Reagan Republicans would not vote for the Gipper at gunpoint

reagan republicans

Today's Republicans venerate Ronald Reagan, but the Gipper would be vilified today if he supported the policies of his administration. Image: CC

If Ronald Reagan were still alive, he would celebrate his 100th birthday Sunday, Feb. 6. Since Reagan left office in 1989, he has come to be venerated as a saint by conservative Republicans. But while so-called “Reagan Republicans” revise Reagan’s record to support their political beliefs, “the Gipper,” who died in 2004 at 93, couldn’t even get elected as a Republican if he ran in 2012.

The Reagan Republican mythology

On Ronald Reagan’s would-be 100th birthday, he remains a polarizing figure. To some he was responsible for winning the cold war and launching the idea of limited government. Others remember him for allowing the federal deficit to skyrocket and creating the still-widening gap between the rich and middle class. To Reagan Republicans, Reagan was a tax-cutting, budget-cutting role model who proudly defended American ideals. His name is conveniently used as a catch-phrase to validate tax cuts for the rich, deep cuts in government, aggressive military spending and hard-line immigration policies.

Ronald Reagan and taxes

Ronald Reagan at 100 would disagree with the Reagan Republican notion that deficit reduction can be accomplished without tax increases. Former Republican Senator from Wyoming Alan Simpson, co-chair of the president’s commission on deficit reduction, worked with Reagan on the federal budget during the Reagan administration. Simpson called the conservative assertion that Reagan didn’t raise taxes “plain damn lies.” In a Congressional hearing, he pointed out that tax increases under Reagan included the 1982 Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act that raised corporate taxes and income taxes by nearly 1 percent of GDP, the largest peacetime tax increase ever at the time.

Reagan on spending and other Republican demons

Reagan ended up raising taxes seven of the eight years he was president. When it comes to spending, Reagan increased spending 177 percent while he was governor of California from 1967-1975. As president, he expanded government and tripled the federal deficit despite raising taxes. Reagan also supported the Brady Bill gun-control measure and wanted to abolish nuclear weapons. Instead of demonizing immigrants, he signed legislation in 1986 granting amnesty to millions of undocumented aliens. If Reagan Republicans were honest in their convictions, they would have nothing to do with Ronald Reagan.


Think Progress

Washington Monthly

Christian Science Monitor

Wall Street Journal


  • Patrick

    The Legacy of a Great American President

    President Reagan, like many of his predecessors, won a place of greatness in the hearts of his fellow countrymen. At a time when America's economy was flagging, her identity, image, and leadership in the world was being severely criticized, Ronald Reagan stood firm like a rock… and prevailed!


    * Massively cut taxes, deregulated businesses where needed, targeted infrastructure expenditures (defense and development), …, thereby boosting the national GDP by 3.5% annually and reducing unemployment to 5.2%

    * By the above he turned a national economic down spin into the greatest resurgence of American wealth since the days of WWII.

    * Was highly instrumental in bringing down "the Evil Empire," with the help of European allies and the late John Paul II.

    * Strengthened the military and put fear into the heart of terrorists.

    * Restored respect for America around the globe.

    America's 40th commander-in-chief communicated directly to the people. He had the keen ability of making his audience feel renewed hope again. This man will be honored among future generations.

    President Reagan Foundation and Library

    Address at Normandy V-Day at Vietnam Memorial Remarks at Brandenburg Gate

    *** Even the best Presidential administrations have their weak and strong points, successes and failures. In depth examinations of Reagan policies will reveal the pros and cons of his executive leadership, which are interminably debated among political science scholars and domestic/foreign policy historians. Nevertheless, as with other presidents, political and personal criticisms do not diminish Ronald Reagan's over all achievements.

    Miller Center of Public Affairs/ University of Virginia – One of many perspectives reviewing the impact of President Reagan's Domestic and Foreign policies:……

  • barry

    usually comments like in this article regarding reagan's increased military spending never mention that it was jimmy carter and brzezinski's unilateral disarmament policies in the face of a massive soviet buildup(followed by the afghan invasion) and betraying the shah/ giving iran and lebanon to islamofascists like hezbollah-all this surrendering to leftist thuggery and islamist terrorism made necessary reagan, thatcher and solidarity"s confrontation with both the evil empire and a tribalist death cult.
    the brady bill was intended to delay firearm purchases for a cooling off period focussing on those who are not established gunowners such as sportsmen and may only be purchasing one for rash or nefarious reasons.
    one can also argue that many republicans might support a modest degree of state recognition towards mexicans who migrated illegally long ago but who stay out of trouble, work hard and can pay taxes. in fact this might be the only way to construct an enforceable migration control system, along with deploying a good part of the us army along the border.

  • celebs4truth

    If you're talking about his political philosophy toward the end of his political career, I'd agree. But most people agree with his thoughts in the beginning (well, aside from the "New Deal" garbage he was promoting, until he actually realized what it was he was promoting, which made him realize who he really was as a politician)

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