As a candidate in 2008, Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged that Ronald Reagan was a "transformative" president in a way that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were not. The Clintons-then pushing Hillary's rival candidacy-were red-faced in rage.
Mr. Obama's statement was fully understood by his ultra-liberal base, however. They wanted a man to win the White House who would not engage in "triangulation," but strangulation. They wanted to bury all of Reagan's achievements. They wanted a president right off the set of Hollywood's West Wing. They wanted a progressive champion who could change the country, pushing it as far in their direction as they believe Ronald Reagan did in the opposite direction.
They're getting their wish. President Reagan sought "Peace through Strength." He rebuilt the U.S. military. He did not mind that he didn't meet with any Soviet dictator in his first term. Reagan even joked about the quick succession deaths of Leonid Brezhnev (1982), Yuri Andropov (1984) and Konstantin Chernenko (1985). The 74-year old Reagan was hale and hearty, bouncing back even from a bullet near his heart. Still, he could say: "How can I meet with them when they keep dying on me?" more >>
President Obama's whispers to Russia's then-President Dmitri Medvedev were picked up on a hot microphone. "This is my last election," the president confided to the Russian under his breath, "after my election, I'll have more flexibility." ABC's Jake Tapper reported that exchange in March 2012, at a G-20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea.
It remains one of the most shocking incidents in the history of U.S.-Russian relations. Medvedev quickly chimes in to say: "I understand." And he promised to carry the President's words to Russia's real strong man, Vladimir Putin.
What President Obama calls "flexibility" soon translated into flaccidity. The Russians have always been sensitive to weakness in their opponents. Nikita Khrushchev bullied the young, inexperienced Jack Kennedy at Geneva, in 1961. Kennedy would later tell associates, candidly, that Khrushchev "beat the hell out of me." Seizing the initiative, Khrushchev soon erected the Berlin Wall and took the alarming step of placing Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles in Cuba. Kennedy had to bring America and the world to the brink of nuclear war to re-establish American leadership. more >>
In a follow-up to Russian President Vladimir Putin's attack on American exceptionalism in his September 11th op-ed in the New York Times, a new Rasmussen poll finds only 27 percent of U.S. voters agree with the Russian president, while 59 percent say America is indeed "more exceptional than other nations."
"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation," Putin wrote last Wednesday. "We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
Following Putin's remarks, Rasmussen conducted a survey of 1,000 likely voters last Thursday and Friday, finding a majority believe in American exceptionalism. To the question, "Is the United States more exceptional than other nations?" 59 percent said yes, 27 percent disagreed, and 14 percent said they were not sure. more >>
Whether we are talking about respect of one nation for another, or respect of one individual for another, nothing undermines respect more than duplicity – saying one thing and acting differently.
I think it is a big reason why President Obama's recent speech to the nation, where he attempted to explain why he has proposed military action in Syria, fell so flat.
The president cast his rationale for wanting to take action in moral terms. But the very dubious moral record that this president has established, both regarding respecting the sanctity of life and traditional moral principles, seriously undermines his credibility for moral leadership. more >>
In Thursday's New York Times, Russian president Vladimir Putin argued that America is not exceptional, and that American leadership does not make the world safer. I could not disagree more strongly.
While Russia and the U.S. did work together to defeat the Nazis in World War II as Putin points out, our histories since then tell two very different stories. While strong U.S. leadership rebuilt a free and prosperous Western Europe after the war, the Soviet Union did the opposite, spreading a Communist ideology that imprisoned people behind walls and on islands. The U.S. won the Cold War because of our willingness to lead the free world, and today we remain the world's sole super power. The question facing our nation now is whether we will continue to lead in the future. I believe we must.
History teaches us that a strong and engaged America is a source of good in the world. No nation has liberated more people or done more to raise living standards around the world through trade and charity than the United States. We remain a beacon of hope for people around the world. more >>
When the America president appears on national television to address the American people it's a big deal. His subject, language, and setting need to carry weight-gravitas. Prime time presidential speeches are serious matters. And for the president-and America by extension-to be taken seriously his speech must be clear, cogent, and commanding; it needs to have a centrality of purpose.
We heard none of that Tuesday night from the president's speech on Syria. If Winston Churchill had been watching at 10 Downing Street, I think he would have said the president's speech was a pudding without a theme. Bret Hume, of Fox News, said it was a speech in search of a purpose. And Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal said the president should have cancelled the speech. Well, if not that he should have at least delivered a different speech.
It was a speech with a string of subjects-Syria, chemical weapons, military force, a congressional vote, and Russian diplomacy-but no focus. What we heard Tuesday night was the muddled message of the president's Middle East policy. more >>