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Reagan's Liberal Legacy

Synthaholic

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From 2003:



Reagan's Liberal Legacy


*snip*




A sober review of Reagan's presidency doesn't yield the seamlessly conservative record being peddled today. Federal government expanded on his watch. The conservative desire to outlaw abortion was never seriously pursued. Reagan broke with the hardliners in his administration and compromised with the Soviets on arms control. His assault on entitlements never materialized; instead he saved Social Security in 1983. And he repeatedly ignored the fundamental conservative dogma that taxes should never be raised.


All of this has been airbrushed from the new literature of Reagan. But as any balanced account must make clear, Reagan acceded to political compromises as all presidents do once in office--and on many occasions did so willingly. In fact, however often unintentionally, many of his actions as president wound up facilitating liberal objectives. What this clamor of adulation is seeking to deny is that beyond his conservative legacy, Ronald Reagan has bequeathed a liberal one.


*snip*
 
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Synthaholic

Synthaholic

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But after his initial victories on tax cuts and defense, the revolution effectively stalled. Deficits started to balloon, the recession soon deepened, his party lost ground in the 1982 midterms, and thereafter Reagan never seriously tried to enact the radical domestic agenda he'd campaigned on. Rather than abolish the departments of Energy and Education, as he had promised to do if elected president, Reagan added a new cabinet-level department--one of the largest federal agencies--the Department of Veterans Affairs.
 
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Synthaholic

Synthaholic

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It's conservative lore that Reagan the icon cut taxes, while George H.W. Bush the renegade raised them. As Stockman recalls, "No one was authorized to talk about tax increases on Ronald Reagan's watch, no matter what kind of tax, no matter how justified it was." Yet raising taxes is exactly what Reagan did. He did not always instigate those hikes or agree to them willingly--but he signed off on them. One year after his massive tax cut, Reagan agreed to a tax increase to reduce the deficit that restored fully one-third of the previous year's reduction. (In a bizarre bit of self-deception, Reagan, who never came to terms with this episode of ideological apostasy, persuaded himself that the three-year, $100 billion tax hike--the largest since World War II--was actually "tax reform" that closed loopholes in his earlier cut and therefore didn't count as raising taxes.)


Faced with looming deficits, Reagan raised taxes again in 1983 with a gasoline tax and once more in 1984, this time by $50 billion over three years, mainly through closing tax loopholes for business. Despite the fact that such increases were anathema to conservatives--and probably cost Reagan's successor, George H.W. Bush, reelection--Reagan raised taxes a grand total of four times just between 1982-84.
 

C_Clayton_Jones

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Faced with looming deficits, Reagan raised taxes again in 1983 with a gasoline tax and once more in 1984, this time by $50 billion over three years, mainly through closing tax loopholes for business. Despite the fact that such increases were anathema to conservatives--and probably cost Reagan's successor, George H.W. Bush, reelection--Reagan raised taxes a grand total of four times just between 1982-84.

Of greater significance was the fact that during this time Reagan worked with a Democratic House and Republican Senate in a pragmatic effort of responsible governance to do what was best to address the Nation’s issues.

That is clearly not the case today, and the fault for this lies solely with the Republican House – mandated by the Constitution to initiate the legislative process.

Of the many differences between Reagan and conservatives today, is the latter’s absolute unwillingness to compromise and do what’s best for America, not the GOP’s election prospects.
 

flacaltenn

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Oh yeah.. I'm sure they (I'm not a rwinger) are shaking in their boots.

So your getting all nostalgic over Reagan for Arms Control talks and saving SOC Sec?

People are just puzzled over the purpose of the thread Synth. Reagan DID the job well. But ALL those things are a construct of the make-up Congress and the condition of the country when he inherited it.

Sound familiar??
 

JoeB131

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"If I give a homeless man a dollar, I'm a Liberal. If I make him dance for it, I'm a job-creator."

I think that I'm more horrified by your tagline than the substance of your post. You really think that making someone work for money is an evil thing? Really?


Anyway, addressing your post itself. Yes, Reagan did liberal things, not that they ever gave him credit for them. Conservative or liberal, the reality of governing usually means you get pulled to the center. The main complaint I see about Obama here is that he's not closed Gitmo, pushed for bigger government and more stimulus, etc. The reality is, we have a system that self-corrects to the center.

The reason why Reagan is still respected is not whether he held to the orthodoxy of dogma all the time, but that he provided leadership, and no one who has followed him has been as clear of a leader yet. Each one who has followed him has seemed to be a little less than the one before.
 
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Synthaholic

Synthaholic

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"If I give a homeless man a dollar, I'm a Liberal. If I make him dance for it, I'm a job-creator."

I think that I'm more horrified by your tagline than the substance of your post. You really think that making someone work for money is an evil thing? Really?

Where do you get that idea?


Anyway, addressing your post itself. Yes, Reagan did liberal things, not that they ever gave him credit for them. Conservative or liberal, the reality of governing usually means you get pulled to the center.

Are you saying that the teabaggers are not living in reality? I agree.


The main complaint I see about Obama here is that he's not closed Gitmo,


But he has halted any new prisoners being sent there. Not as good, but since all the GOP pussies are afraid to have any scary Arabs in their maximum security prisons, it's his only option, short of letting them all go.


pushed for bigger government and more stimulus, etc. The reality is, we have a system that self-corrects to the center.

Ummm....Obama has cut the size of government. Just as Reagan increased the number of government employees and Clinton also shrunk that number.

Reagan: increase in Federal employees
Clinton: decrease " " "
Dubya: increase " " "
Obama: decrease " " "

Fact.



The reason why Reagan is still respected is not whether he held to the orthodoxy of dogma all the time, but that he provided leadership, and no one who has followed him has been as clear of a leader yet. Each one who has followed him has seemed to be a little less than the one before.


Well, I agree with you that Clinton was more of a leader than Bush.
 

Sallow

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Reagan was a crappy President that did better in his second term because he started to work closely with Tip O'Neil.

Simple as that.
 

Sallow

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"If I give a homeless man a dollar, I'm a Liberal. If I make him dance for it, I'm a job-creator."

I think that I'm more horrified by your tagline than the substance of your post. You really think that making someone work for money is an evil thing? Really?

Where do you get that idea?




Are you saying that the teabaggers are not living in reality? I agree.





But he has halted any new prisoners being sent there. Not as good, but since all the GOP pussies are afraid to have any scary Arabs in their maximum security prisons, it's his only option, short of letting them all go.


pushed for bigger government and more stimulus, etc. The reality is, we have a system that self-corrects to the center.

Ummm....Obama has cut the size of government. Just as Reagan increased the number of government employees and Clinton also shrunk that number.

Reagan: increase in Federal employees
Clinton: decrease " " "
Dubya: increase " " "
Obama: decrease " " "

Fact.



The reason why Reagan is still respected is not whether he held to the orthodoxy of dogma all the time, but that he provided leadership, and no one who has followed him has been as clear of a leader yet. Each one who has followed him has seemed to be a little less than the one before.


Well, I agree with you that Clinton was more of a leader than Bush.

Clinton was an excellent president. He was hamstringed by two things..his own hubris and the Republican desire for revenge for Nixon.
 

JoeB131

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"If I give a homeless man a dollar, I'm a Liberal. If I make him dance for it, I'm a job-creator."

I think that I'm more horrified by your tagline than the substance of your post. You really think that making someone work for money is an evil thing? Really?

Where do you get that idea?

By the actual statement.


But he has halted any new prisoners being sent there. Not as good, but since all the GOP pussies are afraid to have any scary Arabs in their maximum security prisons, it's his only option, short of letting them all go.

Well, a mass execution would solve that problem right up. And it's not like we are capturing all that many more of them to send there.

pushed for bigger government and more stimulus, etc. The reality is, we have a system that self-corrects to the center.

Ummm....Obama has cut the size of government. Just as Reagan increased the number of government employees and Clinton also shrunk that number.

Reagan: increase in Federal employees
Clinton: decrease " " "
Dubya: increase " " "
Obama: decrease " " "

Fact.[/quote]


Sophistry... Government doesn't need more employees to be more intrusive or a bigger pain in the ass.
 

flacaltenn

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Sallow:

Clinton was an excellent president. He was hamstringed by two things..his own hubris and the Republican desire for revenge for Nixon.

Never was a long line of Repubs lining up to carry Nixon baggage. It was Clintons' hubris AND the continuation of what got Nixon in trouble in the 1st place. That is the imperial build-up of power and control in the Presidentcy. ALL of the spec prosec. charges had to do with misuse of the Executive privilege and power. From missing emails to cronyism.

But heck -- I really really miss that hillbilly whorehopper now... :LOL:
 
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Synthaholic

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Mourning in America

Many of Reagan's actions that wound up furthering liberal ends were to some extent the result of the normal compromises of political office. The fact that his conservative biographers don't see fit to acknowledge these deviations is a clue that their aim is something besides an accurate depiction of the life and achievements of the 40th president. When conservatives mythologize the Reagan presidency as the golden era of conservatism, it's not Reagan that they're mythologizing, but conservatism.

The great success of Reagan's 1980 campaign was that it united the disparate strands of the conservative movement: supply-siders, libertarians, religious conservatives, foreign policy hawks, and big business. The fact that Reagan's presidency didn't accomplish anything approaching its seismic promise--the size of government grew, abortion remained legal, and entitlements still abounded--is one that his partisan biographers elide by focusing on what Reagan believed and said rather than on what he actually did. The imaginary Reagan who inhabits these books embodies the ideas on which all these groups can agree. His shining example helps maintain the coalition while putting pressure on current GOP politicians to hew to the hard-right ideal.

The real Reagan, on the other hand, would bring discord to the current conservative agenda. If you believe, as conservatives now do, that raising taxes is always wrong, then it's hard to admit that Reagan himself did so repeatedly. If you argue that the relative tax burden on low-income workers is too light, as the Bush administration does, then it does not pay to dwell on the fact that Reagan himself helped lighten that burden. If you insist, as many hardliners now do, that America is dangerously soft on communist China, then it is best to ignore Reagan's own softening toward the Soviet Union. As with other conservative media efforts--Rush Limbaugh, Fox News Channel, The Washington Times--the purpose of the Reagan legacy project is not to deliver accuracy, but enhance political leverage.

But, as Reagan himself liked to cite from John Adams, facts are stubborn things. And the fact is that Reagan, whether out of wisdom or because he was forced, made significant compromises with the left. Had he not saved Social Security, relented on his tax cut, and negotiated with the Soviets, he'd have been a less popular, and lesser, president. An honest portrait of Reagan's presidency would not diminish his memory, but enlarge it.
 

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