Friday, February 8, 2008

Barack Obama- the Democrat's Ronald Reagan

In an interview with the Reno newspaper Barack Obama said that "Ronald Reagan was a transformative Political Figure" he was attacked for this by Mrs Clinton but in reality I think that Obama is Progressivism's Ronald Reagan and that is what galls Clinton and her ilk.I write this as a convert from Reaganism.

I grew up and went through college as a Conservative of the type that made Reagan's majority in the 1980's. I came to my progressive values only after a three year stint working with the poorest of the poor in Bolivia if I had not done that I would almost certainly still hold those ideas but what Reagan did in the 1980's is instructive for today.

What propelled Reaganism and "Conservativism" was resentment against change packaged well. The people who made Reaganism a majority were northern Catholics (of which I am one) and southern Evangelicals. Both of these groups were effected adversely by the 1960's. Northern Catholics "fled" from treasured urban neighborhoods for the suburbs. This is my history. If someone in your family has ever said "this neighborhood used to be like this" you are part of this generation.

The sense of resentment led these Reagan Democrats to vote against their own interests because of fear. As they voted for Reagan and earlier Nixon their whole world was destroyed by their 'new' party as unions and industries were gutted by 'free trade'.The other group, Southern Evangelicals were propelled by fear of Blacks who now had their freedom of a sort in the South. They also left the Democrats for Reaganism because of the profound disrespect that Progressives had for the military after Vietnam.

These two things led to Reagan's strength in the South and the realignment of the South into the Republican Party.What Reagan did for these two groups was make Republicanism which was anathema to Urban Catholics and Southern Evangelicals palatable.

These two groups once pillars of the Left because of their support of Unions and Franklin Roosevelt left the Democrats and became part of Conservatism and Republicanism. This is what was meant by Barack Obama by Reagan being a transformative figure.Barack Obama is the Democrat's Ronald Reagan and I would argue that 2008 is like 1976 if the Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton she will lose the way Gerald Ford lost in that year.

In order for progressive policies to become enacted in this country we need a broad consensus. This consensus is forming. People want government to advocate for them against a global business community that does not care about them or their interests. People want a healthcare system that is open to them and people want to get ahead.

All of these things are becoming impossible for average Americans. In order to overcome the demonizers and the pundits (the same way Reagan overcame the liberal columnists and liberals in the 1980's) Progressivism needs someone who can sell the message to the country and that person is Barack Obama.

If Democrats want to realign the nation and transform the country the way Reagan did in 1980 they need the right candidate. Democrats cannot make the mistake the GOP made in 1976 and nominate a moderate with little appeal. Democrats need to nominate a transformative person, Barack Obama.

1 comment:

wondermachine said...

Hey there.
Thanks for posting this. I so identify with a lot of what you wrote. For me an added element was being the Cuban immigrants who identified with Reagan's opposition to Castro's Cuba. My own politics (and that of my siblings) are of the more progressive stripe.
I completely understood what Obama was saying about Reagan's ability to speak and inspire people to his side. That can be a dangerous thing and one has to analyze the speaker's background. On that note I am so impressed with Obama's roots in community organizing and in his repeated use of his talents for the betterment of people-- the public good.
Anyway, I found your blog through your posting on GenX poets (I'll have to explore your recommendations) but really enjoyed this post as well.