Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Would Reagan Do?

The cult of Saint Reagan: what would Ronald Reagan do if he were alive today? It really depends who you ask. If you ask Mitt Romney, for instance, you'll find that Reagan would espouse exactly the same policy positions that Romney (now) espouses... even those positions that run counter to the policy prescriptions that Reagan actually implemented when he was in the Whitehouse.

Remember Reagan's amnesty program for undocumented aliens? Remember how Reagan decided that stationing troops in war torn Beirut was not worth the expenditure of American lives, and pulled them out after the Hezbollah barracks attack? Remember how the national debt exploded under his presidency? Well, he wouldn't have done any of those things if he were president today.

It's amusing to watch, really. As Reagan becomes more and more of a mythological figure to the Republican party faithful, the historical Reagan fades from view, and a purely ideological construct takes his place. Reagan isn't a person any more. Rather, he is the incarnation of the GOP party platform, whatever that platform happens to be at any given moment. When the GOP agitates to shut down the Hollywood motion picture industry you can bet Reagan would have supported that, too.

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