Star Parker

It is also worth recalling that shortly into his first term, Reagan convened a commission under the leadership of Alan Greenspan to fix Social Security. Rather than proposing bold changes in the structure of Social Security, the commission simply slapped temporary patches on a broken system, raising taxes and cutting benefits. By avoiding addressing the core structural problems of the system, the Greenspan commission allowed the problem to get worse, and bequeathed to us today an even more difficult challenge to confront.

Do the Sandra Day O’Connor appointment and the Greenspan Commission challenge Reagan’s legacy as a great conservative leader?

Certainly not. Leadership is art. Even the most principled leaders must set priorities and choose which battles to fight. It is impossible to do it all.

A leader must identify the biggest, most immediate challenges and where compromises are unthinkable.

In the case of Reagan, this was cutting taxes, shrinking government, and taking a hard stand internationally against communism and the Soviet Union.

The most immediate challenge for our nation today is understanding that our hobbled economy reflects erosion of the cultural pillars that make possible a free society.

When Reagan became president, 18 percent of American babies were born to unwed mothers. This has grown today to over 40 percent.

The way to stop runaway government today is to understand that it reflects the collapse of the core values which define personal responsibility and form the glue that keeps American families intact.

There is no candidate today clearer on this than Santorum. It’s why I think, despite the expected onslaught of attacks, he will not only not lose his attractiveness among conservative voters, but the attraction will strengthen.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.