When radio personality and now host of a prime-time show on Fox News, Laura Ingraham spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention no one was surprised when she endorsed Donald Trump. She was after all a speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan and is known as a conservative apologist without compare.
What was surprising, however, were her kind words for former Democratic president Jimmy Carter. She said of Carter:
President Carter at 93 has an enormous amount of perspective and wisdom and I would say he has some pragmatism in how he’s looking at the United States now … I thought it was so heartening to have him give an interview to The New York Times and say, and I’m paraphrasing, that in his lifetime he hasn’t seen an American president treated in the way that Donald Trump has been treated.
Carter recently told the Times that the media has been harder on Trump than on any other president in his lifetime.
Speaking of Ingraham’s endorsement as a former speechwriter in the White House, it is virtually impossible to not draw comparisons between her former boss and our current President.
What some may miss is that, while there are both similarities and differences between Reagan and Trump, their opposition has been using the same playbook in attempts to bring them down.
Similarities in Reagan and Trump
Reagan, like Trump, was a former Democrat and TV personality who became a Republican. The Gipper’s work in the private sector as president of the Screen Actors Guild in the late 1940s led to campaigning for Democratic President Harry Truman, and support of Democrat Hubert Humphrey’s successful bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Another thing that is liable to be similar to the two men as Trump’s term progresses is a willingness to take a pragmatic approach to cooperation in Washington. Though he became famous with what is now simply known as “The Speech” in his support of Goldwater, Reagan was far more moderate and consensus-oriented than many in our day remember him. As governor of California, Reagan increased state taxes, refused to veto an anti-abortion bill, and helped kill state legislation that barred gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools.
Reagan was a man of principle, was willing to be enlightened about the true nature of the abortion industry, and changed accordingly.
As presidential candidates, both men championed lower taxes and both carried through with their stated objective. Reagan championed tax reduction and Trump has led Congress to lower the corporate tax rate and taxes on capital gains and dividends.
Differences in Reagan and Trump
No doubt there are some significant differences between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. Ironically, liberals and establishment Republicans are quick to point out the most obvious ones.
Regan was powerfully articulate and was indeed the Great Communicator. He used good-natured humor to put his opponents in their place in ways that could hope to. And he imparted an optimism that was infectious, no better illustrated than in some of his last words to the nation.
Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will report that I appeal to your best hopes not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts, and may all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance, and never, never lose your natural, God-given optimism. ~ Ronald Reagan 1986
Though different in their approaches the two men offer the same thing – a word from the president that communicates with the average citizen.
An Old Playbook
When it comes to attacks from progressive liberals, nothing has changed. Both men were dismissed by the Washington establishment as extreme and simplistic. Both were also pronounced dead on arrival by the media and a sure loss for their party.
In the end, the Democratic Party is so predictable that only a political novice is surprised by the continual personal attacks witnesses against President Trump. When Jimmy Carter says he has never seen a president treated so poorly as Trump remember that includes Ronald Reagan.
Democrats’ attack on Reagan and Trump can be summed up in one word – fascist. Better precisely, a fascist who is mentally incompetent. Before Trump uttered a word on the campaign trail that term was being bandied about all over Washington.
William Clay of Missouri charged that Reagan was “trying to replace the Bill of Rights with fascist precepts lifted verbatim from Mein Kampf.”
Los Angeles Times cartoonist Paul Conrad depicted Reagan plotting a fascist putsch in a darkened Munich beer hall.
The drumbeat concerning Trump is almost identical. During the campaign, a Washington Post editorial titled, “Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy.”
The same Hitler-fascist accusations used 30 years ago are a daily narrative. Democratic legislators have openly suggested that the president is mentally ill. The Hill reports, “A growing number of Democrats are openly questioning President Trump’s mental health. …. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., during a weekend interview with CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ said that ‘a few’ Republican colleagues have expressed concern to him about Trump’s mental health.”
Tam Bruce of Fox News wrote about the left’s attacks on President Trump:
“So on one hand, he’s a Machiavellian traitor cohort of Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the other, he’s a guy who is mentally ill. Oh, heck, let’s make it both. The New Republic, a leftist rag, chimed in with its obscene suggestion that the president is possibly suffering from an undiagnosed case of syphilis. Because … why not?”
There are differences and similarities between Reagan and Trump but one thing is for sure. The left always makes the same call from its playbook. Did anyone really expect that to change?