Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why Would the GOP Ever Abandon Reagan?

I always have to chuckle when my liberal friends tell me that Republicans generally (and conservatives specifically) need to "get over" Ronald Reagan.
Think about how preposterous this notion is.
To begin with, what right do liberals have meddling in the affairs of the opposite party and poking their noses into a movement that is pretty much at odds with everything they embrace? Doesn't make any sense, does it?
But beyond that, we must respond by asking liberals: "Are you prepared to abandon Jackson or FDR or JFK?"
Of course, the answer is a resounding "No!" as each of these men are true icons.
They are touchstones not only for the Democrat Party but for liberals (aka "progressives") as well.
And every movement needs its icons, its heroes -- the people who call members of the tribe to their most ambitious goals and their highest ideals; the ones who remind them what they're all about.
Okay, so the Republican Party obviously has its founder, Abraham Lincoln. He's not only a GOP hero but a full-fledged American icon and a towering historical figure as well. In fact, he's probably the single most compelling figure in all of American history.
But after that it can get a bit iffy for the GOP.
Teddy Roosevelt was a great leader but he turned out to be basically a progressive. Still, we embrace him as an extraordinary vigorous, accomplished and inspiring figure. Coolidge was a great president (hugely admired by Reagan) but he was not compelling, not charismatic. Eisenhower was a full-fledged military hero without whom we would not have won World War II and, as president his legacy has gained so much luster that historians continue to rank him in the top tier of presidents. So, Ike is undeniably Very Significant.
But Reagan was actually transformational - and in the best way possible.
He reawakened and redefined the Republican Party, charting a whole new path not just for the party but for  the nation as well.
He gave us hope and pride and an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity.
He delivered on his promises - unleashing free enterprise, dismantling burdensome government regulations, reducing the size and scope of government, cutting taxes, putting Americans back to work, energizing our economy, restoring our military strength, reminding us of our deepest, most enduring values and ultimately ushering in the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war.
Under Reagan, after years of humiliation we won the war against communism, we won the war against despair, we won the war against inflation and we won the war against economic hard times. And Reagan did this as all great leaders do by calling upon what Lincoln termed "the better angels of our nature."
Reagan unleashed our power to bring our nation to the best days that we always knew were just ahead of us.
It actually happened.
Under Reagan, we really did stand tall again.
And the Reagan era was so enduring that it continues to inspire us.
Hmmm . . . maybe that's why liberals want us to forget about him.

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