Conservative Sen. Lindsey Graham said last year that Ronald Reagan “would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today.”
Estwhile GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said much the same thing just a few months ago.
“Ronald Reagan would have a very difficult, if not impossible, time being nominated in this atmosphere of the Republican Party,” opined Huckabee.
Indeed, from the Tea Party point of view, as THIS GUY MOCKINGLY SUGGESTS, the case could be made that Reagan’s was “the worst presidency in American history”:
This president [Reagan] is a president every conservative Republican and Tea Party member should loathe.
This president nearly tripled the national debt. This president signed an immigration reform bill that granted blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. This president talked with our enemies. This president raised taxes 11 times. This president, in fact, raised payroll taxes in order to pay for government-run health care. This president presided over double-digit unemployment. This president expanded the size of government and created new federal departments. This president cut and ran, withdrawing troops from hostile regions. This president put two justices on the Supreme Court that voted to uphold Roe v. Wade. This president closed tax loopholes to ensure “every corporation pay their fair share.” This president even advocated gun control on the op-ed pages of the, gasp, New York Times.
Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast is out with a COLUMN today in which he argues that today’s Democrats are virtual centrists compared with today’s Republicans:
On economic policy, the Democratic Party is a party of the center, not the left. If it were a party of the left, labor unionists would have a larger voice in its economic policy than investment bankers, which has not been the case for decades now. When it comes to economics, Barack Obama, like Bill Clinton, is to the right of midcentury Democrats like Hubert Humphrey, Scoop Jackson, and Walter Mondale, precisely because labor has lost influence and America’s campaign-finance system has pushed Democrats into Wall Street’s arms. Today’s Republicans, by contrast, are substantially to the right of Ronald Reagan, who cut taxes, but also repeatedly raised them. And were Dwight Eisenhower or Richard Nixon alive today, their economic policies would get them instantly labeled RINOs, if not socialists.
UPDATE: Adam Serwer also makes a PERTINENT POINT OR TWO on this matter:
The GOP of today isn’t so much committed to not running a deficit as it is to cutting the social safety net, which is why the debt ceiling talks are stalling over tax increases. It’s a miracle of messaging that Republicans have managed to persuade reporters to continue referring to them as “fiscal conservatives, ”since the label implies a level of responsibility that the GOP simply hasn’t shown. Republicans refuse to raise taxes at all despite the fact that rates are at historically low levels.
UPDATE II: Here’s another PERTINENT ANGLE:
[T]wo days after Congressional Republicans took a pass on a $4 trillion fiscal reform grand bargain because Democrats insisted that a minority of the deficit reduction come from new tax revenue, it’s worth reviewing the [Margaret] Thatcher and Reagan records on spending, taxes, and debt — and recalling that the transatlantic Tory twins didn’t mind spending money, and weren’t nearly as averse to tax increases as are their idolators in the U.S. Congress today.