- When it comes to the current flap over the use of Senator Obama’s middle name as a veiled political attack, Michael Reagan nails it:
This use of code speak, to somehow undercut Barak Obama cheapens the debate in this nation and cheapens those who use it.
So many conservative talk show hosts claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan, yet would be hard pressed to find a time my father, Ronald Reagan ever issued an ad hominem attack on a political foe. Name Calling is best left on the playground and not in the arena of ideas.
These pretenders to the throne would do well to study the civility, dignity and graciousness with which my father ran his campaigns and might seek to conduct themselves accordingly.
The first attempt to play on Obama’s middle name to my knowledge was by the Clinton campaign. Republicans would have done well to leave the racist invective in its natural political home.
- There are a pair of satirical memoirs of the libertarian movement by Jerome Tuccille, It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand and It Still Begins with Ayn Rand. For me, at least, it began with William F. Buckley, Jr. Buckley was, of course, considered conservative, not libertarian, but it was a distinction without a difference as could be seen, for example, in his 1995 statement to the New York Bar Association on the “War on Drugs”:
I have not spoken of the cost to our society of the astonishing legal weapons available now to policemen and prosecutors; of the penalty of forfeiture of one’s home and property for violation of laws which, though designed to advance the war against drugs, could legally be used — I am told by learned counsel — as penalties for the neglect of one’s pets. I leave it at this, that it is outrageous to live in a society whose laws tolerate sending young people to life in prison because they grew, or distributed, a dozen ounces of marijuana. I would hope that the good offices of your vital profession would mobilize at least to protest such excesses of wartime zeal, the legal equivalent of a My Lai massacre. And perhaps proceed to recommend the legalization of the sale of most drugs, except to minors.
Perhaps the greatest way Buckley’s loss will be felt is in not having someone to make such an eloquent, conservative case against the excesses of wartime zeal in the current War on an Abstraction.