June 17, 2014 6:18 pm -

Ronald Reagan is by no means my hero. His presidency marked the beginning of the era when republicans began thinking of government not as a solution to anything but the problem with everything. Reagan spawned Grover Norquist, who wanted to shrink government down to a size where he could drown in the bathtub. Norquist the Nihilist begat Ted Cruz the Obstructionist, who would rather have recited “Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor than cast a vote to keep the country solvent. And now we have David Brat – the Tea Party’s David who slew the mighty majority leader and will surely be welcomed into the GOP caucus as a conquering hero.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he brought you the government you deserve. Unfortunately it is not one the rest of the country deserves.

And Ronald Reagan weeps.

Reagan was not only the Great Communicator, but the Great Compromiser, as well. Revered as the Patron Saint of the Republican Party – and the man whose 11th Commandment was “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican” – Reagan would not only speak ill of today’s Republicans, he would fall ill because of them. Reagan was famous for reaching across the aisle (and into the liquor cabinet) to craft legislation (and down a few late night Scotch’s) with Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill. Reagan also raised taxes, supported reasonable gun safety legislation and even signed the 1986 Immigration Reform Act which, among other things, legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before 1982 – decriminalizing the status of three million illegal immigrants who were granted legal status through the Act.

How ironic that Eric Cantor’s downfall may have been caused, in part, due to his support of sensible immigration reform. Fearing a primary challenge if they so much as have their picture taken with a Democrat (especially the Communist-in-Chief), Republicans today not only won’t compromise, they can’t even speak the word. All the while insisting that the other side must.

Reagan would be aghast at Washington were he alive today. And he would be as welcome in today’s Republican Party as ants at a picnic. The Shining City on a Hill he envisioned is about a lustrous as a rusty nail, and just as toxic to all that come in contact with it. His Big Tent has become a Pup Tent where all but the most strident ideologues are no longer welcome.

What would St. Ronald of Simi say about today’s GOP? In 1967, long before he became a Saint, Governor Ronald Reagan addressed the California Republican Assembly and had these words to say about the kind of Republican Party he sought to build for all Americans:

“We cannot offer them a narrow sectarian party in which all must swear allegiance to prescribed commandments. Such a party can be highly disciplined, but it does not win elections. This kind of party soon disappears in a blaze of glorious defeat, and it never puts into practice its basic tenets, no matter how noble they may be.”

Perhaps today’s Republicans should heed the Great Communicator as he speaks to them from the grave. If they don’t, they may very well take the entire party there to join him.

Mark Hersch

No responses to Ronald Reagan Weeps

  1. burqa June 17th, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Well, put yourselves in the shoes of Reagan and others of his age and beliefs. They saw the Left get incredible things done for Americans, from rural electrification to Social Security to Medicare to Medicaid to Fannie Mae to Freddie Mac to stocking streams with trout for “Whatta” Dick B. Cheney to catch.
    Conservatives don’t have a comparable resume of achievements. They’ve always been on the wrong side, opposing the American Revolution, opposing abolition of slavery, opposing civil rights. Years later they see they were wrong and when they think of it, they see they have a long history of being wrong.

    So, since they can’t do as much for the American people as the political Left has, the Right has opted against trying to narrow the gap by actually helping those who need help the most. Instead, they figure the only way to stop the Left from delivering to the American people is to reduce the size of the government and to take a strict constructionist view of the Constitution.

    The lot of the conservative is a steady stream of defeats and reversals of their victories. All they can do is grumble, be constipated and snap pencils in two as the Left makes life better for Americans, bit by bit, step by step.

  2. Michael McKinney June 18th, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Brilliant piece, I thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn’t agree more. It’s ironic to me that the man hailed as the second coming by many in his Party could never actually get elected in it today!

  3. SarahD June 18th, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Great piece, Mark! I’m proud to call you a friend.

  4. SarahD June 18th, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Very well-said and right on the money!