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Sally Kohn writes: "By today's Tea Party standards, the Republican icon would have been a Leninist-Marxist-socialist America hater. After all, as Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, recently observed: 'Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican' in today's party."

Then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan sharing a laugh with President Nixon, 06/15/70. (photo: UPI Photo/Files)
Then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan sharing a laugh with President Nixon, 06/15/70. (photo: UPI Photo/Files)

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+38 # Barbara K 2011-09-12 10:36
The Republicans themselves have gone way beyond being Republican any more. They are now Nazis, calling them Republicans is a joke. There is nothing conservative or religious about this band of thugs.
+3 # davidwseattle 2011-09-12 10:54
Actually, Reagan passed big increases in Social Security hoping that people would rebel against them and end Social Security.
It ended up backfiring on him because the American public never organized enough to oppose the increases.
SS taxes have always been the largest taxes that low income people pay since employee and employer split the cost 50/50--it's not the fairest system at all, and definitely not what many in the FDR administration wanted, but they figured it was the only way to ensure the policy would be maintained for decades.
I guess they were right--at least until now, when Social Security is completely under fire.
+30 # fredboy 2011-09-12 10:59
I think the greatest contrast between the extreme GOP/tea party and others here is only they have demonstrated their absolute hatred of United States, state, and local governments. They are clearly anti-American. It is striking that, throughout my life, right wing reactionaries have so often warned us about such types. Now, as suspected, we realize and have ample proof that they themselves pose the greatest threat to our nation.
+1 # John Locke 2011-09-22 11:55
I don't think they hate America, I think they don't understand christian fundamental principles and values, we don't allow people to starve in Amnerican and we don't allow people to die for lack of medfical care, only insurance companies and tparty candidates do that...
+21 # GeeRob 2011-09-12 11:24
I never liked Reagan but in retrospect, the Tea Party has miraculously made him look like everyone's favorite uncle.
+7 # Rara Avis 2011-09-12 11:49
I remember the Reagan initiative to cut Social Security. My conservative Republican parents wrote angry letters and my Dad being a Republican Party leader in Illinois was not alone. Reagan withdrew the proposed cuts within a week, and then turned and joined with a bi-partisan effort in Congress to strengthen it!

And Reagan was in truth as noted willing to raise taxes to avoid adding even further to the deficit and fund programs.

I cannot see how, someone not Ronald Reagan but with an identical profile could get even to first base as a Republican now.

Is anyone in that party listening to the Lindsay Grahams? A moderate center/right (the old political center of the 1980's or earlier) Republican Party would just destroy Democrats and own Washington and not seriously threaten our democracy.

The problem is our fractured electorate of fearful and angry voters may cast ballots in 2012 that are even more irresponsible than in 2010. The scoundrel and the fascist right might come into office.
0 # John Locke 2011-09-22 11:57
They already are in power!
+14 # reiverpacific 2011-09-12 12:22
Well, it's just become progressively worse on the Repug', historical perspective, from Ike (a real "Liberal")-Nixo n-Reagan; then the "Insufficiently conservative" Bush-1 (and that faux- dem' Clinton's actions against the poor might well count into the mix) to the deep plunge into the darkness of Cheney-Bush 11 (order of command mine) "coming-out" in full-view support of undisguised Plutocracy, moving towards full Fascism under the slumbering conformity and insouciance of the numbed-by-comme rcialism populace.
The sad part is that the Dem's have hitched their wagon to the rightward trail, instead of circling them and comin' out shootin' back (apologies to my American Indian friends -no true analogy intended).
By the way, Reagan was NOT a very nice guy: he was a fink (as the late Kurt Vonnegut called him) for the McCarthy Hollywood witch-hunts and destroyed many careers and lives, before he even thought of running for anything -and he started off as a Democrat. Basically a professional turncoat and slippery as Hell during Iran-Contra, for which he should have been impeached, had a few equal stinkers like Olly North hadn't taken a dive for him -and come out smiling later.
The present crop of whatever-you-ch ose-to-call-the m are a PHd class in what has gone before them and are using intimidation to prop up their medievalist power-aspiratio ns!
+3 # David Starr 2011-09-12 12:33
Interesting article, providing some "revelations" I was not aware of. But, Reagan's "progressivenes s" as president, e.g., can still be seen as prioritizing tactical approaches over simply being "principled."

The current GOP's bottom-line agenda has actually been existing for about 100 years now. There have been tactical fluctuations, especially during the Cold War. After that, their true colors have appeared once again into what we have now.

Let's just say that if the 1980 Reagan really showed concern to upholding the rights and interests of the many, he would have probably been a Democrat
+4 # BradFromSalem 2011-09-12 12:35
As a politician Reagan committed the #1 sin, he would change his mind. All of the items listed above prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Ronald Wilson Reagan was indeed a flip flopper.
The real strength of the modern Republican Party consists of their ability to invent their very own narrative. For example, they will tell you that they won in 2010 because the American people wanted spending cut and that taxes were too high. Reagan on the other hand, would have understood that the American people wanted jobs.
Reagan flipped and raised taxes when the government was running out of money.

A poll watching flip flopper, that is what he was, that is also what Obama is.

I am unsure of my conclusion, but we did wonder which former president Obama would most emulate. F. Roosevelt, Lincoln, or maybe Reagan.

So far, Reagan appears to be the model.
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2011-09-12 13:35
I do not believe we would have voted in Reagun like our parents did.
Tea Party doesn't like anybody including themselves so their opinion is like a sand in a desert.
+5 # ABen 2011-09-12 17:58
True, the historical facts of Reagan's two terms do not square with the myth of Reagan bandied by the Teabagged GOP. His administration never once submitted a balanced budget, nearly tripled the national debt, and raised taxes six times for an aggregate rate of over 18% of GDP during his presidency. The Teabaggers would most likely term him a RHINO and make certain he could not win election. This would be surprising, given the way in which the GOP genuflects to the image of Reagan, were it not for the demonstrated principle of not letting facts get in the way of a ideology driven narrative. What the Reagan worshipers also conveniently forget was his deregulation of the S&L industry that led to the crash of that industry and the largest financial hit this country had seen since WWII, that is until Baby Bush came to power. Historical facts are such pesky things.
+1 # frankscott 2011-09-12 21:36
this is a joke, or probably another in a series of attempts to totally demonize the idiots of the right so as to make it easier to elect the idiots of the, um, uh, slightly less right...reagan was a liberal, like ayn rand?


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