Ronald Reagan had it. Both Roosevelts – Teddy and Franklin – had it. The next president will have it too -- a unique historic opportunity that comes along once every generation or so. It is the chance to break loose from the stale and stagnant status quo and fix the economy, rethink American foreign policy, and restore our sense of national purpose.
Will the next president seize the moment? Only by first turning the economy around with a pro-growth program to cut personal and corporate taxes, streamline regulations, and embrace the American energy revolution. If so, he or she will unleash an economic renaissance that is poised at the starting gate, ready to take off.
There are a dozen new technologies and products that were invented in America, ready to be mass produced in America and sold not only here at home to all over the world. Things like 3D printing, driverless cars, wearable medical devices, robotics, DNA-based medicines, nanotechnology, bioengineering, and the internet of things. But this burst of new manufactures will only happen if the next president gets government out of the way of the free market.
If the next president fails to do it, our economy will continue to languish under the triple weight of big government, crippling regulations and confiscatory taxes. We will miss the once in a lifetime moment to return to prosperity. As for improving our foreign policy? It will become much collateral damage. We simply won’t have the resources necessary to rebuild the military, shore up our alliances, push back against our enemies, and deal with the cyber and terrorist threats that are already upon us. We will be stuck with the failed policies of the past.
Nobody thinks American foreign policy in the last fifteen years has been a success. Our adversaries, and even some of our allies, think we’re a spent power, mired in decadence, self-indulgence and smug self-satisfaction. We’ve had two wars – three if you count Libya – that we’ve lost every one, some twice. Instead of destroying and defeating radical Islamic movements, we’ve seen them expand to more places and in greater strength than before. They have spread throughout western civilization, and now even to our homeland. Russia has restarted the Cold War and is pushing up against us and our allies in Northern Europe, Central Europe and the Middle East.
Reagan turned everything around – he fixed the economy, repaired our foreign policy and set us on the path to the greatest period of peace and prosperity in our history. The next president can do the same.
We gave Iran everything it wanted and more in the nuclear deal, hoping it would buy us a new and friendly Iran. Instead their chants for “Death to America” have grown louder, even while they continue their sprint to have a nuclear weapons arsenal within the decade. China is expanding into the South China Sea and will soon claim one of the world’s major trade routes as an internal Chinese lake.
Right now, things look grim for American leadership and the American dream. But we’ve been in scrapes like this before and recovered.
That’s exactly what we thought in 1980. But we elected a new leader who threw out the Washington Establishment and their stale old policies. Reagan turned everything around – he fixed the economy, repaired our foreign policy and set us on the path to the greatest period of peace and prosperity in our history. The next president can do the same.
If the next president chooses, like Reagan before him, to reject the status quo for a pro-growth economic plan, we will soon have the opportunity and leverage necessary to rethink our relations with adversaries and allies.
As much as our enemies have been on the ascendancy of late, they are all headed for tough times ahead. Russia’s future is bleak: they have built their entire economy and society on oil and natural gas prices remaining high, and those prices have fallen sharply and suddenly and will never rise again. Within the next year or two Russia will be forced to dramatically reduce government spending, cut back on social programs, military modernization and clip its global ambitions -- or face bankruptcy. China’s mighty economic engine of growth is slowing down, too. That, coupled with their demographic time bomb, could spell political instability and civil unrest for the world most populous nation.
The Middle East will be wracked by ethno-tribal religious wars for the next thirty years. Even our allies in Europe are headed for social unrest under the economic and security burdens of the mass Muslim migration. We are entering an era that cries out for American leadership.
Seizing this unique historic opportunity won’t happen if we elect a status quo president on Tuesday. And Hillary Clinton is the status quo candidate -- supersized.
She won’t take us in a new direction, or usher in new ideas. She will be President Obama’s third term, but lack his eloquence.
She will be the Clinton Restoration, but without Bill Clinton’s charm. She will plod along the same route she has followed before.
Her joyless presidency will be driven by focus groups and pollsters, by the folks whose main job is to keep the Establishment in power – the donor class, the media mandarins, the inside-the-beltway crowd. These are the folks whose lives are just fine, whose houses are worth more than they paid for them, whose kids go to good schools, who have generous health care and retirement plans. They are the folks who believe in globalism, big government, and high taxes -- for the other guy.
She will lock in their grip on power. And, as we have seen in recent days, a Hillary Clinton administration is likely to be haunted by investigations, corruption, indictments and even a constitutional crisis.
I worked in the West Wing during Watergate and saw firsthand what how such a crisis can destroy a president, the administration and test the mettle of the country.
I think the choice is simple. It’s the same question Ronald Reagan asked the American people in 1980. If you think everything is just fine, and you’re better off than you were eight years ago, if you think the world is a safer place, then you should vote for the status quo candidate, Hillary Clinton, who will continue things just as they are.
But if you, like me, think we need to throw the bums out, drain the swamp, revitalize our economy and reclaim the mantle of global leadership, then by all means vote for the one candidate who has shown time and again that he’s not afraid of challenging the conventional wisdom and rejecting the status quo.
Only one of the candidates can seize this unique historic moment to Make America Great Again.
That’s why I’ll be pulling the lever for Donald Trump on Tuesday.
Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com's "DefCon 3." She served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations