Thanks to President Obama and liberals in Congress as well as their minions in the media and entertainment industry, many Americans have come to believe that our country has seen its best days. Some believe the American century is over and the Chinese century has begun. One can easily understand why many Americans feel this way. The economy is on life support, unemployment remains persistently high, and our prestige throughout the world has ebbed. Further, the only jobs the Obama administration has created have been for the Chinese. My advice to despondent Americans is this: Don’t give up yet—we have been here before and turned things around. There is nothing wrong with America that a dose of effective leadership won’t cure.
When America was caught up in the doldrums of the Jimmy Carter years, things were much as they are now. There seemed to be no hope for the future. Speaking at Hillsdale College on October 3, 2011, former Texas Congressman and Senator Phil Gramm described the Jimmy Carter years as follows: “The 1970s, for a myriad of reasons, were not a happy time. They featured a combination of stagnation and inflation, which came to be called ‘stagflation.’ Although Jimmy Carter did not use the exact words, a malaise had certainly set in among Americans. Many wondered whether our nation’s time had passed.” (Imprimis, Vol.40, No.11).
Things were bad in the 1970s, but then along came Ronald Reagan and America saw what a difference effective leadership can make. Reagan rejected the notion that something was wrong with America—that as a nation our time had passed. He correctly diagnosed the source of America’s problems as poor leadership, misguided economic policies, and weakness in the White House. As President, Reagan quickly got down to the business of providing effective leadership, common sense economic policies, and strength at the seat of government. Liberals laughed when Reagan advocated peace through strength. They cringed when he called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” They gasped when he said lower taxes would generate more economic energy that would, in turn, increase productivity, entrepreneurship, and revenue. They laughed, but they didn’t laugh for long. And Reagan had the last laugh.
With Barack Obama at the helm of the ship of state, America has gone off course and returned to the malaise years of the Carter administration. Rather than provide America the kind of leadership that Reagan provided, Obama has spent his time in office blaming the problems he and his fellow liberals created on George W. Bush and “lazy” Americans. In doing so, he has set the table for another Reagan-like revolution in 2012. Republican candidates would do well to borrow from the Reagan playbook. Throw out the public opinion polls and start leading. Don’t tell Americans what they want to hear, tell them what they need to hear, and then lead them in the right direction. Stop worrying about angering the independents. Educate them and then lead them like Reagan did. The best years for Americans can still be ahead of us. All we need is leadership.