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Why is Obama citing Reagan as an agent of change? Change for the worse?

January 18th, 2008 · 7 Comments

Democratic Presidential candidates John Edwards and Hillary Clinton attacked Barack Obama today for suggesting that Ronald Reagan changed America in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did not. If he was referring to a negative kind of change, then I can see where he was coming from, but it didn’t quite play out that way. I particularly liked John Edwards’ response as follows:

Ronald Reagan, the man who busted unions, the man who did everything in his power to destroy the organized labor movement, the man who created a tax structure that favored the richest Americans against middle class and working families, … we know that Ronald Reagan is not an example of change for a presidential candidate running in the Democratic Party.”

I’m baffled why Barack Obama would feel the need to invoke Reagan’s name as an agent of change. We’re talking about a president who not only busted the unions and sought to destroy the protections of working class families, but he was someone who chose to ignore the AIDS epidemic, ramped up the arms race, and sold weapons to Iran to fund the Contras. Yeah, the same Iran that Bush and company are demonizing now. Ronnie and friends violated the Arms Export Control Act to supposedly free some hostages for those of you who need a refresher.

Reagan really was a contradiction in the sense that he projected this strong militaristic image, yet he managed to escape combat service during WWII because of nearsightedness. He did produce some military propaganda films though. I will never quite understand the American people’s affinity for this President. Hmm… doesn’t win any brownie points with me Senator Obama.

Tags: Barack Obama · Hillary Clinton · John Edwards · Presidential Elections

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 The Kaiser // Jan 18, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Open mouth…and insert foot. And the fact that Obama called Reagan a man of change…insert both feet.

  • 2 Felicia // Jan 19, 2008 at 12:10 am

    I was shocked and disappointed when I read that, too. I couldn’t believe Obama, who seems to be fairly progressive, would invoke Reagan.

    Then I read this article from Truthout.org (I’ve pasted the link at the bottom of this comment). Obama didn’t explain himself very well in the interview. What he was trying to say was that Reagan changed the landscape of American politics. He wasn’t praising Reagan for the harm he had done with his conservative ideology, but rather noting that Reagan, by Edwards own admissions, made a lot of changes that influence us even today. In other words, if I say that Hitler changed politics in Germany forever, and no other German leader was capable of effecting such changes, I’m right. Hitler has changed German politics. It doesn’t mean I’m supporting Hitler. I’m making a statement of fact.
    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011808N.shtml

    BTW, great blog!

  • 3 Regina Rodriguez // Jan 19, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Change for the worse is still change.

  • 4 Michaelr // Jan 19, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Obama should know by now in his public career that name association in a public forum can easily undermine the point you are attempting to make with your public. By mentioning Ronald Reagan, even in passing, he stimulates the notion that he is praising Reagan for the changes he made to U.S. government policy. Television media will let a GOP politician get away with telling bold faced lies, but they hold Democratic politicians to another standard. Keep it simple, keep it positive, and keep it indirect. Or else you have to spend time further explaining yourself. And when that happens, you lose everybody.

  • 5 reenee // Jan 19, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Felicia makes an excellent point. Change is after all, change. However, Michael is also right when he says that mentioning the name of the great pretender is what will be remembered by those with comprehension deficits in reading and hearing skills, not the point that he was making.

  • 6 webmaster // Jan 21, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Of course, it looks like the mainstream media has distorted Obama’s remarks. I think that this whole comment was taken out of context, and then if you listen to what Bill Clinton said… it all gets blown out of proportion even more.

  • 7 sequined love nun // Jan 21, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Felicia —

    I think his quote is pretty bad. He said that the people were ready for a change and Reagan helped bring it about. He used interesting code words like “the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s” — which usually signals the so-called excesses of the civil right movements, the black power movement, AIM, women’s liberation, and so forth.

    That makes me pretty unhappy.

    worse, he uses the phrases “entrepreneurialism” and “dynamism” to suggest that government had no “accountability”. these were all code words for “welfare queens driving cadillacs and living on welfare.”

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