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.