What drives the debate?

Suppose Hillary Clinton had won the primary and the election, and were now in the process of seeking to accomplish a very similar agenda to that of this president. The same cynical opponents who use buzzwords and codewords to stir up feelings of racial discomfort, with the sort of effect that now drives the airtime of the talking heads, would have found a different set buzzwords and codewords to make personal attacks on the character and motivations of the first female president, for the purpose of derailing this same agenda. We’d be hearing a lot of words like “feminazis” and who knows what else, and sinister-looking pictures of Clinton and Pelosi would figure heavily in anti-healthcare (or anti-whatever) demonstrations. And the talking heads would be asking each other the same anxious questions about resurgent sexism in this country, as they now do about race.

Destroying the New Deal

The budget, under Reagan, was never balanced; in fact the deficits grew significantly. As his term of office played out, it became evident that the anti-”tax and spend” rhetoric had been followed up by an actual “borrow-and-spend” policy. Much of that borrowing was from the hated Social Security system, whose annual revenue surpluses — enhanced by a payroll tax increase enacted early in Reagan’s first term — were brought on-budget for the first time, effectively hiding the massive scope of the deficits being generated.