The Ronald Reagan most of his fans don’t remember

  In the nine years I’ve been writing this blog, one of my favorite subjects has been the astonishing ignorance among worshippers of our 40th president of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Many of these people, perhaps even most of them, know little or nothing about Reagan’s actual record. They tend to regard him as the patron saint of modern Republican conservatism. But such was not really the case, at least not to the extent that popular myths about the Gipper suggest. He was much less a rigid right-winger than his...

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Eisenhower and Reagan would be pariahs in today’s GOP

  The situation in which the Republican Party finds itself these days with the divisive Donald Trump as its presidential nominee has brought to mind how much the GOP has changed in recent decades. Five years ago, I offered the following analysis amid the rise of the Tea Party movement: If you measure them by the ideological standards that prevail in their party these days, Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower, the only two-term Republican presidents in the second half of the 20th century, were both squishy moderates if not actually...

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Memo to GOP: Don’t cite Reagan’s record as ideal in U.S. relations with Iran

    You would think — wouldn’t you? — that Republicans would no longer be so foolish as to hold up Ronald Reagan as the perfect example of how a U.S. president should deal with Iran. But you’d be wrong. Consider, for example, the collective Republican reaction to the Obama administration’s successful diplomatic efforts to gain the release of four Americans held hostage by the Iranian regime. Sen. Marco Rubio seemed to speak for his GOP colleagues when he said this: When I become President of the United...

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Remember when Republican leaders took climate change more seriously?

To hear today’s crop of Republicans tell it, concerns about climate change are simply part of a nefarious scheme hatched by socialist Democrats and pointy-headed scientists to ruin America’s free enterprise system. But it didn’t used to be that way. Not so long ago, the White House was in the hands of Republicans who took climate change and other environmental matters more seriously. For all their other faults, these GOP leaders recognized that the problem of global warming was real and that action was required to deal with...

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How did Reagan escape blame for Beirut, which was far worse than Benghazi?

All through these endless Benghazi committee hearings — which ultimately have been pointless, except for partisan  political considerations — I’ve been reminded of a similar, but worse, situation that arose during Ronald Reagan’s first term as president. Of course, many of today’s Republican lawmakers don’t really remember the Reagan administration, which is why they portray it as more conservative than it actually was. They seem to know nothing of how Reagan was held blameless for what happened in Beirut,...

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