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Conservative Political Commentary

Quote of the Day

Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The Kerry camp has released its official Statement from Senator John Kerry on the Death of Ronald Reagan, which closes with the words:
Americans will bow their heads in prayer and gratitude that President Reagan left such an indelible stamp on the nation he loved.
I agree with that sentiment and don't want to seem ungracious about Kerry's remarks, but reading the full text of Kerry's official statement, you would think that Reagan's greatest accomplishment was his ability to "swap jokes" with Tip O'Neill. The failure of Kerry's statement to acknowledge Reagan's real and great accomplishments (e.g., the fall of the Soviet Union) suggests to me that Kerry is blind to the lessons of history or fears that acknowledgement of Reagan's historical achievements in the battle against communism would inevitably inspire unfavorable recollections of where Kerry himself stood in that fight.

To Kerry's credit, in a speech today, he noted that:
Free men and women everywhere will forever remember and honor President Reagan's role in ending the Cold War. . . . He really did believe that communism could be ended in his lifetime, and he helped to make it happen. Perhaps President Reagan's greatest monument isn't any building or any structure that bears his name, but it is the absence of the Berlin Wall.
Well, that's an improvement on the "official" statement, but still I wonder why some reference to Reagan's role in bringing down the Wall was not included in Kerry's official statement.

Kerry has also announced today that, in honor of the late president, he is suspending campaigning through Friday. Again, I appreciate the gesture (though I expect any minute to hear the Kerry camp complaining that conservatives are "politicizing" Reagan's death), but for Kerry's own sake it is wise that he should maintain a very low profile while the nation honors the Gipper. Like I said, nothing could be more damaging to Kerry's presidential aspirations than for the nation to see or to hear him while recollecting the great life of Ronald Reagan.

Well, I don't care how low a profile Kerry keeps this week, I'm not going to let him off the hook that easily. As we recall Ronald Reagan's life, let us also recall those who opposed the greatest works of his life. Let us recall the position John Kerry took when he ran for the senate in 1984. That year Kerry's senate campaign released a statement calling for the military budget to be slashed by some $50 billion:
We are continuing a defense buidup that is consuming our resources with weapons systems that we don't need and can't use.

The Reagan Administration has no rational plan for our military. Instead, it acts on misinformed assumptions about the strength of the Soviet miliarty and presumed "window of vulnerability," which we now know not to exist.

And Congress, rather than having the moral courage to challenge the Reagan Administration, has given Ronald Reagan almost every military request he has made, no matter how wasteful, no matter how useless, no matter how dangerous.

The biggest defense buildup since World War II has not given us a better defense. Americans feel more threatened by the prospect of war, not less so. And our national priorities become more and more distorted as the share of our country's resources devoted to human needs diminishes.


John Kerry believes that the time has come to take a close look at what our defense needs are and to plan for them rather than to assume we must spend indiscriminately on new weapons systems.

John Kerry believes that we can cut from $45 to $53 billion from the Reagan Defense budget this year.
The Kerry 1984 Senate campaign statement goes on to list a breath-taking array of weapons Kerry wanted cut, or cancelled altogether, including systems that are now recognized as crucial to our national defense: B-1 Bomber (cancel!), Tomahawk Missile (cut 50%), Aegis Air Defense Cruiser (cancel!), F-15 Fighter (cancel!).

(Historical Note: In 1984, Kerry also wanted to cancel the Strategic Defense Initiative [SDI, also known as "Star Wars"]. If Kerry had succeeded in that effort, the United States would have unilaterally given up the bargaining chip that was to prove so crucial at Reagan's 1986 summit with Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland. At that summit, Gorbachev walked away without coming to terms on a new disarmament treaty when he couldn't bluff Reagan into giving up on SDI, which terrified the Soviets because they knew they would never be able to match our anti-missile technology. Seeing his bluff had been called, Gorbachev soon returned to the bargaining table and within two years, Reagan and Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty, agreeing for the first time ever to eliminate an entire class of nuclear missiles.)

Especially notewothy in Kerry's 1984 senate campaign statement is the claim that Reagan had "no rational plan for our military" and that, because of Reagan, we were not more safe, but were "more threatened by the prospect of war." Twenty years later, with literally hundreds of millions of souls in Eastern and Central Europe freed from communist tyranny, with our own nation safe from the nuclear threat of the "evil empire," history has confirmed the wisdom of Reagan's plan and the short-sightedness of Kerry's opposition to it:
Russians recalled Reagan's tough rhetoric and how he launched a withering arms race with his "Star Wars" program that precipitated the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which Reagan had famously dubbed an "evil empire."

"Reagan bolstered the U.S. military might to ruin the Soviet economy, and he achieved his goal," said Gennady Gerasimov, who was the top spokesman for the Soviet Foreign Ministry during the 1980s.

Former Soviet republics and other ex-East Bloc nations remembered Reagan as the American president who stared down Moscow and won, clearing the way for their independence and the 1991 Soviet collapse.

"President Ronald Reagan will be remembered in the hearts of all Latvians as a fighter for freedom, liberty and justice worldwide," Latvian Pesident Vaira Vike-Freiberga said.
Yet still today, with millions of souls freed from tyranny in Iraq and Afghanistan, with our own nation safe from the threat of Saddam's WMD programs, Kerry is wearing out his same old complaints about a sitting president, that he has not made us safer and that his "plan" can't succeed. After all these years, Kerry has learned nothing. He is still campaigning on the wrong side of history and remains impervious to its lessons.

posted by Bathus | 6/06/2004 03:06:00 PM
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Post a Comment

Blogger lostingotham said...

But I voted against the evil empire before I voted for it!

3:17 PM, June 07, 2004  
Blogger lostingotham said...

Let the word go forth that the blog torch has been passed to a new generation...

Nice to see you've finally taken the plunge and started posting your musings for the benefit of we less enlightened. I'll venture no criticism of the content (just yet, anyway), but I will air a couple of entirely superficial gripes about the format (recognizing, of course, that blogger's limitations may mean you couldn't take my advice even if you wanted too):

(1) put your e-mail adress somewhere obvious. That way dorks like me who want to crank about something off-topic won't have to muddy up your comments thread;

(2) pick another template--one without all that blindingly white space on the left. The one you're using would be hunky-dory if you had something over there to fill up the void (e.g. one of those huge blogrolls everyone seems to love), but as it stands your long posts end up looking lonely and bleak as they slither down the otherwise empty page.

Otherwise, it's a lovely effort. Good luck finding the time to do it justice!

11:06 PM, June 07, 2004  

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