The Right Is Hooked On Reagan And Its Killing Them

Conservatives are addicted to Ronald Reagan more than they are in love with tax cuts. More than any other issue – and there are several – holding the modern conservative movement back, I think their never-ending obsession with President Reagan is at the top of the list.

First, a caveat. It isn’t as if the left doesn’t have its presidential heroes. Without a doubt figures like FDR, Kennedy, and LBJ (on domestic policy at least) will always hold a special place in the left’s heart. The same can be said for President Clinton, as well as non-Democrats like Teddy Roosevelt (a favorite of mine). But, and this is key, as much as the New Deal shaped our modern world, there is little of the cult of personality around FDR that there is with Reagan.

The right has allowed the right-wing hagiographic version of Reagan (the one who didn’t raise taxes, like the real Reagan) to dictate so much of what they are as a party. On domestic policy and foreign policy, the right is regularly pausing to ask “what would Reagan do” rather than come up with a modern, conservative, solution.

I’m a liberal, I don’t want conservatism to succeed, but despite that I do want a coherent conservative alternative to be offered if only to keep our liberals on their toes. Plus, history shows us that overall that’s better for the party.

But the right adheres to a brand of Reaganism that The Great Communicator himself could never live up to. Reagan’s actual policies and occasional compromises would put him quite a distance from the Tea Party that supposedly reveres him.

And let’s be blunt: Ronald Reagan hasn’t been the head of the Republican Party for 23 years now. Children born on the last day of his presidency are finished with college.

There isn’t anything wrong with parties and movements having national heroes and examples of leadership, but it becomes too much when you allow them (or fantasy versions of them) to rule your thinking so much it becomes a hindrance, rather than a celebration.

 

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  • M2

    You know, even though I would have rather eaten my own feces before seeing Mitt Romney as my President, I felt bad he lost because seeing someone lose saddens me. I’ve lost here and there in life – everyone has – and I feel empathy for those who do lose, even if I disagree with them. It’s not a fun emotion, have you.

    But after his “Obama gave gifts” comments today: Mitt can go fuck himself straight to hell. Thank God this entitled piece of human garbage never came close to the White House. Fuck off, Romney. Fuck off and for good, you soulless piece of blue blood shit.

  • db

    oi,

    I don’t see it as racist as much as the “armageddon-esque” nature of politics as played by the Right Wing Republicans. i.e. they hate Prtesident Obama not because he’s Black; but because he’s a Democrat. Any Democrat would face impeachment.

    Marco,

    Now we have to get the word out about the Republican obstructionism. Maybe we could interest a PAC in continuing the advertising. I mean the Republicans have Fox 24/7/365.

  • oi ly

    I’m uneasy with all this impeachment talk going on. I don’t trust the crazies and they’ll never let up until they git rid of the black guy in their White House. The many faces of racism.

    • M2

      Don’t worry. There’s nothing impeachable at all by any measure. The people chattering about it are lunatics.

  • M2

    Aren’t they impeaching him for not losing the election already? I love when the right talks impeachment because the one time they were able to do it, it backfired. Because they are only interested in political points, they’d never try it again even if they finally found out Obama really is a secret muslim spy.

    Oh, shit! Did I just give up the big secret? Damn, if only our wingnuts could find the balls to come back to spread it around the nutosphere.

    • db

      Marco,

      I personally prefer secession talk. particularly as it comes when the Republicans demand “bi-partisanship”.

      • M2

        Right, you gotta love it. McCain just said he would do everything in his power to block Susan Rice as Sec of State. That’s their idea of bipartisanship: Do what we want or else!

        Losers gotta lose. I hope the Senate shows us all how powerless McCain truly is.

  • M2

    Now it’s been a full week and yet????

    Really, wingnuts? I bet you signed one of those secessionist petitions though, right?

    • enlightened liberal

      It’s like this place got an enema.

      • db

        el,

        Things flow so much more smoothly?

        • M2

          Just think, we fed those trolls for years, got them really fat, and they just abandon us for other bridges.

          • oi ly

            It’s also what we do to turkeys leading up the Thanksgiving. And then they’re cooked.

          • M2

            Bitches, man. Bitches.

    • db

      Well Marco,

      There’s the Sex Scandal du jour that we can discuss. Fox is playing it as the entry point to impeach President Obama.

      Congress is invesitgating “Benghazi-gate”. I’ve heard one Republican call for a Special Prosecutor.

      And of course the secession petitions ignore the key issue. Does the secceding area get to keep the Federal Property in it’s area?

  • enlightened liberal

    Now, now, Frankie di Saronno will be back soon, he must just be busy. And he will come back with all the grace that we have seen from him. Which means he will call everyone here names and then get up on the cross and claim he’s being victimized for being a conservative.

    • db

      Actually el,

      I don’t need to call any of the Resident Trolls a “poopy-head”. I’d really just like honest answers as to why they felt the election would be so radically different. Pious Wish? Belief that the mainstream polls were skewed? Too much Fox? I’d really like to know.

      oi,

      I like “Crow-fil-a” & intend to use it myself.

      • enlightened liberal

        Honest answers? Did you just get here?

        • M2

          Ha. Too true.

          • db

            I’d have my doubts about Dennis, but Frank & “Batty” can be square & since I’m asking about personal opinions & there is no “wrong” answer; I’d like to think that Dennis could give me a straight answer too.

  • M2

    And really? Almost a full week wingnut free? talk about sore losers.

    • db

      Indeed Marco,

      It’s been quiet, but if we don’t hear from Frank soon about paying off his bet, we’ll have to start contacting him on facebook to do so.

      I also agree that the RW has a very rosy memories of the 1950s. Nothing like the threat of nuclear annilation to teach people what’s really important.

      I’ve seen RWMO Pundits go both ways on the future of the Republican Party. It’s the split that’s been around for a while. The Social Conservatives/Religious Right are not great deficit hawks and are no great fans of Wall Street. The Economic Conservatives have no desire to get into the abortion question or start another war. The War Hawks are more concerned in protecting the Pentagon Budget than the deficit.

      Was Romney too Conservative or not Conservative enough? I’d bet that there’s no answer to that one as Romney was the multiple choice candidate.

    • oi ly

      “And really? Almost a full week wingnut free? talk about sore losers.”

      They’re too busy gobbling down Crow-fil-A sandwiches …

      • M2

        Just come in for your beating, wingnuts. You deserve it.

  • M2

    “It’s not Reagan that the RW is so enamored with. It’s their memories of Reagan.” db

    So true. Just like the rather recent thread regarding Todd Starnes’ comments that we’d be an awesome country if we lived like it’s the 1950s again, conservatives are in love with ghosts and wholly imagined history. This electoral beat-down doesn’t seem to be penetrating the illusions of their talking heads and party leaders so much either. As of yet, anyway.

    Good news for the country.

  • db

    oi, el,

    I’ve ripped this quote from Scott Elliott at Election projection.com. It might have been better placed in Victory Lap, but I put it to you as a clear example of why the Republicans lost.

    “I never dreamed, given the economic mess, the trillion dollar deficits, the assault of traditional American values, the government takeover of healthcare, the blatant mismanagement and lying cover up of events in Benghazi that led to four American deaths including our ambassador, and a parade of other reasons to seek a change in the Oval Office, that a turnout even remotely resembling 2008 would be possible”

    I would never call Mr. Elliott a liar; but his confusion on these issues makes me wonder if we live in the same reality.

    The economy is improving. Not as fast as I’d like, but improving.
    Deficits are dropping & taxes haven’t gone up.
    Gay marriage is only of concern to someone who wants to marry a gay. It’s none of our business otherwise.
    Requiring Health Insurance is a Govt. “takeover”?
    I’ve seen no “blatant” mismanagement or lies ; though honesty forces me to state that I’m still very confused about what happened & when.

    Mitt Romney offered no positive solutions. He ran as the Anti-Obama.
    He changed his positions like some people change socks.
    He veiled himself in secrecy.
    He showed a condescension or sense of entitlement greater than I can remember.

    So how do Mr. Elliott & I wind up in the same country?

  • db

    Burning,

    It’s not Reagan that looks better than Moderate Mitt. It’s the memory. Even Severely Conservative Mitt couldn’t live up to that.

    I think they still have Coolidge in the Republican Party; but Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, & both Bushes(!) are RINOs. Hoover is intentionally forgotten. Taft & Ford unintentionally.

  • oi ly

    They worship Reagan because he and his managed to successfully shift the “political center” further to the right. Just a thought. I guess they opted for Clint’s empty chair instead of the Reagan hologram. Win, win.

  • oi ly

    Goodness me, some of my settings have been blocking all of the comments on facebook. What have I missed!

  • db

    But Oliver & Repack,

    It’s not Reagan that the RW is so enamored with. It’s their memories of Reagan. This Reagan didn’t time events to Astrologer’s dictates. This Reagan didn’t forget the names of foreign Heads of State. This Reagan didn’t raise taxes. This Reagan didn’t trade Arms to the Iranians. This Reagan didn’t run drugs to fight an illegal war.

    This is the Reagan of memory. The Reagan of riding off into the sunset. The Reagan who’s name belongs on a public building in every county in America.