Busting the Reagan/O'Neill Myth
July 13, 2011
Now, further in the interview, Pelley said -- like all of this, this is so the predictable, this question: "Ronald Reagan, Tip O'Neill were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they respected each other, they liked each other, they got things done." What a cliched question. This is something the left throws out all the time, Tip O'Neill and Reagan got along. They went out and had beer after work. No, they didn't. Anyway, question: "Do you like Speaker Boehner?" Here's Obama's answer.
OBAMA: I do. And I think John would like to do the right thing.
RUSH: Stop the tape. Stop the tape and recue it. Do you hear the tone there and the arrogance? I do. (imitating Obama) "And I think John would like to do the right thing." Meaning I know what the right thing is. It's my way or the highway. And I think John wants to do the right thing. I'm not really sure, John may be an idiot, but I think John wants to do the right thing and see to it that I get reelected. I think John knows that he's got to cave if I have any chance of getting reelected. I think John knows that. I think John would like to see me reelected. Here's the rest of it.
OBAMA: I do. And I think John would like to do the right thing. His challenge right now is inside his caucus, but I think Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill are a great example. Ronald Reagan repeatedly took steps that included revenue in order for him to accomplish some of these larger goals. And the question is, if Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises?
RUSH: You know, we've answered all this this week, too. Reagan did it one time 'til he find out he got lied to and never, ever did it again. They are forgetting that, doing everything they can to continue their history revisionism of the 1980s, and here's Gloria Borger on CNN last night, Anderson Cooper 9, said, "Gloria, you're referring to this as a defining moment or a definitional moment for the Republican Party. How so?"
BORGER: The president was offering three dollars of spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases. I believe even Ronald Reagan probably would have taken that deal. But there are all these Republicans, 230 of them in the House who have taken a no tax pledge, and they couldn't even sign on to that, so I think they've made a choice, and the choice is, taxes are more important than deficit reduction.
RUSH: I think Reagan would have taken that deal. The president was offering three dollars of spending cuts. If I don't go to a break I'm gonna really say some offensive, insulting things and every damn one of them would be true, but I just don't want to say it.
RUSH: Let me tell you about Tip O'Neill. You know, all this is revisionist history. Tip O'Neill called Ronald Reagan "the most ignorant man who had ever occupied the White House." O'Neill, I think, is the author of the phrase "amiable dunce" in describing Reagan. O'Neill also said that Reagan was "Herbert Hoover with a smile, a cheerleader for selfishness." He said that Reagan's policies "meant that his presidency was one big Christmas party for the rich." Tip O'Neill was a leading opponent of the Reagan administration's policies, domestic and foreign; defense, what have you. Following the 1980 election, Republicans won the Senate along with the White House. O'Neill became the leader of the congressional opposition. He called Reagan, "The most ignorant man who had ever occupied the White House."
Now, all this talk about how these guys are good friends and they went out and drank beer after work every day? It's a bunch of poppycock. It's just another pack of lies. Gloria Borger, we were discussing in the break. I don't know how old this woman is, but it seems like she's been around as long as I have. I mean, ever since I have been paying attention to stuff in Washington, she's been there, and most of that time at Newsweek. So I know that in 1980 during the Reagan administration she was in Washington covering the events. If she doesn't know what TEFRA is, if she doesn't know that Reagan took $3 of spending cuts for every new dollar of tax increase -- and that he did it one time; when it was discovered he was lied to, he never, ever did it again. These guys want to act like Reagan was making those deals all the time with Tip O'Neill, but I'm saying... (sigh) What? She was is there for crying out loud! Does she not remember or is she just purposely obtuse (and that's being polite)? Okay, Gloria Borger was born in 1952, so that means that she's 59. Here's Paul. We're gonna go to the phones here. Somebody has to bail me out here 'cause I'm getting steamed. My patience wearing very thin.
RUSH: I always get this wrong. It was Clark Clifford that called Reagan an "amiable dunce." Clark Clifford. But, you know, I don't care. Clark Clifford, Tip O'Neill, Averell Harriman, Lyndon Johnson, it doesn't matter. They're all the same. They're interchangeable. Any one of them would have call Reagan "amiable dunce" or worse so I'm really not wrong.
RUSH: Okay, time to savage another myth here. Here is a couple of audio sound bites. Tip O'Neill in 1984 talking about Ronaldus Magnus in Washington on WETA Eyeball 7, "Lawmakers" was the name of the show. Paul Duke. Remember Paul Duke? He was PBS guy. He was also an anchor, a correspondent who reported NBC for a while (not to be confused with Bill Malone). Paul Duke. He interviewed O'Neill, and listen. Here's O'Neill talking about Ronaldus Magnus.
O'NEILL: I think that he thinks he's in a grade B movie fighting the Indians or something. I really get frightened about it! I don't believe he does his homework. I don't believe that he does his study. I don't believe that he puts the time in on it. I know his working habits such that, uh, I don't believe he works over three-and-a-half hours a day. He works off three-by-five cards at all times. You take him away from them and he really, duhhh... He can't discuss the issue that you're talking about.
RUSH: He can't discuss the issues. Take away the three by five cards. These are the guys who were best buddies, Gloria Borger says! This is after four years of the Ronaldus Magnus administration. 1984. "Oh, yeah, best buddies! They mighta gone at it during the day, but when the day was over they went to the pub and had a beer and God bless 'em!" Paul Duke said, "Mr. Speaker, the critics might say that a lot of this is politics. You're left-wing Democrats; he's a right-wing Republican. What would your response be to that?"
O'NEILL: I don't think that the president of the United States is truly in tune with the average American citizen. You know, he likes to say, "You want to come back to the old days?" The old days. You know, we're in the same age vintage. That's a myth talking about the old days, when the breadwinner of the family worked six days a week and saw the family on -- on -- on -- on, duhh, once -- once a week. He's forgotten from where he came.
RUSH: He barely sounds awake in this interview!