There is one thing that has always bugged the hell out of me since, well since I started following politics, but especially since the kickoff of 2012 political season almost two full years ago. The right-wing and it’s blind ideology towards Ronald Reagan.
Mention Reagan’s name and conservatives immediately become teary-eyed and choked up. The Great Communicator’s standing in Republican folklore is gigantic, Abraham Lincoln, preserver of the Union, issuer of the Emancipation Proclamation doesn’t even receive that kind of respect.
The question is though given the facts and not the myths, do Republicans really know Ronald Reagan?
Since they swept back into power after the 2010 mid-terms, and took over the House of Representatives, Republicans who ran on jobs and the economy quickly began an all out assault on abortion, passing ridiculous statewide anti-choice laws one after another.
What would the Gipper think of this given that in 1967 his first year as Governor of California, Reagan signed the “Therapeutic Abortion Act” to put an end to the high number of backroom abortions taking place in the state at the time. Say it isn’t so.
Later on during his days in the White House Reagan tried to pass this off as being an inexperienced legislator receiving pressure from the other side of the aisle. The fact is old “Ronnie” went in the opposite direction of his party on one of if not the most important issue to conservatives everywhere.
It’s funny to me how Reaganites like Peggy Noonan and Joe Scarborough fail to mention this little tidbit when they are on television waxing poetic about the end of the Cold War, or the brilliance of “supply-side economics.”
During his run as Commander and Chief, Reagan raised taxes every year from 1981 to 1987, including the largest peacetime tax hike in American history TEFRA (Tax Equity And Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982). Reagan also increased taxes to protect Social Security and pay down a deficit.
Imagine Paul Ryan in the House at the time of Reagan, would he propose some silly, unrealistic counter budget. Would there be comments from John Boehner if he were Speaker about how the President isn’t “serious” or the President doesn’t show leadership.
If those things weren’t enough chew on this. Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times, the same debt ceiling that because of speculation that it wouldn’t be raised in the summer of 2011 by Boehner and his number two Eric Cantor cost our nation it’s AAA credit rating. The same debt ceiling that’s raising wasn’t going to be negotiated in the early months of 2013 by Barack Obama after the same GOP scumbags in Congress threatened it again.
Reagan was for reasonable gun control measures, because you know being wounded by a crackpot with a gun and seeing your press secretary (James Brady) permanently disabled will do that for you.
As quiet as it is kept by the right, Ronald Reagan never balanced the budget during his 8 year run as President. The party of fiscal responsibilty and it’s larger than life standard bearer never resorted to any kind of severe austerity measures to straighten out the books, because as we all know Republicans do not and never have cared about debts and deficits.
At the end of the day there is still a lot of pride conservatives can take in Reagan, his selling of arms for hostages, his silence on the HIV and AIDS epidemic and his championing of states’ rights, particularly kicking off his 1980 Presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi which is where three Civil Rights Workers (James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman) were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in 1964.
Nevertheless there were more elements of Lyndon Johnson to Reagan and less elements of Barry Goldwater than probably most would expect and the right wants to acknowledge.
As with much that is offered by The Republican Party, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, there is always more to the story. The legacy of Ronald Wilson Reagan may be the greatest example of that.