Speaking of Reagan…

If people feel the need to evoke Reagan, it would be nice if they would evoke the real one, rather than an alt reality version.

Earlier today, Doug Mataconis noted

The Ronald Reagan that governed for eight years in the 80s was, in many ways, very different from the mythos that many on the right, such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, have created of a tax-cutting, hawkish foreign policy-following conservative icon.

Along those same lines, Joe Conason notes in SalonWhat Sarah Palin forgets (or never knew) about Ronald Reagan

While attacking President Obama’s nuclear weapons policies the other day — and the strategic arms reduction treaty that he signed with Russia — Palin said, “We miss Ronald Reagan, who used to say, when he would look at our enemies, he would say: ‘No. You lose. We win.’ That’s what we miss. And that is what we have to get back to.”

Conason goes on to show that Reagan, like Obama, spoke about a nuclear free world and even pursued an active series of dialogs with our nation’s most serious adversary (the Soviets).

Indeed, I agree with Senator Lindsey Graham (as quoted by Doug at the link above):  “Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today.”

If we were to look at things like immigration, taxes and negotiating with adversarial states, Reagan (the real one) would hardly be the darling of the Tea Party but would instead likely be branded a RINO.

And I will conclude by saying it is bad enough that people get stuck in the past, but even worse that they cling to a fantastical one (although, that is what tends to happen when one starts looking backwards).

See also the CSM:  Nuclear weapons-free world: a vision of Kennedy, Reagan, Obama.

I will confess, btw, that I find the notion of a nuclear-free world to be a nice goal in the abstract, but ultimately not much more than wishful idealism.  And I further always treat pronouncements by politicians in this real with a grain (if not shaker) of salt.

h/t:  Fellow OTBer Robert Prather via Facebook.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. anjin-san says:

    I don’t think that Reagan, a pragmatist who knew how to work with the opposition, would think much of today’s “conservatives”.

  2. G.A.Phillips says:

    Like any of you dudes know more about Regan then Rush or worked for him like Levin who is good friends with Hannity. hahaha…….

    What do you think Reagen would do if he could see whats going on with with or country today? lol, man!

    He would lay the smackdown On Obama, and all the reast of the marxists running our country lol

    Reagan probably would have started the tea Party movement…..

  3. G.A.Phillips says:
  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Reagan had morals and principles. Reagan has at least 8 years of chief executive experience. Reagan knew who our enemies were and addressed them as what they were. Reagan was instramental in lifting the yoke of communism off of Eastern Europe. You can blindly claim what ever you want to about Obama, but one only has to look at his history, and the history of those who guided and mentored him to see what he is. With Reagan as President I doubt oil from the faulty well would have reached shore. Obama cannot even correctly repeat what his written on the plaque on the Statue of Liberty. If you like Obama, you would love Chavez.

  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    Yeah, that’s right, man, Reagan would, he would, I mean he would like just slap Obama man.

    He was totally the best. I mean he was like a god. So don’t diss him, man, or I swear to god I will scoop your eyes out!

    Do you hear me Ronnie? I’m defending you, man. Me! Me! Your truest bestest fan. So give me a sign, okay? Speak to me from, like, heaven and all, man. Please! Pleeeeeeease, I need you Ronnie! I need you to lay your magic manly hands upon me and lift-uh me up-uh, oh hallelujah!

    Look out liberals, Ronnie is going to lay his magic hands on me and give me the POWER! Yes-uh! The power to smite all you liberals!

    Look out! Here it comes! The power of Ronnie will be upon me and yes, I shall be exalted-uh!

    Run liberals, ruuuuuuuuun!

    Wait. Who are you guys? Why are you wearing white coats? Get back. I am the anointed-uh of Reagan-uh! Me! Meeee! Do you know who I am? Get that off me! No, no, you can’t put a straitjacket on me! What are you doing with that needle?


    Oh . . . oh saint Ronnie . . . I tried. . . I. . .


    (The author wishes to thank his daughter Julia for the loan of the phrase “scoop your eyes out.”)

  6. sam says:

    You know, I think by this time we can formulate the “OTB Rule”, and it goes like this:

    For any given post, if Zelsdorf and GA flush the toilets that are their minds into the comments section, the writer of the post is on the right track.

    And on Reagan. He’s famous for saying that if he could get half a loaf, he would be fine with that. This kind of moderation and realism is so remote from Republican political strategy today, it alone insures that the man wouldn’t be welcome in the Yahoo party. (And c’mon Michael, we’d take him in heartbeat over any of the maniacs and fools populating the right side of the spectrum today.)

  7. superdestroyer says:

    Reagan and his administration was very short sighted. The reason that the Republicans are irrelevant and destined to fade away is the Reagan Administration. Open borders, increased spending, and a lack of focus on domestic issues created an environment for the eventual failure of any conservative party in the U.S.

    Look at how the policies of Reagan have turned California from a state that the Republicans could win to a state where the Republicans are totally irrelevant.

    As the la Raza Republicans push to turn the Republican party and conservative politics into a model of Democratic-lite, I hope they enjoy the very high taxes, the pervasive governmental nanny state, the bad schools, and the urban sprawl.

  8. super,

    What are you talking about? It was Pete Wilson who destroyed California for Republicans.

  9. Brummagem Joe says:

    Reagan was an averagely successful Republican president who did some very un-conservative things and had the luck to get out of Dodge before the chickens came home to roost. So why is he such a touchstone? TR and Eisenhower were much more distinguished GOP occupants of the office and even the reviled Nixon accomplished more. I’ve nothing against Reagan and voted for him twice, but this Reagan obsession is basically morbid.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve always felt the most significant modern president for the GOP was HW Bush. When he tried to correct the imbalances of the Reagan influenced budgets, the Republicans ran him out of office and spent the next two decades speaking his name only in contempt. Since then, the Republican mantra has been “never raise taxes under any circumstances” but since they have been unsuccessful in cutting spending (or even articulating a real method of cutting spending) what they really are saying is “Pay the bills with borrowed money under all circumstances.”

  11. G.A.Phillips says:

    Man, oh boy and red hot dignity the commies come out of the closet again:)

  12. anjin-san says:

    Reagan was also famous for his sunny disposition and generous nature. About 180% from today’s bile dripping, perpetually enraged so called conservative.

  13. wr says:

    My favorite comic-book Reagan moment was the Republican presidential primary debate at the Reagan library, in which every one of the candidates vowed that, like Super Ronnie, they would never raise taxes, never withdraw troops under fire and make America look weak, and on and on… All things that the real Reagan did of course, but that the superhero version that GP and ZR now worship never would

  14. fndclark says:

    The nice thing about dead politicians and relatives is that they are no longer around to contradict and embarrass our imaginings of them.

    We all know the definition of a Statesman….

  15. floyd says:

    Maybe that’s just the effect ,you seem to have on , otherwise nice folks?

  16. Brummagem Joe says:

    MarkedMan says:

    ‘I’ve always felt the most significant modern president for the GOP was HW Bush. ”

    ……I’m not sure I go that far but he’s definitely under-rated. He put country before party when he saw the deficit spiralling and conducted a fairly masterly foreign policy.

  17. Drew says:

    Send me a bag of that, wouldya, Michael?

  18. Steven,

    I also agree on getting to zero nuclear weapons: it’s a pipe dream and the consequences of cheating could be catastrophic. Better to minimize the number and stop the spread rather than go to zero.