Posted by Curt on 10 May, 2006 at 8:26 pm. 1 comment.


This piece from Right and Wrong (via Mike’s America) is quite telling. It is a segment of the Rush Limbaugh show where he reads from a old article from 1986 written by Fred Barnes.

Rush compares the current Republican movement to distance themselves from Bush, hell…even some calling for his impeachment of all things over the immigration issue, to the Ronald Reagan revolt.

It highlights lessons we Republicans never learn I suppose:

…Fred Barnes, who at the time was a senior editor of the New Republic, posted a piece in the LA Times December 9th, 1986, Ronald Reagan’s sixth year. Conservatives in ’86 were abandoning Reagan, the most important conservative in the history of the movement in America.

“A dozen or so conservative leaders met privately at a Washington hotel last week to discuss the future of their political movement. Edward Feulner of the Heritage Foundation was there. So were New Right strategist Paul Weyrich, several fund-raisers, two officials of the Reagan Administration and a few Capitol Hill aides. Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to President Reagan and the Iran arms scandal. Forget Reagan, they agreed. The President’s a goner, his influence shattered forever. We’ve got to decide how to press our agenda without him. Only William Kristol, a top official of the Department of Education, dissented, insisting that Reagan should be defended.

“Thus, the Iran scandal has achieved what Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, the 1981-82 recession and the Marines debacle in Lebanon couldn’t. It has caused the disintegration of the Reagan coalition, that blend of conservatives from fundamentalist Christians to libertarians that held together as the most unified single bloc in American politics for a decade. And even if the coalition is revived on an issue or two — aid to the Nicaraguan contras, say, or funding the Strategic Defense Initiative — as Reagan serves out his final two years in the White House, it won’t be the dominant political force anymore.

“The matter can be put quite succinctly: Without Reagan the conservatives lack a popular leader, and without the conservatives Reagan lacks a broad ideological base. Both wind up losers, and the political balance of power tilts away from them. Sure, the conservatives are still sentimentally attached to Reagan, but he’s no longer the same rallying point. Worse, there’s no replacement in sight. Conservatives are fragmented on who should be the Republican presidential nominee in 1988. The gravity of the split is only now dawning on Reagan and his allies. Last Tuesday, Secretary of Education William J. Bennett denounced conservatives for ingratitude and political stupidity in abandoning Reagan. (as I’ve been doing recently…Curt)

“‘There is no conservative agenda without Ronald Reagan,’ Bennett said. ‘He is the man who made whatever good has happened to this Administration happen, and people should be mindful of that.’ Patrick J. Buchanan, the White House communications director, is even more blunt. ‘There’s an old saying that the major failing of American conservatives is they don’t retrieve their wounded,’ he said. ‘Now’s the time you take an inventory of your friends.’ Not too many friends are turning up, however. Human Events, the weekly conservative publication that Reagan reads faithfully, has only half-heartedly defended him on the Iran arms deal.

“Linda Chavez, a White House aide until last winter, published a column in the Washington Post denouncing Lt. Col. Oliver North, the ousted National Security Council official blamed for diverting profits from the Iranian arms sales to the contras; she said that he was not a ‘true conservative.’ Bennett, who got Chavez her first job in the Administration, was so mad about this that he quickly spread the word that he was sorry he’d ever sponsored her. Why are conservatives so wary of supporting Reagan in his moment of greatest need?

“‘Nobody believes in the issue, giving arms to Iran,’ says Allan Ryskind, the editor of Human Events. ‘Nobody’s persuaded by the arguments. And while conservatives love the contras, they think that aiding them has now been jeopardized.’ (Military aid was only narrowly approved by Congress this year, and the scandal over diverted funds makes renewal of aid less than likely.) Another source of wariness by most conservatives was the firing of North. ‘Was North scapegoated or did he deserve to be fired?’ asks Jeffrey Bell, an adviser to Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.). ‘Until conservatives know that, they’ll be on hold. They love North.’ And though many conservatives may be inclined to stand with Reagan, they’re unsure where to do that. With new revelations in the Iran scandal occurring daily, ‘they don’t know what ground to stand on,’ says Bell.

“Complains Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus: ‘The nature of the issue keeps changing.’ Finally, there are conservatives like Phillips who always regarded Reagan as too moderate for their taste. (Sound familiar?….Curt) ‘We wish the best for him, but we’re going to focus more on the 1988 presidential race than on helping his cause,’ Phillips says. ‘Reagan has turned over the substance of policy to people in fundamental disagreement with the policies he’s rhetorically espoused.’ Phillips is resistant to lobbying. His friend Buchanan pleaded with him over dinner last Wednesday to come to the President’s defense. Afterwards, Phillips went on ABC-TV’s ‘Nightline’ and trashed Reagan.”

Is it not interesting? It seems like history is repeating. Now, I know Bush is no Reagan (don’t misunderstand) in the sense of leading a movement, and I’ve been the first to say this. But what’s interesting is they just want to abandon him, and I’ll tell you, there is something in here that’s really true: Conservatives do not retrieve their “wounded” from the battlefield; they abandon them. There is so much — especially more so today than ever before, there’s so much — competition out there. Conservatism has gotten so big; it has so many people who want to claim to be the leader, claim to be the definers, that if anybody takes a hit, they’re happy to let them fade away because of the competition.

You know, conservatives do have competitors within the ranks. When the competitors bite the bullet, bite the dust, they’re only too willing to let them, some of them them are, just fade away. There is not a whole lot of public defense, including of the president. Now, it’s true the president is not defending himself, either. But I’ll tell you something, I remember this period. I was working in Sacramento at the time, and I was wondering during this whole Iran Contra stuff, where’s Reagan? He was being trashed every day in the media. “Where’s Reagan? Why didn’t he get up there and answer this stuff?”

Some people were saying, “Because he can’t! Because he can’t. Because it’s true,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They say the same thing about Bush. “Why doesn’t he go out there and defend himself?” Well Bush’s answer is he doesn’t care. He’s got his job to do and he doesn’t think it’s PR spin. It’s the same thing with Cheney. Cheney’s got a piece coming out in Vanity Fair, I guess, or an interview with him, and they ask him (summarized): “What about your horrible public image?” He said, “I’m not in the public image business. I guess I could improve it if I went out there and tried to improve it, but that’s not what my job is. My job is not public spin. My job is not my public image,” and so it’s amazing, these parallels.

Yet when Ronald Reagan died, all these people who abandoned him (those still around) were muscling trying to get in the front row, trying to make sure they were all over the place to be seen as loyal, never-wavering supporters. The ’86 midterm elections, you know, these defections, and people who said, “We can’t run with Reagan! Why, Reagan is destroying us.” There’s always been this tendency on the conservative side to, when there’s trouble, split the scene and run away — and, you know, Reagan did some things to irritate conservatives. While he cut taxes he also raised them at times. You know, abandoning Lebanon after the Marine barracks was hit, that wasn’t popular with people. But look how time changes things. When you go back and you look at the totality of a period of time, I don’t remember during the funeral week of Ronald Reagan, other than his son and maybe a couple Democrats, but even they were pretty quiet. I don’t remember any of these conservatives stepping forward to remind everybody how effectiveless and worthless and pointless the last two or three years of Reagan’s term were, do you?

I’m amazed at the lack of foresight in the Republican party at the moment. As Rush and Buchanan said, when a Republican gets wounded just leave them on the battlefield seems to be the motto of this party. How in the world are people in my OWN party talking about impeachment of Bush? Yes his immigration policies stink but this problem did not just pop up in the last couple years. It’s been going on for decades.

Look at the big picture a bit here people. The War on Terror is just too important to throw away, because that is what you would be doing by giving the Government over to the Democrats, because of one issue. Use some common sense, calm the eff down, and stop this rebellion. The only people you will end up hurting is yourselves. Do you honestly think if the Democrats are in power that THEY will fix the immigration problem?

Yes yes, I know the standard line. “We’re sending a message that we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any longer!”

But in so doing you willing to destroy everything we have built since 1994….incredible.

Look at the big picture a bit here people. The War on Terror is just too important to throw away, because that is what you would be doing by giving the Government over to the Democrats, because of one issue. Use some common sense, calm the eff down, and stop this rebellion. The only people you will end up hurting is yourselves. Do you honestly think if the Democrats are in power that THEY will fix the immigration problem?

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