Does Barack Obama see Ronald Reagan as criminal?

In his first inaugural address in January 1981, President Ronald Reagan uttered one of his more memorable quotes, encapsulating in one sentence the essence of what was — at least back then — one of the basic pillars of the Republican philosophy.  He said, “Government in not the solution to our problems; government is the problem. ”  Reagan’s statement was hardly a call for violence; and at the time no one construed it that way.  His remarks reflected the simple reality that for him and millions of his countrymen who had voted for him, government had become way too big and needed to be trimmed in order to protect individual liberty and to begin solving the problems facing the nation.

Now, three decades later, another president appears to take such exception to those who voice criticism of the government, as to charge that such words amount to nothing less than inciting violence and border on sedition.  In remarks last week at the University of Michigan commencement, President Barack Obama extolled the inherent and expansive virtues of all things government, even as he was sharply and pointedly critical of those who criticize government as being “inherently bad.”  Such talk, Obama clearly intimated, can lead “extremists” to commit acts of violence.

Had Obama been in a similar position of authority in January 1981, would he have  thus accused Ronald Reagan of inciting to violence during his inaugural address?  In order to be consistent, Obama would have had to similarly charge his predecessor; and he would have been just as wrong and off-base then as he is in 2010 to blame those who are critical of Big Government for the actions of a small number of criminals who commit acts of violence.

130 comments Add your comment

Conservative White Male

May 5th, 2010
6:50 am

Give it a break you loser

Chris Broe

May 5th, 2010
7:05 am

Obama would have tazed Reagan for his acting, and Oscar would have applauded his efforts!

It’s bedtime for Bob (Bonzo) Barr.

30 years has passed. It’s not the same country. When are pudwits going to realize that American demographic evolution defines the country, not nostalgic tomes to one liners delivered by B-movie actors.

I guess Bob Barr just had his Hee Haw moment, eh?

Just kiddin…….

.

Chris

May 5th, 2010
7:14 am

Obama will do anything to keep the power in the hands of the Government, and not the people, in which it belongs.

Oust the incumbents.

Barack

May 5th, 2010
7:28 am

If you are not the lead dog, the scenery never changes. I am the lead dog and I like the scenery from up here. I think that I shall run for King.

A dad

May 5th, 2010
7:31 am

How to reclaim your government in one day 101. This November, regardless ofpolitical affiliation, vote every single incumbent out of office. It will send a message to our career politicians that we’ve had enough, and that despite all their rhetoric, lobbyist buddies, etc., that “We, the People” demand a government that represents us, not the other way around.

joe

May 5th, 2010
7:31 am

happy cinco de mayo…here we celebrate Mexican independence day. Today’s tough question is, when do we Americans get some independence from footing the bill for everything illegal in immigration? I’m all for welcoming immigrants who come into our country the right way…give me your poor, your tired huddled masses, et al, but at what point do we realize enough is enough? I hope that point is not when our southwest turns into Mexico City where the drug lords have cart blanche on everything. So raise your margaritas today and give a toast to better times…

Boys be girly boys.

May 5th, 2010
7:34 am

Let’s change the article name to Bizzarre Code.

Marcus

May 5th, 2010
7:38 am

Your argument is fundamentally flawed, thus it makes no sense.

Williebee

May 5th, 2010
7:41 am

Don’t take Barack words too seriously. He does not beleive a word of it. All he is trying to do is to surpress the rights of people who think he has taken this country in a bad direction. Barrack has never seen a government program he does not like. From the beginning his plan was to drastically epxand spending and then try to jam tax increases through to remake the US into his utopian fantasy. Along the way he would like to disenfranchise those who work hard, invest and take risks. They are the enemy of his vision. He is folloiwng is community organizer script.

Mr Puppy

May 5th, 2010
7:42 am

Mr. Barr – You are wrong. Reagan never said “government is the problem.” The quote was, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem.”

Chris

May 5th, 2010
7:44 am

Cinco De Mayo IS NOT MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY!

martin

May 5th, 2010
7:45 am

Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help!

Waldo Pepper

May 5th, 2010
7:46 am

Don’t blame me…. I voted for McCain.

martin

May 5th, 2010
7:46 am

Amen Chris! Cinco de Mayo is celebrated because the French were whipped by the Mexicanos! Who hasn’t whipped up on the French?

Scout

May 5th, 2010
7:48 am

“That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

OedipusTax

May 5th, 2010
7:52 am

If one expects to have an intelligent dialogue with the readership of the AJC, one is sadly mistaken. The AJC has less than 3,000 people that are its fans on Facebook. One might as well be attempting to contact intelligent people by walking into your closet. Only 3,000 are stupid enough out of 600 million to admit they follow the brainless AJC writers like Cynthia Tucker. The AJC barely has any readers, and barely has anybody that can read. The comments above by the Obamaphiles shows us they aren’t the brightest bulbs in the bag. So, Bob, good luck dealing with these omphalopsychites.

ATL Fan

May 5th, 2010
7:53 am

Those who believe that government is the solution must not have faith in their own abilities and the abilities of their fellow man.

John Wayne

May 5th, 2010
7:53 am

This country has become a population of indulgent, weak, lazy, fat, cowardly, wussies, ripe for a takover. Muslims, Mexicans, the ACLU, the PACs and welfare parasites will bring this country to its knees..We will be Greece in a year.. stock up on food, ammo, gold, swiss francs and candian dollars …good luck

JLD

May 5th, 2010
7:54 am

When Reagan was president, my car loan had fifteen and a half persent intrest rate and my morgage intrest was twelve persent and let us not forget, Reagan raised taxes!!!!! For Barr to put Reagan on this GOP pedistal isn’t fooling this reader or anyone else who takes a moment to think. This article is just more of the same “lets take the Obama administration down” and the GOP doesn’t give a crap if it’s good for the country or not for them, it’s all about the party

ozzy

May 5th, 2010
7:57 am

Now we need to bar barr from expressing his idiotic thoughts and wanting us to comment on it (unless he is on crack)

joe

May 5th, 2010
8:01 am

Oops…my bad on incorrectly calling today Mex Ind. Day. Thanks for the history lesson Chris.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 5th, 2010
8:03 am

Good morning all. I think the only flaw I read in the essay of our esteemed host is the focus on the President. I think the core allegation – criminalization of the entire “freedom” political philosophy – is attributable to all leftists, not just Chauncey. Parenthetical note, Dr. Walter E. Williams published a marvelous essay this morning on freedom, fully consonant with the offering of Mr. Barr.

Prof.

May 5th, 2010
8:05 am

Bobb Barr – YOU are the problem.

Crawl into a hole and disappear. You weren’t re-elected because EVERYONE was tired of you. JUST GO AWAY ALREADY.

Dave

May 5th, 2010
8:07 am

BOB BARR LIED.

He misquoted Reagan just to try and make a point.

BOB BARR IS A LIAR.

Robert Heinlein's son

May 5th, 2010
8:07 am

Nobody’s lost their freedom; the majority of voters VOTED for the changes Obama proposed. Just because you’re a vocal and pissed off minority doesn’t make you either a majority or right.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 5th, 2010
8:15 am

Dear Mr. son @ 8:07, the deception in your argument is that Chauncey never said what changes he proposed. I think the November elections will reveal to all that the leftists mis-read the “mandate,” and that voters voted out the republicans due to their wild uncontrolled spending. As the democrats have now shown the American public the real meaning of “wild uncontrolled spending,” the republicans look penurious by comparison.

jarvis

May 5th, 2010
8:21 am

High interest rates were a direct effect of the Carter Administration’s policy to combat run away inflation.

And in a strange turn of events, I will actually give them credit for that move. There was a decade and a half of high interest, but at least they slowed a weakening dollar. It took real stones to back his Fed Chairman on that. It was clearly unpopular at the time.

Then again, Carter may have realized that he had no shot of being re-elected anyway, so what did he have to lose?

lawzoo

May 5th, 2010
8:24 am

Obama calling Reagan a criminal? Only someone who is a nutjob like Barr
could twist the warning by Obama of crazies being ignited by the Limbo’s of the country to a Reagan comment on government.

How did you ever get elected to Congress? Oh, the same crowd who votes for Jim Demented.

Elephant Whip

May 5th, 2010
8:26 am

Obvious interpretation of Obama’s statement: anarchists can be a problem for our country and may resort to terrorism.

Obvious interpretation of Reagan’s statement: government spending on bloated ineffective bureaucracy needs to be curtailed.

As for the extremists mentioned by Obama: perhaps he was referring to the “Christian” terrorists/anarchists who recently planned attacks on federal agents.

jconservative

May 5th, 2010
8:28 am

Actually the last person a Conservative should quote is Ronald Reagan.

Reagan brought us the economic policy of cutting taxes and increasing spending. With OMB director David Stockman driving the train, Reagan introduced the idea that we could cut taxes while increasing spending and have the national debt go down. When Reagan was sworn in the national debt was $957 billion; today, after 30 years of Reaganomics, the national debt is $12.8 trillion. What, pray tell, is Conservative about that?

The hard truth is that Ronald Reagan governed as a Big Government Liberal.

Morrus

May 5th, 2010
8:28 am

Here’s the bed we lie in:
In the Georgia Senate, 23 senators have no opposition in either the primary or general election (14 Republicans and nine Democrats).
In the Georgia House of Representatives, 91 representatives have neither primary nor general election opposition (46 Republicans and 45 Democrats). As a result, almost one-half of the Georgia Senate (56 total members) and over one-half of the Georgia House of Representatives (180 total members) will face no opposition in 2010.
Go back to sleep.

DirtyDawg

May 5th, 2010
8:32 am

Well if he won’t say it, I will. RR and his boy George (the elder) were guilty – along with their evil hit man Casey – of aid and comfort to the enemy…negotiating through others with Iran to provide arms and other military hardware if they, Iran, would only hold onto the hostages until after the election. Then they followed that up with the trading of arms and hardware in return for money to launder to the rightwing death squads in Nicaragua. In fact Republicans have been attacking, sabotaging and otherwise attempting to undermine every Democratic Administration and Congress since time immemorial…from Nixon/Kissinger’s successful sabotage of Johnson’s efforts to end the Vietnam War in ‘68 – following which another 50,000 American troops died before it actually ‘ended’…then the Iran mess…the Whitewater ‘investigation’ of the Clintons…now this ‘orchestrated’ attack on everything Obama does – even to ridicule the dedicated efforts of law-enforcement and the military – is in itself treasonous and the they will be ‘called on it’ come November. Believe me, the only reason that Democrats won’t kick more Repub butt will be that too many of us will have tired of Obama’s continued, wasted, efforts to do the ‘bi-partisan’ thing. You can’t negotiate with Republicans, they’re like snakes, and you know that old saying – ‘How come you trusted me? You knew I was a damn snake’.

Mike

May 5th, 2010
8:32 am

Reagan was right, government in not the solution to our problems. Obama is the “criminal” but the conservative vote will take care of that in the next election.

Ann Todd

May 5th, 2010
8:35 am

answer to barack, Thought you were already king in your eyes

Aquagirl

May 5th, 2010
8:36 am

I’m sure we could have outsourced the D-Day invasion. Certainly Haliburton would have done a better job than an unwieldy, inefficient government.

P.S. Bob, when you write and publish “Government in not the solution” your five-minute-phoning-it-in efforts are clear. You’re not only an idiot, you’re lazy to boot.

Reader

May 5th, 2010
8:37 am

JLD

Your high interest rate came from Jimmy (the peanut nut) Carter. Mortgage rates during Carter’s administration had risen to 16+% IF you could find a lender! Study before blabbing you idiot.

Elephant Whip

May 5th, 2010
8:40 am

I think the November elections will reveal that Republicans and ‘conservatives’ should have left the tea party in the history books. The current ‘tea party’ movement is such a joke in comparison to the actual protest movement that led to the American Revolution.

Republicans have already sought to deny healthcare to those unable to afford it or who most need it; now they are obstructing regulation of the snake oil industry more commonly known as ‘Wall Street’- All in the face of a catastophic disaster slowly encroaching on a huge portion of our gulf coast while the chant “Drill, baby, drill” echoes in our ears. And on top of that, Sarah Palin is still on the airwaves, having resigned before the end of her term as governor, while being investigated for her questionable dealings in office.

Hypocrisy is the word that comes to mind when I hear the words “conservative” and “republican.” They espouse so many values, but when the acts and words are examined, they come up short.

Jeff

May 5th, 2010
8:44 am

@ Joe. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. It commemorates the Mexican defeat of the French at the Battle of Pueblo.

JimH

May 5th, 2010
8:44 am

That was before ‘911

James

May 5th, 2010
8:46 am

Actually, I think Reagan WAS a criminal. I think all the presidents for the past 200 years or so have been criminals. Reagan’s problem was that he talked about conservativism and then spent a whole crap-ton of money on pointless things. Obama does the same thing, except somehow he has gotten enough people to be believe in his social welfare platform to spend money on that instead of CIA and ‘defense’ projects.

They’re all just perfect reflections of the worst side of the the American people, that which believes anyone else is really interested in their own well being. It’s all about power.

Reagan said he was being led by the repressed spirit of capitalism. Bush by God. Obama by the voice of progressive ‘Change’. Anyone who takes these guys as any more than leeches who have found a bloated idealogical teet–mounted just above the vast and ignorant belly of the American people–to suck from is a fool.

ButtHead

May 5th, 2010
8:51 am

In 1981, the big Obozo was 21 years old and smoking hash with a Saudi Prince trying to figure out how to bring down America. I guess the stoners were right…… BWAHAHAHA

Neo-Carlinist

May 5th, 2010
8:58 am

c’mon, Bob. I think it is safe to assume you’ve phoned one in when the posts seem directed at your lack of effort, as opposed to the topic of your screed. Reagan was just being Reagan. The fact that he shook his finger at “government” as he was being sworn in to serve a term as the Chief Executive of a government, says it all. Call me silly, but he may have reduced the “size” of government (eliminate programs, headcount), but he certainly increased the deficit. And ironically, Obama wants to reduce the deficit, but increase the size of government. Anyone consider the possibility they’re both wrong?

MarkV

May 5th, 2010
9:01 am

Bob Barr has come back to silliness. Reagan’s pronouncement about the government was silly and stupid then and is silly and stupid now.

Bratty1

May 5th, 2010
9:02 am

“..American demographic evolution defines the country..”

So you are saying that the darker the median skin tone turns, the less self reliant, intelligent, employed, Entreprenurial, and the more childlike and dependent on others to help them thru life?

p.s To hell with the collective..I am in life for me..not you.

MarkV

May 5th, 2010
9:06 am

ButtHead: How appropriate name!

Robert Heinlein's son

May 5th, 2010
9:06 am

Ragnar= ” the deception in your argument is that Chauncey never said what changes he proposed. I think the November elections will reveal to all that the leftists mis-read the “mandate,” and that voters voted out the republicans due to their wild uncontrolled spending. As the democrats have now shown the American public the real meaning of “wild uncontrolled spending,” the republicans look penurious by comparison.”

No, Obama wasn’t perfectly specific, but neither was Reagan when he generally called government the problem. But we clearly knew health care was the main issue. Bush took a surplus and squandered it; most of Obama’s spending has been to repair that damage. The last election was such a success for democrats because of dissatisfaction with Bush and the republicans. From here it looks like Obama and the democrats have done pretty much what the people who voted for them wanted, except maybe not going far enough left for some of us.

I’d like for you to name 3 freedoms you have lost because of Obama, then name 3 taxes he and the federal government have raised on you. Let’s have a reality-based discussion.

John Birch

May 5th, 2010
9:08 am

DDawg – You’re right about Reagan but wrong about Johnson and your Repubs in general comment is off also. Reagan, at a minimum, was guilty of the little treason, providing arms to the enemy. Johnson did nothing but step aside after realizing he made a huge mistake with the escalation. He was bought and paid for by the military industrial complex (as are they all) so he did nothing about trying to end Nam. BTW, you forget the current administration sending 50,000 more troops into Afghanistan after he got the word from the real powers, so there’s a very liberal Dem extending and expanding a war.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 5th, 2010
9:09 am

Dear Neo @ 8:58, considered but rejected. Non-productive (i.e., “government”) spending injures the economy, whether funded by taxes (”theft” from the productive) or by debt (”crowding out.”) The injury of each to the productive economy is approximately the same.

Example: The government of Country A spends $2 trillion per year, taxes $2 trillion per year. The government of Country B spends $1,000 per year and levies no taxes. If the economies are the same size, which economy will perform more strongly? Not really a hard question, even though the government of B has a larger deficit.

Because Ronaldus Magnus focused on the level of unproductive spending, without regard to the manner the spending was funded, his emphasis was sound. Because Chauncey spends without limit his focus is unsound, even if he increased middle-class taxes to the level of his spending.

Sue

May 5th, 2010
9:10 am

Maybe Obama needs to read the constitution. It says anytime the government becomes too powerful for the best interests of the majority of the people, then the people have the right to overthrow the government and form a new one. Our forefathers were smart enough to put that into our constitution in case a dictator came into power. Is Obama that dictator?

JohnGault

May 5th, 2010
9:13 am

Dear Mr Puppy,

Actually, you are incorrect. Mr. Reagan, in his first inaugural address on 20 January 1981, did say, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” If you wish to verify this for yourself, please see the live recording of this address beginning around 6:08.