Ronald Reagan reinvigorated this county with optimism, principles and vision. His policies directly led to the greatest economic expansion in history (1982- 1987). His leadership re-engaged a generation of disenfranchised people and he led us to victory in the cold war. He is revered by right-thinking members of both parties, and leaves a legacy that few could hope to match. Yet in 2016, he’s likely spinning in his grave. The current Republican Party of today is quite simply his antithesis. The Great Communicator governed based on a set of core principles and was successful despite a gridlocked DC. He did this by connecting policy with people and working around congress by making his case directly to citizens.
Today’s party could do the same, but is content with symbolic obstructionism. Taking meaningless procedural votes to provide cover, but only truly “winning” the few small moral victories that Emperor Barry allows. There is no vision and no connection with ordinary citizens, only enough posturing to ensure re-election. And so we see the rise of a narcissist nationalist as the party’s standard bearer. Not because he’s a strong candidate, but because he’s not a politician, and he promises to tackle some of the serious issues the others have ignored.
But is he the answer to revive this country? The answer is no, surprisingly the answer hasn’t changed. Reagan’s map is just as valid and relevant as it was back then. Reagan was able to ascend to the presidency because he articulated the values that made America great along with his plan to revisit the recipe. While he had many cross-over voters from the Democratic Party, his campaign’s success in national elections hinged on uniting disparate groups in his own party. It is a recipe politicos have been struggling to reinvent ever since.
The Reagan three-legged stool united national defense advocates with fiscal and social conservatives and won. Only by bringing these three together, was he able to paint the electoral map red and make Carter and Mondale laughable footnotes in history. He knew a stool with two-legs simply cannot stand, but a three-legged stool was formidable. Today all three legs of the stool have been summarily dismantled. Additionally the principles that sat at the center of that metaphorical stool have been cut out. A legless stool with a hole? That looks a lot like a toilet seat. How can we Make America Great again? Not by electing a modern-day PT Barnum, but by re-visiting the stool.
Leg One- National Security/Defense
It isn’t surprising that as a nation we’ve grown weary of wars and nation-building. We are fed up with American soldiers dying in deserts battling zealots who don’t play by our rules or value their own lives. Yet along with our disdain for foreign conflict, we’ve somehow gotten away from a strong foreign policy and national defense. Neither candidate for president has a deep understanding of our enemies, their motivations or a plan to keep us safe. It seems the era of isolationism is upon us. In an increasingly global economy with many nuclear nations and the specter of radical Islam, this is simply not viable.
Also Read: 3 Reasons To Ditch Diversity
We must re-invigorate our use of technology and human intelligence capabilities and go on offense around the globe. The current president’s goal is to be liked, I’d rather be safe. That means aggressive investment in our armed forces and intelligence. And most importantly the testicular fortitude to use both.
Leg Two- Fiscal Conservatism
Republicans aren’t for smaller government, they are for incremental growth slightly slower than Democrats. Our entitlement system is a house of cards and must be addressed. George W Bush was far from a fiscal hawk, but he’s the last president to put a serious entitlement reform proposal together.
Any serious candidate for president needs to back-burner tax reform and get our house in order. This means an increase to the retirement age, ending pensions for public workers today (keeping the promises made to date) and a two-year budget freeze on all discretionary spending (excluding defense). And those are the easy ones.
Leg Three- Social Conservatism
This is perhaps the leg least likely to be resuscitated. Progressives have stacked the judicial bench for decades and that strategy is now bearing fruit. Yet, this is an area where we must re-double efforts. Does anyone really thing legalized marijuana is in anyone’s best interest? Is a drug that makes people lazier truly in our nation’s best interest? Are we content with 40% of our kids born out of wedlock and 25% raised without fathers? A focus on the family was at the heart of the Reagan legacy and is vital for any effort to reclaim it.
The Bottom Line
While attempting to recreate the Reagan Revolution thirty years later may seem backwards and outdated, so did a former actor with a 50’s haircut running for president back in 1979. Yet, here we are. What we are doing clearly isn’t working and the nomination of Trump indicates we are out of ideas. Only by returning to principled leadership can we hope to capture our former glory. That starts with reviving Reagan’s three-legged stool. It’s morning in America, let’s hope we wake the f up.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author are his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of SHTFBlog.com
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