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  • Is there room in the GOP?

       December 15, 2007

    In an excellent column in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal, Peggy Noonan watches the rise of Mike Huckabee and asks:

    I wonder if our old friend Ronald Reagan could rise in this party, this environment. Not a regular churchgoer, said he experienced God riding his horse at the ranch, divorced, relaxed about the faiths of his friends and aides, or about its absence. He was a believing Christian, but he spent his adulthood in relativist Hollywood, and had a father who belonged to what some saw, and even see, as the Catholic cult. I'm just not sure he'd be pure enough to make it in this party. I'm not sure he'd be considered good enough.

    I too wonder if there'd be room in the GOP for a man like Ronald Reagan. There doesn't seem to be room for Ron Paul. For whatever reason, the GOP is more comfortable with a man who questions evolution than with a man who questions the Department of Education.

    The real problem isn't that the GOP doesn't have room for a Ronald Reagan or a Ron Paul, it's that the GOP doesn't have room for me.

    Posted by at December 15, 2007 08:05 AM

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    #  December 15th, 2007 8:32 AM      BVBigBro
    The part has abandoned some of the principles it once held; first among the them the concept of limited government. The key for the party will be who next presidential failure is blamed upon. A Huckabee failure might be great for the GOP. Such a failure would be difficult to cast as anything other than a failure of the religious right. On the other hand if Huckabee is not the nominee, and the party loses in 2008, then the claim will be that the candidate was not sufficiently religious to motivate the supposed base.  
    #  December 15th, 2007 8:51 AM      kris
    Jiblog has a nice post on this too. A quote:

    Reagan's pragmatism has been glossed over in many conservative circles, and that is a huge disservice to present day conservative candidates and the conservative movement in general. The fact is even Reagan, the conservative standard, took criticism from his right during his presidency. Too many conservatives today expect candidates today to be the perfect conservative that they perceive Reagan was. The fact is that a perfectly ideological conservative would never get anything done during his or her term because that individual would be unable and unwilling to make the trade offs that get things done in our political system, let alone appeal to enough voters to win an election. The mythical Reagan standard-a standard that Peggy Noonan and others don't even think Reagan himself would meet today-is only going to hold the conservative movement back in an iron clad gridlock.

    I'm all for pragmatic conservatism. I certainly don't want a President whose hands are tied by his own ideology. That sounds too much like the Communists and their philosophy that didn't quite work out in the real world.

    Reagan wasn't great because he was a conservative. I think Reagan was great because he used all of the tools available to him (his leadership abilities, personal charisma, talented staff, etc.) to solve problems, when appropriate, by limiting government. I think his very pragmatism is a big part of what made him great.  
    #  December 15th, 2007 1:02 PM      themandownthehall
    I was a huge Ron fan. Nearly cried when he left office, but no, Reagan would not get our nod today and for good reason. The problems we have today flaring, he was on the wrong side of. Examples:

    Reagan cut taxes, but raised spending by nearly double. Don't give me the "dems in congress did" BS that a lot of Ron's defenders do. He allowed it. He didn't fight it. He accepted it as long as he got his tax cuts. I guess we should be happy he didn't allow sunsets on them. Sound famililiar?

    Reagan refused to close the border, instead he signed an amnesty bill that was called amnesty in it's title. It wasn't a pseudo anmsesty, disguised amnesty or anything like that. It was flat out amnesty for illegals. Sound familiar?

    Reagan refused to fight for privatization of Social Security (yes, it was suggested), eventually raising taxes to keep funding it.

    Reagan allowed the expansion of the welfare state, compromising to get along by signing bills the dems handed to him. (kind of like adding pers drugs to a failing program).

    He took us out of Lebanon after the bombing giving hope to Islamofacists.

    These are our current problems and his answers. Those answers would not work today. He was PERFECT for what we needed at the time. Rebuild the military, wipe out the Soviet block, spur our economy, deregulate areas that should never have been regulated to allow them to flourish, give America back it's swagger and confidence, provide hope to Americans that times will get brighter. Back the, he was the right person at the right time. He would not be today.

    I cannot think of many problems that we face today that Reagan would have handled. Maybe oil. He could really communicate and rally Americans to him and that skill may have opened ANWR when we had the chance. But other pressing issues of today, I don't know if he would be the right person.

    Ok, flame suit on and ready. Let me have it!  
    #  December 15th, 2007 1:34 PM      BVBigBro
    Reagan handled the problems of his day; the three foremost being the debacle that had been the Carter administration and its' destruction of US foreign policy making capabilities, the terrible economy of the late 1970's and the cold war. The failure of his successors to build on his success is not his fault.

    How Reagan would have handled today's issues is unknown, but Reagan would likely bemoan attempts to make the party a much smaller tent than it once was.  
    #  December 15th, 2007 10:22 PM      themandownthehall
    Exactly. He was dang near perfect for what we needed him for back then. Carter left this country a mess. People bemoan "how bad" Bush is leaving the country, but it is nothing compared to the disaster of the Carter malaise.

    And you are correct BVBigBro, he would hate how small the tents of both parties have become. He didn't hate the democrat party. He felt it was like the Republicans are becoming. No room for anyone, including him. I don't know if he would be a party member today.

    And a small confession. I didn't almost cry when he left office. I was 24 years old and sat alone in my apartment and watched Bush 1 get sworn in and I cried like hell. Knowing what was leaving the office versus what was staying behind was a terrible feeling.

    It's sad, but with the current crop of candidates, I don't really care who wins much. As long as it's not Clinton. I'll cry again if she gets elected.  



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