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February 18, 2008

Let Me Explain, My Liberal Friends: Here’s Why We Seek a Reaganite


One thing that liberals absolutely cannot understand is conservatives’ seemingly inexplicable obsession with Ronald Reagan. “Why the fixation with this Reagan guy?” wonder the same people who bawl and faint in droves when Barack Obama sneezes. “Why can’t they just get over him?”


Having written repeatedly during the primary season about the necessity for Republicans to nominate a Reagan conservative, I have received many questions from liberals wondering why, just why, it is so important that the Republican candidate be another Reagan. So I decided to dedicate a column to my liberal friends, once and for all explaining this obscure Reagan mystery to them.


First, it is important to note that an ideal Reagan conservative would not be a conservative like Reagan. Reagan agreed to raising taxes and expanding entitlements. He provided amnesty to countless illegal immigrants, providing a great talking point to those promoting that course of action today. He withdrew American forces from Lebanon soon after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. And in what would prove to be perhaps his worst sin of all, Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Yet somehow, some way, Reagan has emerged from history as the perfect conservative, and has passed on this model of perfection to the term “Reagan conservative.” Now there is absolutely no doubt that Reagan was a good conservative. But he was no Reagan conservative.


Reagan conservatism is the perception of what Reagan was – or more appropriately, what he should have been. A Reagan conservative is a social conservative, an economic conservative and strong on national defense. He is one who believes that the government is the problem, not the solution. And he is one who believes that America is a beacon of light in a dark world.


These beliefs don’t change – they hold steady in good times and bad. Under a Republican president and under a Democratic president. In war and in peace.


What mostly bewilders liberals is conservatives’ stubborn commitment to the very same conceptual Reaganite views of government and economic principles. According to liberal ideology, different times require different solutions. To them, there is no one formula that works all the time, and government should actively experiment with the American people until it creates the perfect economy.


But this is exactly where conservatives and liberals fall worlds apart. Aside from basic necessities such as the military, infrastructure, the courts and law enforcement, conservatives believe government has only the ability to harm the country and its economy.


At the Republican presidential debate in California a few weeks ago, Ron Paul said it best when asked how good he would be at managing the economy: “The Constitution is very clear that the president is commander in chief of the military, but the president is not the commander in chief of the economy or of the people . . . the president is not supposed to manage and run the economy. The people are supposed to do this.”


The free market is what makes an economy prosperous. Government can only obstruct it with taxes, regulations and government monopolies. Government has the ability to create a lower class like no other, by establishing dependent masses. Again, government is the problem and not the solution. A quick look at the correlation between economic freedom and economic prosperity across the globe can only lead to the same conclusion.


So here is the answer to your question, my liberal friends. Now that we are mired in an America of big government, high taxes and excessive regulations, there is only one logical course any Republican can take. That course is cutting taxes, eliminating regulations, reducing government and expanding free trade. They’re the only policies that work, the only policies that are sustainable and the only way to go.


Liberals believe in new ideas, original policies and ambitious promises. “Democrat A’s idea of stimulating the economy is better,” a liberal might think, or “Democrat B’s universal health care plan is superior.” To a Reagan conservative, these concepts simply do not exist. Government can only stimulate the economy by undoing what it has already done, not with a new idea or design. And, of course, to a Reagan conservative, government does not have plans for health care – the invisible hand of the free market has proven to work far better than any government plan ever will.


Reagan conservatives’ only idea is to deconstruct all the left-wing ideas that have allowed government invasion of our lives, pocketbooks and economy, and to replace them with . . . nothing. Unlike liberals, who have unsuccessfully tried out government engineering for many decades and are still seeking the right formula, Reagan conservatives know exactly what they want.


As you see, there isn’t a wide range of candidates to whom Reagan conservatives can flock. We’re not looking for someone with ideas – we already know what the idea is, and we are looking for someone we can trust to uphold it in the White House, just like we pretend Reagan did. Now, granted, Reagan was not the perfect conservative. But we are happy with the Reagan myth that has developed, for it sets a high standard for the Republican candidates of the future.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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