TCS Daily

The Black Reagan?

By Sean Higgins - April 25, 2007 12:00 AM

The news that Barack Obama has nearly matched Hillary Clinton dollar-for-dollar in campaign fundraising race puts to rest any lingering doubt on whether the man is a serious presidential contender. More impressively, Obama's campaign chest rivals Hillary despite raising money through smaller $50 and $100 donations, suggesting he is generating broader grassroots enthusiasm.

The news shouldn't surprise anyone. It has been clear ever since Barack Obama's star-making speech at the Democrats' 2004 convention that he has a unique ability to move the party faithful.

The subsequent three years have shown that it was no flash in the pan. He was in constant demand to campaign with other Democrats in 2006. Several times this reporter watched him dazzle Democratic crowds like nobody since ... well, Bill Clinton.

What is it? I think the answer is this: Obama is the black Ronald Reagan.

Given Obama's liberal political views, I realize this claim will prompt guffaws from many Reagan fans. But hang with me on this.

Of all the candidates running, only Obama truly exemplifies one of Reagan's most popular characteristics: his sunny optimism. Reagan rarely spoke in terms of despair or defeat and instead argued that things can be better. That separated him from the other noteworthy conservatives of his time - people like Pat Buchanan or Jesse Helms.

As Reagan put it in his 1992 GOP convention speech:

"Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way ."

Obama takes Reagan's approach and retools it for liberal politics. Here, for example, is part of a recent fundraising e-mail sent out by his campaign. It quotes not the candidate but an enthusiastic new volunteer, Rashed:

"Being an African American male, to have that positive role model in Senator Obama, it's given me so much hope. To be able to look at my daughter one day and tell her, 'You can be anything you want in the world' ... In the past I might have said, 'You could be anything you want to be. But president? No' ... But now, he's given me that light. Now, I can tell her, 'You really can be anything you want in the world.'"

Some readers will probably find this stuff kind of trite, but a lot of moderate to liberal people seem to find it genuinely inspiring. It certainly goes down easier than the umpteenth reiteration of Bush's failings on Iraq/Katrina/the economy etc.

And this is what helps distinguish Obama from other Democrats: the relative absence of anger, resentment, and bitterness in his rhetoric.

Most Democrats have become so reflexively harsh in their utterances that listening to them can be a drag, even when you agree with what they're saying.

Obama, on the other hand, frequently speaks to hopes rather than fears, aspirations rather than resentments. He simply, quietly avoids repeating the usual talking points in favor of his own message.

As he put it in his star-making turn at the 2004 Democratic Convention:

"Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead. "

He has at times even taken other liberals to task for the tone of their rhetoric. He is one of the very few Democrats with the nerve to criticize Daily Kos, telling the Kossacks to lay off after they threatened to go after Russ Feingold and Pat Leahy for voting to confirm John Roberts.

Obama scolded them for "vilifying good allies" adding: "I am convinced that ... the tone of much of our rhetoric is an impediment to creating a workable progressive majority in this country."

The combative mindset that drives many Democratic activists "misreads the American people," he told the Kossacks. Americans are suspicious of labels and jargon. They don't believe that George W. Bush is "mean-spirited", corporations are "evil" or America is an "imperialist brute."

He urged them to instead follow the example of his predecessor:

[Senator] Paul Simon used to consistently win the votes of much more conservative voters in Southern Illinois because he had mastered the art of "disagreeing without being disagreeable," and they trusted him to tell the truth.

Well, disagreeing with being disagreeable was one of Reagan's trademarks as well. Those same south Illinois voters could tell you. They voted for him for president in 1980 and 1984.

The author is a reporter with Investors Business Daily.



"Feelgood" choice
I understand the premise of comparing Obama to Reagan in terms of his sunny disposition, but it's a very minor hook to hang the hat of "The New Reagan". If black people truly wanted to get behind an influential black public figure there would be a lot more support and admiration for Condi or Colin Powell. Instead we see liberals villify them in very derogatory firms. It's politics first, skin color second. I'd posit that if Obama was a sunny conservative rather than a liberal, there would be little general support for him. He makes liberals feel good that there is finally a black candidate who doesn't embarrass themselves a la Sharpton or Jackson. They haven't had a "serious contender" up until this point. Only the Republicans had what some would call "respectable choices" in terms of a national candidate of color. It sounds terrible to put that way, but thats the way it is. Compare Rice and Powell to Jackson and Sharpton. Now along comes Obama, they have someone who (as many have been chastised for saying) speaks "clearly" and can "articulate well"... He's a blank slate. No big baggage. That he has Reaganesque qualities of being positive is an extra bonus for a democratic party mired in negativity... but the Reagan comparisons most definitely END there....

I agree 100%
In fact, I predict the first black president will be a Republican but I could likely be wrong.

The Racism Of You Fake "Libertarians" Is Appalling - Open Racism Abounds On TCS
Neither black people nor white people would vote for Condi "White" Rice, or Colin Powell. They are both war criminals. Powell in Vietnam and in this Iraq Racist Slaughter and Condi in this Iraq Racist Slaughter.

You sick racist Republican NeoCons who fake "libertarian" are a disgrace to humanity and America.

You are racists. Sick vile racists.

I pity you, but you are dinosaurs whose time has come and pass.

Pass on fools.

You won't be missed.

Long on words short on action
The very limited legislative record Obama has, is severly to the left. This will become an issue when the race gets hot and he has to run with or against his voting record as compared to a real opponent.
He is only half black, and it seems that would be an asset lets see if he runs away from his white half when the race gets tighter. It will be interesting to watch. My bet is he will run from his white half and his voting record. I could be wrong.

Talk about racist
This may be the most sick, vile and racist posting I've ever read on TCS!! (Then again maybe not, as you bugboy have pushed racism to new lows with ever post)

smart choice

Few people could stomach Condi as President, she's in over her head in her current job. Then again, W is Prez, so my pet donkey could theoretically get elected. Condi is respected, but she's a schlub, W's schlub. She's worse off than Al Gore was after being Bill's schlub, she would have zero chance in a national election. (I'm surprised Gore did that well. He actually won!) Too much of a mouthpiece with little original input.

There was a time Powell could have had a chance. But, he lost his spine, then lost his credibility in the UN speech over invading Iraq. That wasn't totally his fault, but it was still his mouth those fabrications came out of. Bush's imperialism ruined him, he should have quit way earlier, might have salvaged some of his reputation. I don't mean to be too harsh though, I still have great respect for Powell, particularly for his career before the Bush Administration, but its very disappointing the last chapter of his career.

Its not such a small hook the sunny disposition to compare with Reagan, our country currently has a severe deficiency in optimism. People want something different.

>>"He makes liberals feel good that there is finally a black candidate who doesn't embarrass themselves a la Sharpton or Jackson."

True that.

>>"but the Reagan comparisons most definitely END there...."

Thank goodness for that. We don't need another puritan. Affection for puritanism is gone anyway(other than you "base zombies"), Bush made sure of that.

Obama is the man, I'm telling you. He's my pick at this time, although I like Bill Richardson too. I'll fight my hardest at the caucus to keep H-Rod out of there. Its not impossible I would vote for Rudy, but I don't want to have to vote third party again.

obama - oh brother
i heard mr obama's attempt to equate the violence at VT to the violence of losing a job, etc, etc ...

i not only found this line of reasoning illogical but offensive. the watering down of language just minimizes what actually happened at VT. 32 innocent people were gunned down in cold blood by a rampaging murderer. it is a lot different than losing a job.

if this type of speech continues, he will talk himself out of the nomination. if he just shuts up and lets hillary do the talking, he should cruise to the democrat nomination.

One question
Are you for real or are you just imitating a one-note nutjob?

Every post is the same.

Dude, get a new shtick already, you are lame and borrring.

Few people
Could stomach being within a mile of you and you are over your head posting on TCS.. pardon us if we just regard your political horsepicking as barking at the moon.

Hey, but I'm sure "H-Rod" is reconsidering her decision now, wondering if she can wipe you off her shoe.

He may be the best Democratic Candidate...
He may be the best Democratic Candidate, but considering the competition, is that even a complement?

You mean, compared to Newt Gingrich or Rudy Giuliani
Hasn't abandoned enough wives, obviously, to be judged strong on Christian values.

What it takes to get elected...
I watched a speech by Barack Obama the other night. He's brilliant. He's electable. He is a problem solver and he is hopeful. He gives the impression that he can do the things he reasonably proposes to do. Reagan, again. And Reagan delivered.

The Democrats have the White House right now if they don't mess this up. Iraq will make sure of that. No Republican has any chance unless things get really ugly over there and we must call Colin Powell in off the bench late in the game.

John McCain seems unbalanced and scary. He might need to be impeached almost immediately before he could do something truly dangerous. Really.

Hillary is just so angry all the time. I think lots of us were married to her the first time. Same woman. Different name. She hated me.

Edwards and Giuliani are such lightweights. Fred Thompson is so very presidential.

Barack Obama has what it takes to get elected and he has what it takes to do the job. You might talk about Ronald Reagan. But I remember Jack Kennedy.

Too young. Too inexperienced. Catholic. He made us believe that we could do anything and everything we dreamed in 1960. And so we did.

Let our grandchildren look back on this day in 2056 and admire our vision. Barack Obama is about our future and our role in the world. The rest of these characters?

A Collectivist Reagan? No such...
Obama is a collectivist who measures human value - and non-value - by the group.

Such a value system perpetuates racism (pro and anti) in every walk of life. His 'church' requires that members support color/race definitions of fellow-humans - black KKK-style. That is not Biblical Judeo-Christian.

He is a slick man of words. His color may be the best thing about him. He is no Reagan. Not close.

vincit veritas
semper fidelis

Sunny optimism: the Reagan myth
Reagan was a 'sunny optimist' free of 'anger, resentment, and bitterness'? LOL. Do some homework on Reagan, please.

Reagan was perfectly willing to pander to fear, hate, and division. For example, he started his 1980 campaign in the town where three civil rights workers were murdered in the 1962, scorned the poor as 'welfare queens' and 'a faceless mass waiting for a handout'.

Reagan was also delusional. For example, he famously claimed that plants caused most air pollution and that he helped to liberated the Auschwitz death camp during WWII. He laid the groundwork for our current White House delusionist: Two books were filled with all of Reagan's inaccurate statements.

Obama is 'the black Reagan'? Hardly: Obama seeks neither to divide nor delude.

another problem for Barak, Husein obama
Here's another angle that could prove very problematic for him.. It's easy to hide his middle name Husein, because they think that might prejudice him because it's an islamic name. But they have to use some first name, and most westerners and esp. americans don't even know that Barak is also an islamic name. That's not the problem though, it could be bad for him because he's acutall an apostate, a guy who started out as a muslim, then converted to chrisianity. That's a death sentence for muslims. Maybe most Americans don't know he's an apostate, but I'm sure all the millions of muslims in the States do.

That is a lame comparison on his part. I also read that he insisted that Imus get the ax while meeting with Ludacris to promote black studies. Studies of what? He cant stay below the radar forever. Silence would be his best friend, and Hillary's rants.

Jack vs Obama
Jack was not a class warfare, anti tax cut, or big business hater. He was strong on defense, spreading democracy, and duty to country. Obama's voting record does not square with Jack's priorities. Obama never served his country except as a politician, which to me is self serving. He would be a weak Commander in Chief much like Clinton was and that is what got us to where we are today.

Aw, come on Heater
Doesn't it make you happy I'm on your side regarding Hillary?

Or are you a Hillary fan? I can't tell for sure if you think she can wipe me off her shoe.

You're so clever. Yes you are. Yes you are. Big sweetie.

Whats your point anyway? You don't like my analysis so you insult me? Go ahead and rub your hand on your head and pretend like I'm petting you. Dats a good boy, its all better now...

It'll be a tough decision if its Rudy vs Hillary when the time comes.

I would not be surprised if Obama is actually an atheist masquerading as a muslim who switched to Christianity. There is no Religious test in the Constitution to be President, but I have already been slandered by different folks who believe my "Sir" title precludes me from being elected to public office. I earned my title in The Catholic fraternity The Knights of Columbus, and hope that my pro-life work will help me in my candidacy for The Office of Governor NY State 2010, but I hope that Obama explains that the "Barak" name may also be related to The Hebrew name of former Israeli Prime Minister and General Ehud Baruch (spelling?) Has he been to Israel and Palestine? we know he opposes the Iraq War, but what will he do to fight Islamist terrorists who forge passports and working visas to The US like "blind" cleric Sheik Abdel Rahman who was connected to Ressam and Ramzi Youssef? I am all for optimism and inspiration, but does Obama have his feet on the ground and have the experience to preserve, protect and defend? I don't think so. I think Colin Powell might be, but his wife's depression will keep him out of the race as family comes first.

A prediction
First let me say that you are completely wrong about Condi and her chances if she decided to run. Dead wrong. Considering that you and your liberal ilk have been constantly out manuevered politically as well as morally by GWB I wouldn't be so quick to label him and idiot. It certainly doesn't put you in a good light to be utterly defeated by someone on par with a "pet donkey".

Now onto my prediction: What will happen is that Obama will draw in tons of cash during his campaign and then he will conceed the nomination, or feign defeat, and throw his war chest into Hillary's and either become VP or go back to the Senate with the promise that he will get his chance after Hillary.

Because if he doesn't the Clinton war machine will crush him and his future hopes.

All that being said I have to say that Obama is vapor. He has no substance but is able to instill awe in the guilty progressive liberal heart. The guy is personable but then again, so was Bill Clinton and look what that got us.

Stupid one liners...
from a stupid little person.

Tell me, LeMule, where has Giuliani hopped on the Christian values bandwagon? Not to mention that you liberals are always telling the Conservatives to stay out of your bedrooms and other personal areas. Does that not apply when your opponent is Republican? Hypocrite, thy name is Liberal.

1960 was 48 years before 2008...
The world is a very different place and America has a very different role to play (in it) now 48 years after John Kennedy was elected.

What we need is a man of our times to stand up and say:

"We can do this."

"We will do this."

"We will not compromise our integrity as the land of the free and the home of the brave."

"We make no excuses and we seek no one to blame."

"We are our own best hope and we are the hope of the entire world."

Does that sound like any other candidate you can think of?

If John Kennedy was alive today and 43 years old then his message to America would be very similar to Barack Obama's. Because this is what we need (and what we want to hear) today.

time will tell if your prediction is right

>>"Considering that you and your liberal ilk have been constantly out manuevered politically as well as morally by GWB I wouldn't be so quick to label him and idiot. It certainly doesn't put you in a good light to be utterly defeated by someone on par with a "pet donkey"."

Agreed on the last sentence, it is a very bad light. The leading light was John Kerry's utterly disgusting performance as a candidate in 2004. The only positive thing I can say about Karl Rove is that he is a genius at marketing. Any outmaneuvering that has occurred has been because of Rove and his team. Not even Bush's one strength, charisma, the perception he is a regular guy, has survived to today. Republicans capitalized on FEAR unbelievably well from 9/11 through the 2004 election. The combination of Bush's incompetence(including Iraq), Republican scandal and corruption, and the deterioration of domestic attention led to the thumping Republicans took in the mid-term. FEAR is no longer a hot button they can use so easily.

Bush is a figurehead. Frankly, its kind of unfair the reputation he has, because I don't think he is THAT bad of a person. Its all the neocon blood suckers around him that are ruining things. For that he is an idiot. Its not a quick label by any means, he's earned it.

BTW, using religious nutjobs to get votes by telling them what they want to hear is not moral outmaneuvuring. Its not moral to use religious dogma as a political tool, and thats the only credit Bush can claim to morality.

Have you seen an Obama speech Tlaloc? He talks a lot of substance. And I don't agree with all of it, but I appreciate he says it knowing not everyone will.

Then again, why do you care? You're fully programmed already so you don't need to care what a Democrat says. In your case the Republicans could nominate my pet donkey and you would still vote for him.

Reagan's "pollution from plants" refers to the well-known turpentine fumes from conifers. Have you never walked through a pine forest? Do you know why the smoky mountains are so called?
Reagan criticized people who leeched off those honorable folk who work, and rightly so.

A closer match
"Happy" Hubert Humphrey is a much better comparison than Reagan.

Barak Hussein Obama as apostate
I've read now that his name means 'blessed' in Arabic, from the Koran. Also that his muslim father abondoned the famil when obama was 2, then his mom married another muslim Lolo Soetoro from Indonesia where they moved to and obama attended a madrasa. They don't let christians in those places; so that means he is, or was, a muslim. Now he claims that he and his wife are Christians. We know that muslim law says that apostates must be killed, as we see them doing wherever they can get away with it. If he publicy denies he is or was a muslim, they will hate him for that. He should then tell us if he's more afraid than normal of assasination. Or will he say that muslims should be free to convert? Then the muslim world will hate him more for advocating apostacy. If this all comes out, it will also humiliate the muslim world even more, so they doubly hate him if he becomes president, and America would have that many more enemies than the current islamofacists. The liberal MSM will never ask him about this, but I hope somebody has the nerve to bring it up in public. As a slimy politician, he and his handlers will try to keep all this under the carpet.

The odds are high that he will answer no to the first and yes to the second. As an oily politician, he will try to squirm out of a clear definitive yes with no wiggle room. But it should not be difficult for a smart journalist to get him to agree without reservation that Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states... ?

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. This right includes freedom to change his religion or belief.

...applies to Muslims

Once Obama condemns the Moslem tradition of death for apostasy, then he can be asked: ?

The Koran famously quotes Allah as saying in chapter (sura) 2, verse 256 that there should be ?no compulsion in religion.' Yet numerous sayings of Mohammed known as hadith which form the basis of Islamic Sharia law quote Mohammed as saying ?If a Moslem discards his religion, kill him.' So are you telling Moslems that Allah was right but Mohammed was misquoted, and their Sharia law tradition on apostasy is wrong?

You can see how much fun there is to be had with this. Again, the key is taking Obama at his word that he is a Christian and not secretly a Moslem. No accusations necessary. The point is that Moslems view him as first a Moslem, not that he does. If done right with honest, straightforward, and persistent questioning Obama can serve as a quite useful anti-islamofascist tool.

Moslems will be infuriated with him for embarrassing them, Americans will tell themselves never to vote for someone with Hussein in their name to be their president ? and it just might get a number of influential Moslems to abandon an important part of Islamic law. This is going to happen to Obama this year. And not only that. For he?ll then be asked if he will support the efforts of Christian missionaries in Islamic countries to peacefully convert Moslems to Christianity. ?

Yep, might as well

To my point....
>>Condi is respected, but she's a schlub,

That goes to my point quite nicely. I didn't criticize Obama. He's a liberal, I disagree with his politics, but I don't think there is anything innately wrong with him. That he is black or white (in his case he's actually both but he likes to emphasize the black part :-) is irrelevant to me. The left has said things about Condi/Powell (wasn't it Belafonte who called Powell the "house n****r"?) in a rather derogatory, vicious way. You won't see the right saying things like that about Obama. It couldn't be done. What is considered "racist" when said by righties or libertarians is "valid observation" or "satire" when said by the left :-) There is a vast array of horrible Condi cartoons by nationally syndicated cartoonists to prove it. Just google Condi and racist (or cartoons).
I GUARANTEE you will never see an Obama caricature portraying him in a racially derogatory way the way they do Condi or any black conservative...

I do think if Obama was pale skinned the left wouldn't be as in love with him. He'd be just another liberal, probably less popular than Bill Richardson (who I also like and is the one dem candidate I could stomach).
But the author of the piece does make a good point regarding the Reaganesque quality (the "sunniness", as many like to call it) of Obama. He's a happy, smiling face that makes the liberals feel good they can finally be proud of a black politician at the national level the way the right has been proud of Condi and Powell. But I'm not sure that veneer about Obama will last.... was funny to watch that collection of dems last night on TV. Nothing about ANY of them struck me as Reaganesque....

Pine trees = turpentine? LOL
Wow, never noticed how pine trees smell like turpentine. I haven't distilled any pitch lately. And Reagan didn't mention that part. Here's his actual quote: "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do." BTW, is turpentine a source of air pollution? Anything I see about it is aimed at reducing turpentine's risk as water pollution.

insane crackpot conspiracy theorists got nothing on you D
Well, at least one of the 3 or 4 facts in that long post is incorrect. Obama didn't attend a madrassa as a kid. Didn't you get the memo Dietmar? The right wing already tried that tact, it was found to be false, so they stopped trying to use that falsehood to smear him. Don't worry, there will be plenty more falsehoods dug up for you.

I'm curious, what things about a person with "Hussein" in their name makes them unqualified to do anything?

You seem to know a lot about Islam Dietmar. A little too much...

point is off base
I think you're confusing your point BigDell. Its not ok for the left to make racist comments about Condi, but it does seem ok for blacks to make racist comments about her. The example you mention, Belafonte, thats a black guy making a racist comment about another black person. I disagree that that is ok, but societal reality currently disagrees with me. Which, its also disingenuous of you to use Belafonte's comments to represent the left's. Harry Belafonte represents no one but himself, so to equate his comments to those of a larger group of people is devious.

Cartoons? Really? Is that how you gauge the discourse of political debate? The content of cartoons?
First of all, that link you provided, thats not a racist cartoon. Whats racist about it? Its Condi as a parrot on W's finger. I recognize the website calls it racist, so maybe thats why you're confused. Thats what you'll get when you trust a partisan right wing website for information. Look at it again, tell me whats racist about it.
I even googled Condi Cartoons, looked at a couple dozen, none that were racist, all but 1 were critical of her job performance. They can be harsh, even distasteful, but good ones also tend to be grounded in truth.

>>"I do think if Obama was pale skinned the left wouldn't be as in love with him."

I will agree with you on this statement to an extent, unfortunately. The fact he is black is a factor, but its more like a cherry on top than the reason people like him. He is liked because he is seen as an outsider to Washington, when he speaks he comes across as genuine and thoughtful. People want change in our government, I think we ALL can agree it needs to be fixed, and people see Obama as a person not already corrupted, so the chance he can fix it is that much greater. To some people, who really espouse diversity and all that, I think they get extra excited about a good black candidate. But to most people, I don't think it really matters that he is black, but you can't deny at least some recognition that its a beneficial factor in most circumstances. Similar to the pride you feel in having a black woman so prominent in W's Administration. Its a superficial pride, but it works to an extent.

The whole country was proud of Powell. That was a man everyone could respect and admire. Look what happened when he got involved with BushCo. He is responsible for himself utmost, he isn't a victim, but he got trampled by the neocons and his career ended in infamy. Its sad really, his value of loyalty actually hurt him in this case, he should have resigned much earlier and spoke up about what was going on.
You can have Condi, there is little reason for anyone to respect her anymore. She is in over her head in this job and she IS Bush's parrot. Or schlub, as I described it previously. I'll give credit where its due though, she is less of a schlub today than she was 2-3 years ago.

TCS Daily Archives