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.
Increasingly, it appears the reactionaries who are taking control of the party that Lincoln created are ruled less by real principle and more by raw FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real).
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 wealthiest people to help pay America’s debt is met with the chorus: “Off with his head!”
You’ve got to wonder whether 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 relentlessly attacked by Republicans for America’s expanding debt.
No matter it’s mostly not true. During President George W. Bush’es 8 years as President, the nation’s deficit ballooned $5,700,000,000,000 even as Vice President Cheney so eloquently put it: “Deficits don’t matter.”
Obama’s policies are projected to increase the deficit by about a trillion and a half dollars—less than 25% of the deficit run up by President Bush.
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.
But, fact is, in Reagan’s eight years in office, the deficit increased more than $3,000,000,000,000 (are you beginning to see a Republican pattern here?) which was more than the combined deficits for all his 20th century predecessors put together (and twice as much as they are projected to increase if Obama is president for 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.
Like taxes, the mantra of anti-immigration riles the blood of just about 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 extremist Congressmen even went as 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 two 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.
Author: Victor C. KrummThis author has published 1 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.