Look what they’ve done to Ronald Reagan, and to our country

images-2Sometimes you hear people say that America can no longer afford X, Y or Z because we’re broke. We just don’t have the money.

We are not broke. We are not anywhere near broke. But we may in fact be broken.

Our political system is broken, our national will is broken, our sense of ourselves as a people is broken, our commitment to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” is broken. Our willingness to invest in each other and in our future is broken.

And I know of no better illustration than the debate over the federal gasoline tax.

Today, the Highway Trust Fund sits empty. It’s been 10 years since Congress could manage a full-scale authorization of the major source of transportation financing in this country. For the past four years, Congress has been patching together funding on a piecemeal basis. It is doing so again as you read this, passing a two-month funding extension while they work on a “permanent solution” that will never come. Because we are broken.

1993
The problem, of course, is the gasoline tax that is supposed to keep the highway fund solvent. The last time the tax was raised was 1993. As the charts above document, the price of a movie ticket has more than doubled in those 22 years. The price of a new car has almost tripled. The price for gasoline has more than doubled. The price that we are willing to pay for almost every good and service provided by the private sector has increased substantially since 1993, while we insist that the price that we pay for public goods must never rise a penny.

The system cannot operate that way, and by “system” I mean the transportation system as well as the political system.

Many people on both the left and right attribute that change of attitude to President Ronald Reagan, the icon of modern conservatism. They are simply wrong. The actual Reagan — the man, not the mummified myth — understood the difference between campaign rhetoric and implementing policy, between the poetry of politics and the hard prose of governance.

The actual Reagan raised the gasoline tax. He not merely raised it, he more than doubled it, from four cents a gallon to nine cents a gallon. He also set aside a penny of that amount and reserved it for use in financing mass transit. Atlanta’s MARTA system was financed in part through that special fund.

And Reagan did not take such a step reluctantly. He advocated it and fought for it. “America can’t afford throwaway roads or disposable transit systems,” he said. “The bridges and highways we fail to repair today will have to be rebuilt tomorrow at many times the cost.”

As he told the country in a 1982 radio address:

“Common sense tells us that it’ll cost a lot less to keep the system we have in good repair than to let it crumble and then have to start all over again. Good tax policy decrees that wherever possible a fee for a service should be assessed against those who directly benefit from that service. Our highways were built largely with such a user fee — the gasoline tax. I think it makes sense to follow that principle in restoring them to the condition we all want them to be in.”

Common sense, he said. What a quaint concept.

Can you imagine any modern Republican today making such a statement? The Tea Party would howl, Rush Limbaugh would condemn him as a RINO, the Ted Cruzes of the world would snort in derision, Grover Norquist would read him out of the conservative movement and the Club for Growth would recruit somebody to run against him in the primary. And that somebody would probably win.

I write all this as someone who never voted for the man, but who also recognizes how those who came after him have distorted and perverted his message. Unlike those who claim to honor him, Reagan understood the difference between a political philosophy that guides your choices and a hard, unyielding dogma that dictates those choices, and that is enforced with a Stalinist ferocity. He also had faith in what we could accomplish together.

But those who claim to be his heirs have taken the man and turned him into a cartoon that does their bidding, a graven image that bears little resemblance to the actual flesh-and-blood human being. It is not his fault, but the fault of those who have corrupted his legacy and are in the process of breaking the country that he loved.

Reader Comments 0

1371 comments
LeoFromChicago
LeoFromChicago

Nice beginning but the shift to Ronnie is a complete distraction.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Republicans can wise up. Even Nathan Deal saw what the refusal of Medicaid

expansion was doing to his legacy and pawned it off on the legislature.
 Rick Scott too.

PudHead
PudHead

BTW where did that TRILLION dollars for shovel ready projects go????

Brosephus
Brosephus

@PudHead 

We need better trolls with original material...


Remember when Obama got his trillion-odd dollars of "stimulus money" which he and the Democrats breathlessly said we needed for "shovel ready" jobs to re-build roads and infrastructure? Please e-mail me if anything of the sort got built in your town. Nothing got built in the cities where I spend time.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/stimulus-money-for-shovel-ready-projects-where-did-it-go-92666/#8KLF7rL7cBBSugwE.99

HarryCrews
HarryCrews

Personally, one of the biggest problems with the political parlance here is the treating of our political system like it's a college football game. Don't get me wrong, I live for Saturdays in the south. But to firmly stand beside your team, no matter what, is a pretty simple way to look at governance. Would you bet your hard earned dollars on the outcome of every game if you were, say, a diehard Vanderbilt fan? Why do so on on a matter of greater importance? So many here, preach individualism, personal responsibility and decry "socialism". However, they cannot defer from the "party". The only difference between party politics here and in communist countries is here there are two. Political parties should be scorned or at least diluted (by a dozen or so) because of their tendency to seek more power than other groups and take revenge on political opponents. That is no way to govern a people. Does anyone ever vote for the person as opposed to the letter anymore?

Brosephus
Brosephus

http://time.com/3576090/midterm-elections-turnout-world-war-two/

The last time voter turnout was this low, the U.S. was fighting WWII

The last time voter turnout for a national election was as low as it was on Nov.4, Hitler was still in power, and Mitch McConnell was only nine months old.

Only 36.4% of eligible voters voted in this year’s midterm elections, down from 40.9% who voted in 2010, according to preliminary analysis by Michael McDonald at the University of Florida. The last time voter turnout was that low was 1942, when only 33.9% of voters cast ballots, according to the United States Elections Project.


And some people want to brag about being #1 in the worst voter turn out in a lifetime...  LOL!!!

Dirt and trees don't vote.  Land doesn't vote.  When voter turnout is higher or more people are voting in a district, Republicans tend to lose.  That's why you don't have many Republicans elected to office in urban areas.  If Republican ideology was actually causing this "groundswell", then this would not have happened...


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-01-03/final-tally-shows-obama-first-since-56-to-win-51-twice

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama is the first president in more than five decades to win at least 51 percent of the national popular vote twice, according to a revised vote count in New York eight weeks after the Nov. 6 election.

State election officials submitted a final tally on Dec. 31 that added about 400,000 votes, most of them from provisional ballots in the Democratic stronghold of New York City that were counted late in part because of complications caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The president nationally won 65.9 million votes -- or 51.1 percent -- against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who took 60.9 million votes and 47.2 percent of the total cast, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


Even the great Ronald W. Reagan didn't accomplish that, nor did William J. Clinton for that fact.  Republicans won office in 2014 in big numbers, but liberal policy was passed in several states, including perennial Red states.  It's all a wash, but for some, it gives reason to engage in an ideological whizzing contest.

td1234
td1234

@Brosephus And the Democrats spent more money than ever in a mid term election so why could they not get their voters to turnout for a midterm election? 

Brosephus
Brosephus

@td1234 

Ummm...  Nobody got voters out, hence the sub 40% turnout rate.  Both parties failed at that.  Democrats always show poorly in midterm elections as well.  Just as Republicans don't do well in presidential year elections.

Why else do you Repubs/Conservatives harp on 2010 and 2014 while neglecting 2012?  I was born at 2:29 am, but it was not this morning.

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

Got proof?

80 sometimes 120 on good night

Wena Mow Masipa How
Wena Mow Masipa How

Meanwhile, in other news, the President's first tweet immediately attracts a barrage of hate, vitriol and racism.  Our cons will no doubt have a tantrum at the mere suggestion, but the essence of the right's opposition to the current President is his blackness.  

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Wena Mow Masipa How

There's no doubt racists, such as the ones writing on the internet's bathroom wall (Twitter) exist. Their party affiliation cannot, however, be proven.

Whomever the twits were, their comments were disgusting.

RaindroidWillBoy
RaindroidWillBoy

@Wena Mow Masipa How


That is beyond a doubt the weakest minded conclusion that is tossed around in such forums.


If you cant think beyond his color and what you perceive as rapant racism by your opponents, why do you even bother?

GaBlue
GaBlue

@FIGMO2

In what alternative universe do you think Democrats are saying those racist things about this President?

alexander2
alexander2

@Wena Mow Masipa How  "essence"---simplistic, adolescent,demeaning and wrong..It may be the reason for your support, but do  believe that many disagree with him for a poor ME policy, immigration, ACA. Many have reasoned thoughtful ideas which have nothing to do with race.

PudHead
PudHead

What a liberal arguing for higher taxes, say it isn’t so…..I have a better question, how much money was collected on the current tax structure and how was it spent. I would bet you will find that the taxes collected, a large percentage did NOT go to transportation infrastructure.

PudHead
PudHead

@barkingfrog

Hmm I said “I would bet” yet liberals think I said I had proof, well libs, where is YOUR proof, feel free to link me to the budget and the revenue collected…

PudHead
PudHead

@barkingfrog 

Feel free to read up....

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/five-reasons-not-raise-gas-tax?gclid=CPuOvJ6-1cUCFQQSHwodBjIAeA 

For more than 50 years after Congress created the Highway Trust Fund in 1956 it was able to avoid a shortage of funds by a simple measure: it didn’t spend more than was collected in gas taxes. That changed in 2008, when tax revenues declined due to the financial crisis but Congress continued to spend as if the revenues were growing.

Since 2008, Congress has had to replenish the trust fund with $55 billion in general funds. This isn’t, however, a subsidy to highways; in the last decade, Congress has diverted well over $55 billion of gas taxes to non-highway projects.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

The GOP accuses Hillary Clinton of acting like a republican and thinks that will get her .....

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

New evidence about the Benghazi incident will result in the incarceration

of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. (Republican dream, wet one at that)

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

The absolute incredulity expressed by Republicans that donations were made

to a charitable organization is incredulous.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@SimpleTruths @barkingfrog Let us know when there are Federal regulations regarding how much overhead a charitable organization is allowed to have, won't you?


DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

DEA Agents Accused of Owning Strip Club That Employed Illegal Alien Dancers

I guess he'll be getting that promotion, now.

And, a bonus, no doubt.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

@DownInAlbany 

Familiarity with undocumented workers will go a long way in support of

immigration reform. It's hard to hate a naked lady.

kayaker71
kayaker71

Why are liberals still in denial about 2010 and 2012?  In the last 6 yrs since Bozo has been president, we have taken back the Senate and the House and as td has listed below, many, many more elected offices all over the country.  The facts are there, Demos.  Read em and weep. 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@kayaker71 "Why are liberals still in denial about 2010 and 2012?"


Why are cons in denial about every election since 2008?


"In the last 6 yrs since Bozo has been president, we have taken back the Senate and the House and as td has listed below, many, many more elected offices all over the country."


And yet you can't get a majority of Americans to support your ballot measures or your Presidential candidates.


"The facts are there, Demos.  Read em and weep."


I guess when you can't snag the White House, you have to find your consolation prizes wherever you can.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

@kayaker71 We have no president named "Bozo" in this reality.  Perhaps you are thinking of the lead actor, Bonzo, in that B movie that co-starred Ronnie.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@td1234 "Posted this late last night but it is so true and powerful and shows just how the progressives have been grubered over the past 7 years."


Not true and largely powerLESS.  That's why Limbaugh is screaming about it.


Republicans are gaining seats, in most cases, due to gerrymandering and redistricting.  That's why the GOP has been so desperate to get the VRA preclearance rules overturned by the courts.


So Republicans have a lot of seats?  Fine.  Check out, on a nationwide basis, how many VOTES were cast for Republicans versus Democrats.  In 2012, Democratic candidates for Congress received over a MILLION more votes nationwide than Republicans did.  Look at the last cycle as well.


Furthermore, look at ISSUES at the polls.  If Republicans were riding the wave as TeeDee would have us believe, then why did all four 'fetal personhood' measures lose at the polls last November?  And why did three more states approve increasing their minimum wage?  That's three for three on Election Day 2014, and thirteen for thirteen in just the last three years -- a QUARTER of the states.


Plus, if the GOP were so all-fired powerful, how come they can't stop marijuana legalization and the acceptance of gay marriage?


Hmm?  If y'all were all that Limbaugh claims, you'd be having Jesus parades in the street every day and twice on Sunday.


But you're NOT.

kayaker71
kayaker71

@Tuna Meowt @td1234 gerrymandering and redistricting?  And that is why we regained the Senate and the House.  Liberal logic strikes again.  You just lost, Tuna.  Plain and simple.

SimpleTruths
SimpleTruths

@Tuna Meowt @td1234 

"In 2012, Democratic candidates for Congress received over a MILLION more votes nationwide than Republicans did.  Look at the last cycle as well."

Another tired talking point.  And a lack of understanding of how Congressional elections work.

td1234
td1234

@kayaker71 Do not forget about all the Governors that Republican. Yes, the Senate and Governors are all due to gerrymandered states. 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@kayaker71 @Tuna Meowt @td1234 "gerrymandering and redistricting?  And that is why we regained the Senate and the House."


Count how many votes D and R candidates received at the state level in 2010, 2012 and 2014.  It's clear that your party is losing ground and the ONLY explanation is the gerrymandering your own party admits to engaging in.


"Liberal logic strikes again."


For a physician, you sure aren't very smart.


You just lost, Tuna.  Plain and simple."


You just can't win the White House, Kayaker.  Plain and simple.


td1234
td1234

@Tuna Meowt Democrats controlled the majority of state legislatures in 2010 when redistricting occurred so are you saying they drew districts so that Republicans could take over in 2014? You logic falls apart right there. 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@SimpleTruths @Tuna Meowt @td1234 "Another tired talking point."


The truth hurts you.


"And a lack of understanding of how Congressional elections work."


Irrelevant.  The fact is, the GOP is *losing ground* in every election.  Your base is dying off and you're just not attracting younger and/or minority voters.


Too bad.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@td1234 @Tuna Meowt "Democrats controlled the majority of state legislatures in 2010 when redistricting occurred"


Stop right there, ignoramus.  The GOP's redistricting scheme has been going on since 2000, and possibly earlier in some states.


Nothing wrong with my logic, but there *is* something wrong with your understanding.


SimpleTruths
SimpleTruths

@Tuna Meowt @SimpleTruths @td1234 

"Irrelevant"

The irrelevant thing is your talking point.  There isn't one national vote for Congress.

Keep trying to spin the election results though.  Spin, baby, spin!

td1234
td1234

@Tuna Meowt What that shows me is how many Republican actually sat at home or did not cast a ballot for President in 2012 due to Romney being the nominee. 


Also, Nate Silver explained your point very well. (Paraphase) Democrats mainly live in big cities and in those districts they are over 90% democrat. 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@td1234 @kayaker71 "Do not forget about all the Governors that Republican. Yes, the Senate and Governors are all due to gerrymandered states."


Didn't say it, didn't think it.


Just out of curiosity, why do you think those fetal personhood bills all failed last November?  And why did the minimum wage increase measures all pass?


If all those Republican governors were so badazz. couldn't they have changed the outcome?  Or if the electorate was so all-fired conservative, why didn't they vote along conservative lines?


td1234
td1234

@Tuna Meowt And yet: "11 governorships, 13 U.S. Senate seats, 69 House seats, and 913 state legislative seats and 30 state legislative chambers."


How do you explain away 11 Governorship's and  13 US Senate seats? 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@td1234 @Tuna Meowt "What that shows me is how many Republican actually sat at home or did not cast a ballot for President in 2012 due to Romney being the nominee."


And yet he's running again?  LMAO

td1234
td1234

@Tuna Meowt Democrats in NY, CA, Mass... did not redistrict to benefit Democrat candidates? 


Where is the logic? 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@SimpleTruths @Tuna Meowt @td1234 "The irrelevant thing is your talking point.  There isn't one national vote for Congress."


Which isn't the point in the first place.


"Keep trying to spin the election results though.  Spin, baby, spin!"


Nobody's spinning but your side.  Your narrative of an overwhelmingly Republican ilent majority falls apart when you count how many votes were actually cast for Ds and Rs.


Fact is, the GOP is NOT a majority.  QED.

RaindroidWillBoy
RaindroidWillBoy

@Tuna Meowt @td1234 @kayaker71


BS on gerry mandering et al.  DEMs got creamed because they couldn't get thier people out to vote.  Most pathetic comment by BO......suggesting the election doesn't say much because few people voted.  He was impotent as was his party to get folks interested in voting...pure and simple.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@td1234 @Tuna Meowt How do you explain conservative candidates being elected but conservative POLICIES failing almost universally at the ballot box in 2014?


Your candidates do well.  Your *policies* don't.  This is why GOP candidates are moving left on things like immigration, marijuana and gay marriage.


Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@td1234 @Tuna Meowt "Where is the logic?"


You're way on the other side of the discussion, TeeDee.  You're simply not getting it, just like with Iraqi WMD the other day.


I could probably spend an hour or two today politely answering your questions just like I did earlier this week, but somehow, I doubt you'd catch on today, either.


TomMiddleton
TomMiddleton

@Tuna Meowt @td1234 

Dems get the most votes and the Cons still win. It's gerrymandering and redistricting, meaning they have to cheat to win. I mean, in a pure democracy....oh yeah, it's going to happen for sure!

td1234
td1234

@RaindroidWillBoy I am not so sure. There was a pew poll that came out yesterday where more than 50% of youth believe the Gay community is more than 20% of the population. 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@SimpleTruths @Tuna Meowt @td1234 "Not intended to be a factual, or even a rational statement."


Denied and rejected.


Your party wins by SUPPRESSING votes.  Plain and simple.


Don't like it?  Try appealing to a majority of the electorate for a change.