Somehow, I feel the need to mention it every time I link to Milbank, but when he is serious, he is still quite good. Here he as an excellent column about the many ways the revered Reagan himself would be a complete apostate to today’s Tea-party based Republican party. I’d love to see a questioner in a debate or something like that call one of these Reagan-loving Republicans on the fact that the Reagan of their hagiography bears little resemblance to the Reagan of historical reality.
Nobody knows what Reagan, who died in 2004, would make of the current fight over the debt limit. But 100 years after Reagan’s birth, it’s clear that the Tea Party Republicans have little regard for the policies of the president they claim to venerate.
Tea Party Republicans call a vote to raise the debt ceiling a threat to their very existence; Reagan presided over 18 increases in the debt ceiling during his presidency.
Tea Party Republicans say they would sooner default on the national debt than raise taxes; Reagan agreed to raise taxes 11 times.
Tea Party Republicans, in “cut, cap and balance” legislation on the House floor Tuesday, voted to cut government spending permanently to 18 percent of gross domestic product; under Reagan, spending was as high as 23.5 percent and never below 21.3 percent of GDP.
Now Reagan is certainly no political hero of mine, but it is amazing to see how far today’s right-wing empirical-reality-deniers have moved the discussion of economic reality such that Reagan, in many ways, fits more closely with Democrats. Reagan wanted to shrink government and cut a lot of tax rates, but on the tax issue, he’s nothing like today’s anti-tax jihadists.