Days before a Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Library, an immigration advocacy group invoked the former president to attack the tough immigration rhetoric of certain candidates, including front-runner Donald Trump.
Reagan’s enduring popularity also embraces his starring role in some watershed moments in American history: the end of the expansion of the American social welfare system, the fall of the Soviet Union, and – within his party – the end of the monopoly that had been held on the GOP by the Eastern Establishment. This is about the Republican establishment failing most of those middle income workers who put all their hopes in the Republican Party, so if they cleaned up their own house over at the GOP, Trump probably wouldn’t be as big as he is now or might not even be a factor at all.
The ad plays a clip if Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” speech, his farewell address that alluded to the USA being a welcoming country, ready to take in immigrants.
Many in Reagan’s legion of admirers say those parts of his record do not diminish his overall achievement of transforming a conservative agenda of small, limited government, less regulation, lower taxes and a muscular national defense into GOP doctrine. The ad is notable because of the comparison, but also because the fund that paid for it is a conservative organization. “That would be a good thing to have during the debate because I think Carly would benefit from it”, Marin said. “With Ronald Reagan, our friends knew that we had their backs and our enemies feared us”.
Still, Michael Reagan, the former president’s son, told CNN this weekend that of all the 2016 Republican White House hopefuls, Trump is the least like his father.
While no one doubts Reagan’s importance to the conservative movement, some political figures wonder whether the revolution that he spawned has changed to such an extent that he’d feel uncomfortable in the current Tea Party era. I had exposure to many patients with unfulfilled lives because they were becoming dependent on government programs, and it struck me as the wrong way to go.
But Republican consultant Rob Stutzman said Fiorina should be careful about not trying to out-trump Trump. “But ironically, other countries have heeded that lesson while we have forgotten it”. “That’s how I saw it – and see it still”.
Reagan’s willingness to compromise – and cut deals with Democrats – is another aspect of his legacy that often gets overlooked in this Age of Reagan Revisionism.
INGRAHAM: I think people have to be honest brokers about this.
On multiple occasions, Paul has shared this photo of him meeting Reagan with his family. “What Would Reagan Do?” is just no longer an interesting question.
As a Senate candidate in 2009, Rubio tweeted that he had no problem with a president giving a political speech to kids but only, “if his name is REAGAN!”
Yet for all their nostalgic tributes, Wednesday’s event at the shrine to Reagan is overshadowed by one hard-to-ignore irony: The Great Communicator of 35 years ago, who guided conservative thought into the mainstream of national politics, might have found himself shut out of the debate, his support too meager to earn one of the coveted 11 spots in the prime-time event.