President Obama’s election marked the end of Reagan. Americans finally tired of the rhetoric that markets know best and financial success is the sole measure of prosperity. Reagan tapped into the middle class’s frustration with Johnson’s social programs, urban riots and an unpopular war. Republican operatives took advantage of Reagan’s popularity to foist a system of unchecked private enterprise on an unwitting public. Environmental progress hard won and signed into law by Nixon was dismembered by Republican Congresses or administered by people who came from big polluting businesses. Budgets for consumer affairs were eliminated and the NRA made sure gun manufacturer weren’t liable for damages due to their weapons. In short, Americans were shut out, and powerful interests won. Even Clinton went along by eliminating some federal regulations.
Republicans fear government and use public office to raid the treasury through sweetheart deals and tax loopholes, and consequently they are lousy managers of the nation’s cabinet departments and create huge deficits. Democrats believe in government, but they try to appease everyone without ever measuring the effectiveness of programs, so bureaucracies get bloated and antagonize everyone.
In this election, voters turned their back on Reagan’s philosophy and embraced change even when the economy sucked. I believe Obama is trying to fix the past and get us positioned for a very different future where China is the largest economy and the Middle East continues to struggle with democracy. He will be the first non-war president for finally getting us out of sixteen years of Republican entanglements. Department of Education’s Race to the Top and the decline in health care costs are good signs. Obama also confirmed science was right about global warming and education should start as early as possible. If he succeeds in these efforts he will be one of our greatest presidents. If he fails, he’ll go down as the President who tried to break the grip of big business, but in the end was defeated by an obstinate public