Times have changed from Reagan’s day to Obama’s
by Kevin Foley
May 08, 2014 10:00 AM | 1769 views | 15 15 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ronald Reagan was a former union president and New Deal Democrat who turned on his egalitarian convictions once he made a pile of money in Hollywood.

As California’s governor, he vilified Cesar Chavez, champion of downtrodden migrant workers who toiled in the fields of Reagan’s patrons, the state’s wealthy produce growers.

When Chavez led a strike, Reagan, munching grapes like Julius Caesar, pronounced the labor leader and his cause “immoral” at a produce grower’s banquet.

I lost a lot of respect for Reagan but after he was elected president, I accepted him as America’s leader.

Reagan made mistakes and he had victories. His winning smile and self-deprecating demeanor endeared him to supporters and opponents alike.

He worked with the Democratic-led Congress because Reagan came to recognize there were big problems only the federal government could solve.

Some on the far left viciously attacked Reagan, but those critics were on the fringe, kept there by responsible mainstream Democrats like House Speaker Tip O’Neill, who considered Reagan a friend.

Agreeable disagreement was the norm.

In 1983, Islamic terrorists bombed the United States embassy in Beirut, killing 17 Americans, including the CIA’s top Middle East intelligence expert.

Democrats didn’t politicize the tragedy and blame the president or call for his impeachment. We understood and accepted that sometimes bad things happened in dangerous places.

My, how times have changed. What went wrong?

Political civility began eroding after Reagan abolished the Federal Communication Commission’s Fairness Doctrine in 1987. Political speech had to be balanced, said the rule. When a broadcaster presented one point of view, it had to offer opposing opinions, too.

Once the Fairness Doctrine was gone, a little known former disc jockey gave voice to the fear, anger and confusion many conservative radio listeners felt over America’s fast-changing and complex socioeconomic and political landscape.

Rush Limbaugh dumbed down the discussion, making it fashionable to attack progressives in simplistic, demeaning, and often dishonest terms; women’s rights advocates were “feminazis,” environmentalists “whackos” and President Obama “Barack the Magic Negro.”

Republican leaders, terrified of Limbaugh, never pushed back. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) even apologized to him on the air for telling the truth.

In 1996, Roger Ailes launched Fox News Channel. More right wing voices were soon heard but as their number increased, the tone of the debate rapidly declined, with facts frequently taking a back seat to distortions and half-truths.

When Barack Obama became president, any restraint media conservatives had shown was blown away in a cyclone of outrage over a black Democrat moving into the White House.

Conservatives hurled unfounded accusations at the new president. Reagan was never compelled to produce his birth certificate. Why was Obama?

On 9/11, horrified, Democrats didn’t charge President Bush with dereliction of duty and call for multiple investigations. Instead, we rallied to Bush seeking his reassurance and leadership.

Imagine what conservatives would be saying and doing if 9/11 happened on Obama’s watch? Their pathological obsession with Benghazi suggests the answer.

Liberals are just as guilty of dragging the dialogue into the gutter, counter right wingers. That’s false equivalency; most progressive commentators don’t want to become the thing they abhor.

When MSNBC’s Martin Bashir crossed the line last year, he was fired. But there are seldom any consequences in the conservative media for crossing that same line.

Legitimate criticism of the president is fine, but why, from the conservative point of view, is virtually everything Obama does a failure when the facts say otherwise?

Whatever happened to giving our president the benefit of the doubt or credit when it’s due? What happened to respecting and supporting America’s lawfully elected leader?

Conservative commentators are fond of declaring America is headed downhill. I agree.

Until we become better informed citizens and start living our country’s motto, e pluribus unim, we’re doomed as a nation.

Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.

Comments
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Robert Daugherty
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May 16, 2014


I don't think I have ever had the displeasure of reading such a one-sided almost totally

inaccurate piece of liberal diatribe in one column in all of my life.

First off Tip O'Neill & Ronald Reagan where gentlemen and conducted their business in a respectable and dignified manner, Barack Obama & Harry Reid are 2 of the most conniving politician's in the history of the United States. For starters the 2 of them pulled every trick in the book to pass the ACA that is a complete bust and is in the process of destroying the greatest healthcare system in the world. The bill consisted of over 2300 pages which nobody had a chance to read and then we were told that we had to pass the bill so we could see what was in it by the illustrious House Speaker Pelosi. Had we had that chance to read it, it would have never passed. The American public were totally lied to and now we are suffering the consequences of it.

While the Democrats controlled the House and Senate in the 1st 2 years of Obama's presidency they jammed the $800 Billion dollar stimulus package through and proceeded to spend that to support their union buddies and distributed the rest of it to every conceivable liberal project they could think of right down to studying shrimp on a treadmill.

Now they are in the process of totally ignoring our immigration laws, releasing thousands of convicted illegal immigrants from our prison system into the general population. They refuse to complete securing our borders, they falsify the deportation figures and for the most part leave us totally at risk of preventing another 9/11. I could go on and on but there is not enough room in this comment column to list all of the discrepancies in this totally misleading and one-sided piece of garbage.

By the way liberal talk radio & television has failed on every attempt to find an audience and MSNBC & CNN are almost nonexistent in the ratings. People are finding out that the MSM is totally in bed with this administration. I'm waiting to see when and if the press wipes the egg off of their face.

The Benghazi and IRS scandals are finally coming to light and maybe, just maybe the American public will come to see how corrupt this administration really is.
WestCobbThinker
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May 12, 2014
@Honest Abe - You have perfectly described our current state - "A Cold Civil War".
N.B. Forrest
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May 13, 2014
@ West Cobb Thinker & Honest Abe - if there is a "cold civil war" it's being waged mainly by the Southern folks who started the hot Civil War 150 years ago.

How'd that work out for you?
just sayin
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May 13, 2014
You correct WestCobbThinker Georgia is in "A Cold Civil War". Now that we a "Guns for Everyone" law and a spiritual leaders like Clive Bundy and the NRA how long do you think "A Hot Civil War" will take?
Mike H
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May 09, 2014
Most people want a President who is smarter, more caring, and more patriotic than they are.

Racist Abe wants a President who looks like him.

Abe, go to the gym. Live a long long life and maybe there will eventually be a President who is as dumb as you are.
Honest Abe
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May 10, 2014
If the people wanted a President who is smarter, more caring and more patriotic than they are then why did they elect Obama/Biden TWICE????? Is there any part of this you don't understand Mike?

I think the nation is divided and we are now in a cold civil war.
why not
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May 09, 2014
Anyone remember the 241 American servicemen who were killed in their sleep at the Marine Barracks Oct 23, 1983. Ronald Reagan sent a peace keeping force to Lebanon which began firing peace keeping 16 inch shells from the USS New Jersey into Muslims at Suq-al-Garb. In response two rebel truck bombs blew the Marine barracks to bits. An investigation blamed command structure, the fact that guard weapons had no bullets and security consisted of barbed wire. No one was responsible or accountable, no one was fired or demoted. Ronald Reagan simply blessed the corpses and withdrew from Lebanon. A perfect example of the party of individual responsibility.
Doc Hollidawg
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May 09, 2014
Another interesting point. Seem the liberal leftist have been given some marching orders. Mr. Bookman at another local newspaper has almost the exact same column. Hmmmmmm......
why not
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May 11, 2014
Hmmmmmmmmm..... Perhaps that is because it is a historical fact that actually happened!
Doc Hollidawg
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May 09, 2014
Actually the extrememe political discourse and the end of compromised happened when Bush beat Gore. The day it was announced Bush was the winner the Left in this country lost their minds. And it's been downhill ever since. I can't beleive I am going to say this, but Mr. Foley actually has one good point in this "column" (a first, I know). It is that both sides of the political spectrum used to respect the office of the President, whichever side of the aisle occupied it. There was compromise and there was an agreement to disagree, but move on. The day after Bush v Gore, all of that went away. The Left lost their collective crap and vilified the office of the President from that day forward. And now here we are. A broken down system where no one wants to get along. Mr. Foley's weekly diatribe that includes twisted facts, logic and smears on the right are a prime example. Mr. Foley, how about be a part of the solution and not a continued part of the problem? You rail those such as Rush Limbaugh, yet you are their counterpart on the left doing the EXACT SAME THING. Can you not see that?
anonymous
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May 09, 2014
Hollidawg's confused. The 5 conservatives on the SCOTUS appointed Bush president in 2000.
Ben Twomey
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May 11, 2014
Wrong, anonymous. The SCOTUS simply called a halt to the endless recounts. all of which still gave Bush the Presidency no matter how many times they recounted. Al Gore, with his endless crying and whining was dragging the country down. When the decision was made to call halt to the BS antics of the Left, Gore and rest of the Dems spent the next 8 years fighting everything Bush tried to do, screaming that he stole the election, the he was not really the President. And so it continues through today, with the party in power being contantly vilifed by the other side.
Bob Johnson
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May 11, 2014
Anonymous is actually Kevin Foley. There is no way there could be 2 people with the same point of view as him.
just saying
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May 15, 2014
@ Ben Johnson how typical of the narcissistic, egotistical right winger to believe that there couldn't possibly be more than one person in the universe who disagrees with them
Honest Abe
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May 09, 2014
I agree the country is seriously divided on a number of issues especially the ongoing invasion of our nation by illegal aliens due to our unsecured borders. We are obsessed with the violation of Ukraines borders and are close to confronting militarily Russia over this matter which is none of our business. Our borders are our business however and noting is being done about it. And as for the first black President who was elected twice I would still prefer a President that looks like me. We may be in a cold civil war already.
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