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A new season is upon America, and it births a time of decision. Is the nation changing and are citizens raising the expectation of government? Are we watching an historical shift in political tectonics?
the end of the Reagan revolution?
Is Reaganism and its anti government doctrine in demise? Will America return to the belief that Federal government is not the problem, but the solution? These questions are working toward resolution at a time when the party of Reagan, and Bush I and II has become the property of Trump and insurrectionists.
Since Reagan first exhorted "the federal government is the problem," Republican fiscal policy, and cultural mantra has been to diminish the role of the government in a wide array of American life. Republicans embraced an economic theory that wealth would "trickle down." The conservative gospel was that government should barely exist while the economic fruits of capitalism would abound for all.
Before Reagan the foundational relationship of citizen to government was the legacy of Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.
The American belief in the federal government was denigrated by the Reagan gospel of a smaller federal government, cuts in programs and services, lavish defense spending, budget breaking tax cuts for corporations and the most wealthy and actions like closing mental hospitals, busting unions and running up the deficits.
is Biden's popularity seismic?
Will Americans embrace the history that government is transformative, that citizens should be served by a government that fixes problems and provides ways for a better life?
Analysts and historians suggest Joe Biden is returning the premise that guided FDR and Lyndon Johnson during their defining years of leadership as American excellence prevailed.
American Presidential history has a pattern.
Republicans trigger recession, engage military actions, and run massive deficits while social services are starved. Democrats get stuck with the clean up and the amping up of government service.
The wealth gap, the shrinking of the middle class, the loss of American jobs, cultural divide and isolation was rampant by the time the Republican guardianship crashed us into near depression in 2008.
Barrack Obama rescued the economy, and authored the affordable care act, but Republican control of the Senate doomed any sweeping return to classic Democratic policy.
The Biden approach offers a return to the governing principles put into place when Franklin Roosevelt was elected in the midst of the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in US history after another disastrous Republican rule. Government came to the aid of US citizens in myriad ways.
Biden came to office in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the depression, combined with the pandemic mismanaged by a divisive, corrosive and incompetent authoritarian Trump Republican rule.
Citizen needs, infrastructure decline, and economic injustice welled up in the 40 years since American attitudes about government were assaulted by Republicans and their propaganda media, which they do effectively.
After 40 years of the Republican Party calling the government broken, Americans are hearing another vision.
a new twist
Biden's proposals for the American Family, and his Infrastructure plan are popular with most American voters of every persuasion. His personal approval rating is high, but his edge in congress is razor thin and the poison of the big lie and the insurrection infect those who feed on the mind numbing propaganda pablum of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News or the looney fringe right wing media.
The potential of an American Spring with sweeping reenergizing of government is there, but these times are precarious.
On a personal note I applaud Biden's desire to adjust the American expectation of education to 16 years, up from the 12 established historically. My coverage of and friendship with 30 year Congressman Andy Jacobs Jr led me to appreciate how important the pre kindergarten years are to children, especially those from economic or socially challenged homes. Jacobs, a member of House Ways and Means, and the Judiciary committees, was an early advocate for the idea Biden now advocates.
Jacobs sighted experts and research making the case for the personal and social benefits of getting children into a stable, secure and educationally stimulating environment during the critical first 4 years of life. This is the sort of program Democrats believe in and Republicans oppose because it requires funding.
The benefits of better educated generations seem obvious. Also obvious, it won't happen unless the government enables it. That is the sort of detail the Biden Presidency is trying to return to the work of government.
How will we have it? What will be our expectation?
It's interesting that our season of decision comes as the most senior of all US Presidents, a working class Irishman with a long history in and love for the Senate, is being compared to iconic Democrats who shepherded government through history making eras. It might happen again.
See you down the trail.