The Reagan of Wingnut Fever Dreams.
Jeb Bush screws up and tells the truth, so get ready for the “gaffe” narrative, which should be launching any time now.
Last week… the former Florida governor praised President Obama on education policy, hot on the heels of Romney delivering a speech condemning Obama’s education policy. Bush also said his party is being “short-sighted” on tax and immigration policies, which is not what the GOP mainstream wants to hear.
This morning, Jeb Bush went further, endorsing Obama’s line about economic “headwinds” from Europe, and agreeing with Obama’s recent argument that both Ronald Reagan and his father George H. W. Bush would have a hard time getting nominated by today’s Republican Party.
“Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad — they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground,” Bush said, adding that he views the hyper-partisan moment as “temporary.”
“Back to my dad’s time and Ronald Reagan’s time — they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support,” he said. Reagan “would be criticized for doing the things that he did.”
“It’s a stretch to suggest that Jeb Bush is somehow becoming more moderate, or even sensible,” Benen writes. “This morning, he also praised Paul Ryan’s radical budget plan, for example, and blamed Obama for Washington dysfunction, condemning the president for pursuing ‘partisan’ policies in his first year, rather than ‘common ground.’ (In his first year, Obama pushed Mitt Romney’s health care plan, John McCain’s climate plan, and a stimulus with massive tax breaks. Partisan? Please.)”
He then goes on to recite the litany of sins against conservative doctrine that Reagan was guilty of, familiar to everyone except those who say they love him most, apparently:
Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times, and he supported the precursor to the Buffett Rule. In his first term, Reagan raised taxes when unemployment was nearing 11% — imagine trying this today — and proceeded to raise taxes seven out of the eight years he was in office. It’s a fact the right finds terribly inconvenient, but “no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people” as Reagan.
I’m no fan of Ronald Reagan and Benen manages to comment on all this without falling into the trap of Reagan praise so many lefty writers fall into when they compare the late president to today’s GOP. Ronald Reagan was not a wonderful president and his positions weren’t beautiful and perfect. He just sucked less than the Republicans of today. Likewise, Jeb Bush is not a great lefty now and no one should sing his praises either.
But it does demonstrate just how little use today’s right has for facts. They’ve taken Reagan and reduced him to Colonel Sanders — not a man, a logo. And, as such, Reagan becomes more symbolic than historic and can be made to stand for anything you want. He’s not a man anymore, he’s an advertising slogan — because the real man would’ve be kicked out of the GOP as a RINO had he held office today.
That’s how far the Republican Party has dragged the debate to the right. Seen as something of a Goldwater-type extremist in his own day, Reagan would count as a centrist today. And as a centrist, he would never be considered “pure” enough for the Republican Party.
(emphasis added) this is well put by wisco, and the article itself, a welcome insight that they’re not all completely insane.
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