Feature

Reagan was no genial moderate

This revisionist view of Reagan “is entirely false,” said Steven F. Hayward at Commentary.

Steven F. Hayward
Commentary

It’s pretty hard to believe, but “liberals suddenly love Ronald Reagan,” said Steven F. Hayward. It’s now common to hear liberal pundits—and President Barack Obama—express wistful fondness for Reagan as a congenial, pragmatic “compromiser,” who didn’t let ideology get in the way of governing. This revisionist view of Reagan “is entirely false.”

Reagan was a true, small-government conservative who heavily cut income taxes—by 23 percent across the board. When he did agree to raise taxes two years later, he stood his ground on his new tax rates, agreeing only to new excise hikes on cigarettes and phone calls and the reduction of tax credits and deductions. As for his supposedly pleasant, nonideological nature, Reagan was not merely disliked by the Left during his presidency, but loathed. One Democratic congressman accused Reagan of promoting “fascist precepts lifted verbatim from Mein Kampf.” House Speaker Tip O’Neill called Reagan “evil” and “mean,” with “ice water for blood.” Political cartoonists and pundits portrayed Reagan as a reactionary, witless doofus.

So please, no more liberal revisionism: Reagan was a conservative warrior, not a malleable moderate.

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