On Meet the Press this morning there was an interview with ElBaradei and the ambassador from Egypt. There was nothing new to report, and the only thing newsworthy was ElBaradei's ambiguity regarding the future of the Israel treaty, suggesting it might be in trouble if Israel doesn't cooperate with a Palestinian state. There was talk about the special envoy, Frank Wisner, who had misspoken regarding Mubarak staying in power for the transition. John Kerry was also interviewed and stated that Wisner had misrepresented the official US position. Between Biden and Wisner it raises more doubt if there is an official position on Egypt.
But the fun part of Meet the Press was the panel discussion on Ronald Reagan, which included, James Baker, Peggy Noonan, Andrea Mitchell and Willie Brown. There was the usual story-telling about Reagan, but it took a twist when Andrea Mitchell accused conservative Republicans of appropriating Reagan, or maybe she said expropriating, but either way, Noonan reminded Mitchell that Reagan was a Republican and was a conservative. Mitchell, flustered a bit, said she meant Sarah Palin. Noonan nodded, understandingly. Willie Brown, when addressing Reagan's old line about Government being the problem, said that in the 60s Reagan wasn't like that while in California state government, and it wasn't until he got speech writers like Noonan that he started talking all conservative-like. Noonan reminded Brown of the Reagan speeches in the 60s which were even more conservative than in the 80s. Then Brown said that Obama is more like Reagan than Obama is like Clinton. When James Baker was asked what he thought about the Obama/Reagan comparison, Baker barely contained his laughter, but like a gentleman respectfully disagreed.
There was much made of Reagan's willingness to compromise. And if anyone was trying to appropiate Reagan it was the Democrat supporters on the panel, Brown and Mitchell, and lately even Obama himself has been making comparisons to Reagan. But they're using a version of Reagan which most libertarians criticize -- the statist side. Although Reagan could talk like a fire-breathing libertarian and appeal to conservatives of all stripes, utimately he was still from a statist system, and government power grew under his presidency. Reagan inspired libertarian ideas while working pragmatically in a statist system. Today, the same limited government spirit faces the same statist challenges as Reagan faced -- can words be turned into action? We'll see.