Published on October 8th, 20120
Brandon Brice: “Is it 1980 Again? The Case For Why Romney Resembles Reagan”
In the fall of 1980 a California Governor by the name of Ronald Reagan shocked the world when he challenged incumbent President Jimmy Carter, successfully winning every state in the union. At the time President Carter was on the brink of a foreign policy disaster with Iran over American hostages and the economy was taking a turn for the worse. Gov. Reagan at the time was running against a candidate whose record of job creation was considered incompetent and was viewed as weak on foreign policy and unemployment out of control. The American people were not sold on Governor Reagan and referred as him as an out of touch cowboy movie star who represented the wealthy.
In many ways, Governor Romney is slightly similar, whereas the media has labeled the former Massachusetts Governor as a wealthy, out of touch, Mormon that is strictly for the 1 percent. As we fast forward thirty-two years later and unemployment is back to approximately 8 percent and the incumbent President Barack H. Obama articulates a “utopic” approach to his Presidency that still attracts millions of voters and the entertainment industry, despite a failed record.
The President, similar to former President Carter, disappointed millions of independent voters who simply elected him for his solutions driven approach towards resolving a national debt of $13.5 trillion, and his restructuring of an unbalanced and unfair tax code. Although I’m a Romney supporter, it baffles me that the conservative right is still not motivated to fully support the Governor’s candidacy, when he is more like Governor Reagan in the 1980 Presidential debate. What made President Reagan special is his ability to create a platform for economic progressive minded reform Democrats, hence the reason he was refered to as the “Great Communicator”. The far right and neo-conservatives still have a false notion that President Reagan was the most conservative Commander In-Chief we’ve ever seen , which is quite inaccurate, whereas Reagan on multiple occasions forget the multiple compromises and his ability to work across the aisle with Democrats, exactly what Governor Romney did in Massachusetts. When comparing Governor Romney and former President Reagan we must observe the facts, not just the rhetoric.
President Reagan in the early 1980’s was an ambassador for conservative values, lower taxation on the middle and against excessive federal spending and waste, but he still had a powerful Democratic majority lead under former Speaker Tip O’ Neal. In Massachusetts, Governor Romney had the same State level Democratic majority as Governor to deal with on issues including, health care reform, lowering state income taxes and controlling the states 3.4 billion dollar budget, which he beautifully articulate in the first Presidential debate.
Liberal voters and neo-conservatives have accused the former Massachusetts Governor of being a flip flopper on legislation, but lets not forget that President Reagan as an actor and early in his political career was a liberal Democrat, worked in a liberal media industry, supported various government legislation that the right would consider today as left wing, and was married twice as a young man, so President Reagan at best as a strong talking conservative who governed moderately.
Governor Romney provides an immense contrast to President Obama, similar to the difference between Governor Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter. Governor Romney believes in lowering taxes and supports the free market, allowing business to do just that, without the infiltration of the federal government. Romney served as Governor of Massachusetts, an incredibly liberal state, and prior to politics served as the head of a successful business for more than 20 years. Unlike President Obama, President Jimmy Carter at least was a Governor who had executive experience and understood the importance of budgeting, and that government is not the full answer to resolving issues.
President Reagan once asked the American people if they are better off now, than they were four years prior. Perhaps we are experiencing history repeating itself in this upcoming election. Americans have the opportunity to choose whether to move “forward” towards the path of an enlarged government, a do-nothing Congress, and spending beyond our nation’s fiscal capability under the current administration, or going with the candidate that actually understands how to build a business and reinvigorate the private sector once again.
About the Author: Brandon Brice is a graduate of Howard University, Rutgers University’s Graduate Eagleton Institute of Politics and is currently pursuing his studies at Columbia University.