If you ask the “conservative” talking heads–Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, etc.–who THE best conservative president of the last 100 years was, they will say Ronald Reagan. If you ask their dogs, they will bark “Ronald Reagan.” Their gerbils will say other things, but everyone knows you can’t trust rodents. Ask the regular conservative Wanda and Mack (Jane and Joe is so cliche), and they’ll give you the same response as the dogs and people. Ronald Reagan is the guy we conservatives and Republicans have been taught to worship.
Except, when presented with a candidate as conservative as Reagan, no, probably more conservative (I’m talking Mitt Romney), many of these “conservatives” get out their inquisitional torches. Which is a big reason why the GOP primaries are as fluid as they are at this point.
As a side note, have you noticed that these talking heads and the mainstream media either have a hobby horse they ride above all else (Rush Limbaugh and his anti global warming crusade) or they seem to promote some flavor-of-the-day litmus test for each election. In one election, they’re going on and on about homosexual marriage. The next election, it’s a talking head approved stance on Taliban bombing. The next, it’s the fact that budgets must be balanced. They line the candidates up and then start whacking them based on these flavor-of-the-day tests. It’s like going to buy a car and focusing all your attention on the steering wheel.
Anyway, I think many of us have forgotten what THE so-called best conservative president of the last 100 years looked like. If Ronald Reagan were to run today as John Smith, the conservative talking heads would drop him like a hot potato. You don’t believe me? Well, let’s see how he stacks up.
1. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
- Reagan signed in amnesty for 3 million illegal aliens. The south-west-east-north-of-the-border kind, not the ones with green antennas.
- Talking Head Response: After crapping a brick, they would proclaim that John Smith, aka Ronald Reagan, is a pro illegal immigration RINO and must be thrown out!
2. ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION
- A few weeks ago Rush Limbaugh told a caller that Romney is not conservative because of his stance on man-made global warming (Romney says he doesn’t know, but there seems to be evidence men contribue; women, of course, never to contribute to such things–they’re too smart), which Limbaugh thinks will lead to big-government regulation of emissions etc.
- YET AS GOVERNOR, Reagan established the Air Resources Board to battle California’s worst-in-the-nation smog problem. In a 1984 radio address to the nation, Reagan took credit for the strong action he took in California to combat smog, saying: “I’m proud of having been one of the first to recognize that States and the Federal Government have a duty to protect our natural resources from the damaging effects of pollution that can accompany industrial development.”
- THEN AS PRESIDENT, he signed, with great pride, what many consider THE most successful environmental treaty of all time – the Montreal Protocol in 1987, which regulates emissions. Back in those days Ozone depletion was the Global Warming. Reagan believed it, despite folks questioning the science and was happy to regulate.
- In the 1987 State of the union he said: “We are also developing proposals that make use of market incentives to control air pollution caused by sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions and the causes of acid rain.”
- What?! A cap and trade like program? Yes, putting Bush in charge. In 1990, the first Bush Administration successfully pushed through legislation establishing a cap-and-trade program to reduce acid rain—the program Reagan started!
- Talking Head Response: John Smith is a total pro-environmental regulation RINO, please queue Al Gore singing “Burning Ring of Fire”
- Reagan signed a permissive law that allowed abortions. Since that law went into effect more than 2,000,000 abortions have happened in the Golden State.
- Reagan says he failed to see how it would be abused. He blamed his own inexperience, stating that had he been in office longer he would have realized that the bill was wrong. He blamed doctors for misinterpreting the bill. President Reagan stated his prolife position by saying: “Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will someday pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does.” BUT he never introduced a bill to ban abortion or amend what he’d done. Not in California, nor as president.
- Furthermore, today’s conservative inquisitors would point to his Supreme Court appointments. He appointed the moderate Sandra Day O’Connor. Anti-abortion groups were livid, fearing, rightfully as it turned out, that Mrs. O’Connor would not vote to overturn Roe v Wade. He appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy who had a long history of supporting expanded rights of privacy, gay rights, and preserving a woman’s right to choose.
- Talking Head Response: actions speak louder than words–John Smith is a pro-choice RINO
- Reagan was a union president 8 times in a row.
- Reagan, aka John Smith, also had lots of troubling connections to the Teamsters, who endorsed him, and who suddenly saw less investigation of their leaders for corruption. This is during the Jimmy Hoffa organized crime years.
- Talking Head Response: choke, ack, sputter–Smith is a pro-union gangsta RINO!
5. GUN CONTROL
- It was Governor Ronald Reagan of California who signed the Mulford Act in 1967, “prohibiting the carrying of firearms on one’s person or in a vehicle, in any public place or on any public street.” Yeah, he aimed to stop the Black Panthers et al, but affected all gun owners.
- Twenty-four years later, Reagan was still pushing gun control. “I support the Brady Bill,” he said in a March 28, 1991 speech, “and I urge the Congress to enact it without further delay.” He was right with Clinton on that issue.
- The Brady Bill, for the first time ever, instituted federal background checks on firearm purchasers in the United States.
- NRA spent millions fighting it, when it pass they mounted cases in a number of states wanting to have it overturned as unconstitutional.
- Talking Head Response: anti-gun RINO!
6. FISCAL POLICY
- As Governor, Reagan signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then. Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled.
- As President he continued. While he did cut taxes his first year, he signed into law tax increases of some nature in every year from 1981 to 1987. Furthermore, the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion, roughly three times as much as the first 80 years of the century had done altogether.
- Talking Head Response: tax and spend RINO!
- Smith, aka Reagan, let Nancy’s astrologer affect his schedule
- Talking Head Response: troubling devilishness (scary for evangelicals everywhere!), even if he only did it to make Nancy feel peace
Reagan the RINO? Are you kidding? And yet Reagan would be hounded out of the Republican party if he ran today. The talking heads would sound the warning long and loud, which is a shame.
On the other hand, I’m not saying we need another Reagan. Clones never pan out–hasn’t anyone seen Multiplicty with Michael Keaton?! And despite the recent zombie craze, I don’t want one in the White House, even if the world would be a better place if said zombie should eat Vladimir Putin’s brains out. I tire very quickly of Reagan worship. Or any other politician worship. As good as Reagan was, I disagree with a number of things he did. What I am saying is that those who want to get another president “as good as Reagan” had better know what such a president looks like. And it ain’t the caricature that’s being held up today by many conservatives, especially the talking heads, who seem to gloss over the facts of history.