The American Conservative: James Antle: ‘Five Ways Reagan Nostalgia Misleads Conservatives’

Five Ways Reagan Nostalgia Misleads Conservatives - The American Conservative

Source:The American Conservative– Ronald W. Reagan (Republican, California) 40th President of the United States (1981-89)

Source:The New Democrat

“This week marks Ronald Reagan’s 103rd birthday. Non-conservatives often mock the right’s nostalgia for the fortieth president, but the enthusiasm is as well placed as the FDR portraits that hung above many a New Deal Democrat’s mantle.

Reagan was one of just two political figures associated with the modern conservative movement to win the Republican presidential nomination, and he’s the only one to make it to the White House. Ever since his 49-state landslide reelection in 1984—he came within one vote per Minnesota precinct of making it a 50-state sweep—conservatives have held the reins in the GOP but have been unable to steer.

Agree with him or not, Reagan was the only conservative president since World War II to produce policy accomplishments that rival those of postwar liberal presidents. (Reagan is arguably the only conservative president since World War II, though I’d make a case for Eisenhower.)

Ideological foes, including the current president, recognize Reagan as someone who changed the political landscape in the country. The two main problems Reagan was elected to solve—stagflation and a reheated Cold War—are but a distant memory. And while he manifestly failed to shrink government or much advance social conservatism, he carved a permanent place for people who cared about both objectives in the Republican coalition.”

From The American Conservative

I saw a book event last week on C-SPAN that featured Ron Reagan the son of Ronald Reagan. Now I know that politically the two Ron’s in the Reagan Family are different politically. But it is clear that Ron Jr. respects and loves his father dearly and his father loved and respected him dearly. As well and the more Ron Jr. talks about his father, the more you could see that he respected his father’s politics as well. And considers his father to be a successful president. They just didn’t agree on all the issues like as they related to the environment, aids research, and homelessness.

I bring this up because Ron Reagan wrote a book about his father’s life a few years ago. 2010 or 2011 and wrote about his father’s life a biography about his father and that is what this book event was about. And it was held about the time of President Reagan’s 100th Birthday late January, 2011. And after he was done speaking he was asked by one of the people at the book event at Politics and Prose, a Washington bookstore not very far from where I live in Maryland: “What do you think your father would feel about today’s Republicans talking about your father and comparing themselves to him?”

I’m paraphrasing here, but Ron Reagan said something to the effect that today’s right-wingers liked the political success of his father and the fact that he was a Conservative Republican or called that. But they wouldn’t of liked his politics. That the party is much further to the Right today than it was when President Reagan left office back in 1989, some twenty-five years ago.

You gotta know that Ron Reagan Sr. considered himself a Libertarian up until 1975 or so when he was first considering a strong run for President of the United States. Well, the word Libertarian and libertarianism is considered as bad as Communist or communism by today’s Religious-Right and the broader Far-Right in the GOP.

Just read a column in the so-called American Conservative (even though it doesn’t sound that conservative to me at least in the Barry Goldwater/Ronald Reagan tradition) that said that and I’m paraphrasing here (and the link of that column is on this blog) that said even though President Reagan did a lot for the conservative movement, he didn’t do much for advancing what is called social conservatism. Well, again Ron Reagan was a Classical Conservative, again think of Barry Goldwater. Not a Religious Conservative or a Religious Nationalist, which is very different.

Not arguing that Ron Reagan Sr. was a pure Libertarian because he wasn’t. The way he built up the military that by the way started under President Ford and President Carter, is a perfect example of that. But he did believe that people should have the freedom to live their own lives. And was more interested in how people interacted with each other, than what they did in their privacy. He ran on decreasing the role of government in Americans lives, not expanding it. Which makes him very different from the Religious-Right who believe Americans have too much personal freedom.

About Rik Schneider

Blogger/writer on a lot of different subjects.
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