Scholar: Reagan Would Have Handled Debt Crisis Differently Than Obama

Reagan expert takes Obama to task for spending priorities, lack of leadership on debt.

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President Ronald Reagan would have handled the current debt ceiling crisis much differently than President Obama, according to Reagan scholar and author Craig Shirley. “First of all, Reagan would’ve had a plan,” he says. “We haven’t had a plan from Obama in 800 days, haven’t seen a budget in 800 days. Reagan would’ve had a budget and a plan.”

[Check out a roundup of Obama political cartoons.]

Obama and Congress have failed to negotiate a way to prevent the government from being unable to pay all of its bills, which the Treasury Department says will occur on Tuesday. The president’s critics have accused him of lacking leadership on the issue.

Shirley, a conservative operative who was recently named the first ever Reagan scholar at Reagan’s alma mater, Eureka College in Illinois, also criticized Obama’s spending priorities. “Obama’s priorities are high speed rail. Reagan’s was to win the Cold War,” he says. Reagan’s “priorities were far more important, far more consequential, because we did have thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads pointed at our grandchildren’s and our children’s heads.” [See editorial cartoons on the deficit and debt.]

Reagan did raise the debt ceiling during his tenure at the White House, Shirley admits, adding, “but he did so because we had a larger national mission than green energy projects.”

  • See a slide show of 6 consequences if the debt ceiling isn't raised.
  • Check out a roundup of editorial cartoons on the deficit and debt.
  • See how the debt ceiling fight might affect congressional races in 2012.