|The Duke and Jimmy Stewart in "The Man who shot Liberty Valance"|
Ransom Stoddard: "You're not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?"
Maxwell Scott: "No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
Could a Governor Ronald Reagan win in 2012?
When legend becomes fact, print the legend.
The 2012 GOP candidates gathered at the Ronald Reagan Library this week for the great debate. There they paid tribute to the legend of Ronald Reagan.
Humans need political legends to worship. George Washington, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt. But if you look too closely at any legend you start to see the flaws of the human being and a lot less legend.
REAGAN 2012 - It came to me that if a Governor Reagan was standing on that stage with Rick Perry, Mitt Romney etc he would be ripped limb from limb by every other candidate for being a RINO.
- As California governor, Ronald Reagan enacted what at the time was the largest state tax increase in American history.
- Governor Reagan presided over an orgy of state spending and doubled the state budget massively growing the size of California government.
- Governor Reagan also signed into law one of the nation's most permissive abortion bills.
The Presidential debate would not have been pretty from Reagan's point of view. Social Conservatives Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry would rip into Reagan for supporting abortion. And everyone else would kick Reagan around the stage for increasing taxes and spending. The Conservative media from Rush to Mark Levin to Hannity would be screaming that we cannot allow the Reagan liberal wing of the GOP to get the nomination.
The bottom line: Reagan was a pragmatist . . . a "moderate" if you will. A politician willing, when necessary, to cut a deal with California liberal Democrats, give them what they wanted, then claim victory and go out and give Conservative small government speeches around the nation to advance his political career.
It is hard to imagine a governor with Reagan's record on taxes and abortion winning a Republican Presidential nomination in 2012.
|Moderate Birds of a Feather Flock Together.|
The great President Dwight Eisenhower and fellow moderate, Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967.
Reagan's actions at the state level (not his words) make him in effect a political clone of contemporary liberal Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York.
Reagan's record as Governor really says a lot about the Conservative movement in the mid to late 20th Century. The issue of abortion did not even exist for a Governor Reagan. Being a Conservative in the 1950s and 60s had a lot more to do with anti-Communism and the Cold War than spending and taxes.
The great California Proposition 13 Tax Revolt that spread through the nation happened in 1978 three years after Reagan left office.
The Tax Revolt was a ground up people's campaign with leaders and political outsiders Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann. They operated outside the Republican and Democratic Parties to slash and cap the insane property tax system that was bankrupting home owners and businesses.
Democrat Jerry Brown had only been in office for three years. The political unrest of high taxes and spending was simmering during Reagan's big spending term as Governor.
Even as President Reagan was on a spending binge and doubled the national debt.
So why the Reagan worship in the GOP? I think it is the idea of Reagan. He was a professional actor and an outstanding speaker. Reagan could project a vision of an America that millions of people wanted to exist.
"He had a strong set of core values and operated off of those," said Stuart Spencer, a GOP strategist who stood by Reagan's side for virtually his entire political career, starting with his first run for governor. "But when push came to shove, he did various things he didn't like doing, because he knew it was in the best interests of the state or country at the time."
Spencer, with characteristic bluntness, dismissed the current vogue of Reagan revisionism: "A lot of those people running out there don't really understand what he did. It's just a matter of attaching themselves to a winner."
Print the legend.
|The legend is much better for worship.|