The Reagan Hypocrisy

It’s 6 am and I’m only about 1/3 of the way through my morning emails, but I had to take a break to blog on what I’ll call the Reagan Hypocrisy.

You may have read or heard recently that Barack Obama “praised” Ronald Reagan.  Heresy, I know.  So in Obama’s meeting with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal, which ended up endorsing him, by the way, he said this:

“I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure.  I think part of what’s different are the times.  I do think that for example the 1980 was different.  I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.  He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.  I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating.  I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

The Clinton campaign seized on this and responded this way,

My leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last 10 to 15 years. That’s not the way I remember the last 10 to 15 years.“I don’t think it’s a better idea to privatize Social Security. I don’t think it’s a better idea to try to eliminate the minimum wage. I don’t think it’s a better idea to undercut health benefits and to give drug companies the right to make billions of dollars by providing prescription drugs to medicare recipients. I don’t think it’s a better idea to shut down the government, to drive us into debt. I think we know what needs to be done in American and I think we’re ready to do it. And I’m ready to lead on day one, to run this government, to manage this economy.”

I didn’t “hear” Barack Obama say any of that, actually.  Don’t you love the rhetoric?  I’ll blog later on who has better ideas on how to run the economy (yes, Fortune mag thinks her idea for freezing interest rates is incredibly dangerous), but for now, let me point out that a couple of those Republicans she so reviles appear in this press release on Hillary Clinton’s website:

“But no president can do it alone. She must break recent tradition, cast cronyism aside and fill her cabinet with the best people, not only the best Democrats, but the best Republicans as well.. We’re confident she will do that. Her list of favorite presidents – Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Truman, George H.W. Bush and Reagan – demonstrates how she thinks. As expected, Bill Clinton was also included on the aforementioned list.” Apparently that information was garnered when Hillary Clinton was interviewed by the Salmon Press newspapers as they were trying to decide whom to endorse (they endorsed Hillary).  When Gerry Canavan wrote a diaryabout this Regan thing at Daily Kos yesterday, the editor of the Salmon Press defended Hillary’s honor:

“The question posed was originally what portraits would you hang in the White House if you were President and as the dialogue progressed, who are the presidents you admire most?She [Sen. Clinton] listed several presidents that she admired and mentioned she liked Reagan’s communication skills. She did not say Reagan was her favorite President. She didn’t say anything close to that. “

Interesting.  So why, then, would the notoriously meticulous Clinton have on her website that Reagan was a “favorite.”  And throw in Bush (the H.W. variety) for good measure?  Because hypocrisy knows no bounds. 

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