Why Has The GOP Deserted Ronald Reagan?

One of the most famous Ronald Reagan quotes is: “I didn’t leave the Democratic party. It left me.”

And, now, just months after he’d have celebrated his 100th birthday, President Reagan been deserted again, this time by the party that publicly reveres him as the patriarch of modern American conservatism while running away from who he was and what he did while President.

FEAR Factor

Increasingly, it would appear that the extremists who have taken command of the party that Lincoln made are governed less by genuine principle and more by raw FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real).

1. Taxes

Like the foul tempered Queen of Hearts in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, any Republican daring to contemplate—much less consider—raising taxes on the richest Americans to help pay America’s debt is met with the chorus: “Off with his head!”

Like Alice, Mr. Reagan would certainly have shaken his head in disbelief.

After all, he raised taxes 11 times as President, including four times in two years.

Yet, Reagan the great tax cutter has taken on mythological proportions.


2. America’s Deficit

President Obama has been roundly blamed by Republicans for America’s burgeoning debt.

No matter that it’s mostly their own fault. During President George W. Bush’es eight years as President, the country’s deficit swelled nearly 6 trillion dollars even as Vice President Dick so blithely scoffed “Deficits don’t matter.”

Obama’s policies are projected to increase the deficit by $1,400,000,000,000—a quarter of his predecessor.

Yet the “myth” persists that Democrats are big spenders and the country should hearken back to the days of that wise deficit hawk, Ronald Reagan.

However, the truth is, in Reagan’s eight years in power, the deficit increased more than three trillion dollars (are you starting to see a Republican pattern here?) which was more than the total deficits for all American presidencies in the 20th Century combined (and twice as much as they’re projected to be (based on current policies) if Obama is reelected and serves eight years).

While it is fair to observe that Obama is a big spender, he’s a relative miser compared to Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush.


3. Immigration

Like taxes, the mantra of anti-immigration riles the blood of almost all red-blooded Republicans.

But how did Ronald Reagan feel? Here is where he stood: “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.”

He believed so strongly about it that he granted amnesty to more than 3,000,000 illegal aliens.


4. America’s Debt Ceiling

We all vividly recall the Republican Congressional brinksmanship that almost put America into default—and which led one of the credit agencies to downgrade America’s creditworthiness for the only time in the nation’s history.

Some reactionary legislators even went so far as to call for default.

What would Reagan have thought of this? In a 1987 national address, he said to the country:

“Unfortunately, Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest markets would skyrocket. Instability would occur in financial markets and the federal deficit would soar.

“The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility — two things that set us apart in much of the world.”

Indeed, during President Reagan’s 2 terms, the debt ceiling was raised 17 times.


Which leads me to this. Of all the Republican presidents in the last half century (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, and his son, George Bush) why is it that the GOP has deserted its most respected icon?

Whatever happened to “Win One for the Gipper? “.

Regardless of what is your vision for America, are our leaders up to the political test the country faces? And, whether you loved him or, well, were happy when he left office, the one great quality about Ronald Reagan was his real warmth and optimism about America’s future.

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