President Barack Obama is relentlessly pursuing a socialist agenda and substantial numbers of the American people seem fine with it. The forced resignation of Rick Wagoner as CEO of General Motors again shows the danger of a private corporation taking a government handout. Once government gets in the door they not only do not leave, they take over the company and begin to dictate terms.It should serve as a lesson to "faith-based" ministries that believe they can take government money without government dictates as to how their organizations should be run.

Each generation must renew the freedoms handed down to them by the previous generation, or they risk losing those freedoms. The government schools, the Democratic Party and their acolytes in the big media have been replaced in the public's mind by the principles of capitalism, prosperity and growth with envy and class warfare. They punish and discourage success and subsidize and promote failure and mediocrity.

President Obama is Jimmy Carter's second term. Thirty years ago, Carter went on TV in a cardigan sweater and essentially told America that her days of prosperity were over. We needed to cut back, he said, and realize we could no longer live and consume energy and other products as we had been doing. In the midst of Carter's gloom and doom emerged Ronald Reagan, who said America's best days were not behind us, but ahead of us. Americans responded by electing Reagan and a Republican Senate majority. With their confidence restored, Reagan and the Republicans helped launch record years of prosperity unseen since the end of World War II.

The same circumstances are in place as they were in 1979. We have a president who is in sync with Carter. Now all we need are Republicans who believe as Reagan did. And, then, we could use another Reagan to rekindle the innate optimism that has always defined Americans and America. Is he (or she) out there?

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.