Letter: Time will tell
Recently, President Barack Obama has renewed his claim to be the progressive Ronald Reagan. By this, the president means he is transforming America in a progressive direction, as Reagan led the country onto a more conservative course. Charles Krauthammer observed that the Reagan revolution lasted more than 30 years because his policies worked. Time will tell whether Obama’s work.
Besides the difference between conservatism and progressivism, chasms separate Obama from Reagan. Whenever Reagan explained why he preferred this or that policy, he explained how it would help all the people. When Obama explains his policies, he stresses that they will help one class of the people at the expense of another class. When Obama fails, he blames Republicans. When Reagan failed, he blamed himself.
Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other local events. Arthur’s message is that the most successful politicians do three things. First, they fight for all the people, not against the things you don’t like. Second, they treat every person as an asset to be cultivated, not a liability to be managed. Third, they are optimistic; they aren’t whiners.
Every conservative policy preference easily fits into that formulation. In fact, Arthur’s formulation perfectly describes Ronald Reagan, the most successful conservative ever to have been elected president. For one of the current Republican candidates to emerge victorious, he should take Arthur’s advice to heart.