I’m amused, and frankly a little annoyed, that our professional moron class, “progressives” and liberals, deign to mention Ronald Reagan in their feeble attempts to point out how RADICAL and RACIST and SEXIST and HOMOPHOBIC and TERRIBLE and AWFUL and OUT-OF-TOUCH the modern conservative Tea Party movement is. Reagan would do just fine in today’s Tea Party.
There are many reasons many of us revere Reagan. The main reason is, that despite the accommodations he had to make with an infinitely less radical Democrat party than exists today, he never wavered in his principles. American exceptionalism was ALWAYS in the forefront of his policies. And, on top of that, we liked him, and he liked us. He had a deep respect for Americans and their struggles that the modern “progressive” Dem party just doesn’t — and never will — have. The modern “progressive” movement sees us as poor, uneducated, uninformed, unenlightened, non-nuanced cattle, needing corralling.
The latest contretemps has been caused by comments made by former Governor Jeb Bush, which if read in the context of Jeb’s record and his endorsement of solid conservatives like Marco Rubio, is not saying what the idiot “progressives” think he’s saying. Anyone on the left who brings up Ronald Reagan in defense of their policies is a two-faced hypocrite who lacks even the most basic intellectual honesty to face the disaster their ideas and party have wrought on America. In the words of Giordano Bruno talking to the Inquisition, I call BULLSHIT. Big time.
Today’s PJ Tatler the essay, ‘Even Ronald Reagan…’, provided in full below the fold, explains it to the comprehension-challenged left.
Has anyone else noticed the irksome tendency among progressives to invoke the memory of Ronald Reagan as a last-ditch argument for their policy prescriptions? Usually this involves the pseudo-clever, contrarian Chomsky tactic of taking a piece of accepted knowledge and, as Marx did to Hegel, turning it on its head. (“You think water is made of hydrogen and oxygen? Ha ha, it’s actually made of sulfur!”)This usually takes the form of the phrase “even Ronald Reagan” followed by a left-wing policy. For example: “Even Ronald Reagan raised the debt ceiling!” Do you remember hearing that one?
I’ve also heard: “We should leave Afghanistan! Even Ronald Reagan left Lebanon!”
Now we’re told that Reagan was a Keynesian. Paul Krugman, the dirigiste-in-residence at the New York Times, writes:
“Reagan, not Obama, was the big spender. While there was a brief burst of government spending early in the Obama administration — mainly for emergency aid programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps — that burst is long past. Indeed, at this point, government spending is falling fast, with real per capita spending falling over the past year at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War.
Why was government spending much stronger under Reagan than in the current slump? ‘Weaponized Keynesianism’ — Reagan’s big military buildup — played some role. But the big difference was real per capita spending at the state and local level, which continued to rise under Reagan but has fallen significantly this time around.”
I suppose Krugman will now have to go back and revise all of his old columns in which he derisively mentions “trickle down economics,” a synonym for the Reagan administration among the Left. Hasn’t he spent the last decade whining about how the Reagan years were a time of mass austerity and inequality?
Progressives invoke Reagan for several reasons:
(1) They have no intellectual or political legacy of their own to invoke. (Jimmy Carter? George McGovern? Walter Mondale?)
(2) Progressives know that a whole lot of Americans loved and still love Reagan; this is an implicit admission that their own ideology is not popular outside of editorial offices and Ivy League lecture halls. Thus they must cite a figure that people actually liked as opposed to failed social engineers.
(3) Progressivism is not based on an actual coherent philosophy. You might disagree with conservatives and libertarians, but they at least have an intellectual and philosophical lineage with which you can grapple and debate. Conservatives cite Burke, Hayek, and Milton Friedman. Whom do liberals cite? When was the last time you heard a John Dewey reference in a syndicated column? Absent this respectable pedigree, progressives must, like parasites, graft their ideas onto conservative figures in order to appear valid.
All they have is Marx and Engels…
* * *
Jeb Bush is a sensible guy with an outstanding record as Governor of Florida. And I have no problem with him çlaiming that the current political climate is excessively partisan, particularly since he places much of the blame for this on President Obama. As Bush says, “[Obama’s] first year could have been a year of enormous accomplishment had he focused on things where there was more common ground,” but instead Obama made a “purely political calculation” to run a sharply partisan administration.
But Bush vastly overstates his case when he claims that Ronald Reagan would find it difficult to be nominated by today’s Republican party. It’s a claim that Mike Huckabee has also self-servingly made. Huckabee resents being criticized for raising taxes as governor.
Whatever its source, the notion that Reagan would have difficulty being nominated today is laughable. The Republican party is about to nominate Mitt Romney, whose offenses against conservative orthodoxy outweigh any that Reagan had committed when he won the nomination in 1980, and any that he committed thereafter judged even by today’s standards. Romney’s opponents plausibly called him a Massachusetts moderate. Anyone who called Reagan a California moderate would have been laughed out of the campaign, and not just for a poor sense of alliteration.
Bush says that Reagan’s “record of finding accommodation” and “some degree of common ground” with Democrats would have made his nomination difficult. Presumably, he’s referring to what Reagan did as president, and to the likelihood that, today, he would be renominated.
We don’t know what the current Republican climate means for renomination. At last check, in 2004, the orthodoxy bar wasn’t high. And since that bar also wasn’t high for nomination in 2008 or 2012, there’s little reason to fear that Reagan would struggle to be renominated these days. In all likelihood, the standard for renomination in the Republican party today is the same as it’s always been — a first term that’s perceived as successful enough to make re-election likely.
Reagan passed that test as easily as any president in our history. We need not worry about how he would fare in today’s Republican party.