Reagan Was No Tea Partier

April 26th, 2010 at 3:08 pm | 32 Comments |

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Earlier this month, Jon Stewart humorously contrasted the difference between Governor Sarah Palin’s perception of President Ronald Reagan and his actual record. During an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity, Palin blasted the current president for seeking nuclear arms reductions, declaring, “We miss Ronald Reagan, who used to say, when he looked at our enemies, you lose, we win.” As Stewart pointed out near the end of this clip, however, in an April 30, 1984, speech at Shanghai’s Fudan University, Reagan proclaimed, “We must never stop at all until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of this earth.”

Palin’s statement was not the only recent high-profile Republican mischaracterization of the Gipper. At a January 2010 meeting in Hawaii, members of the Republican National Committee considered a resolution that would require candidates to support at least eight of ten listed policy stances in order to be eligible for campaign funding from the national party. The proposal was entitled “Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates,” a tribute to the former president’s alleged declaration that “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” Ironically, even a cursory review of Reagan’s decades-long policy record would indicate that the former president would not pass the test named in his honor. Tim Mak has already pointed this out on FrumForum, with John Nichols of The Nation going as far as to argue that Reagan’s actions in public office would not pass muster with even a single one of the ten resolution criteria.

Reagan nostalgia is not at all new among Republicans, but is altogether understandable given the widely-acknowledged transformational nature of his presidency. He is a larger-than-life figure in American politics, due to his bringing together a wide swath of Americans as part of his “Reagan Revolution” electoral coalition, presiding over the end of the Cold War, and, notably, his charisma – even Democrats give him credit for being “The Great Communicator.” It is thus a no-brainer that Republican leaders would seek to venerate him, and in doing so, hope to capture some of his luster. But the act of doing so, over and over and over again in the many years since the end of his presidency, has resulted in the blurring of his legacy. Reagan has become a blank slate upon which Republicans of all sorts project their most idealized hopes and wishful thinking.

While many in the GOP choose to remember Reagan as a doctrinaire conservative who might have supported the Tea Party movement, they conveniently forget the pragmatism that underlined his conservative principles. An avowed budget hawk, he nonetheless ran up huge deficits in order to finance a military buildup to intimidate the Soviet Union. The Americans for Tax Reform organization was founded in 1985 at his urging, and today a multitude of Republican candidates and officeholders sign their “Taxpayer Protection Pledge’ to oppose any and all tax increases. Reagan, however, raised taxes at multiple points during his tenure as Governor of California – in order to balance the state budget – and as president – partly in order to both simplify and broaden the tax code. Another reason he raised taxes as president, in fact, was to help pay for “government-run health care” in the form of Social Security: the Social Security Amendments of 1983 that he signed into law both accelerated an increase in the payroll tax and increased the proportion of benefits eligible as taxable income. The move arguably saved the program from fiscal insolvency, at least in the short term. And yes, Reagan granted amnesty – read again, amnesty – to roughly 3 million illegal immigrants by signing the Immigration Reform and Control Act into law in 1986. Why? Probably because he believed it was the right solution for a growing problem. “I am pleased to sign this bill into law,” he declared at the signing ceremony at the Statue of Liberty. “The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans.”

Reagan famously commended Republicans for “raising a banner of bold colors – no pale pastels,” but I daresay his achievements in office are colored by a streak of what some of today’s so-called conservatives might chide as something less than conservatism. Reagan might argue that the difference between rhetoric and governing can be measured by results.

Recent Posts by Clifton Yin



32 Comments so far ↓

  • Carney

    Funny how FrumForum, which was basically founded to “liberate” the Republican Party from Reagan’s legacy under the premise that his ideas are as outdated now as Robert Taft conservatism was in the late 70s and 1980s, is now advising us to slavishly follow Reagan’s example – but only, of course where he did liberal things. Reagan accepting a step back in order to take two steps forward is cut out of context to be held up as binding precedent, and his relatively rare mistakes lionized and cast as typical of his overall approach. Needless to say, this is misleading.

    Amnesty for illegal aliens was a new untried idea in 1986. Even if it had accomplished its allegedly intended objectives, it was loudly announced and heavily emphasized as being as a one-time only, never to be repeated policy, because even then everyone understood that an expectation of repeated amnesties in future would be the end of border security.

    Thus, pushing for new amnesties now by citing the 1986 amnesty is deeply misleading.

    It’s also insulting to voters, given the total failure of that amnesty to produce the advertised benefit of ending illegal immigration, and the total and deliberate failure of our political class to live up to its solemnly given promise to sweeten the deal for America by ensuring that border security and interior enforcement would be heavily beefed up.

    It was possible to fool us once, when the consequences of amnesty were merely theoretical and debatable, but now that they are indisputably real, trying to ram amnesty through again, regardless of the label, disguise, or excuse, is deeply insulting to our intelligence. Determined not to be fooled or caught napping again, Americans are extremely vigilant on this issue, and instantly see through all the masks and insincere promises the politicians are trying to con us again with. I’m sure this is very frustrating to the Establishment. GOOD.

  • Rob_654

    If Ronald Reagan was a politician today he would be labeled a “RINO”.

    Hell – he would probably be called a Socialist by Foxnews.

  • Mitch Dworkin

    Credible documentation to show that even Ronald Reagan would be purged out of the Limbaugh, Palin, and tea party wing of the Republican Party by fringe tea party activists if he was alive and on the ballot today just like how Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) is being purged out of the GOP right now:

    http://securingamerica.com/ccn/node/18553

    Even Ronald Reagan would be purged out of the GOP tea party just like Gov. Crist

    Submitted by Mitch Dworkin on April 26, 2010 – 6:53am.

    I really hope that Gov. Crist runs against Marco Rubio as an Independent because that would really be a proxy race and fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party just like how the 2006 CT Senate race between Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman was really a proxy race for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. Crist defeating Rubio (or at least causing him to lose) would probably be about as devastating of a blow to many fringe tea party activists in the Republican Party as Ned Lamont’s loss to Joe Lieberman was a devastating blow to many activists in the far left wing of the Democratic Party!

    Mitch Dworkin, M.Ed.
    Dallas, Texas
    http://mitchdworkin.com/
    Objective Political Research & Analysis

  • LFC

    Reagan has become a blank slate upon which Republicans of all sorts project their most idealized hopes and wishful thinking.

    I think this sums up the Republican Reagan worship quite well. Reagan had some good policies and some bad ones, but he all too often held up as an icon who would have hailed the current GOP and their lack of pragmatic solutions. The fact is that he didn’t govern like them, and he wouldn’t accept their angry rhetoric that is absent substance.

    That being said, I can’t really forgive Reagan for turning his back on runaway spending. He never even tried to get it under control. I voted for him twice, but felt that this was his biggest failing as President. (Iran-Contra was pretty disgusting too, but didn’t have the long-term effects that overspending did.)

  • jg bennet

    A quote from my man BARRY
    ‘If you’re not with them 100 percent, you’re not with them. Therefore you’re persona non grata.
    ‘I don’t like being called the New Right; I’m an old, old son-of-a-bitch. I’m a conservative”.

    WWGD

  • rectonoverso

    Give me a break with RR.

    The guy was in office more than two decades ago and without Bush 41 who cleaned up his mess, he would be remembered as the one who left the country in shambles.

    The days are long gone when “anti-Communism” was all you needed to be elected to the WH.

  • Clifton Yin

    re. Carney: Thanks for reading and commenting. A couple points…

    I think it’s inaccurate to describe his deviations from today’s conservative orthodoxy as “relatively rare.” He did not raise taxes once or twice, but multiple times throughout his career and as late as 1986 in his presidency. Nor did I write about all the instances when he supposedly deviated: I imagine 2nd Amendment conservatives would be outraged by his 1991 editorial in support of the Brady Bill (http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/29/opinion/why-i-m-for-the-brady-bill.html) and social conservatives would be shocked to know that he publicly opposed the Briggs Initiative, a California proposition that would have banned gays and lesbians from working in state schools, in 1978.

    This is not say that I agree with his policy stances across the board. I do not believe, for example, that blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants akin to the 1986 act is appropriate today. My point in the post was simply that to completely disregard amnesty as a policy option out of some mistaken notion that it has never been a part of Republican orthodoxy would be wrong. When considering a policy issue as complex as illegal immigration, all options deserve to be part of the debate.

  • JimBob

    Reagan called amnesty one of the biggest mistakes of his Presidency. Amnesty was granted with the promise it would be a one time deal and the borders would be closed. 24 years later we’re still waiting for border enforcement. But Reagan’s greatest legacy was ignoring the NeoCons. Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz etc etc all turned on Reagan at the end for ending the cold war.

  • starwars

    Regardless of how I personally feel about Reagan’s amnesty decision, I agree that a true fiscal conservative will understand that it takes both cuts and taxes to balance a budget as Reagan did. And a true, principled Republican will make hard decisions to make it happen.

    Funny how the tea party has frequently referenced Reagan’s values and image when in fact Reagan’s pragmatic policies is what the tea party-ers are protesting.

  • franco 2

    “Clifton Yin was the youngest Asian-American delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at Georgetown University.”

    OK, let’s start with Cliftons little biography…. Clifton was what, 8 years old when Reagan left office? Since then he’s been educated by leftists at Georgetown and god knows where else. Reading this piece, it certainly seems that critical thinking is not his strong suit.

    Hey dude, being the “youngest Asian-American to be…whatever” is a tad too many qualifiers to be in the least impressive or noteworthy. I put Clifton’s achievement in this regard right up there with the youngest African-American, the youngest Irish American, Mexican American, female American, gay American, transgendered American, the first Canadian-American and so on…there must be hundreds. It used to be impressive for certain minorities because they “had to be that much better” they had to overcome prejudice and discrimination and rise up from poverty. But those days are long gone Clifton, hate to break it to you.

    I think it might be noteworthy, speaking of ethnicity and ancestry, to mention that Clifton has to be the only Asian (forgetting even the American part, which expands the field exponentially) in the world to be named “Clifton” Am I wrong here?

    But let’s get to the lack of substance in Mr. Yin’s claims.

    First, you could make this kind of statement about any historical figure. (And to this “youngest whatever” policy student – Reagan classifies as a historical figure) You could say “Thomas Jefferson was no Democrat” and then go on to cite where he and modern Democrats vary in ideas. You could say “Lincoln was no Republican” It’s kind of meaningless…you see Clifton? Parties change over time. Did they not explain that to you in Georgetown? Parties are not rigid and these kind of comparisons are specious.

    But it’s even worse than that, because Tea Parties are even less defined than political parties. There is no common platform, only similar threads and outlooks. It is a true “grassroots” movement with no real leader. Add to this the fact that Tea Party people are not advocating specific policies but general principles that they want from their politicians and you can begin to see the amount of distortion Mr. Yin attempts here. Tea Parties are not, and will not be, governing, but they will be voting for and electing candidates. All they are saying is they want politicians to promise certain things and hold them to those promises. This is basic politics. Did Mr. Yin skip the Politics 101 class in his undergraduate program because he was on a fast-track to be the “youngest” delegate? I don’t get how he doesn’t know these things.

    Yin’s cherry-picked positions of Ronald Reagan that span his 8 year Presidency and even his years as Governor of California are blithely inserted into today’s context, as though the context of history was exactly the same as today and that we haven’t learned anything. As with amnesty, we HAVE learned something. It is absurd to compare the situation in the 1980′s to today’s illegal immigration problem and I would submit that Reagan himself would be four square against any similar “amnesty” program today for several reasons. How do I know? For one thing, because he signed this bill as a one-time “fix”. Now Yin is saying, in effect, Reagan would go back on his word. As another commenter said, Reagan is on record saying the amnesty bill was his biggest mistake.

    Yin takes no time considering differences in degree and the context of today’s economy and size of Federal government or the current tax burdens on the middle-class. No, none of this fits into Yin’s calculus of what Reagan would or wouldn’t do. The historical context has stayed the same in Yin’s eyes. Taxes are the same, the Federal government is the same size, there are still 3 million illegals that are hoping to come out from the shadows….

    He cites Jon Stewart, that partisan hack comedian who has a retinue of highly paid lefty writers to reinvent history, and of all places The Nation, an openly Leninist rag run by a left-wing heiress for support. This is a feeble and specious essay. I would give a grad student who had the temerity to write this an F for Fail. But then, I’m not one of his lefty profs…

  • Stewardship

    And listen to Reagan’s comments on environmental protection, conservation, and climate issues at http://www.climateconservative.org.

  • eckers

    franco2 – you completely misread what Mr. Yin is claiming.

    He is not claiming that because RR would raise taxes today, or pass amnesty. This type of anachronism I agree with you is ridiculous. Read his post carefully, and you will find no such claims. He is merely pointing out that the Tea Parties, instead, are abusing the image of RR to support their beliefs instead of engaging in serious debate about the available options with which to solve the issues. The Tea Parties, by making claims of “RR wouldn’t do that” or “RR would have done that”, are actually the ones engaging in the type of anachronsim that you accuse Mr. Yin of writing. And he is right in pointing that out.

    The knee-jerk ad hominem reaction that your post exhibits is exactly what we must avoid in order to move forward.

    Mr. Yin, do not mind his comments. I gather (rather, I hope) from your participation in the GOP convention that you are a committed republican. In a time when asian-american youth are trending democratic, we value your voice.

  • Go Dog Go!

    I think the mischaracterization of Reagan is as much a symptom of the gross intellectual dishonesty so prevalent in the party today. The projection of wishful thinking on his slate is nothing less than the consequence of appeasing the wingnut base with silly, radical rhetoric. In reality, if Reagan were here today, I suspect Fox News would be proclaiming him a heretic socialist boogeyman.

    Sarah Palin is the poster child for this revisionism. Her fundamental misunderstanding of the man, his policies and his legacy are so great, it’s as if she wasn’t even alive during his administration. To me, it speaks volumes about the state of our party that her preposterously false characterizations go unchecked by all, only to be called out by a “fake news” show on Comedy Central.

  • MattB

    Correct, Mr. Yin.
    President Reagan was an all-encompassing, one man Tea Party.

  • zeezil

    Reagan’s policies resulted in the largest peacetime economic boom in American history while creating nearly 35 million more jobs. Federal revenues doubled from just over $517 billion in 1980 to more than $1 trillion in 1990 after the Reagan tax cuts. President Reagan was able to bring down inflation rates from 10.4% in 1981 to 3.7% in 1987. Reagan brought the unemployment rate down from 9.7% in 1982 to 5.49% in 1988. The American economy also grew by almost one-third due to Reagan’s economic plan.

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2001/03/The-Real-Reagan-Economic-Record

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2519383/reaganomics_an_overview_pg2.html?cat=37

    http://www.miseryindex.us/urbyyear.asp

  • zeezil

    Reagan’s Greatness

    by Sen. Jon Kyl
    02/18/2010
    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=35668

  • zeezil

    RONALD REAGAN Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine – 49 Years Ago (1961)

    AUDIO – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRdLpem-AAs&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eredstate%2Ecom%2Fredhot%2F&feature=player_embedded

  • zeezil

    Legacy lost: Ronald Reagan’s tax simplification

    To put it simply, our tax system is unfair, inequitable, counterproductive, and all but incomprehensible. I’ve mentioned before, and this is absolutely a fact, that even Albert Einstein had to write to the IRS for help with his Form 1040.
    — Ronald Reagan

    Only with the passage of time do we begin to fully appreciate the full vision of President Ronald Reagan and the achievements that resulted from that vision. The most commonly cited achievements of the Reagan dministration are ending the Cold War, rescuing the American economy from the doldrums of high inflation and high employment, and restoring America’s image both at home and abroad. Another remarkable, but rarely mentioned, contribution is the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The tax reform legislation which became law contained many key concepts from Reagan’s vision, even after going through the process of legislative compromise with an opposition majority in the House necessary to secure its passage. Presidential leadership can overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles which are encountered when undertaking any major reform efforts….

    MUCH MORE at: http://www.americanthinker.com/2005/05/legacy_lost_ronald_reagans_tax.html

  • zeezil

    Reagan’s unemployment rate

    FACT: According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1981, Ronald Reagan’s first year in office, the U.S. average unemployment rate stood at 7.6 percent (inherited from Jimmy Carter). During Reagan’s presidency, it reached a high of 9.7 percent (while fighting Carter’s recession), and had declined to a level of 5.5 percent when Reagan left office.
    http://mediamatters.org/research/200603210007

  • zeezil

    The real reason of Reagan’s budget deficit was the defeat of communism, the Soviet Union. Reagan decided it was worth it to defeat the greatest threat to our country (until at least Obama got elected but that’s a whole other story). That didn’t come without a heavy expenditure of money to ramp up the military and confront the USSR. Had that not been accomplished, our country, at least from external foes would be in far worse shape. Regan’s fiscal stewardship, leadership, and tax cuts lead to 25 years of unprecedented growth in America.

  • Armando

    You people are hilarously crazy. Reagan ran up huge budgets, worked with Dems, was pragmatic, so Tea Party people would label him a RINO? Are you genetically stupid or getting a medical marijuana prescription? Reagan went to the poker table with Gorbachev to reduce nukes, had the deal and backed out to save Star Wars missle defense, which had not been invented yet. Reagan increased the defense budget to out spend the CCCR. Reagan worked with Dems, yeah, so what? Where have Tea Party people said do not? You’re not only purposely mis-reading Reagan but also attributing ideals TP doesn’t have. No one says don’t reduce nukes – they say don’t bend over for the Soviets. Reagan didn’t put us in multi trillion debt and wouldn’t. But since this cabal of Republican revisionists seem to have forgotten the Real Deal, lets listen once again. Everyone read out loud:

    Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.

    Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

    Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.

    Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.

    Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.

    Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.

    Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.

    I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.

    I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.

    Man is not free unless government is limited.

    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!

    A nation without [secure] borders is not a nation

    The doctor begins to lose freedom. . . . First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then doctors aren’t equally divided geographically. So a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him, you can’t live in that town. They already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it’s only a short step to dictating where he will go. . . . All of us can see what happens once you establish the precedent that the government can determine a man’s working place and his working methods, determine his employment. From here it’s a short step to all the rest of socialism, to determining his pay. And pretty soon your son won’t decide, when he’s in school, where he will go or what he will do for a living. He will wait for the government to tell him where he will go to work and what he will do.

    There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to ensure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are traveling the same path.

    Lord Acton said power corrupts. Surely then, if this is true, the more power we give the government the more corrupt it will become. And if we give it the power to confiscate our arms we also give up the ultimate means to combat that corrupt power. In doing so we can only assure that we will eventually be totally subject to it. When dictators come to power, the first thing they do is take away the people’s weapons. It makes it so much easier for the secret police to operate, it makes it so much easier to force the will of the ruler upon the ruled.

    Alexander Hamilton said, “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.” Let’s set the record straight. There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace — and you can have it in the next second — surrender.

    Abraham Lincoln freed the black man. In many ways, Dr. King freed the white man. How did he accomplish this tremendous feat? Where others — white and black — preached hatred, he taught the principles of love and nonviolence. We can be so thankful that Dr. King raised his mighty eloquence for love and hope rather than for hostility and bitterness. He took the tension he found in our nation, a tension of injustice, and channeled it for the good of America and all her people.

    Make no mistake, abortion-on-demand is not a right granted by the Constitution. No serious scholar, including one disposed to agree with the Court’s result, has argued that the framers of the Constitution intended to create such a right.

    AND FINALLY:

    A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

    I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.

    Yin you and Frum and you’re toadies are all POSERS.

  • Gus

    zeezil: “During Reagan’s presidency, it reached a high of 9.7 percent (while fighting Carter’s recession), and had declined to a level of 5.5 percent when Reagan left office.” Interesting that Republicans blame Obama for the current unemployment rate at the same point in his presidency as the high rate in Reagan’s presidency. I can see some future Obama supporter saying “During Obama’s presidency it reached a high of 10.2% (while fighting Bush’s recession) and had declined…”

  • TerryF98

    Reagan was a gun running drug trafficking criminal. Thats all there is to be said about the guy. Iran-Contra was a stain on this country to add to the other criminal GOP Presidents. Namely Nixon. and Bush 2

  • advocatusdiaboli

    When forgetful people engage in fond nostalgic delusions and lionizing of that ignorant lazy mean spirited clown, I remind them of what Margaret Thatcher said of him:” Poor dear, there’s nothing between his ears.”

  • jdipeso

    Let’s not forget Reagan’s environmental accomplishments, which exposes another awkward gap between the real Reagan and the mythical Reagan of the talk radio set and their Tea Party acolytes.

    Too many liberals refuse to give Reagan credit for his environmental accomplishments. Too many conservatives would rather not talk about them.

    Reagan signed more than three dozen wilderness bills, protecting more than 10 million acres of public land for future generations.

    Reagan signed legislation strengthening drinking water protections and hazardous waste cleanup.

    Reagan signed legislation establishing national parks and monuments.

    Reagan’s EPA got the lead out of gasoline.

    Most significantly, Reagan pushed for a strong treaty to phase out chemicals that deplete the upper atmosphere’s protective ozone layer. After the Senate had ratified the Montreal Protocol, Reagan called the treaty a “monumental achievement.” Interestingly, the Montreal Protocol has reduced the equivalent of five years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions, since the chemicals that the treaty phased out also trap heat.

    It’s one thing for activists and pundits to chant slogans and demand that elected officials adhere to litmus tests. It’s another thing to govern a diverse country where interests and political philosophies clash while putting conservative principles into practice. Reagan demonstrated his uncanny gift for the latter – establishing an enduring legacy and setting a powerful example from which his admirers and detractors could learn a great deal.

  • jdipeso

    Learn more about Reagan’s environmental record at http://www.climateconservative.org

  • Rabiner

    Armando:

    “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.”

    You mean like in Iran where religion is vibrant and rule of law under God is acknowledged? Seriously we live in a Democracy not a Theocracy so this comment from you is ridiculous.

    Secondly since we’re speaking in English perhaps you want to use acronyms in English. CCCP is pronounced “SSSR” in Russian and is the Russian acronym for the Soviet Union.

    “Reagan didn’t put us in multi trillion debt and wouldn’t.”

    Reagan increased the national debt considerably during his tenure as President. It went from $700 billion to $3 trillion from 1980 to 1989.

    “No one says don’t reduce nukes – they say don’t bend over for the Soviets.”

    How did Obama’s START treaty signed earlier this month bend over for the Russians (there are no Soviets anymore)?

    I’d continue to comment on your thread of alphabet soup quotes which sound more like slogans than serious nuanced policy positions but I’d rather look at other people’s perspectives and comment on them.

    Zeezil:

    “Reagan’s policies resulted in the largest peacetime economic boom in American history while creating nearly 35 million more jobs. Federal revenues doubled from just over $517 billion in 1980 to more than $1 trillion in 1990 after the Reagan tax cuts. President Reagan was able to bring down inflation rates from 10.4% in 1981 to 3.7% in 1987. Reagan brought the unemployment rate down from 9.7% in 1982 to 5.49% in 1988. The American economy also grew by almost one-third due to Reagan’s economic plan.”

    Lets take this piece by piece.

    Reagan cut taxes in 1981 and increased taxes ever year afterwards from 1982 to 1987.
    18 million jobs were created during Reagan’s administration so 35 million is an amazing estimation.
    Inflation dropped to 4.4% in 1988, Reagan’s last year in office.
    You realize that 1982 was over a year after Reagan had been in office and is remarkably close to the current unemployment rate of 9.7 currently being experienced. By 1988 unemployment had dropped to 5.3% but over his 8 years unemployment averaged 7.5%.

    Federal Income Tax revenues in 1980: $308.7B
    Federal Income Tax revenues in 1989: $549.0B (so not a doubling of federal income tax revenues over 9 years but close)

    “he American economy also grew by almost one-third due to Reagan’s economic plan.”

    Can you specify the years you are referring to?

  • jjv

    One of the things that propelled Reagan to the Presidency was the Propisition 13 movement in California. Reagan did not lead that charge but benfitted from it as it signalled a change from the taxaholic 70′s. Proposition 13 was an analogue to the Tea Parties today, a grass roots movement disdained by elites. Reagan did not denigrate it.

  • balconesfault

    Federal Income Tax revenues in 1980: $308.7B
    Federal Income Tax revenues in 1989: $549.0B (so not a doubling of federal income tax revenues over 9 years but close)

    You might also want to note:

    Federal Debt in 1980: $ 908 B
    Federal Debt in 1989: $2,857 B

    So not a doubling of the debt … but a tripling!