His second term was more involved with foreign policy, with the Negotiations with Gorbachev, and of course the fallout from Iran-Contra.

      Second, Reagan aggressively challenged the prevailing paradigm from the strait. President Obama did not.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:00:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Post-presidency is when the myth . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      really began to take hold.

      Worth remembering that Reagan was only just above 50 percent approval for much of the last part of his second term.  His reputation took a big hit over Iran-Contra.  It saw a brief recovery at the very end of his term just below 60 percent, which is strong.  But then it took another hit in the years prior to Clinton's presidency.  

      Part of the Reagan story, however, is that there was a concerted post-presidency effort -- a campaign that was bankrolled by money and PR -- to transform him into a more transcendent figure.  

      Great article about the topic by Will Bunch that is well worth reading.  

      An interview about a book that Bunch wrote called "Tear Down this Myth" was featured in an informative NPR interview around the time of the book's publication.

      •  These two diaries are not about (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        being transcendent figure, but rather a transformational president.

        Reagan should receive no adulation. He and his philosophy should have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Ironically it was Clinton who assured that it would not. Clinton and his DLC neoliberal allies validated Reagan's economic policies.

        A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

        by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:33:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with much of this . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but these things have to run their course.  On the surface level there was plenty that was appealing about Reagan's message.  Who doesn't want the benefits of liberty at the lowest possible cost?  The GOP lies about the magic of tax cuts were obviously compelling to a lot of people.  That lie has run its course.  I think at a certain point, we may see ahead of the curve, but it may take others a while to look at the "truths" of a different era with a fresh set of eyes.  This is really the first election where I feel it's possible to say that we can finally bury Reagan.  The GOP got mileage out of his myth, but the generation that embraced that myth is starting to fade from the scene.  

          I will cut Clinton a bit of slack, because I think he was simply dealing with the terrain that he inherited.  There's a great quote from Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy that I echoed in an earlier comment:  "I assert once again as a truth to which history as a whole bears witness that men may second their fortune, but cannot oppose it; that they may weave its warp, but cannot break it. Yet they should never give up, because there is always hope, though they know not the end and more towards it along roads which cross one another and as yet are unexplored; and since there is hope, they should not despair, no matter what fortune brings or in what travail they find themselves."

          In other words, you can make use of what the present offers, but you can't unskew reality.  You can work with the cards that you are dealt, and play them in a way so that in the future, someone might be able to push things a little further along, but you can't ignore the reality of the present.  Clinton and his people worked within the Reagan-GOP framework out of political necessity.  These were the cards they were dealt.  If Clinton had come out and campaigned against the Reagan myth, he would have lost.  People still believed it, and they weren't going to stop disbelieving it until the whole process had run its course.  With respect to neo-liberalism I'm sure they believed it as well at the time -- although even Clinton has expressed some regrets about financial de-regulation after the fact.  Also there were moderating elements of Clinton's neo-liberalism that kept it from destroying his own presidency (e.g. even though the financial services lobby pushed like hell for a change in consumer bankruptcy laws during the 1990s, it took a GOP president and Congress in 2005 to make that law a reality -- Clinton refused to sign it.  I've heard some comment that the current recession would be significantly less onerous for many ordinary people if that law had not gone into effect, as it made it easier for people to write down principal on mortgages and wipe out certain consumer debts).

          I don't think they validated it however.  In the end the policies are validated or rejected based on what voters experience in their lives as a consequence of the policies.  The fact that a politician endorses a policy doesn't in and of itself lend the policy credibility or validation.  It has to work in practice.  If it doesn't voters will eventually reject it, and look for other solutions.

          I'd also say that for the GOP, Reagan is more than just a transformational figure, he was a transcendent figure, at least in their memories.  I'm not agreeing with that viewpoint, simply articulating it as seen through the eyes of the GOP faithful as I understand it.  

          Yes, obviously Reagan's policies were wrong-headed in many respects.  And once any pretense of moderation was removed -- once the GOP actually had the chance to do the full-on Reagan without the benefit of any Democratic moderation -- the Bush years in the 2000s -- it is helping to bury Reagan and it may do the same for the GOP along with it.  

          •  What a great comment. (0+ / 0-)

            It would make an excellent diary.

            "Who doesn't want the benefits of liberty at the lowest possible cost?"  Therein lies the appeal of Reaganism. It of course ignores the other values of a  quality society ... economic and social justice, equality, fairness and the common good.

            Until we as a society curb the "greed is good" philosophy of Mitt Romney and the Republicans (and too many Democrats), and restore a commitment to the commonweal, any change will be limited.

            This would require a rejection of the Reagan philosophy. Of course people are always going to ask what's in it for them. The Reaganites have been able to convince citizens that leaving the market place to it's own devices will eventually cause wealth to trickle down and benefit everyone.

            We have to convince people that a just society would result in greater happiness and the intrinsic benefits of such a society would far outweigh the loss of some wealth to increased taxation.

            Your analysis of Clinton may be correct. He did attempt significant health care reform. After that he appeared to give up and indeed seemed to aggressively pursue the neoliberal agenda with NAFTA and the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

            I hope you are correct and we are moving toward the rejection of Reaganism and the present incarnation of the Republican Party.

            Thanks for the comment. I will be using the Machiavelli quote.

            A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

            by slatsg on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:36:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well said. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I agree that the "greed is good" philosophy is bad, in part because it doesn't really work for a nation.  It produces less growth, greater discord, and more suffering.  People can pursue their own self-interest and vote their economic self-interest and things can work, but they have to recognize that have to have a broader view of what that self is (e.g. for the typical person doing good for others is more likely to be good for themselves, since most of us are all in the same boat).  

              Higher rates of taxation, tend to produce more widespread benefits.  So if a person cares about national wealth, there is an argument for having higher tax rates.  At a certain point these higher rates can start to undercut growth, but we are nowhere near that point right now. Why people forget these lessons of history is another topic unto itself.  My best guess is that people start to take things for granted for reasons that are probably unique to whatever time we live in.  People re-learn the lessons, because the pendulum swings.

              As far as Machiavelli goes, I would recommend checking out a the book which the quote comes from, his Discourses on Livy.  A lot of people focus on the Prince, which is a shorter and faster read.  It's a great book too, but I look at it as his expedient work.  The Discourses encompasses the lessons of the Prince, but it puts them in a broader agenda.  His desired outcome was a restoration of the 'virtuous" Republic of early Roman state, before the nation devolved into a quasi-monarchy.  The Prince was just a means to getting back to the "republic of virtue".  One part where his analysis falls short historically is his belief that a republic was only likely to come about through some kind of an enlightened monarchy.  The American experience demonstrated in practice that there are other ways.  Also, his definition of "virtue" and "greatness" are an essay unto themselves.  

              In any event, an interesting discussion.  Thanks for the diary.

  •  Such analogies are meaningless. (3+ / 0-)

    Ronald Reagan was an ideology-driven empty suit who unleashed a crime wave in American government.  Barack Obama has far more in common with FDR than with Reagan, even if the divergence from the status quo is less stark - an eloquent, moral leader who provides a real vision rather than just rhetoric and image.

    "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

    by Troubadour on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:27:29 PM PST

    •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, Uncle Moji

      I think Reagan's importance is vastly overstated.  I think Obama and Clinton are both already more important presidents.

      •  Clinton? ... Absolutely not (0+ / 0-)

        He basically accepted the Reagan framing. His neoliberal agenda simply gave us Reagonomics with some compassion. He certainly didn't significantly change the direction of any policy, domestic or foreign.

        President Obama? ... The jury is out. We will see what his second term brings.

        A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

        by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:28:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Clinton may have been a bit more centrist than many around here, including myself, would have liked.  But the reality was that the old FDR/Truman/Johnson version of liberalism had become outmoded.  Clinton essentially provided a modernizing direction for liberalism, and Obama has continued that legacy.  

          Just to clarify: are you really arguing that Reagan was a greater president than Clinton?  Or are you just suggesting that Clinton is overrated by current liberals, like me?  If it's the former, I can't imagine how you arrive at that conclusion; if it's the latter, I can at least see your point, though I disagree with you.

          •  Again I am not suggesting that Reagan (0+ / 0-)

            was in any way a great President. He was, unfortunately, very influential and had a much greater impact than Clinton.

            To use an extreme example, Joseph Stalin had a tremendous influence on the course of the Russian Revolution. His impact was enormous. Was that a positive thing? Absolutely not. But one can not deny the impact he had.

            Reagan wasn't Stalin, but his impact on the United States and on the world was decidedly negative. But to deny his influence would not only ignear reality, but IMO hinder our attempts to move the country away from Reaganism.

            While Clinton was a better president, he was not a game changing president in the manner of FDR or Reagan.

            NotGeorgeWill argues in the comment just above that Clinton, in accepting the Reagan framing,  may have simply made the best of the situation he inherited.

            Even if that is true, it simply reinforces the point that Clinton worked within the Reagan paradigm. It also shows how important it is for  Democratic president to be transformational.

            A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

            by slatsg on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:51:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, the subject is not meaningless. (0+ / 0-)

      Reagan was a transformational president. The results were a disaster for the middle and working classes. Clinton accepted the basic premise of Reagonomics and set the table for Bush Jr.

      If President Obama can truly change our governing philosophy, he will influence the next President, regardless of political party.

      As for morality, Carter was considered by most to be very moral, and also regarded by most as a more effective ex-president than president.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:03:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Carter was a moral man, not a moral leader. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uncle Moji, arabian

        He failed in his capacity as a leader.  He didn't understand what was going on in the country or how people felt about it.

        "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

        by Troubadour on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:15:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Look at how hard it is to raise taxes on the 2% (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uncle Moji, slatsg

    wealthiest americans, just as ONE example of how the fight against the plutocracy is, and will be, difficult.

    In december 2010, Pres. Obama had to accept to keep the Bush tax cuts for two years, in exchange for a lifeline for unemployed workers, some stimulus to keep the recovery alive, and a chance to pass the DADT repeal, the START treaty and a couple of other important bills. He didn't have much choice, having been severely weakened politically by the mid-term elections. (That he was able to obtain so much in his "deal" was impressive IMO.)

    But I remember quite vividly that when he compromised on the tax cuts, he said that this was just a postponed battle. And sure enough, he has been campaigning since then for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Repeating over and over and over again in his speeches, statements, his objective in bringing more "fairness" ,  making the wealthy pay "a fair share", etc.  It has been the central theme of his presidential campaign. He won the election, dems have gained seats in the Senate and in the House, but because of gerrymandering, the GOP still controls the House.  And ending those damn Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will be a legislative battle.

    So if we expect Barack Obama to win the battle against the plutocracy in a few short years, we're going to be disappointed. He has chosen to fight within the system, with all the frustrating compromises and set-backs that this implies. But he has begun the work, no doubt about it. What's the most important I think is the grassroots organization he has built. If people have ANY DOUBT that Barack Obama is dreaming of giving back the power TO THE PEOPLE, just watch him getting emotional when he talked about it, in his last election rally in DesMoines on Nov. 5th, and in his visit to the Chicago headquarters on Nov. 7th. I'll be back with the links.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site