Thursday, May 07, 2009

Should The GOP Forget Reagan?

by Daniel Henninger - May 7th, 2009 - Wall Street Journal

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made headlines last weekend suggesting it's time for the party to get over its glory days: "I felt like there was a lot of nostalgia and the good old days in the [GOP] messaging. I mean, it's great, but it doesn't draw people toward your cause." Joyful Democratic bloggers put this more clearly in five tight words: GOP Needs to Forget Reagan.

Is this true?

The answer to that historic question is an apt subject this week as the GOP, looking for a path from the wilderness, says farewell at National Cathedral tomorrow to Jack Kemp, who remained a Reaganite to the end.

Jack Kemp, anyone who spent time around him will tell you, stayed on message. That message, like Reagan's, had a number of parts, but it is not possible to even guess how many times Jack Kemp summarized his explanations of that message in three words: "Work, save and invest."

I think it ironic that many Republicans forget our history. Ronald Reagan adopted Reaganomics from the supply side teachings of Jack Kemp. It was not that Reagan did not already agree with the philosophy. He simply recognized the genius of the way that Jack Kemp explained the philosophy that Reagan supported. Kemp understood freedom. He understood the greatness of a free nation. He understood that productive members of society did not exist on Wall Street. Wall Street is one way to fund free enterprise but not the only way. It is easy to abuse that role.

That is one my greatest frustrations. So many Republicans think that Wall Street is capitalism and that they should support Wall Street as a result. Kemp recognized early on that Wall Street is not capitalism. It is crony capitalism that actually harms our nation by extorting huge fees for mergers and acquistions to establish monoploies. In addition Wall Street uses derivatives, credit default swaps and collataralize mortgage obligations to deceive and defraud investors. Wall Street has little in common with the Republican Party. Why else do Republicans think that Wall Street gives the overwhelmingly largest part of its campaign contributions to Democrats? Wall Street is crony capitalism, not free enterprise.

Wall Street does not create jobs but sucks from the wealth producing system of our nation. During its early years our founding fathers understood the two legs of wealth were industry and commerce. Wall Street is neither. If Republicans get back to the basics of supporting industry and commerce and also support regulating Wall Street with the stringent limitations necessary to control their lust for monopolies and propensity to commit fraud, we will at that point get back to serving America. It will also be at that point the voters will return to our party.


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