Where Have All the Reagan & Buckley Republicans Gone?


Sean Hannity and Eric Erickson have declared that the Reagan Revolution was NOT about conservative values but Reagan himself.  Yep, he’s no longer good enough for them.


“…1. Reagan granted amnesty to illegal immigrants. This is toxic for Republicans in this election cycle. Anything short of  “send them all home” is fodder for the party purists. Regardless of ideology, the concept of sending, at a minimum, 12 million people back to country X is impractical and probably not even possible.

As one who believes in pragmatic politics, what Reagan did was right. But where he failed, and where Presidents since have as well, is securing the border. Without a secure border, it’s impossible to prevent illegal immigration.

2. Ronald Reagan raised taxes. True, he also authored one of the largest tax decreases in history, but these days, if you don’t sign Grover Norquist’s no-taxes pledge, you aren’t a real conservative.  God forbid we tax fatty food or sodium, things that result in health problems later in life that we all end up paying for through Medicare. That’s a sin in today’s conservative orthodoxy.

3. Ronald Reagan spent us into a deficit. Because of the tax cuts he enacted, coupled with the massive increase in defense spending, our national debt rose from roughly $700 billion to $3 trillion during Reagan’s time in office. We shifted from being the largest creditor in the world to the largest debtor. We also dramatically increased our borrowing from foreign nations, which continues today.

4. Ronald Reagan helped facilitate the Savings and Loan crisis. Not entirely dissimilar from the financial crisis in fall 2008, the savings and loan crisis ended up being costing $125 billion in a taxpayer-funded bailout. Although the bailout itself didn’t take place when he was in office, he  bears some responsibility, as the crisis happened during his time and his policies of deregulation contributed to it.

5. Ronald Reagan compromised. Yes, he is the origin of much of modern conservative dogma, from supply-side economics to the culture war (his greatest failure, in my opinion). But as with any good President, Reagan knew the value of compromise. Partly out of necessity, given that he had to work with a Democratic house for the entirety of his Presidency, but partly because he knew that, despite the need to have a political base, that any base of any party or ideology is not representative of a majority of Americans….”

The other day Charles Krauthammer made the following comment:

“….Krauthammer: The Palin endorsement I think, is disruptive and capricious. Bill Buckley had a rule that he always supported the most conservative candidate who was electable, otherwise the vote is simply self-indulgence.”

I found a followup commentary at Media Ite:


I don’t know if O’Donnell is electable.  I have the same problems with her as I do with Nikki Haley.  They make women in politics look bad.  They both whine when confronted with something unpleasant. I think both are extremely flawed candidates.  In South Carolina, the GOP is already experiencing buyer’s remorse with Nikki.  The Dems in SC are in so disarray her constant mistakes don’t matter.  She’s a shoo-in, no matter what.  Delaware is a different story.  O’Donnell should be held to the same standard as a man.  look at Nevada.  Angle is giving as good as she is taking.  Here in NM, we’re being treated to a hard-ball bitch-fest between Martinez and Denish.  They are playing for keeps, as politicians, not as ‘oh don’t make me cry I’m a girl’.

There are any number of us who are saying we are going to need another Reagan.  The real problem in today’s extreme political climate there is no way Ronald Reagan would be elected.  He would not be conservative enough.

UK Telegraph

William F. Buckley’s philosophy was to vote for the most conservative Republican who could get elected.


2 thoughts on “Where Have All the Reagan & Buckley Republicans Gone?

  1. It’s really weird to me that Ronald Reagan is not considered conservative enough for today’s republicans. I remember the days when some critics considered him too conservative. Back then, he was a new conservative voice. Many Americans were impressed by his “New Federalism”. When he was campaigning for president back in 1979, he promised to “get the government off our backs” by turning many federally created programs over to the states. Once he was elected he tried to keep this promise. At the heart of the New Federalism was the idea that the states and localities knew their needs better than politicians in Washington and are more concerned about how they spend their money. The program caused a surge of economic growth, but when the program ended it put pressure on the cities and states to either reduce spending or raise taxes. The 1980s opened with a serious economic recession. Before President Reagan, other presidents called on congress to increase spending as a means of combatting recession and sought tax increases to fight inflation. President Carter had called for a reduction in government spending as a means of reducing aggregate demand during a recession to end a period of double digit inflation. In order to contract the economy, interest rates rose into the double digits. This was really hard on those buying homes or cars, but those of us with savings accounts were on cloud nine, proudly waving around our saving statements. You could get over $100.00 for every $1,000.00 in savings. President Reagan, on the other hand, called for a tax reduction as a way of increasing aggregate demand. One of America’s long run objectives was the elimination of inflation directed at the the causes of inflation- demand pull and cost push. The result was the historic Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. The tax system was restructured to encourage people to work, save and invest more. This included tax reductions specifically designed to encourage consumer spending and business investment.

  2. This new law was to move the economy back to full employment levels by increasing both consumer and business spending as a means of increasing aggregate demand. It was not long before interest rates began to fall. The single idea behind Reaganomics or supply side or trickle down economics was that production was the most important determinant of economic growth. My opinion at the time was that opposed to the Keynesian theory it would never work. I still think I was right. But no administration since has ever gone back to Keynesian economics. The idea that supply creates its own demand is not new, but supply side went further by claiming that demand was largely irrelevant. Companies that over produce create excess inventories, which will cause prices to fall, therefore consumers will increase their purchases to offset the excess supply. Many Reagan critics claim that the Reagan tax cuts drained the U.S. Treasury, but I recently saw some statistics that show that the reality was that Federal Revenue actually increased significantly between 1980 to 1990. Economics is always unpredictable. Hindsight is always better than foresight. It’s impossible to chart economics in the future.

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