Wednesday, February 24, 2016

CALLING RONALD REAGAN; YOUR PARTY NEEDS YOU

By Ronald Fox


REAGAN II
The Eternal Optimist

I ran into Ronald Reagan in a dream last night.  The Senate GOP vow to not hold confirmation hearings on anyone President Obama nominates to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court had him shaking his head in frustration at what’s become of his beloved party.  This latest case of Republican intransigence underscores once again the sharp contrast between Reagan and the current crop of party leaders.  It angers me to no end that the Republican elite continues to cite Reagan as their model conservative. It is an insult to the Reagan legacy. 

Don’t get me wrong; I was no fan of Reagan during his era.  My values for a more inclusive, egalitarian, and diplomatic America didn’t square well with his core beliefs in lower taxes, limited government, and a robust military presence, not to mention his support for repressive dictatorial regimes throughout Latin America and the Greater Middle East.  Contemporary Republican ideological dogmatism, political obstructionism, and war-mongering, however, have made me look at Reagan in a new light.  Oh how I wish today's Republican leaders shared Reagan’s pragmatism, penchant for compromise, sunny political optimism. and broad appeal.  Sadly, these are current GOP taboos.

Since 2013, I have posted three commentaries counting the ways Reagan the politician differed from the image held by most Republicans today:  What Would Ronald Reagan Do? Conservatives Are Clueless; Ronald Reagan and Contemporary Republicansand, Response to "Anonymous" Regarding Reagan and Contemporary Republicans. The 2016 GOP presidential campaign has furthered sharpened the distinction between Reagan and the Republican contenders, all of whom have dropped his name as their role model. I only wish it were true.    

Firmly entrenched as the party of “no,” it’s hard to envision a bright future for the GOP.  New York Times Opinion writer Jacob Weisberg touched on this theme in an op-ed in yesterday's Times.  I’ve decided to post it as a guest commentary.

Friday, February 19, 2016

THE TRUMP PHENOMENON: REPUBLICANS HAVE CREATED THEIR OWN MONSTER

By Ronald T. Fox



Republican establishment leaders are scratching their heads over the Donald Trump phenomenon. They seem shocked that so many party faithful would gravitate to such a reckless demagogue whose acidic rhetoric has managed to alienate, among others, women, Latinos and young voters--constituencies the party needs to attract if it hopes to win in November.  Worse yet, perhaps, it has confounded the billionaire fatcats that have been bankrolling the party.  The Trump insurgency is threatening to unravel the GOP and the conservative principles it holds so dear.  Try as they have, party leaders and many of its deep-pocketed supporters have so far not been able to stifle the Trump juggernaut.

Many Republicans leaders see the insurrection among traditional party faithful mainly as a product of Trump's unique, larger-than-life personality, his ability to dominate the airwaves, and his deftness in appealing to voter anger with tough-sounding promises.  They're not seeing the bigger picture.

What explains the rebelliousness among the GOP ranks?  For an answer, the party's establishment needs to look in the mirror.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

JANUARY 2016 BONEHEAD ABSURDITY OF THE MONTH

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1. House Speaker Paul Ryan. The new House Speaker, who insists on lots of family time for himself, explained his opposition to paid family leave for other people:

"I don't think people asked me to be speaker so I can take more money from hardworking taxpayers to create some new federal entitlement. But I think people want to have members of Congress that represent them, that are like them," Ryan said. "Don't you want your member of Congress to be a citizen legislator who lives with you, among you, who has your own kinds of concerns, who wants to spend time with his children on Saturdays and Sundays? "That I think is what most people want in their life, a balance. So if you're asking me because I want to continue being the best dad and husband and speaker I can be — getting that work-life balance correct — means I should sign up for some new unfunded entitlement, that doesn't make any sense to me."

He doesn't want to take money from hardworking taxpayers ... to give those hardworking taxpayers paid leave if they have a child or need to care for a sick family member. He opposes an unfunded entitlement ... except that "unfunded entitlement" is, in California for instance, actually a small payroll deduction that's helped 1.8 million Californians take paid leave, 90 percent of them to care for a new baby, over the law's first decade, without hurting businesses or killing jobs.

In short, Paul Ryan does not care about the facts. He cares about spending time with his family while standing in the way of you doing the same. He has a job that lets him make that kind of demand, and if you're not so lucky and powerful, screw you. Basic rights for you—the kind of thing that three American states and virtually every other country on earth can somehow provide—can be boiled down to meaningless Republican buzzwords for "no."