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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:15 PM

About Reagan's "Government Isn't The Solution, It's The Problem" Quote

Have you ever read it in the context of his first inaugural address? Well, here it is:


The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we as Americans have the capacity now, as we've had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.


http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1981/12081a.htm


The words "In this present crisis" are very important here, because Reagan is NOT saying that government is never the solution! He's saying that government was not the solution "in this present crisis." The same could be said about the House for the past two years.

Now, I can see why Rs like to lop off those qualifying words (in this present crisis), but why do Ds do so as well? I guess it's to make things simple and to paint Reagan as an anti-government-all-the-time figure.

Personally, I think it would be better to offer the whole quote, because that destroys the RW mantra that Reagan said government is always the problem. He didn't!

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Reply About Reagan's "Government Isn't The Solution, It's The Problem" Quote (Original post)
stopbush Nov 2012 OP
stopbush Nov 2012 #1
garthranzz Nov 2012 #2
madrchsod Nov 2012 #4
stopbush Nov 2012 #5
garthranzz Nov 2012 #7
madrchsod Nov 2012 #3
NNN0LHI Nov 2012 #6

Response to stopbush (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:20 PM

1. Wow. Two hours and not a single comment.

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Response to stopbush (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:42 PM

2. A single comment

lol

Seriously: I've read that paragraph at least three times, and it makes no sense. There is no logical connection - no rhetorical movement - from one sentence to the next. Even the sentences themselves defy meaning - they sound good, but so does a "slithy tove."

For example: "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Since the "problem" presumably is the "economic ills we suffer," how does this work? First, the economic ill the country suffered was from runaway inflation. That resulted from the Fed and politicians being irresponsible - Nixon's wage & price controls, pushing low unemployment above all else (allowing inflation), doing dumb things with interest rates. So, Reagan seems to be saying that government (Nixon-Carter) pushing personal agendas over the needs of the people was the problem.

But the next sentence doesn't lead that idea anywhere. If anything, America is anti-elite. And the rhetorical question is just arrant nonsense. Finally, an equitable solution may require one group to pay more ("higher price" has other connotations), depending on capacity.

I'll have to read the whole thing (at some point), but this is weak writing.

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Response to garthranzz (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:37 AM

4. reagan was`t the brightest guy in the world but

he had a great ability to bullshit his way into upper society where ever he went.he was`t the least bit interested in politics until his dad got steady work at the ccc/wpa office in dixon, il. that`s why reagan became a fdr democrat. when he meant nancy he became a republican.

reagan`s gift of bullshit served him well all his life so it`s no wonder why what he said makes little sense.

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Response to garthranzz (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:06 AM

5. You're getting sidetracked.

First off, Reagan didn't write his own speeches, so any incoherence in the writing can't be laid at his door. As an actor, he could easily find a way to deliver any incoherence and make it sound sensible.

Second, the important thing here is that Reagan qualified his remark about government not being the solution. Even if the writing is poor, the idea expressed is definitely contrary to what most people believe he said in that speech.

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Response to stopbush (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 05:48 AM

7. Well,

Reagan had to approve the speech. He spoke it. He's given credit for it. So he owns it, incoherence and all, at least as much as the speechwriter.

And I'm expanding the point - the statement is on the face of it nonsense, and even more nonsense in context. I'm not disagreeing with you, just pointing out that it's even more ridiculous than simply being contrary to what most people believe he said - because he didn't really say anything.

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Response to stopbush (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:27 AM

3. reagan would`t have been nominated by today`s republicans.

reagan would also be shocked by todays teaparty republicans.

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:26 AM

6. I think Reagan would have embraced today's tea party republicans

As I recall he and big daddy teabagger Ron Paul were damn near inseparable during Reagan's two terms.

Don

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