Opinion: What Liberals Don't Get about Reagan (or Chris Christie)
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 01:18 PM
What's the deal with Ronald Reagan? If it's the election season, and there's a Republican running for an office, any office ranging from dog-catcher to U.S. president, you can be sure that Ronald Reagan will have a prominent role in their campaign. Though he's been dead for seven years now, Reagan looms large over the Right side of the political aisle.
I love it and hope conservative attempts to live up to Reagan's legacy don't ever end. I like having a political hero in Ronald Reagan., who wasn't perfect but he was close enough.
Like most conservatives, I have a permanent soft spot for Ronald Reagan. It's not just that the personal is political, although Reagan's harsh talk to the Soviet Union and his pivotal role in bringing down the evil empire does certainly tug at my heart-strings, it's that he lived up to so many principles that conservatives seem to only expect to hear "in theory" these days.
To liberals, a president like George W. Bush was a Rightwingy rightwinger. For conservatives W. was... a good man who was the best of the available choices and yet not quite one of us. His spending was sky-high, he introduced a huge entitlement program in the form of medicare prescription drugs and while he talked a big game, our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were fought with an eye on winning hearts and minds instead of just, well, winning.
Reagan, though, "sought - and won - more spending cuts than any other modern president", did whatever he had to do to stop the Soviet Union in its tracks and brought a hope to a broken America that current hope-change proclaimers could only imagine.
Democrats don't get it, this Reagan love, and I don't blame them.
Clinton was a political genius but was free of weighty principles, Carter was an all-around disaster and Kennedy/Johnson were so long ago that Kennedy is all mystique and Johnson is all Vietnam war. And then there's Obama. He had the potential to be the Left's Reagan but he is a man who doesn't know who he is, who sought an office for which he was not ready, won it but now flounders and is lost.
He'll be anyone we want him to be but that just means he's no one at all. He ran on ending the Iraq war on the day he took office (seeming to really believe that was possible), closing Guantanamo, ending the Bush tax cuts, and elevating America's standing in the world. He's done none of these things all the while growing the deficit and watching from the golf course as our unemployment numbers grow. The Liberal Reagan he is not.
Unfortunately for conservatives, there's not a Reagan in our current presidential field either. Don't get me wrong, they're all better than president Obama, but none of them live up to the man that was Reagan and certainly not to the legend of his presidency.
That's why it seems conservatives won't cease their search and why the Chris Christie rumors persist despite his seemingly heartfelt attempts to shut them down. The fact that Christie is giving a speech at the Ronald Reagan library today, and that Nancy Reagan is his fan, only perpetuate the rumors that maybe we might have someone Reagan-esque this time around. I wouldn't count on it - though crazier things have happened. Because if there's one thing Chris Christie seems to have in common with Ronald Reagan is that they are men who say what they mean and mean what they say.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.