This essay, “We Hated Reagan,” beautifully dissects the rabid and irrational ignorance always on display from the left when faced with a candidate/office holder that stands on principles and guts. Today, the left’s hatred of Sarah Palin — in my opinion the only candidate who carries the mantle of Reagan’s conservatism in the Republican Party today — is reminiscent of what I vividly remember was done to Reagan — to no avail.
Ronald Reagan is widely regarded as the greatest American president since Franklin Roosevelt, possibly the greatest of the 20th century, and definitely one of the greatest ever. His centenary this year has elicited a cavalcade of conservative encomia. All try to distill the essence of his leadership and transmit it to a new generation. Rare, however, are those who didn’t much care for him as president but whose opinions and convictions have shifted over time. Their assessments, however, make sense: his presidency created a new voting demographic (“Reagan Democrats”) and, often overlooked, the towering Republican legend had been more than half his life a loyal Democrat. As a youngster in Manhattan in the 1980s, I myself was formed in an intensely Democratic milieu where distrust, resentment, and repulsion underwrote our attitudes toward Reagan. Any honest attempt by any of us to reckon with him must begin by admitting that, at heart, we hated Reagan.