US Politics - 2008 Election

Obama: Reagan Without the Crazy

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 20, 2009

I just watched newly-minted US President Barack Obama's inspiring inauguration speech. It must have been cathartic for Americans to hear Obama's words after eight years of unremitting Bush douchebaggery.

(For me this catharsis was the tinged with bitterness over the comparatively dysfunctional Canadian political situation. Oh, for a Canuckistanian Obama - and Michael Ignatieff ain't it.)

Obama has said before that he admires the late former US President Ronald Reagan's ability to reach across the aisle and inspire Americans to believe in a larger purpose. Reagan won in 1980 largely on the strength of his "Morning in America" campaign contrasted against the doom and gloom (however prescient) of President Carter.

That admiration for Reagan's ability to transcend partisanship through inspiration was clearly on display today, as Obama balanced a clear awareness of the crises and challenges facing the country with an inspiring optimism grounded in the most basic American mythology (I mean that in a positive sense) of liberty and common purpose.

Basically, Obama is Reagan without all the crazy: a moderate conservative with sharp instincts, smart advisors and a clear understanding that change comes from the credible promise of something better, not simply from criticism of the status quo.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By Rufus (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2009 at 14:20:02

Feel your pain Ryan. America gets Obamassiah bringing hope to the hopelss and we get a squabbling gaggle of idiots playing chicken with the Canadian economy while jobs disappear.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted January 20, 2009 at 14:44:11

Personally, I also liked his emphasis on personal responsibility. Something sorely lacking in a society where we need to warn people that their freshly brewed coffee may be hot, and where people already up to their eyes in debt put their new flat screen on Visa.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 21, 2009 at 08:53:42

I certainly don't envy his job taking over that mess, but I was impressed with his speech. It's been a LONG time since I've heard any politician remind the people that they have responsibilities in society. Responsibilities to their children, spouses, employers, neighbours, finances, less fortunate etc.... I recall George Bush telling people to 'go out shopping' after 9-11. Government usually looks at the people as a bunch of blind masses who will do what they tell us. It's refreshing to hear a politician put some onus back on the people.

I was shocked at his language towards the rest of the world, too. It will be interesting to see if he can change the culture in Washington to one that actually wants to lead constructively and work with the rest of the world instead of always threatening military action when they don't get their way. Good luck on that one, Mr. President.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 21, 2009 at 12:30:45

Well said Rufus and Jason.

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By OccasionalCommentor (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2009 at 12:05:24

Big fan of: Resource-based Economy

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