|President Ronald Wilson Reagan|
Yesterday, I got on the YouTubes and looked up old Presidential debates. When you do that, it officially confirms that you are a political nerd. I came across the 1980 debate between President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
It was like getting in the time machine and stepping back 32 years to a different time in American politics. But as much as things were different, they are the same. The debate was very civil, overall. There were zingers both ways, but, as you are probably aware, that debate is famous for five words from the man-who-would-soon-be-elected President Reagan to President Carter, "Well, there you go again."
I knew that was coming late in the debate, but I paid more attention to the issues that they were discussing and the way the debate was prosecuted. This was much different. There was a single moderator, but there was a panel of reporters. Each reporter got a chance to ask a question and then, after the candidate's answer, a follow up. Then, the reporter would repeat the question for the second candidate. The second part of the debate was of a different format with no follow-ups.
The questions were about the issues of the time: inflation, unemployment, energy, prosperity vs. sacrifice, the economy, the plight of our cities, minority issues, the Iran situation, and much more. At that time, however you slice it, the economy wasn't good. Reagan attacked Carter as any smart politican would. He also made some promises that sound very familiar. Reagan promised to lower taxes. He promised to reduce the deficit. He promised to bolster defense, and he promised to balance the federal budget.
As we know now, Reagan didn't keep many of those economic promises. Reagan did cut taxes, but he ended up having to raise them later in his term. He greatly increased defense spending. However, he didn't balance the budget by 1983, and he added astronomically to the deficit.
When we hear Reagan go to this Republican playbook that dates back to the days of Harding, you realize that Mitt Romney, who is espousing similar strategies road ahead if he is elected. This is nothing new. President George W. Bush promised the same things.
Romney is just another Republican, and he's no Ronald Reagan. Why do we want to give them the chance to go back in time to find a solution to today's problems? We need modern solutions like those proposed by President Obama.
The last President to balance the budget was Bill Clinton. Obama's policies recall the policies that gave us the growth of the 1990's with better regulation.