Tag: Reagan

Beer Track, Wine Track, Get Me Off This Fucking Train

Yesterday, on Twitter, I tweeted a version of this claim: Beto, Harris, Klobuchar, Biden, Gillibrand, Booker: The basis of their candidacies is ultimately them, their person. That’s what they all have in common. Sanders and Warren are the only two candidates whose basis is a set of ideas, well worked out over the years, about the economy and the state. The tweet was one part of a much longer Facebook post, in which I elaborated the point. Here’s a short excerpt from that post: Among the many reasons that I have no time for the first set of candidates is that I’m so tired of these quintessentially American campaigns that are so wrapped up in the personality of the candidate, […]

Did Anthony Kennedy ever sniff glue? And other stories of nominations past

Last week, after Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, Donald Trump declared, “Outside of war and peace, of course, the most important decision you make is the selection of a Supreme Court judge.” As we await Trump’s announcement on Monday of this most important decision, let’s take a gander at the history of nominations past. 1. In 1990, when George H.W. Bush was casting about to replace retired Supreme Court justice William Brennan, the consensus candidate in the White House was Ken Starr. 2. Starr got nixed by Dick Thornburgh, who was Bush’s Attorney General. Thornburgh thought Starr was too much of a squish, not sufficiently hard-right, especially about presidential power. 3. Today, Thornburgh is one of […]

Trump’s Inaugural Address versus Reagan’s Inaugural Address

Trump’s Inaugural Address offers an interesting counterpoint to Reagan’s First Inaugural. First, Trump includes an opening thanks not only to all the presidents and worthies assembled (Carter, Clinton, Obama, and Bush) and to all Americans, as did Reagan, but he also thanks “the people of the world.” Obama, like Reagan, didn’t do anything like that in his First Inaugural. Is this a first? Second, and more important, Reagan’s sense of the political enemy was specific and ideological: it was liberalism. Reagan identified a litany of the problems that were ailing America and the targets he had his eye on: the tax system, deficit spending, big government (which he specified as the federal government against the states), and inflation. These were all the indices of the […]

1980 v. 2012

In 1980, women made up 49% of the electorate, and voted for Reagan over Carter by a one-point margin. In 2012, women made up 53% of the electorate, and voted for Obama over Romney by an 11-point margin. In 1980, non-whites made up 12% of the electorate, and voted for Carter over Reagan by anywhere from a 20- to a 70-point margin. In 2012, nonwhites made up 28% of the electorate, and voted for Obama by anywhere from a 50- to a 90-point margin. In 1980, under-30 voters made up 23% of the electorate, and split evenly between Reagan and Carter. In 2012, under-30 voters made up 19% of the electorate, and voted for Obama over Romney by a 23-point margin. […]

Six Reasons for Optimism (and one big one for pessimism)

Below are six causes for optimism. But I should stress, as I have since The Reactionary Mind, that the reason I think the right has not much of a future is that it has won. If you consider its great animating energies since the New Deal—anti-labor, anti-civil rights, and anti-feminism—the right has achieved a considerable amount of success. Either in destroying or beating back these movements. So the hopefulness you read below, it needs to be remembered, is built on the ruins of the left. It reflects a considerable pessimism and arises from a sober realism about where we are right now. 1. An ABC News poll has Trump at 38% of the popular vote. It’s only one poll, and I haven’t been paying much attention […]

Sheldon Wolin: Theoretician of the Present

At the annual conference of the American Political Science Association, which met in Philadelphia this past weekend, I participated in a panel commemorating the life and work of Sheldon Wolin, who died last year. Here’s my contribution. * * * * As a political commentator and witness of his moment, Sheldon Wolin is primarily identified with the 1960s. With the passage of time and recession of those years, that identification—coupled with his partiality to the local and penchant for the past—has earned Wolin a reputation for quaintness and nostalgia. Yet what has struck me most, in re-reading some of his archive these past few months, is how alert and alive Wolin was to what came after the 1960s: not only the conservative backlash […]

When Hayek Met Pinochet

  In case you missed my five-part series on Hayek in Chile, here are the links: Hayek von Pinochet: In which we learn what our protagonist had to say about one of history’s tyrants. But wait, there’s more: Hayek von Pinochet, Part 2: In which we learn what our protagonist had to say about South Africa and what Ludwig von Mises had to say about fascism. Friedrich del Mar: In which we ask the question: Did Hayek make the decision to convene a meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in Viña del Mar? The Road to Viña del Mar: In which we answer the question: Did Hayek make the decision to convene a meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in Viña […]

The Republican Debate: 5 Theses

Thesis 1: When the libertarian rubber hits the political road… Going after Mitt Romney in the first ten minutes of the debate, Rick Perry claimed that Romney had a good record of creating jobs when he was in the private sector but a terrible record as governor of Massachusetts.  Conversely, said Perry, he had a terrific record as governor of Texas.  “We created more jobs in the last three months in Texas” than Romney did during his entire term in Massachusetts.  Even Michael Dukakis, Perry added, had a better record than Romney, to which Romney replied: “George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did.” In all the back and forth, no one noted the […]