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Calvin L. Schaible, Published February 13 2011

Reagan shows the way

Last week, our nation celebrated 40th President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. Reagan never let political tactics take precedence over the vision of freedom he had for the American people. He was at his best when he was challenged to defend his ideals. Jimmy Carter found out the hard way. He lost his debate to the 40th president when he made the mistake of challenging Reagan on health care reform. Carter told a

half-truth, and Reagan was not about to let him get away with it. Reagan’s rebut of “there you go again” is thought to have won over the American people. Reagan went on to defeat Carter in a landslide election.

The new Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Republicans recently elected, need to model Reagan. They need to be bold, confident, reassuring and willing to show leadership. Their willingness to only cut $32 billion out of a

$3.8 trillion budget is a sure sign of timidity. The way President Barack Obama and the Democrats increased discretionary spending over the past two years, the American people simply will not believe that Republicans are unable to cut the $100 billion they promised.

The Republicans need to quit treating the American people like a bunch of naïve kindergarten students and start treating them as co-citizens with “skin in the game.” These decisions are fundamental to what kind of country we are to live in and leave for future generations. Are we going to surrender our natural rights to the state for the sake of the “common good” – whatever that is – or are we going to protect our natural rights in defense of individual freedom and self-determination?

Now is the time for the Republicans to lead. Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell are not there to figure out how to get re-elected. They are there to offer the American people a vision that protects our natural rights and protects liberty and self-determination for generations to come. If the American people are told that two-thirds of the nation’s budget is tied up in mandatory spending (entitlements) and that these programs as structured are financially unsustainable, they will be open to new ideas.

For goodness sake, Republicans, educate the people and quit insulting the public’s intelligence!

Republicans know the Democrats will demagogue no matter what they propose. Get over it! Get ahead of the argument you know is coming and reassure everyone that you do not plan on taking away Grandma’s health care or Grandpa’s Social Security. Tell them you want to restructure these programs in a way that will make them financially solvent without burdening our children and grandchildren with huge tax increases.

When the Democrats demagogue, make the Gipper proud and say: “There you go again.” I guarantee you millions of Americans will stand up and applaud.

Schaible, is an occasional contributor to The Forum’s opinion/commentary pages.