LA Times: When the Republican presidential hopefuls gather to debate Wednesday night in Simi Valley, one thing seems certain: Lavish tribute will be paid to Ronald Reagan …. but the Reagan reverie will doubtless overlook much of the Reagan reality.
As president, the conservative icon approved several tax increases to deal with a soaring budget deficit, repeatedly boosted the nation’s debt limit, signed into law a bill granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and, despite his anti-Washington rhetoric, oversaw an increase in the size and spending of the federal government. Before that, as California governor, he enacted what at the time was the largest state tax increase in American history. He also signed into law one of the nation’s most permissive abortion bills; any Republican who tried that today would be cast out of the party.
….. one of the greatest heresies of all: At bottom, Reagan was a pragmatist, willing, when necessary, to cut a deal and compromise …. Stuart Spencer, a GOP strategist who stood by Reagan’s side for virtually his entire political career, dismissed the current vogue of Reagan revisionism: “A lot of those people running out there don’t really understand what he did…..”
… It is hard to imagine a governor with Reagan’s record on taxes and abortion faring very well in today’s GOP nominating fight…..
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Steve Benen: …. it’s tough to beat the fact that today’s Republicans would have perceived Reagan, their hero, as a sell-out RINO …. On the one hand, Republicans have a religious-like reverence for “Ronaldus Magnus”; on the other, they have no use for his approach to governance … What should Republicans take away from the fact that, by 2011 standards, their party would dismiss their demigod as a tax-raising, amnesty-loving, pro-bailout, cut-and-run, big-government Democrat?
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