Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Some may find this hard to believe, but I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980. While it was a gut-wrenching, last minute, decision there are many reasons that I voted for Reagan instead of Jimmy Carter (yes, youth played a role). Hindsight, and the results of his disastrous trickle down policies, tell me that I should have voted for Carter.

Still, one of the things I found attractive about Reagan was that he came across as witty (instead of arrogant) and had made his own way in life (unlike you know who). Another thing I saw was that Ronald Reagan had learned lessons from a life that included living with an alcoholic father during the Great Depression, which made flexibility and adaptability critical to his survival. This carried over into his political world.

Unfortunately, in spite of claiming that they are part of the Reagan legacy, adaptability and flexibility are not the qualities we're seeing from our Tea Party hijacked Republican Party (a party Reagan likely would neither fit into, nor recognize). This is especially the case when it came to the budget process. Check out this classic Reagan quote on the budget now making the rounds:

"Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility – two things that set us apart from much of the world."

 You can also listen to it here ...

The point is, Ronald Reagan loved this country, which made him adaptable, not a radical.

Indeed, former Senator Alan Simpsom (R-WY) likes to remind people that Reagan raised taxes 11 times in order to get his budgets in order (he raised taxes as governor of California too). To be sure, Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit, but he understood that there was a certain responsibility to governing. This is one of the reasons he was able to sleep at night after he gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants and their families, while presiding over a federal government that increased in size under his watch.

If the GOP listened to their inner Reagan, instead of to their Tea Party hoodlums, they would understand why it's necessary to raise revenues. Especially after they increased government spending to cover wars, depression economics, corporate bailouts, and assorted programs that Congress signed off on.
The GOP needs to channel their inner Reagan, and ask, "What would Reagan do"?
- Mark

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