Thursday, August 06, 2009

Reagan Did Not Win By Conjuring Eisenhower

Newt Gingrich is active with a live-to-automated survey promoting his Ronald Reagan documentary and his affiliation with the Presidential Coalition. Live-to-automated means a call to a household is made by a teleservice sales representative (TSR) who prompts an automated message which is followed by another TSR who asks the respondent questions.

In this instance Newt’s message cites Jimmy Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign theme about change, then assesses Carter’s record of being one of unemployment, inflation and deficits. This is then compared to President Obama’s campaign change theme and draws the conclusion that the same variety of unemployment, inflation and deficit spending is to result. Newt then categorizes Obama's agenda as socialism and asserts that a return to low taxes, smaller government and belief in people is needed now as it was when Reagan ran for president in 1980.

Newt then promotes his recent Reagan documentary, citing that his wife Calista collaborated on the project. The call climaxes with a TSR asking if the respondent believes America needs a return to Ronald Reagan-like policies and themes.

Unemployment is currently at roughly ten percent and likely to go higher. Inflation is currently low now with a probability to increase going into 2010. Debt and deficit spending of the Obama Administration speaks for itself and is getting to staggering and worrying proportions. All this is true. However, the morale of the American people does not seem to equate with 1980 – but it is worth mentioning that a recent survey found 60% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track.

Harkening back to Reagan is not a message that will make the GOP or any particular candidate relevant. Reagan was a great president, no doubt, but that was a different era. Red Elephant has said previously that Gingrich has tremendous intellect and problem-solving creativity as an out-of-the-box thinker. It does remains that Gingrich is also of a different era and not the future of the Republican Party.

Reagan did not get elected president by citing a return to Eisenhower, and the GOP won’t attract any interest by evoking Reagan now. Cherishing the memory of Reagan is all well and good, but does nothing to construct a relevant future for the GOP. Some voters may get a warm and fuzzy remembering Reagan, but it won’t make them forget that they disapprove of Republicans in Congress by a favorable to unfavorable ratio of 1:2. Republicans would do better to stop reminiscing about the past and instead get in the trenches and demonstrate their relevancy through thoughtful policy initiatives and opposition to the Administration and Democrats on the Hill.

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