Reagan Democrats and Obamacans

The distortions over Barack Obama’s mention of Ronald Reagan in a recent interview is absurd on so many levels. Not only have Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and John Edwards distorted what he said in their attacks, both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards have been exposed as saying or writing something more favorable about Reagan than what Obama actually said. Bill Clinton sure has been friendly with Reagan’s VP.

The reason for mentioning Reagan, especially in an interview in a red state, should be rather obvious. Ronald Reagan built a majority by getting many Democrats to vote for him. A tremendous number of people vote for reasons independent of ideology, and many people, including potential Democratic voters, liked Reagan. Obama understands the need to get the Reagan Democrats to vote for the Democratic candidate as opposed to any of the Republicans who are trying to convince voters they are the next Ronald Reagan. Obama suggested this motivation, as well as doing what Reagan did in getting people to cross party lines, while campaigning in South Carolina:

“What I said was Ronald Reagan, back in the 1980s, was able to tap into the discontent of the American people,” Obama said. “There were Reagan Democrats. So what I said is we need to tap into the discontent of Republicans. I want some Obama Republicans. I want ‘Obamacans.’”

Obamacans? Right idea, but I’m not sure that the actual word will catch on beyond receiving attention the first time it was used.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    Albert says:

    Good catch. This whole claim and counter-claim business is just dispiriting. Right now the two campaigns’ fact sheets look nothing like each other. I think it’s pretty clear Obama’s Reagan remarks were wilfully misconstrued, but I’m starting to think the whole Culinary Workers intimidations thing, plus the radio ad asking Republicans to caucus, was overplayed.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    It all looks overplayed on Clinton’s part. The radio ad was nothing like Clinton portrayed it and was simply another effort by Obama to receive support beyond usual Democratic voters. The ad did not tell people to become Democrats for a week and then return to being Republicans as Clinton portrayed it. The accuracy of Clinton’s claims of voter intimidation has also be questioned.

  3. 3
    The Charters Of Dreams says:

    Sounds reasonable to me, and in the narrow sense Obama means, he is like the Old Gipper. However, in an absolute sense, even in an extreme stretch, he’s not another RG. Capitializing on discontented elephant voters will only get Obama so far, and probably not that far . . .

    “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
    – Ronald Reagan

  4. 4
    Daphne says:

    I hear ya. Is anyone here an Obamacan? If so, there’s this really cool site I found where you can post your testimonials. http://www.obamacans2008.com.

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