Just this past weekend, political aficionados everywhere celebrated, or at least recognized, what would have been the 99th birthday of Ronald Reagan, our 40th president. Ronald Reagan took office in what was widely considered a time of crisis in America not unlike our current president Barack Obama. The difference, though, is huge. Beyond the evident policy differences, Reagan and Obama differ strongly in their handling of the situations they inherited. Hindsight is 20/20, and Reagan was the last president to truly contour a revolution. That is why I feel that we must now ask: what would Reagan do?
Ronald Reagan was a true revolutionary. Reagan carefully shaped his policy choices not only to redefine American government, but to unify the American public. Reagan chose the policies and decisions that would fix the most major problems first. That is one of the foremost differences between Obama and Reagan. Reagan was sure not just to begin, but also to complete the course of action proven to solve the problem most crucial at the current moment.
For example, consider the economy. Reagan refused to be reckless, which was the most important characteristic defining his success. Reagan made the sacrifices necessary without putting the U.S. public at risk. By using history as a guide, Reagan used the wisdom of those before him to see what methods worked best, and then he shaped them into the most effective policies for the current problems. Reagan knew that not everything could be perfect. Some sacrifices must be made in order to prevent devastating failure.
If Obama were to use the same methods as Reagan, the economy would have already seen a boost far beyond what we have seen. There is no success without sacrifice, and Obama would do well to remember this.
Another difference between Obama and Reagan is their views on homeland security. Although the term ‘homeland security” is a newer one, the extreme importance of protecting the country has been noticed for the entire history of the United States. Reagan made it a priority for the United States not just to be strong, but to be the strongest power in the world. Even Reagan’s most bitter critic would agree that he rebuilt our military strength and the people’s support of the military. Obama has only alienated our military. By wavering in his overseas policy and opening the door to heavy prosecution of officials who have been doing their job in this current conflict, he has lost the confidence of the public in our military endeavors.
On top of this, Obama has been reluctant to recognize the potential of domestic terrorists. Together with treating known and suspected international terrorists with kid gloves, Obama is allowing the security of our great nation to be weakened.
What would Reagan do? If Reagan were somehow able to become our 45th president, following Obama, what would he do to pick up the pieces that will inevitably be left after the Obama administration?
Reagan would first rally the public. He would be sure that they knew exactly what was going on and why. He would be strong in his convictions and keep us in a position of maximum security. We need more than a good orator we need a great leader. We need to look at the successes and failures of our past, or we will be doomed to repeat the worst parts of our history.
Now more than ever, we need a politician who is invested in America, not in the crooked politics of Washington. Recently, we have seen a return to ideas that are reminiscent of Reagan. Scott Brown, the recent winner of the open Senate seat in Massachusetts left by the late Ted Kennedy said to opponents, ‘With all due respect … it’s not the Kennedy seat, and it’s not the Democrats’ seat,” he said. ‘It’s the people’s seat.” This idea that the people choose representatives based not on party alone is an idea Reagan held dear. The country needs politicians who are willing to work for the greater good, regardless of party.
Now as we look toward the midterm elections, we need to remember Reagan. Remember how he cared for America, held true to his word and didn’t allow corruption to change his ideals. Whoever can truly channel the Reagan message of solving problems rationally and putting politics aside will be successful in upcoming elections not just the midterm elections, but possibly in 2012 as well.
Rogers is a member of
the class of 2012.