In Year One of the Reagan Revolution, in which he was a shining star, Budget Director David Stockman told reporter William Greider: "Kemp-Roth (President Reagan's 1981 tax cut) was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate. ... It's kind of hard to sell 'trickle down.' So the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really 'trickle down.' Supply-side is 'trickle-down' theory."
An astounding admission. The president's principal salesman of tax cuts was confessing that the altarpiece of the Reagan policy was a ruse -- to cut tax rates of the richest Americans.
Stockman had dealt a pair of aces to the president's enemies.
Yet, a betrayed Reagan did not fire Stockman. Instead, he walked him down "to the White House woodshed."
Few suggested that this showed that Reagan was weak.
For Reagan had already survived an assassination attempt, summarily fired an entire union of air traffic controllers and rammed through a hostile House led by Tip O'Neill the largest tax cut in history.
Yet, most everyone here said Barack Obama had no choice but to fire Gen. McChrystal, or reinforce the impression he is weak and indecisive.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll out today confirms that the nation that entertained such high hopes for Barack Obama has lost confidence in his capacity to lead.
Sixty-two percent of all Americans believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction. For the first time, more Americans disapprove of Obama than approve. Fifty-seven percent would prefer someone else, rather than the member of Congress they now have.
Though green shoots have appeared in the economy, Americans no longer believe it. Only one-third thinks things will get better before they get worse again. Independents are deserting Obama. One in six Democrats now disapproves of the job he is doing.
Americans have been through periods of malaise before. But where FDR raised spirits after Herbert Hoover, and Reagan did after Jimmy Carter, the optimism about an Age of Obama is vanishing like the morning mist.
Disenchantment appears pervasive, and the causes apparent:
The Obama economic program -- $800 billion in stimulus money piled on top of the Federal Reserve's doubling the money supply, giving us two straight deficits of 10 percent of gross domestic product -- has failed to ignite a robust recovery. Unemployment still hovers just below 10 percent.