Hattip to Pauli at Est Quod Est. A rising political storm is coming.
Kathryn Elizabeth “Kate” Smith (May 1, 1907 – June 17, 1986) was an American singer, best known for her rendition of Irving Berlin‘s “God Bless America“. Smith had a radio, television, and recording career spanning five decades, reaching its pinnacle in the 1940s.
Smith was born in Greenville, Virginia. Her professional musical career began in 1930, when she was discovered by Columbia Records vice president Ted Collins, who became her longtime partner and manager. Collins put her on radio in 1931. She appeared in 1932 in Hello Everybody!, with co-stars Randolph Scott and Sally Blane, and in the 1943 wartime movie This is the Army she sang “God Bless America”.
Late in the following video you’ll see a young Lt. Ronald Reagan make a cameo. 39 years later President Ronald Reagan awarded Kate Smith the Presidential Medal of Freedom America’s highest civilian honor.
Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, is already being painted as a moderate by the media and some political interest groups. This portrayal of Kagan is difficult to dispute comprehensively because of her lack of a public record and accompanying statements that delineate her actual personal views on judicial philosophy, thus, complicating the venture of placing her on an ideological spectrum.
Despite this hermeneutical difficulty, allegedly confident political portraits have been made with the details that we do know about Elena Kagan. The New York Times on May 11 published a piece—“As Clinton Aide, Kagan Recommended Tactical Support for an Abortion Ban”—by Peter Baker discussing a memorandum authored by Kagan while she was working for the Clinton Administration. Kagan in the memo counseled President Clinton to support an amendment, authored by Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), to Republican-sponsored legislation to ban partial-birth abortion that would include an exception for the “health” of the pregnant women in a ban—so broad an exception that it could be easily employed as a loophole that would prevent few, if any, partial-birth abortion procedures.
President Clinton and his advisors (in this case, Kagan) anticipated that the Daschle amendment would not secure enough votes to pass, but White House support could provide enough political cover for Democratic lawmakers who could reiterate their alleged support of the partial-birth abortion ban, but justify their vote against it because of the lack of inclusion of the broad “health” exception for the pregnant woman. In the end, the Daschle amendment failed and the Republican-sponsored partial-birth abortion ban, endorsed by the National Right to Life, was successfully sent to President Clinton who consequently vetoed it. Kagan’s advice to the President was successful and held up the passage of a partial-birth abortion ban for six years.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life, before a joint-hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and the Constitution Subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 1997 said:
“The Clinton-Daschle proposal is a political construct, designed to provide political cover for lawmakers who want to appear to their constituents as if they have voted to restrict partial-birth abortions, while actually voting for a hollow measure that is not likely to prevent a single partial-birth abortion, and which therefore is inoffensive to the pro-abortion lobby.”
In other words, a better reading of the facts is not that Kagan is “in the middle” on abortion, but rather she was advising President Clinton of the pragmatic steps (endorsing a pseudo-ban on partial birth abortion) needed to defeat the actual pro-life measure. Kagan may very well be a “legal progressive” as was recently claimed from the White House defending the nominee from the political left suspicious of her liberal credentials. Read the rest of this entry »
In recent months, primarily due to the health care debate, much attention has been given to the contentious issue of public funding of abortion. Though it is true that the status quo, for the most part, has been not to directly subsidize abortion, Americans have been both directly and indirectly subsidizing abortion in a number of ways virtually since its legalization in 1973. Read the rest of this entry »
Highlights from the Dark, Dark Hours presented by General Electric Theater on December 12, 1954, 12 years before Reagan ran for Governor of California, and just a little over 9 months before Dean’s death in a car crash. Hattip to the Atlantic. Juvenile delinquency was a hot topic in the Fifties and in this morality play we see punk nihilism, magnificently portrayed by Dean, up against stolid decency ably portrayed by Reagan. This was made just after Reagan made the jump to television after his career as a leading man in Hollywood waned. Dean of course would go on to make the immortal Rebel Without a Cause which would be released after his death.
How I wish such a debate could really be held. The Gipper vs. The South Side Messiah! Reagan succeeded in moving the country politically to the right for decades. Obama is attempting to do the same for a leftward trajectory. Reagan lost 26 seats in the House in 82, but won re-election in 84 with an economy that recovered. Obama is the opposite of Reagan politically, but I assume that he is hoping this history can repeat for him in 12. If he is Machiavellian enough he may even be hoping that the GOP takes control of Congress in the Fall, thereby giving him an opportunity to attack a Republican Congress in 11 and 12. The problem for Obama is that Reagan had a substantial part of the GOP that was completely dedicated to him. I don’t think Obama enjoys that type of authority in his party currently. If the economy continues to be weak, I believe Obama may face a serious primary challenge in 12, something Reagan did not have to worry about in 84. Reagan wasn’t just President, he was the leader of the Conservative movement in the Republican party and had been since 76. Obama enjoys no such unfied support as of now from the Left of his party.
Happy birthday Gipper! Reagan and I share the same birthday. My beloved bride has the same birthday as FDR, January 30. My daughter’s birthday is February 9. This time of year is a good time for cake at the McClarey household!
It will come as little surprise to faithful readers of this blog, that I consider Ronald Reagan to be one of the great American presidents. My views on him are sent forth in this recent thread. He restored our prosperity and brought the Cold War to a successful conclusion. His radiant optimism was a tonic for the nation’s shaken morale. He deserves to be on Mount Rushmore if there were room.
It will perhaps stun faithful readers of this blog to learn that I have similar feelings for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Although I believe much of the New Deal was counterproductive and completely wrong-headed, FDR understood that raising the nation’s morale was absolutely critical. His sunny ebullient optimism, and his ringing phrase, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” were just what the nation needed. His fireside chats, which Reagan emulated in his Saturday radio chats, were a brilliant stroke which helped forge a personal bond between FDR and much of the nation. (Although not my Republican shoemaker grandfather who remained impervious to the charms of FDR to his dying day!) During the war his leadership was masterful and greatly aided the US in winning in 3 and a half years a global conflict. Prosperity was restored to the US on his watch, although it was due to the War and not the New Deal.
Reagan was a supporter of FDR. He used to say he didn’t leave his party, his party left him. Looking at Reagan side by side with FDR, it is hard not to believe that Reagan learned many valuable leadership lessons from FDR.
Reagan and FDR were both ardent patriots with a deep love for this nation. Their optimism was based on their belief that the US could overcome its present difficulties and go forward to a brighter future. I find this personally appealing. Optimism and courage are necessary both in our lives here on Earth and in our spiritual lives. I have always agreed with Saint Francis, “Let gloom and despair be among the Devil and his disciples.”
This is not about the current political climate or the Obama Administration and its endeavors. I’m not arguing for or against the Obama Administration or its policies because that is not the point of interest. Let me repeat: the point is not who is promoting good or bad policies (Democrats or Republicans), the effects of those policies, or any thing of the sort.
On the contrary, the interest here is fundamentally a point of history. In George Orwell’s 1984, the “Ministry of Truth” rewrote history to match whatever “the Party” declared, no matter its objective truth. In a recent article, Peter Beinart notes that a number of conservatives refuse to be outdone by Orwell’s fictional group and this is manifest in the party’s historical revisionism of the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Wilson Reagan, how I miss you.
When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can’t be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.Poles fought for their freedom for so many years that they hold in special esteem those who backed them in their struggle. Support was the test of friendship. President Reagan was such a friend. His policy of aiding democratic movements in Central and Eastern Europe in the dark days of the Cold War meant a lot to us. We knew he believed in a few simple principles such as human rights, democracy and civil society. He was someone who was convinced that the citizen is not for the state, but vice-versa, and that freedom is an innate right.I often wondered why Ronald Reagan did this, taking the risks he did, in supporting us at Solidarity, as well as dissident movements in other countries behind the Iron Curtain, while pushing a defense buildup that pushed the Soviet economy over the brink. Let’s remember that it was a time of recession in the U.S. and a time when the American public was more interested in their own domestic affairs. It took a leader with a vision to convince them that there are greater things worth fighting for. Did he seek any profit in such a policy? Though our freedom movements were in line with the foreign policy of the United States, I doubt it.President Reagan, in a radio address from his ranch on Oct. 9, 1982, announces trade sanctions against Poland in retaliation for the outlawing of Solidarity.I distinguish between two kinds of politicians. There are those who view politics as a tactical game, a game in which they do not reveal any individuality, in which they lose their own face. There are, however, leaders for whom politics is a means of defending and furthering values. For them, it is a moral pursuit. They do so because the values they cherish are endangered. They’re convinced that there are values worth living for, and even values worth dying for. Read the rest of this entry »
Never in a million years would I have expected a Frenchman, any Frenchman living today, to chide an American president to be a man. Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan are rolling over in their graves as French President Nicolas Sarkozy reminds President Obama, our president,that “we live in a real world, not a virtual world“.
This episode between Sarkozy and Obama occurred prior to President Obama’s I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons disarmament speech as chair of the United Nations Security Council meeting on September 24. An American holding the chair of the U.N. Security Council was a first, so the foreign media was out in force attracting global attention. Unbeknownst to the world at the time President Obama, as well as Sarkozy, had intelligence that Iran had an illegal uranium enrichment facility.
So instead of using the bully pulpit as the leader of the free world and his superior oratory skills to admonish Iran at the United Nations Security Council, Obama chose to give his I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons disarmament speech. The New York Times reported “White House officials,” did not want to “dilute” his disarmament resolution “by diverting to Iran.”
Here is a good portion of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis written in 1987 and is followed up by Pope Benedict’s most recent. It is a relevant passage because it deals directly with the subjects dealt with in the ongoing discussion on “Guatemala” et al, on the debated need for apology/examination of our American conscience for abuses- or some would argue not- by our American leadership and elite interests, in regard to other nations- particularly poorer, weaker ones. There seems to be the idea floating around in conservative political circles that Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were cut from the same cloth. I do not believe the approach to foreign relations by those who praise the Reagan/Bush years, holds up to Catholic scrutiny. But here are the words of our previous Holy Father- and no I do not accept the argument that we can distinguish where the Peace and Justice crowd at the Vatican is speaking and where the Pope is- that sort of treatment of these official Encyclicals is beneath my contempt. I will offer commentary on the latest encyclical after I have time to digest it, I refuse to rush my judgment on such important Church offerings. : Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Reagan has written how strongly Sarah Palin reminds him of his adoptive father Ronald Reagan. I fully concur. Palin is a political talent of the first order. Here is my take on her performance in her debate with the hapless Joe Biden:
1. Palin brought home the fact that she and her family lead lives much closer to the lives of middle class Americans than any of the other candidates running on the national tickets, and in a year when Congress and the President have shrinkingly small approval ratings that is important.
2. She ignored some of the questions from the moderator and talked about what she wanted to talk about. Great!!! Political debates aren’t academic exercises, they are part of a political struggle and Palin, as opposed to Biden, understood that.