Was Reagan Disliked By Establishment Republicans?

Was Reagan Disliked By Establishment Republicans?


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From my earliest memory, I've always thought that older Americans thought Reagan was a great president. Recently, I've seen a lot of people compare Trump - who establishment Republicans detest - to Reagan and even state that when Reagan began he was "the outsider."

Is this true about Reagan? When he first ran in 1979, was he out of favor by the establishment and viewed as the outsider?


Yes. As a matter of fact, 1980 was a pivotal election where the anti-establishment electorate and younger people started to vote conservative. Like Barry Goldwater and Donald Trump he was seen as an extremist and as not realizing what he was talking about.

http://spectator.org/articles/39417/original-mr-anti-establishment-ronald-reagan

Reagan wanted higher defense spending and less nondefense spending, which made him sound radically rightwing. He used the standard populist rhetoric about Washington being run by elites who thought they knew how to run the country better than its citizens. This was upsetting to the Republican mainstream at the time and caused him to lose in 1976. He was also attacked for his use of emotional arguments and lack of experience.

However, when the economy was doing very badly in the late 70s, this distancing from "the establishment" was actually a benefit, and went on to help him win the election. He won mainly on younger voters and anti-establishment independents who previously voted democrat.


The currently accepted answer is a good one*. However, it leaves out one very important beef that the Republican Establishment had with Reagan: racial politics.

The Liberal wing of the Republican party was actually instrumental during the 50's and 60's in getting Civil Rights legislation passed. There was essentially a coalition of moderate Democrats and Liberal Republicans that pushed through things like the Voting Rights Act.

There was a large block of very conservative southern Democrats who were dead set against the entire Civil Rights package, and for every such bill there was an attempted filibuster in the Senate. Senator Sam Earvin (D-NC) made what became a typical argument that it violated the principle of States' Rights. In other words, States should have the right to oppress a certain class of their citizens if they so choose without interference from the Federal Government. This is how the "States' Rights" argument in that era became a proxy argument for the upholding of Jim Crow.

These bills eventually passed, of course, but the Southern conservative Democrats did not forget, and largely started to abandon the Democratic party in national elections. At first this took the form of third parties, exemplified by the States' Rights Democratic Party, which won 4 southern states in 1948.

This large electoral block of voters was ripe for the picking, if only the Republicans could reconcile themselves with the racist policy positions it would require to do so. The short story here is that the Liberal and Moderate Republican establishment was not up for that, but the Conservative wing was. Thus was born The Southern Strategy.

The name was first used with the Conservative-friendly Nixon administration, but the strategy itself was first employed by Ronald Reagan's mentor and idol, Barry Goldwater. He ran against the Civil Rights Act, using (as per form) the coded "States' Rights" argument. Goldwater lost badly, but he still won his home state, and swept the entire deep South.

As I said, Reagan was a supporter and admirer of Goldwater, and ran in 1976 and 1980 as the standard-bearer for the "Goldwater" faction of the party. Being from California he didn't have a huge track record on the racial issue though. So he made sure to shore up his cred in that area by actually opening his campaign by going all the way to Philidelphia, Mississippi, the site of the Mississippi Burning murders, and delivering a speech on "State's Rights".

This was obviously a bit of political gymnastics for the party that had initially freed the slaves, and created and nurtured the Constitutional Amendments that the various Civil Rights acts were trying to enforce. It also meant a loss of black support for the foreseeable future, as well as the entire liberal faction of the party. However, its really tough to argue against success, and the new party alignment certainly brought that.

* - I upvoted


In 1860, the (Republican) "Party of Lincoln" was predominantly a "left" party, and even after a large infusion of conservatives such as McKinley and Taft around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, many Republicans were liberal. Senior party members became the "Establishment" because of the (mostly) Republican rule from 1860-1932, and even after the rise of the Democrats' FDR, liberal Republicans joined the liberal "New Dealers" to become the Establishment in the middle of the 20th century. Such Republicans could be either left or right of center, but were mostly "moderates." (The post Civil War Democrats included an unlikely mix of extreme right and left (e.g. George Wallace and George McGovern), basically people who weren't Republicans.)

The "Establishment Republicans" of Reagan's time were otherwise known as the "Rockefeller Republicans," named after New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, a direct descendant of John D. These were often liberal, sometimes moderate Republicans that were "anti-Conservative." That is, they were Republican in the socio-economic sense of being well off, (and usually well born), as opposed being ideologically conservative, like most of today's Republicans. As such, Reagan, a conservative former Democrat, was no favorite of the "Establishment" Republicans.

The "Reagan Revolution" largely re-aligned the Republican and Democratic parties as conservative and liberal, with liberal "Establishment" Republicans leaving the party and joining the Democrats (e.g. Mrs. Theresa Heinz-Kerry), and conservative Democrats realigning with the Republican Party. That is to say, the pre 1960s Republicans and Democrats were defined mainly by social class (high or low) while the post 1980 Republicans were defined mainly by ideology (conservative or liberal). Reagan was a catalyst of this ideological realignment, and therefore disliked by liberal "Establishment" Republicans.


Ronald Reagan would hate you all: The real history today's right wing will never understand

By Christopher Parker
Published September 30, 2015 9:56AM (EDT)

(Ted Cruz, John Boehner)

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Since the GOP regained the House and the Tea Party faction took over the party four years ago, House Republicans have refused to compromise at every turn. This is a problem.​

​Consider the resignation of​ Speaker​ John Boehner, the latest victory for the no-compromise camp. Make no mistake, Boehner resigned because he knew the most conservative members of the House Republican caucus – the members most closely associated with the Tea Party – were gunning for him. He quit before he could be fired.

Boehner was and remains one of the most conservative speakers in history, maintaining a lifetime conservative score of 94 out of 100 from the American Conservative Union. Still, Boehner was targeted because he was willing to cut deals with Democrats. ​

C​ompromise is key if democracy is to function effectively. ​Tea Party Republicans' unwillingness to compromise has already had significant consequences for the nation. ​

Their steadfast refusal to compromise resulted in the failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, despite an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Senate. Further, the GOP’s refusal to recognize the Affordable Care Act led to a government shutdown in 2013. And now they’ve threatened another shutdown over the funding of Planned Parenthood.

Of course, House Republicans have defended their refusal to compromise by citing conservative principles. The proposed immigration bill, with its path to citizenship, would have rewarded those who have broken the law, they say. Not compromising on the ACA is an essential expression of conservative opposition to an expansion of state power. Defunding Planned Parenthood is an essential battle based on their belief in the right to life.

The problem with all these sensible-sounding proposition​s​ is that they don’t explain why conservative icons agreed to compromise in the past. Consider the F​ounding ​F​athers, a group often invoked by House conservatives and revered by many in the Tea Party.

​While the Federalists and Anti-Federalists had sharp disagreements,​ they eventually compromised​.​ ​E​ach side respected​ the other’s commitment to the good of the nation, and together created the model of modern democracy.

Beyond the Founders, the other icon of today’s GOP is ​President ​Ronald Reagan, perhaps the most revered figure among American conservatives. Yet he cut many deals with congressional Democrats, not least of which was a law granting amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants.

History shows that ​John Boehner was simply following in a grand tradition by negotiating compromises across the aisle. ​So, why was Boehner forced to surrender his gavel? Why is the Tea Party faction so dead set against compromise? The late historian Richard Hofstadter provides a clue. He argued that in the 1960s, some on the right found a changing America deeply frightening they opposed the civil rights movement and wished to hold fast to the status quo.

Political scientist Matt Barreto and I have argued that the Tea Party is similar to what Hofstadter observed in the 1960s. Tea Party House members represent Americans who are anxious about the social changes that have taken place in the United States in the last few years. These changes include the election of the first non-white president, the increasing visibility of women in positions of power, the gay rights revolution, and the push to increase the rights of undocumented immigrants.

Healthy democracies require a loyal opposition – an opposition that fights against the policy priorities of the majority party, but that places the good of the nation above its own political goals, and is willing to make compromises when the good of the nation is at stake. But a constituency riven with anxiety about a changing society cannot easily compromise. And so House Republicans who represent Tea Party-dominated districts cannot compromise, either, lest they suffer the same fate as former Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was defeated by a Tea Party insurgent in a Republican primary.

For now, it seems the reactionary faction of the GOP has prevailed by forcing a voice of moderation—the leader of the party--out. Ironically, Boehner did in his departure what many politicians fail to do: he sacrificed political ambition for the common good. Yet it wouldn’t take much for Republicans to reform into a loyal opposition (and thus gain a much stronger likelihood of regaining the presidency). To do so, they need look no further than traditions of compromise of the Founding Fathers and Ronald Reagan.

Christopher Parker

Christopher S. Parker is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington. He and co-author Matt A. Barreto wrote Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America, winner of the 2014 Best Book Award, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.


When Donald Trump Hated Ronald Reagan

The GOP front-runner praises the conservative icon now, but in 1987 Trump blasted Reagan and his team.

Writer Michael D’Antonio is author of more than a dozen nonfiction books including Mortal Sins and Never Enough, Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success.

In 2016, there are 14 Republican presidential candidates for whom Ronald Reagan is both the benchmark for conservative values and the lodestar of conservative ideas. There’s also one who wrote, in the second to last year of Reagan’s presidency, that he had been “so smooth, so effective a performer” that “only now, seven years later, are people beginning to question whether there’s anything beneath that smile.”

The gadfly was Donald Trump, writing in his book The Art of the Deal. But it wasn’t just a glancing blow to promote the book, Trump launched a political campaign that tore into Reagan’s record, including his willingness to stand up to the Soviet Union. Advised by the notorious Roger Stone, a Nixon-era GOP trickster, in 1987 Trump took out full-page ads in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post blasting Reagan and his team.

In the text, which was addressed “To the American people,” Trump declared, “There’s nothing wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can’t cure.” The problem was America’s leading role in defending democracy, which had been fulfilled by Republicans and Democrats all the way back to FDR. Foreshadowing his 2015 argument that would have Mexico pay for an American-built border wall, Trump then said that the United States should present its allies with a bill for defense services rendered.

The ads, which cost more than $90,000, came after Trump had visited the Soviet Union and met with Mikhail Gorbachev. (A few years earlier, Trump had offered himself as a replacement for Reagan’s nuclear arms control negotiators, whom he considered too soft.) Trump followed his letter to America with a trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where voters were eyeing the candidates in the 1988 primary. There he spoke to the Rotary Club, which met at Yoken’s restaurant, where the sign out front featured a spouting whale and the slogan, “Thar she blows!” In his talk, Trump sounded some of the same themes he offers today, except for the fact that the bad guys who were laughing at the United States were the Japanese and not the Mexicans or Chinese.

“We’re being ripped off and decimated by many foreign nations who are supposedly our allies,” said Trump. “Why can’t we have a share of their money? I don’t mean you demand it. But I tell you what, folks, we can ask in such a way that they’re going to give it to us—if the right person’s asking. … The Japanese, when they negotiate with us, they have long faces. But when the negotiations are over, it is my belief—I’ve never seen this—they laugh like hell.”

Trump’s 1987 pseudo-campaign generated invaluable amounts of free publicity and contributed greatly to the sales of The Art of the Deal, which appeared on shelves a few weeks after Trump spoke in Portsmouth. The experience reinforced what Trump already knew about manipulating the press corps, which then, as now, found him irresistible. (Audiences loved him too. One woman in New Hampshire told a reporter that Trump reeked of the “aphrodisiac” of power.) In the pages of the book, he defended his practice of hype, calling it “truthful hyperbole,” and he hinted at his future practice of outrageous rhetoric, noting that the press “love[s] stories about extreme.”

Although he barely touched on politics in The Art of the Deal, when he did, Trump was an equal opportunity critic. He criticized Reagan, but he also wrote that Democrat Jimmy Carter “couldn’t do the job” of president.

After The Art of the Deal went into paperback in 1988, Trump contemplated challenging Ed Koch in the race for mayor of New York City. Stone was again consulted, along with Republican National Committee chairman Lee Atwater. Atwater was as rough as they came. He once explained, with shocking candor, how political race-baiting had evolved since the 1950s. “By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’—that hurts you, backfires,” he said. “So you say stuff like, uh, ‘forced busing, states’ rights,’ and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites. … 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.’”

Trump, who had also considered running for governor of New York, decided not to try to become mayor.

Throughout the 1990s, Trump was occupied with rebuilding a fortune he had lost after his Trump Shuttle airline failed and two of his Atlantic City casinos went bankrupt. When this work was finished and he had another book to sell, he left the GOP in 1999 in order to flirt with the Reform Party. Catnip for the media, he appeared on Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation. His outrageousness then was comparable to his outrageousness now. He said of opponent Pat Buchanan, “He’s a Hitler lover I guess he’s an anti-Semite. He doesn’t like the blacks, he doesn’t like the gays.” He said that his ideal running mate would be Oprah Winfrey because “she’s popular, she’s brilliant, she’s a wonderful woman.”

Then, as now, Trump believed that Americans wanted an outsider who would offer more political pizazz than the likes of John McCain, Al Gore and the first George Bush, whom he described as “out of touch.” Among his sons, though, Trump found something to admire in Jeb. “He’s exactly the kind of political leader this country needs now and will very much need in the future.”

He also offered some words of advice, and even comfort, to outgoing President Bill Clinton. He wrote that Clinton should have refused to answer all questions about the Monica Lewinsky affair and declared that Americans didn’t really care about Clinton’s sexual escapades. He also described a “conservative columnist, married, who was particularly rough on Clinton in this regard. He also brought his girlfriend to my resorts for the weekend.” And while he wrote that he disagreed with first lady Hillary Clinton’s health care reform specifics, he added, “No one can deny her good intentions.” He also called her “smart and resilient.”

Trump’s campaign book, The America We Deserve, was offered as a souvenir for purchase to those who paid to attend the how-to-succeed speeches Trump made in the run-up to the party convention. Much of the book was taken up with a recapitulation of his life experience, which, he would insist, proved him ready to become leader of the free world. Trump argued in terms that would be familiar today. He said any president should be a great negotiator who can make deals. “The dealmaker is cunning, secretive, focused and never settles for less than he wants,” Trump wrote. “It’s been a long time since America had a president like that.”


10 Real Facts About Ronald Reagan That Republicans Never Choose to Admit

Republicans sure love to talk about Ronald Reagan. Just look at some of these quotes from the Conservative Political Action Conference last week:

"Once again, the GOP is where the action is, just as it was in Jack Kemp's day at the beginning of the Reagan Revolution." - Congressman Paul Ryan (WI)

"It's time for the Republican Party to stop talking about Ronald Reagan and start acting like him." - Senator Mike Lee (UT)

"We need to turn this country around. We did it in 1980 with the grassroots movement that became the Reagan Revolution and, let me tell ya, the same thing is happening all over today." - Senator Ted Cruz (TX)

If that isn't proof enough.

Is this hero worship justified? Here are ten facts about Ronald Reagan that many in the GOP have awkwardly forgotten:

1. Reagan fought against civil rights for African Americans.

MLK Jr. during a press conference in 1964.

Reagan's transformation from actor to serious political figure began in the 1960s, first with a nationally televised speech on behalf of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and then with his election as governor of California. This was also the decade in which the civil rights bills that ended legalized racism were passed . and Reagan was on record opposing all of them, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Reagan continued this pattern as president by gutting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), fighting the extension of the Voting Rights Act, vetoing the Civil Rights Restoration Act (which required all recipients of federal funds to comply with civil rights laws) and initially opposing the creation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (he changed his tune when it passed Congress with a veto-proof majority).

2. Reagan vetoed an anti-apartheid bill.

Reagan further tarnished his record on racial equality when he vetoed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, which imposed economic sanctions on South Africa that could only be lifted when that country abolished apartheid. Although Reagan argued this was because he worried the sanctions would prompt the South African government to respond with "more violence and more repression," critics pointed to his administration's close relationship with the apartheid regime, well-known belief that anti-apartheid groups like the African National Congress were Communistic, oversight of the decision to label Nelson Mandela as a terrorist and weakening of a UN resolution condemning apartheid.

Considering that the bill was supported by an overwhelming majority of South African apartheid opponents (including Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu), his professed reason was widely met with skepticism. Fortunately, Congress overrode his veto.

3. Reagan supported the exploitation of Mexican-American farm workers.

Cesar Chavez in 1973 visiting Colegio Cesar Chavez, the first four-year Mexican-American college in the United States.

One of the biggest contributors to Reagan's successful gubernatorial campaigns was California's wealthy "agro-business" industry. As such, it was not surprising that the newly-elected governor sided with his political benefactors over Cesar Chavez, who led the movement to end the underpayment and inhumane working conditions endured by over a million Mexican-American farm workers.

Of course, if one wishes to take Reagan at his word, you're left to believe that he supported the use of "stoop laborers" not because his rich buddies profited from this system, but because Mexicans were suitable for that lifestyle due to being "built close to the ground."

4. Reagan actively participated in some of America's most infamous witch hunts against alleged Communists.

Ronald Reagan in 1947 testifying before HUAC.

For a man who loved talking about liberty, Reagan's actions didn't show a particularly high regard for the First Amendment. During his tenure as president of the Screen Actors Guild (a labor union for actors), Reagan served as an FBI snitch against members he suspected of Communist sympathies, required all officers to swear a "non-Communist pledge" and testified in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee against the so-called "Hollywood Ten." Thanks in no small part to his actions, dozens of men and women throughout Hollywood had their careers ruined.

5. Reagan illegally sold weapons to Iran and helped create the Taliban and Osama bin Laden regime.

President Reagan meeting with Afghan Mujahideen leaders in the Oval Office in 1981.

In order to curtail the Soviet Union's influence over Central Asia, Reagan financed, armed, and trained Islamofascist mujahideen in Afghanistan. Along with costing billions of dollars, this policy advanced the career of a mujahidin commander named Osama bin Laden and led to the emergence of the Taliban.

Reagan exacerbated matters by continuing the war after the USSR's retreat, which helped bring about bin Laden's ascendancy in the region. Even worse, Reagan illegally sold weapons to the Iranian government (which had been unfriendly to America since the 1970s) to fund right-wing rebel forces in Nicaragua (leading to the Iran-Contra scandal).

6. Reagan's economic policies caused a spike in unemployment and led to severe income inequality.

Reagan explaining Reaganomics in a televised address.

Although Reagan claimed his sweeping tax cut plan in 1981 would reduce unemployment, it actually had the opposite effect, with unemployment rising by more than 3% (to 10.8%) during the first half of his initial term. Fortunately for him, the economy began to pick up on its own unfortunately for us, his draconian cuts to social programs, crippling of labor unions, and weakening of legal protections for the working class contributed to the growing income inequality that continues today.

7. Reagan helped kick off the war on women.

While Reagan deserves credit for appointing Sandra Day O'Connor as America's first female Supreme Court Justice, his legacy on women's issues is tarnished by his outspoken opposition to abortion rights, appointment of anti-choice judges and successful push to remove support for the Equal Rights Amendment — which would have guaranteed that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex" — from the Republican Party platform.

8. Reagan failed to confront the AIDS epidemic.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt — a celebration of the lives of people who have died of AIDS-related causes.

It was an open secret that the Reagan administration believed AIDS was "nature's revenge on gay men" (in the words of Reagan's communications director Pat Buchanan) and that "they [homosexuals] are only getting what they justly deserve" (according to the account of Reagan's surgeon general, Dr. C. Everett Koop, on the attitude of Reagan's advisers).

While Reagan was never caught expressing such venomous attitudes, he refused to address the AIDS epidemic at all until the spring of 1987. By that time, he had only a year-and-a-half left in his presidency . and AIDS had already more than 20,000 lives, with thousands more suffering from infection.

9. Reagan is directly responsible for increasing American homelessness through his large-scale defunding of mental institutions.

A homeless man in Miami, released from the hospital the day before.

Both as governor and president, Reagan oversaw the massive defunding of mental health institutions. Because many mentally ill individuals have difficulty obtaining and holding down employment, this significantly increased homelessness in America. As of 2009, 20-25% of America's homeless population was severely mentally ill, compared to only 6% of the general population.

10. Reagan added trillions to our national debt in an attempt to redistribute wealth from the poor to both the rich and the military.

The famous national debt clock.

In the forty-eight years before Reagan became president, his eight predecessors increased the national debt by a total of $975 billion. Despite running as a fiscal conservative, Reagan wound up increasing the debt by more than Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter combined, adding $1.86 trillion to the pile.

This was because of Reagan's infamous "Voodoo Economics," i.e., the claim that you could cut taxes for the wealthy and expand the military-industrial complex without increasing our national debt. While staunch conservatives were genuinely convinced that the flawed math of "Reaganomics" would somehow work out, others agreed that Reagan's real strategy was to "Starve the Beast."

As Alan Greenspan (Reagan's appointment as Chairman of the Federal Reserve) once put it, "the basic purpose of any tax cut program in today’s environment is to reduce the momentum of expenditure growth by restraining the amount of revenue available and trust that there is a political limit to deficit spending." In short, Reagan's economic advisers were hoping that in order to shrink the size of government, while maintaining military expenditures and low high-bracket tax cuts, Congress would choose to cut programs that benefited lower income Americans over allowing the debt to explode. While they were wrong in that assumption, their argument that lower income citizens should be the ones to suffer to reduce our debt endures to this day.

In sum, we live in the America that Reagan helped create. While many of our presidents have been influential, most scholars agree that Reagan's election in 1980 ushered in a new period in our nation's political history. He pushed the Republican Party to the right on a number of issues, threatened the Democrats' longstanding status as America's dominant party, and left a lasting imprint on both our country and the larger world through his social, economic and foreign policies.

The speakers at CPAC weren't wrong when they said their champion had left an important legacy. To avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, however, we must see that legacy for what it really was, so we don't ever elect another Ronald Reagan.


The Real Story of Reagan’s 11th Commandment

On the surface, it was an idealistic call to Republican unity. But Reagan also had self-serving reasons for his famous decree.

H. W. Brands is the author of Reagan: The Life.

Will Rogers, the cowboy philosopher and political pundit of the 1930s, used to joke, “I am a member of no organized party: I am a Democrat.” In those days, the Democrats were America’s party of dysfunction, an unstable coalition of urban Northern liberals and rural Southern conservatives. Occasionally, the two wings worked together, as during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first term, but more often they clashed, right up until the party splintered during the 1960s, as Southern conservatives bailed out to join the Republicans.

At the time, the GOP was the party of comparative coherence. Republicans differed among themselves on various issues, as party members do. In the prewar era, free-traders tussled with protectionists in the 1950s, Republicans argued about the optimal size of the defense establishment. But the party usually managed to contain the internecine warfare and present a united front to the electorate at large.

Republican decorum was famously characterized by Ronald Reagan as the “Eleventh Commandment,” which declared, “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.” Reagan credited Gaylord Parkinson, state chairman of California Republicans during the 1960s, with originating the idea, and in his 1966 campaign for California governor, Reagan pledged to honor it.

His insistence that Republicans refrain from criticizing one another was self-serving. As the favorite in the Republican effort to oust Democratic Governor Pat Brown, Reagan hoped to keep his GOP rivals from damaging him before the general election.

But Reagan had a broader vision as well. The 1964 presidential contest had left the Republicans more divided than they’d been in decades. The party’s liberal and moderate wings, supporters of Nelson Rockefeller, blamed conservatives for Barry Goldwater’s disastrous defeat, in which Lyndon Johnson won more than 480 electoral votes as Democrats took two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress. Reagan had already fixed his eyes on the White House, and he knew he couldn’t get there leading a fractured party.

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The Eleventh Commandment played to Reagan’s individual strengths. Attack politics never came easily to him the persona that served him best was that of the genial, joke-cracking optimist. To be sure, Reagan was no milquetoast. He challenged sitting president Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination in 1976, criticizing Ford for signing the Helsinki Accords and for allowing the fall of Saigon. And Reagan had to beat back George H. W. Bush for the 1980 nomination. He could throw haymakers and zingers at his opponents. But the most telling ones were always directed at Democrats. “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job,” he said in the 1980 general campaign. “A depression is when you lose your job. And recovery begins when Jimmy Carter loses his job.”

Reagan earned a reputation as the “Teflon president,” to whom scandal and criticism never stuck. The reason they didn’t was that voters thought Reagan was a nice guy. Even those who disliked his policies had difficulty disliking him. He survived the Iran-Contra scandal not because people believed his side of the story—polls showed they didn’t—but because they didn’t want to see an amiable old man disgraced.

Fast forward to 2017. The Republicans have become the party of dysfunction. They inherited the Southern conservatives who abandoned the Democrats, and are now as deeply split as the Democrats ever were—even as they hold the presidency, the Congress, and a majority of the nation’s state governments.

And Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment is nowhere to be seen.

Trump’s Bad Deal With China

By CHARLES EDEL and MIRA RAPP-HOOPER

During the Republican primary campaign of 2016, candidates said the vilest things about one another, from the relatively benign (e.g. Governor Jeb Bush calling Donald Trump the “chaos candidate”) to the outlandishly slanderous (e.g. Trump alleging that Senator Ted Cruz’s father helped Lee Harvey Oswald murder President John F. Kennedy). Most of the party reconciled itself to Trump after he won the nomination, but many respected voices continued to declare him unfit by experience and temperament to be America’s chief executive.

As president, Trump has returned the favor. After the congressional collapse of the American Health Care Act, Trump’s would-be Obamacare replacement, the president called out Republican members of the House who refused to support his proposal—even threatening them with reprisals in next year’s primaries.

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He should be careful. Roosevelt attempted something similar in 1938. Frustrated by the stalling of the New Deal, FDR openly campaigned against conservative Southern Democrats who had had enough of the president’s reforms. The Roosevelt “purge,” as it was called, failed miserably, embarrassing the president, weakening the party and leaving the conservatives more recalcitrant than ever. If this could happen to Roosevelt, who was elected by popular landslides, it is all the more likely for Trump, who lost the popular vote in his only election.

Republicans long for the days of Reagan. And well they should, for he was the party’s last hero, their last real vote-getter. But they’re not going to see another Reagan until they revive their Eleventh Commandment and stop beating up on one another. Until then, the Republican Party will look less like Reagan’s GOP than like the Democrats of Will Rogers’ day.


You're Remembering Reagan Wrong

F or 30 years Ronald Reagan has been a hero to Republicans and conservatives, his presidency regarded as the crucial moment when America began to turn back from the misguided liberalism of the New Deal to the truths of individual liberty and personal opportunity on which this country had rested from its founding. Yet as much as those on the right have revered Reagan, they have been unable to recapture his magic and repeat his success. The Reagan Revolution has had no second act.

The reason for this is that Reagan&rsquos accomplishment has been widely misunderstood. Reagan is remembered for his compelling vision for America: a vision of self-reliance, limited government, stout defense, and world leadership toward freedom. And he is remembered for his ability to communicate this vision, better than anyone else of his generation or after. In a long political career, Reagan gave hundreds of speeches, but all were riffs on the single theme of expanding liberty. There is nothing of substance in any of Reagan&rsquos speeches that doesn&rsquot resonate today with nearly everyone right of center, from mainstream conservatives to Tea Party activists.

Yet Reagan was more than a speechmaker, more than a visionary. He was also a brilliantly successful politician. Reagan had no military experience&mdashbeyond performing in films for the army during World War II&mdashbut he instinctively understood the difference between strategy and tactics. His strategic goal was to shrink government at home and defeat communism abroad. (On the latter he memorably told Richard Allen, who became his national security adviser: &ldquoMy theory of the Cold War is: We win and they lose.&rdquo) But Reagan recognized that progress came in stages, and that a step forward was a step in the right direction, even if it didn&rsquot achieve the goal all at once. &ldquoIf Reagan told me once he told me fifteen thousand times,&rdquo James Baker, Reagan&rsquos chief of staff and later his Treasury secretary, recalled in an interview: &ldquo&lsquoI&rsquod rather get 80 percent of what I want than go over the cliff with my flags flying.&rsquo&rdquo

In case after case, Reagan demonstrated the flexibility necessary to advance his conservative agenda. He called for cutting taxes, and he was astonishingly successful in doing so, reducing by half the top rate on personal income. But he was willing to accept slight tax increases when necessary to consolidate gains already made and to achieve other conservative goals, such as streamlining the tax code and putting Social Security on a sounder footing. His willingness to accept less than his maximum program similarly made possible broad deregulation of business and a landmark immigration reform act.

Reagan is often cited as an enemy of government. The most frequently quoted line from his first inaugural address has him saying, &ldquoGovernment is not the solution to our problem government is the problem.&rdquo But what is almost always omitted is the prefatory clause: &ldquoIn this present crisis…&rdquo Reagan was not an enemy of government, and he did not think government was the enemy of the American people. He believed government should be smaller than it had become by the 1980s, and that it should be more efficient, but he didn&rsquot believe it should be dismantled. As Greg Leo, who served in the Reagan administration told me, &ldquoWe were not anarchists we were conservatives.&rdquo

Reagan&rsquos tactical flexibility appeared in other arenas. He was famous for declaring the Soviet Union an &ldquoevil empire.&rdquo He had no doubt that communism was the most pernicious of modern creeds, and that the Kremlin was, as he put it in the same speech, &ldquothe focus of evil in the modern world.&rdquo Reagan directed the rebuilding of American defenses to combat communism and bolster freedom. Yet even as he built up arms, he sought ways to negotiate them down. Indeed, the purpose of the arms buildup was to make arms reductions possible&mdashto convince the Russians they couldn&rsquot beat the United States in an arms race.

Reagan repeatedly sought to engage Soviet leaders in negotiations, to no initial avail. &ldquoThey kept dying on me,&rdquo he said of the Moscow gerontocracy. But the emergence of Mikhail Gorbachev gave Reagan someone to negotiate with, and in the culmination of an unprecedented series of summits, Reagan and Gorbachev eliminated one whole class of nuclear weapons and laid the basis for dramatic additional cuts in the superpower arsenals. Visiting Moscow during his last year in office, Reagan was asked whether he still considered the Soviet Union an evil empire. &ldquoNo,&rdquo he said simply. Later prompted to explain, he acknowledged that even communists could change for the better. &ldquoThere is quite a difference today in the leadership and in the relationship between our two countries.&rdquo

Reagan brought another crucial attribute to conservatism. Righteous indignation, at times amounting to anger, has often characterized the conservative movement. From Barry Goldwater to the Tea Party, many conservatives have seemed to like feeling beset and aggrieved. Reagan could get righteously angry, as when the Soviets shot down a Korean airliner in 1983. &ldquoWords can scarcely express our revulsion at this horrifying act of violence,&rdquo he declared.

But anger wasn&rsquot Reagan&rsquos natural mode. He was an optimist at heart, and in every speech he conveyed his belief that America&rsquos best days were ahead. Goldwater frowned and warned Reagan smiled and invited. Reagan&rsquos philosophy differed hardly at all from Goldwater&rsquos, but Reagan&rsquos vote-getting power surpassed anything Goldwater could muster. Reagan genuinely believed America was a &ldquoshining city on a hill,&rdquo as he said again and again, and he made Americans believe it, too.

Reagan refused to demonize his foes. Instead he charmed them, with a few exceptions, including Tip O&rsquoNeill, the Democratic Speaker of the House and the embodiment of the liberalism Reagan sought to reverse. Reagan conspired in the impression that he and O&rsquoNeill shared a bond that transcended political differences, but it was an act. &ldquoAlthough photographs taken after their meetings suggested a sort of underlying Irish camaraderie between the two men, the reality was that they were hammer and anvil,&rdquo said Donald Regan, of Irish descent himself, who served as Reagan&rsquos Treasury secretary and then chief of staff. After one meeting with O&rsquoNeill, Reagan told Regan, &ldquoI don&rsquot know what the hell&rsquos the matter with the man. I just can&rsquot seem to reach him.&rdquo

Reagan reached most other people he encountered. He didn&rsquot point fingers he told jokes. He understood, from years on the lecture circuit, the disarming value of humor: that getting people to laugh with you is halfway to getting them to agree with you. He used humor more effectively than any president since Abraham Lincoln. Reagan was not an especially warm person, but he appeared to be. Many people disliked his policies, but almost no one disliked him.

Reagan&rsquos enduring value as a conservative icon stems from his resolute preaching of the conservative gospel, in words that still warm the hearts of the most zealous conservatives. Yet Reagan&rsquos value as a conservative model must begin with recognition of his flexibility in the pursuit of his conservative goals. He understood that the point of politics, ultimately, is not to make speeches but to make progress, and that progress often requires compromise. It&rsquos a lesson for today&rsquos conservatives&mdashand reformers of any stripe.


DELINGPOLE: Ronald Reagan Would Have Hated this Stupid ‘Conservative’ Carbon Tax Idea

1,890 Joe Raedle/Getty Images, Rusty Kennedy/AP Photo

Donald Trump should pursue a regressive, counterproductive, pointless tax policy to deal with a non-existent problem because it’s “what the Gipper would have wanted.”

What the late Ronald Reagan is actually doing right now, I strongly suspect, is reaching for the celestial sickbag over this absurd proposal – endorsed by, amongst others, his former Secretary of State George Shultz – that President Trump should bring in a “carbon tax” in order to “combat climate change.”

Obviously the New York Times is very excited about this proposal because it thinks it’s a sign that conservatives are seeing the light:

A group of Republican elder statesmen is calling for a tax on carbon emissions to fight climate change.

The group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former secretary of the Treasury, says that taxing carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is “a conservative climate solution” based on free-market principles.

Mr. Baker is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, the senior adviser to the president, and Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, as well as Ivanka Trump.

Nope. What this story actually does is remind us of one of the main reasons why Donald Trump – and not any of his more Establishment rivals – ended up winning the GOP nomination: because the GOP Establishment had drifted so far away from the conservative principles they were supposed to uphold that they might just as well have been Democrats.

According to Baker: “I’m not at all sure the Gipper wouldn’t have been very happy with this.”

Oh, that delicate use of litotes to make his elegant point! It’s the kind of refined circumlocution you can imagine going down an absolute storm at Skull and Bones reunion gatherings or 12-course Bilderberg dinners or anywhere else where you might find the right sort of people in the Republican party.

Actually though what it really is – and this is typical of that weasellish political breed – is a clever way of saying something completely untrue without quite lying.

Ronald Reagan would, in all likelihood, have rejected a carbon tax for at least two reasons.

First, a tax on “carbon” is a tax on growth because carbon-dioxide is a natural by-product of all industrial processes. Ronald Reagan was not against economic growth.

Second, why would you waste time and money expanding government to deal with a problem – man-made climate change – for which there was next to no credible evidence? Ronald Reagan was not a fan of big government.

Baker, Shultz and Paulson may indeed be Republican elder statesmen. But I do hope that this doesn’t stop President Trump’s administration telling them, in the nicest possible way, exactly where they can shove their carbon tax.


How the ‘Party of Lincoln’ Won Over the Once Democratic South

The night that Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, his special assistant Bill Moyers was surprised to find the president looking melancholy in his bedroom. Moyers later wrote that when he asked what was wrong, Johnson replied, “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come.”

It may seem a crude remark to make after such a momentous occasion, but it was also an accurate prediction.

To understand some of the reasons the South went from a largely Democratic region to a primarily Republican area today, just follow the decades of debate over racial issues in the United States.

On April 11, 1968 President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights bill while seated at a table surrounded by members of Congress, Washington DC. (Credit: Warren Leffler/Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

The Republican party was originally founded in the mid-1800s to oppose immigration and the spread of slavery, says David Goldfield, whose new book on American politics, The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good, comes out in November.

“The Republican party was strictly a sectional party, meaning that it just did not exist in the South,” he says. “The South couldn’t care less about immigration.” But it did care about preserving slavery.

After the Civil War, the Democratic party’s opposition to Republican Reconstruction legislation solidified its hold on the South.

“The Democratic party came to be more than a political party in the South—it came to be a defender of a way of life,” Goldfield says. 𠇊nd that way of life was the restoration as much as possible of white supremacy … The Confederate statues you see all around were primarily erected by Democrats.”

The Dixie Democrats seceding from the Democratic Party. The rump convention, called after the Democrats had attached President Truman’s civil rights program to the party platform, placed Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor Fielding L. Wright of Mississippi in nomination. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Up until the post-World War II period, the party’s hold on the region was so entrenched that Southern politicians usually couldn’t get elected unless they were Democrats. But when President Harry S. Truman, a Democratic Southerner, introduced a pro-civil rights platform at the party’s 1948 convention, a faction walked out.

These defectors, known as the 𠇍ixiecrats,” held a separate convention in Birmingham, Alabama. There, they nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, a staunch opposer of civil rights, to run for president on their “States’ Rights” ticket. Although Thurmond lost the election to Truman, he still won over a million popular votes.

It “was the first time since before the Civil War that the South was not solidly Democratic,” Goldfield says. 𠇊nd that began the erosion of the southern influence in the Democratic party.”

After that, the majority of the South still continued to vote Democratic because it thought of the Republican party as the party of Abraham Lincoln and Reconstruction. The big break didn’t come until President Johnson, another Southern Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Govenor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, was nominated as States’ Right candidate at the rump convention held in Birmingham on by southern recalcitrants. The Southerners took this drastic action after the Democratic convention added President Truman’s civil rights program of its party platform. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Though some Democrats had switched to the Republican party prior to this, “the defections became a flood” after Johnson signed these acts, Goldfield says. 𠇊nd so the political parties began to reconstitute themselves.”

The change wasn’t total or immediate. During the late 1960s and early �s, white Southerners were still transitioning away from the Democratic party (newly enfranchised black Southerners voted and continue to vote Democratic). And even as Republican Richard Nixon employed a “Southern strategy” that appealed to the racism of Southern white voters, former Alabama Governor George Wallace (who𠆝 wanted “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever”) ran as a Democrat in the 1972 presidential primaries.

By the time Ronald Reagan became president in 1980, the Republican party’s hold on white Southerners was firm. Today, the Republican party remains the party of the South. It’s an ironic outcome considering that a century ago, white Southerners would’ve never considered voting for the party of Lincoln.


8 reasons why Ronald Reagan was the worst president of our lifetime

If you ever happen to come across a Republican on television these days, chances are that you will hear the name Ronald Reagan. Recent Republican debates are the perfect example of the love fest that the current Republican party has for Reagan as each candidate name drops the former president at every turn. If you only listened to conservatives you would think that Jesus Christ was the only person above Reagan on the totem pole of conservative love. They talk about his love of low taxes, less government and conservative family values. The problem is that when you step out of the conservative dream and come back to reality, you find that not only was Ronald Reagan a bad president, but he was one of the worst presidents we've seen in modern times. Reagan's policies have destroyed the United States for three decades, and for the eight years he was in office, here are eight reasons why Ronald Reagan was the worst president of our lifetime.

1. Reagan cut taxes for the Rich, increased taxes on the Middle Class -

Ronald Reagan is loved by conservatives and was loved by big business throughout his presidency and there's a reason for it. When Reagan came into office in January of 1981, the top tax rate was 70%, but when he left office in 1989 the top tax rate was down to only 28%. As Reagan gave the breaks to all his rich friends, there was a lack of revenue coming into the federal government. In order to bring money back into the government, Reagan was forced to raise taxes eleven times throughout his time in office. One example was when he signed into law the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982. Reagan raised taxes seven of the eight years he was in office and the tax increases were felt hardest by the lower and middle class.

2. Tripling the National Debt -

As Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, the government was left with less money to spend. When Reagan came into office the national debt was $900 billion, by the time he left the national debt had tripled to $2.8 trillion.

In 1986, a group of Americans were being held hostage by a terrorist group with ties to Iran. In an attempt to free the hostages, Ronald Reagan secretly sold arms and money to Iran. Much of the money that was received from the trade went to fund the Nicaragua Contra rebels who were in a war with the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. When the scandal broke in the Untied States it became the biggest story in the country, Reagan tried to down play what happened, but never fully recovered.

4. Reagan funded Terrorists -

The attacks on 9/11 by al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden brought new attention to international terrorism. All of a sudden, Americans coast to coast wore their American flag pins, ate their freedom fries and couldn't wait to go to war with anyone who looked like a Muslim. What Americans didn't realize was that the same group that attacked the United States on 9/11 was funded by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Prepping for a possible war with the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan spent billions of dollars funding the Islamist mujahidin Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan. With billions of American dollars, weapons and training coming their way, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden took everything they were given and gave it back to the United States over a decade later in the worst possible way imaginable.

When Ronald Reagan came into office 1981, unemployment was at 7.5%. After Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, he began raising taxes on the middle and lower class. Corporations started to ship more jobs out of the United States while hiring cheap foreign labor in order to make a bigger profit. While corporations made billions, Americans across the country lost their jobs. As 1982 came to a close, unemployment was nearly 11%. Unemployment began to drop as the years went on, but the jobs that were created were low paying and barely helped people make ends meet. The middle and lower class had their wages nearly frozen as the top earners saw dramatic increases in salary.

By the time the 1980s came around, AIDS had become one of the most frightening things to happen to the country in recent memory. No one understood what AIDS and HIV really was and when people don't understand something, they become scared of it. The fear of the unknown was sweeping across the country and Americans needed a leader to speak out about this horrible virus, that leader never came. Instead of grabbing the bull by the horns and taking charge, Reagan kept quiet. Reagan couldn't say the words AIDS or HIV until seven years into his presidency, a leader not so much.

7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million Undocumented Immigrants -

In today's GOP, the idea of any immigrant staying in the United States whether they are legal or illegal isn't something that conservatives embrace. What might shock them is that in 1982 Ronald Reagan gave nearly 3 million undocumented workers amnesty. The biggest reason for undocumented workers coming to the United States is because corporations hire them at a cheaper rate than they would an American citizen. All the laws that would have cracked down on companies who hire undocumented workers were, of course, removed from the bill.

8. His attack on Unions and the Middle Class - The Republican war on unions and the middle class has been heating up in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, but it has been going on for a long time. Unions are formed to give a united voice to the workers in an attempt to create fairness between the corporations and their employees. On August 3rd, 1981, PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) went on strike in an effort to get better pay and safer working conditions. Two days later, taking the side of business, Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 workers for not returning to work.

There are a lot of great reasons Reagan sucked as a president. For me, the biggest one is how he and his PR team made it socially acceptable to hate, blame and bash the poor.

There has always been a streak of "hate the poor" in American life and politics but during the Reagan years it became more socially acceptable than it had ever been when I was growing up. It was no longer necessary for conservatives to even try to hold back their contempt for America's poor.

Even more than the ridiculous "trickle down" economics, a fantasy still popular among Republicans, the open hatred and demonizing of the poor is the lasting legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Uh oh. Freeper R2 hears the truth and gets scared.

OP's article is too kind to Reagan. He was worse than that.

Just f&f R2 and send his ass back to freerepublic.

It leaves out how he celebrated greed and not caring about anyone but yourself and your path to wealth. And even worse was how he encouraged a celebration of ignorance and cut education.

Perhaps, R2 would like to explain to us exactly what is inaccurate in the OP's post? Reagan tripled the national debt, cut taxes for the wealthy, attacked the unions, funded terrorists, and ignored the AIDS crisis. What is so offensive about the truth?

Something that has not gotten significant attention is how during the Reagan years the deregulation of business accelerated. It got a lot easier to screw over customers and mistreat workers. And it's hard to get those things back once they've been dismantled.

One letter for why Reagan is not the worst President: W.

Is there suppose to be a debate about OP's theory?

Lifting the regulations that prohibited the consolidation of media ownership was another crime of the Reagan administration. Five or six companies now own virtually every private TV network and affiliate, movie studio and radio station, magazine and book publishing company in America. Their choke-hold on the flow of information and their power to control the narrative of our society are an often overlooked peril.

The judges he appointed. More unqualified people were elevated to the federal bench than the nation had scene in at least 150 years.

he was evil, through and through. now back to free republic, with you r12, and take you homophobe froend r2 with you.

He treasonously bargained with Iran to keep the hostages confined until his inauguration and paid Iran off with arms from Israel.

He caved to terrorism in Beirut in 1983.

He launched an invasion of Grenada under false pretenses, and it was botched.

He encouraged banks to go on a huge Latin America debt binge and meddled with the affairs of Latin countries, leading to starvation and economic collapse in many of them.

He enouraged the apartheid regime in South Africa to stand firm.

He wasted many billions on military projects that were impractical and corrupt.

His EPA was the worst despoiler of the land in decades.

He put magical thinkers in charge of NASA which led to disaster.

More high officials of the government under Reagan were prosecuted for crimes than in any administration before or since.

Edwin Meese declared war on gay people and pornography.

The war on drugs was a thinly veiled race war.

He dumped the mentally ill onto the streets.

His CIA got into the drug running business.

The USA went into permanent trade deficit under Reagan.

His director of OMB admitted that the deficit spending was intended to force the government to cut its entitlement programs.

Again, an ignorant jackass confuses competence with popularity: R12,

My aunt's friend who was a stylist to ALL the big names in DC said that Ronald Reagan was a drooly-lipped pants-shitter at the end of his first term and that Nancy had to order specially-made monkey diapers so Ronnie wouldn't tear them off.

Alexander Haig resigned because he couldn't stand the ass stench. And that's how George "No-Nose"Shultz became RR's SoS.

[all posts by right wing shit-stain # a removed.]

He apparently was responsible for some kind of change in banking regulations as well that lead to today's massive consumer debt.

I remember in the '70s it was almost impossible to get a credit card. By the end of Reagan's 12 years in office, it was almost impossible not to get one, and a Gold Card at that.

The Fairness Doctrine went away under his watch too, and gave us idiots like Rush Limbaugh.

he was a horrible, small man (regardless of his large movie cowboy stature) and his 8 year reign indeed can be blamed for many of the current ills facing this country.

Informercials. We have them because of Reagan's deregulation that also allowed more commercials per hour of television programing.

There is an impact even asshats can get mad about.

But how would asshats know about the latest Ronco inventions, R21? Who do you think buys them?

R12, you are wrong. Bill Clinton was at the end of his second term, despite Monica.

Reagan began the Republican policies that persist today and are the foundations of their approach to gov't. He mostly was successful in implementing his program- in that sense he was effective- if dead wrong and as such has contributed as much as any President to our current problems.

But by far the worst President of my lifetime was G W Bush. He bungled everything and got us into the two longest wars of our history- both of which were politically strategically and morally wrong. Getting Al Qaeda was the goal- not war Iraq and Afganistan- and he foolishly abandoned that moving special op forces to Iraq. He also was stupid enough to continue the Reagan tax cutting policy in the supposed effort to stimulate economic growth- which Reagan provded did not work when he subsequently increased taxes after decreasing them because of continued poor growth in the economy.

Bush was incompetent and surrounded by others(neocons Cheny etc) who were simple dead wrong on every major issue, or sycophants (Condi). He will go down in history as the worst or near worst. Reagan will be viewed as a leader of failed policies.

what r24 said. Christ, W was just horrible on so many levels.

If somehow, Jeb Bush gets the repuke nomination in 2016 and is elected, my head will explode.

I remember being alarmed during Bush 43's presidency and some well-informed friends of mine said, "This is nothing compared to what Reagan did."

Seriously, I think getting rid of the fairness doctrine was the most damaging thing he did. It shifted control of the media away from the public's best interest.

He had camera charisma. Movie actor.

I disagree with just about everything on this thread and was about to respond, and then thought, "nah, why bother?"

Bush 43 was a worse President than Reagan.

Bush had Cheney acting as President, Reagan kept Cheney out.

Bush appointed Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary.

Bush invaded and tried to occupy Iraq.

Trying to privatize social security.

I was a lobbyist during his earliest days and I saw the emergence of right wing nutjobs in the administration that no respectable republican before would have paid the slightest mind to.

They first started creeping up in small appointed positions and like cockroaches they multiplied and were everywhere - on the bench, throughout all the agencies.

Even some of what used to be considered conservatiove Senators or Members of Congress were a bit taken aback by the extremism and the nastiness.

When Reagan started to deregulate the banks my mom warned me that this was very dangerous - she had been in stocks and bonds at a huge NYC savings & loan bank before she married. There was, after all, a reason the regs were first put in place following the stock market crash and it wasn't to jam the rich.

Reagan deregulation resulted in e coli in ground beef and salmonella in eggs and chicken.

Reagan interior secretary, James Watt, declared the BEACH BOYS dangerous hippies who encouraged drug use and alcoholism and had attracted "the wrong element."

Have the first trillion dollar deficits -- under Reagan -- been mentioned? I'll mention it again.

The worst is that no one will TOUCH Reagan today, not even Democrats. He's established such an iconic image based on myths, everyone's afraid.

R33 - Reagan didn't give us trillion dollar deficits. Bush did.

You're mistaken, dumbass, r35. Reagan lowered taxes and increased spending = the recipe for trillion $ deficits! Bush did the same thing only worse.

You are an ignorant little ass, aren't you r35, in love with Ronnie's image by chance?

After the no cost to taxpayer redesign of White House rooms Nancy's designer and his partner were allowed to spend the night in one of the famous rooms.

R36 Yes, you are right. Reagan cut taxes and increased defense spending which led to larger deficits, but they did not hit a trillion till 2007-8. See link.

I'm no fan of Reagan, but I think Bush was far worse.

I LIVED IT, it WAS trillion dollars deficits, dearest.

AND REAGAN RAN IN 1980 ON BALANCING THE FEDERAL BUDGET. MARY MARY MARY!!

And I'm going to comment AGAIN on the worst of it:

Reagan does not get the credit/blame he deserves for ruining this county.

R39, No it wasn't. Look at the link. Deficits went up under Reagan, but only to 300 billion.

Bush's deficits were worse.

Yeah Bush was worse, duh. Reagan racked it up to the trillions too:

"As a short-run strategy to reduce inflation and lower nominal interest rates, the U.S. borrowed both domestically and abroad to cover the Federal budget deficits, raising the national debt from $997 billion to $2.85 trillion. This led to the U.S. moving from the world's largest international creditor to the world's largest debtor nation. Reagan described the new debt as the "greatest disappointment" of his presidency."

Not to mention the global terror at his nuclear brinkmanship.

Bush was an idiot and a mess. Reagan had an agenda that he ruthlessly pushed forward that used division, fear and hatred to consolidate power.

Yes, he raised the debt by more than a trillion over the course of 8 years. But the deficits - the annual shortfalls - were much less than a trillion.

I remember reading the newspaper when I was in high-school, and the article was talking about how Reagan saw Armageddon coming but was staying optimistic. As a 15 year old, this scared the crap out of me. I also read his biography, and was stunned that he didn't realize the nations fear of nuclear war until they showed "The Day After". How in the hell are you the President of The United States during the cold war, and not realize this? Scary times indeed.

In all history would be more like it.

As bad as Reagan was, I still think Bush was worse.

What is truly scary, is how many Americans think otherwise. Makes you realize that the problems with the USA are the people, not the Presidents.

True, I know foolish people that idolize RayGun. They're crazy as that nutcase Backkkman from Minnesota.

R21, I want to hear more about Reagan and infomercials. The person who allowed that to happen deserves capital punishment.

Was it him who had a hand in shutting down old mental hospitals?

Yes, and adding to the streets tons of homeless, mentally unstable, unmedicated people. Thanks Ronnie, may your time in Hell be spent swimming in the lovely water of the Styx.

"Let us know when you've accomplished anything close to what Reagan accomplished. Nasty ass queen"

Oh sorry - that was when I was 18 months old - not when I stood for President.

I've got another 30 years to go, though.

“They make their own choice for staying out there.” -Ronald Reagan

Interesting that he is so beloved in history when he was far more destructive to the country than Dummy Dubya. The first Bush called his trickle down economics 'voodoo economics' but still accepted the offer to run for Veep. I never respected Bush the Elder after that. Reagan was a disaster it is amazing that OPs list is widely known, yet he is still revered. I remember him trying to pass off ketchup as a vegetable to cut down on costs for lunches for poor school kids. The man was an abomination. When he left office, more people than ever were working at minimum wage jobs.

Don't forget the scariest part - long before he left office, we now know he was at some stage of Alzeihmer's I wonder if he even was aware of some of his decisions.

He won the Cold War, and despite his best efforts did it without a nuclear war.

Bush was a worse president, obviously, but Reagan started us down this path.

With all of the Right-wingers running around bragging about Reagan defeating communism, I wonder how many of them secretely wish they could still point to Russia and silence the country as they try to throw together a Reagan look-alike presidency with all the wrong pieces.

Meanwhile, I think we need to focus more on not falling into the war on terror and allowing them to get the kind of control that Reagan had.

Please pick up a history book, R58.

Reagan is NOT a beloved president. He is beloved by the crazy right wing, but not the general public. Today Clinton polls much better than Reagan, and no one calls Clinton beloved.

Reagan won a landslide election in 1984 because the democrats were in disarray, nominated a terrible candidate, and few people realized just how terrible Reagan was. Today most people do realize it. His stock will sink lower and lower as history tends to get things right in retrospect.

Reagan was basically Sarah Palin in drag.

Reagan's 1984 landslide was around 8 points in the popular vote.

Congress knew Reagan should have been impeached for the Iran-Contra scandal but they didnt charge him because that would have been a terrible blow to public confidence in government, and it was considered way too soon since Nixon/ Watergate. Reagan was a shithead. If in 1975, someone told me Ronald Reagan would become president I would have laughed my ass off. That actor was just the electable face of the military industrial complex and Wall Street banks. He definitely pulled off his lines better than Dubya.

Let us also not forget that Taliban leaders visited the White House under Reagan's administration. Reagan funded Al Qaeda and the Mujahideen/Taliban when Afghanistan was fighting the Soviets. Bin Laden didnt hate the West in the 80s. He loved the U.S. back then. Bush 41 also funded Saddam & he also is good family friends with the Laden family. All this is quite sinister when you think about it & it is the tragedy of our time that none of this information is common knowledge in the U.S. It's common knowledge in the Middle East.

Millions of reasons in my book, namely all of those who died from AIDS and those who now have it and HIV.

And in the tens of millions living in extreme poverty and those who are homeless, virtually unheard of in America before Reagan. Hell add up all those destroyed lived and there are probably hundreds of millions of reasons why Reagan was the worst and the most evil.

Not to minimize what he did (I am a Jew who lost great grandparents in the Holocaust) even Hitler didn't kill as many or cause as much suffering to so many as Reagan and after almost 35 years the suffering and death Reagan caused is still going on.

[quote]One letter for why Reagan is not the worst President: W.

Dubya would never have gone into politics if it weren't for Reagan.

W was son of HW. HW was a leading candidate in 1980. If it were not for Reagan, HW (a moderate then) could have become President eight years earlier. He might have won another term,

Reagan's administration was more terrible. At least W signed PEPFAR which is the best piece of legislation he ever signed. It has dramatically curbed deaths from HIV/AIDS in Africa. W did not wage a war on the middle class like Reagan did. Reagan did not sign one damn thing that helped others, and it sickens me that he has an airport named after him despite what he did to those air traffic controllers. If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didnt crash in 2008, I believe Bush would be held today in much higher regard. Before the recession & foreclosure crisis was finally being headlined in mainstream media, he was vindicated by the success of the surge in Iraq.

[quote]W did not wage a war on the middle class like Reagan did.

I've always thought that he was one of the very worst things that happened to the American middle class. And not because he raised taxes on the middleclass but because he killed the unions, the only thing American workers had to keep them from living in Scroogetown.

Actually, I hated Reagan and Nancy so much, I really hoped they would live forever. If they each lived for at least a hundred years. maybe eventually they would learn compassion.

Reagan won by 9.8 % points in the popular vote. Not 20, not even a lousy 10.

Bush only delivered a fraction of the funding he promised to Africa on AIDS, and it was heavily weighted to right wing states.

Reagan espoused faux happy nationalism, using faux patriotic imagery.

Left winged loones everywhere you are creeps, misfits, and no one likes you. So enjoy the misery, loves company.

OP, are you forgetting the scumbag that preceded Obama that the republicans managed to shove into the White House illegally who started 2 wars, taxed the poor and gave tax breaks to the rich and let the environment go to hell among other things? He was equally as bad if not worse. Actually I think he may have been slightly retarded which just goes to show you that if you have enough money even retards can go to Yale. What is it about mental retardation and republicanism of today?

It was Welfare for the Rich and Warfare for the Poor with both ronnie reegin and dubya.

F&F R2 for the "bashed" comment. And the rest of it.

[quote]Reagan espoused faux happy nationalism, using faux patriotic imagery.

He made me PROUD to be American! (chokes up, misty-eyed)

He made the entire South proud to be racist, antigay, anti-feminist, and anti-union. For that alone, he should burn in hell.

R70 - Bush waged war on the middle class and the poor at least as much as Reagan did.

Somebody, PLEASE take a shit in my mouth!

Mommy, what's that smell? Mommy, I feel something in my pants, it's like a cushion. Mommy, what's that smell? Mommy, I feel something in my.

It's Nancy's turn now, long overdue, to do what Ronnie did. Let's hope they make her up so that she doesn't look like a Pez dispenser for once and that they'll plant her inside of a week rather than a month as they did with ronnie--for a while there I thought we'd have our very own American cold cut like Lenin in Moscow (I understand Lenin is 3/4 wax now).

margaret thatcher pal bump

He was definitely one of the worst. He was an absolute clod, an idiot who had other people, unscrupulous, corrupt people, make his decisions for him. I think a lot of the American public took him at face value who could this grinning cowboy doofus be anything but a good ol' boy who loves America? Well, the truth was he didn't give a SHIT about America, at least middle-income and lower-income Americans.

Weirdly, people in depressed rural areas (the white ones, anyway) loved Ronald Reagan. They thought he was on their side, but he couldn't have cared less about them. Rural areas tend to vote for Republicans, who are the least likely to do anything to improve their standard of living. I guess it's just pure ignorance that causes them to do that.

Ah, the eighties, the era that so many Dataloungers look back on so fondly. It was the Reagan era. He kept saying "We're the best! It's morning in America! Everything is going to be hunky dory for everybody and it's never going to change! So let's spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow and have biggest, bestest time EVER!" And people believed it. And it was a DISASTER. How can people be so stupid? How can they?

Conservatives are, by their very nature, stupid. It's what makes them conservative.

Thanks to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher the divide between rich and poor in this world will probably never recover. Two people who only cared about the wealthy and loathed anyone else. (And two people who could have helped the AIDS crisis, as well as gay rights, enormously, but instead chose to follow their homophobia.)

I don't know which one was worse.

Maggie and Ronnie are sunning themselves along the river Styx now. laughing about their atrocious legacies.

R84 - yeah, but he did it 20 years after Reagan did his.

Never EVER understood his appeal. I guess he made conservative politics look cozy and homey. He was an actor after all, the first actor ever to occupy the White House instead of just entertain there.

I agree with the 8 reasons. When the White House split open unexpectedly during Iran/Contra and there was little Ollie North down in the basement shredding documents I couldn't believe it. And he was having Fawn Hall take the rest out in her panty hose. Remember her? Ugh.

Compared to Reagan, Carter was a saint. He actually cared about human rights abuses.

Reagan funded terrorist militias in Central America, subverting the Constitution. He violated federal law (the Boland Amendment) by selling arms to Iran to fund the Contras.

Reagan changed US status from the world's largest creditor nation to the world's largest debtor nation. He didn't care about deficits, he didn't care about the future.

He was a sadistic, stupid, self-centered man. And Americans were truly duped to vote for him.

I think Reagan may be the only person I come close to hating.

[quote]Weirdly, people in depressed rural areas (the white ones, anyway) loved Ronald Reagan. They thought he was on their side, but he couldn't have cared less about them. Rural areas tend to vote for Republicans, who are the least likely to do anything to improve their standard of living. I guess it's just pure ignorance that causes them to do that.

And yet, I still feel compassion for them even though they keep voting to cut their own throats. Codependency?

R98. not Rush Limbaugh? Sarah Palin? Clarence Thomas? Antonin Scalia? George W. Bush? Dick Cheney?

I guess my point, R100, is why limit yourself so? Especially to one who is dead?

There are so many actively evil and utterly hateable assholes alive today and doing serious damage to this country, probably none more so than the two assholes on the Supreme Court who have saddled us with Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, and several other decisions that have essentially trashed this country.

Perhaps it is because I was in college during the Reagan years and began paying attention to politics. Even back then I knew how damaging and degrading the "trickle down economics" theory was. What I couldn't figure out was why so many people who were much smarter than I went along with it.

I would also want to add Robert McNamara to my list.

Never ever understood why Reagan was so great. Race relations plummented. So many racial'stereotypes that tapped into White fear. 'The Chicago Woman" welfare queen, "Wille Horton" yes Bush1 but still Reagan era. The worst waswhen the CIA put crack on the street to fund Iran/Contra. They knew exactly where to put it. The knew the black community would be weak enough to fall for it & we did. It wasn't little Jamal standing on the corner spending millions bringing that stuff in on planes. It was the gov't & those sitting in fancy boardrooms. They didn't do mandatory minimums.

He was one of our greatest Presidents.

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

ronald reagan ruined america.

We have to remember that first and foremost RR was an ACTOR, had been so for decades. THAT is why he became President. His handlers wanted to sell us a bill of goods, and they couldn't have picked a better spokesman for it. TPTB saw how he flew in California, and decided to unleash his popularity and persuasiveness on the country as a whole. Does any sane person believe that it was Reagan making the hideous decisions that are credited to him? Iran/Contra the Social Security grab the dismantling of the unions the loathing and sidelining of the middle class, etc. etc. etc. These and all the others were a good thing for the fat cats, and were insidiously installed, and made to pay. Reagan may as well have had marionette strings tied to him, it was so obvious from the sort of men who were in his inner circle. The majority in this country bought their "movie tickets" to see the best performance that RR ever did. I will loathe Reagan forever for what he and his pals did, but blame must be laid at the feet of those who fell under his spell, and voted for him twice. Once was bad enough, but how could it happen a second time, after what we saw during Reagan Act 1?

It's interesting how these Ronald Reagan Failure Review threads are popping up all over right now. And yet millions of people still adore him. Amazing how ignorance is catching.

Poor OP, your blind stupidity knows no bounds. in addition OP is a fucking liar. He's pissed because he feels Reagan didn't do enough for HIV/AIDS. Perhaps he's trying to make that lying sack of shit, Obama look better. By the way, last week The White House said Obama "never met" his illegal uncle from Kenya. Now, according to ABC news, The White House has reversed course. Obama lived with the SOB.

Why is it that these guys on the right, Reagan and W, were able to change the course of our country so dramatically but when we get dems in power they can't undo almost any of it? Id it just easier to dismantle than to build?

Clinton and Obama are smart guys who if given the chance to do most of what they wanted to do could have reversed some of this but Bill got derailed with the impeachment and Obama ended up with so many fires to put out by the time he could work on longterm stuff he for a congress that kept almost anything from happening. Plus they both got pulled to the right of where they started.

I know congress is a big thing but both Reagan and Bush had to deal with Dem congresses at some point.

Even when we had all branches the fillibuster went nuts and all the good legislation Palosi passed died in the Senate.

I also think the industrial war complex and Big Business and Wall Street after Citizens United are too big to overcome. The Supreme Court righties are too young.

With all the gerrymandering it will be another 6 years until we might get an even shot at congress and it's a miracle we held onto the senate this long with so many more red states than blue.

My one hope is that there seems to be a populist uprising happening that could pull in people from all sides to shake things up. The income inequality is becoming a big thing in people's minds finally.

Wow. You're really reaching with this. Interesting that Jimmy Carter is revered here but Ronald Reagan doesn't pass muster. Very inconsistent standards.

Okay R111 in light on Nelson Mandela death, let's compare Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan on South Africa's apartheid policy.

Despite a growing international movement to topple apartheid in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan maintained a close alliance with a South African government that was showing no signs of serious reform. And the Reagan administration demonized opponents of apartheid, most notably the African National Congress, as dangerous and pro-communist. Reagan even vetoed a bill to impose sanctions on South Africa, only to be overruled by Congress.

Carter’s views about racial equality, however, were expressed as early as 1971 in his inaugural address as the governor of Georgia. In that speech he announced that "At the end of a long campaign, I… say to you quite frankly that the time for racial discrimination is over…no poor, rural, weak, or black person should ever have to bear the additional burden of being deprived of the opportunity of an education, a job or simple justice."

Carter appointed Andrew Young UN Ambassador, who was very outspoken against apartheid. Young's rhetoric appeared to share the then prevailing assumption that this systemized discrimination was simply unacceptable. He declared once that "at some point we’ve got to come to the conclusion that we’re no longer going to finance apartheid. When we come to that conclusion, it’s amazing how quickly the South Africans will come to their senses"


GOP's Reagan love explodes: How the Gipper is causing a major party clash

By Simon Maloy
Published July 15, 2014 12:30PM (EDT)

Rand Paul, Rick Perry (AP/Alex Brandon/Tony Gutierrez)

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One of the most interesting political stories over the past decade has been the massive realignment of national security politics. Stretching back to the Cold War years, the Republicans were always viewed as the party of national security, the tough-on-communism “Daddy Party” that would do the dirty work of defending the free world while the Democrats kowtowed to the hippie peaceniks. Then George W. Bush came along and made such an epic hash of Iraq that he undid a couple of generation’s worth of public faith in Republican foreign policy in a few short years.

It just so happened that when America finally quit the GOP on national security, Barack Obama was standing right there with his “no dumb wars” policy. After some sniped Somali pirates, a quickie war in Libya, and a dead terrorist mastermind, Democrats were the new party of national security.

Now that’s all gone to hell too. A string of foreign policy crises, capped by the resurgence of Islamic extremists in Iraq, has left the public soured on Obama and conflicted on what the U.S. should actually do. The Republicans, who spent most of the Obama era on defense on national security, suddenly have an opening. Some of the GOP’s 2016 wanna-bes are trying to take advantage of that opening and make the public forget that it hates Republican foreign policy. And they’re doing it the only way Republicans know how: by saying “Reagan” a lot.

It all started last month when Rand Paul wrote an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal slamming both George W. Bush and Obama for the troubles in Iraq and calling for a “new approach” to foreign policy, “one that emulates Reagan's policies, puts America first, seeks peace, faces war reluctantly, and when necessary acts fully and decisively.” Ed Kilgore pointed out at the time that Paul’s description of the Reagan national security nirvana carefully elided some aspects that Paul himself opposes (like bloated defense budgets). Kilgore also predicted that “Paul’s attempt to appropriate the Reagan mantle in foreign policy will be sharply contested by ‘Bush Republicans’ of all varieties.”

He was right. Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote a July 11 Washington Post Op-Ed bashing “isolationism” on Iraq and rebuking Paul’s attempt to remake himself in Reagan’s image. Because Reagan has become an actual political deity among Republicans, Perry’s attacks on Paul veered creepily into accusations of insufficient reverence for the one true Reagan: “Paul conveniently omitted Reagan’s long internationalist record of leading the world with moral and strategic clarity.” Perry invoked the glory of Reagan eight times throughout the op-ed (not counting the accompanying picture caption) and made about as clumsy and obvious a grasp for the Gipper’s legacy as can be imagined: “I personally don’t believe in a wait-and-see foreign policy for the United States. Neither would Reagan.”

Unimpressed by Perry’s response and as eager as the rest of us to make fun of Perry’s glasses, Paul fired off yet another Op-Ed, this time for Politico. He waved off Perry’s foreign policy vision entirely — “I’ll make it my personal policy to ignore Rick Perry’s opinions” — and made another play to cast himself as chief among Reagan’s disciples by Reaganing no fewer than seven times in just two short paragraphs:

This is where many in my own party, similar to Perry, get it so wrong regarding Ronald Reagan’s doctrine of “peace through strength.” Strength does not always mean war. Reagan ended the Cold War without going to war with Russia. He achieved a relative peace with the Soviet Union—the greatest existential threat to the United States in our history—through strong diplomacy and moral leadership.

Reagan had no easy options either. But he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. Some of Reagan’s Republican champions today praise his rhetoric but forget his actions. Reagan was stern, but he wasn’t stupid. Reagan hated war, particularly the specter of nuclear war. Unlike his more hawkish critics—and there were many—Reagan was always thoughtful and cautious.

At this point, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Perry fire back at Paul for blasphemous usage of the pronoun “he” when the truly pious would invoke the name of Reagan at every opportunity.

And thus, what is ostensibly an argument about how to best approach a complicated and potentially disastrous conflict in the Middle East has turned into a Reagan fight. It’s a competition between two grown men to see who can write the most embarrassingly laudatory prose about the man who stopped being president 25 years ago.

Interestingly, the fight between Perry and Paul has completely veered away from the only Republican president whose legacy actually matters when it comes to Iraq: George W. Bush. Neither Perry’s response to Paul nor Paul’s response to Perry mentioned Bush once, even though they’re arguing over Bush’s war and Bush’s legacy. Americans still don’t like Bush and still especially dislike him for Iraq, so for Republicans like Perry who argue for renewed military intervention, it’s preferable to fight over who’s more Reagan-y than who’s less Bush-like.

Rand Paul wants to have the Bush fight. He wants Republican foreign policy to move away from the neocon adventurism that defined the Bush-Cheney years. Establishment figures who backed the Iraq war and still believe in projecting American military might abroad are quick to push back — if they don’t attack Paul directly, they send messages to “the Rand Paul types” within the GOP. Just yesterday at Politico’s “Playbook Lunch” with the Cheney family, Dick Cheney (who is enjoying something of a renaissance among Republicans) declined to comment when asked specifically about Rand Paul’s ideas but made a point to attack “isolationism” as “crazy.”

The funny thing is that, at least on Iraq, Paul and Perry aren’t that far apart from one another. “Some of Perry’s solutions for the current chaos in Iraq aren’t much different from what I’ve proposed,” Paul wrote in Politico. And so they’re fighting over Reagan, since the Republican political toolbox these days is largely limited to “what would Reagan do?”

Simon Maloy

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