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I knew Ronald Reagan, I voted enthusiastically for him twice. That's probably not the best opening for a diary on the Dkos to get tipped & rec'd, but bear with me. In 1980 I felt the country was going horribly in the wrong direction and I joined the opposition to fight back. I voted a straight Democratic ticket for the first time in my life in 2004 and registered as a Democrat when I moved to Arizona in 2005 for exactly the same reason. I'm fighting harder than ever today to make sure we don't head back in the wrong direction, that we continue full speed ahead in the right direction by reelecting President Obama, kicking John Boehner out of the Speaker's chair, and increasing our majority in the Senate.

As a former Republican it particularly pains me to see how low former "Grand Old Party" has sunk. There has never in the history of our great country been such a group of pompous, lying, self serving bastards as there is now in the Republican Party. I highly recommend the April 27 article in the Washington Post by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Let's Just say it: The Republicans ARE the problem.

Mann and Ornstein write:

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

Emphasis is mine. And brother, did they get it right. Back when The Gipper was President and the Democrats held large majorities in Congress, they played the political game and called each other liars & thieves by day. But in the evening Reagan and Speaker Tip O'Neil would share a glass of whiskey and plot how to get things done for the good of the country. Today, Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader O'Connell don't give a rat's ass about the good of the country, they care only about power, their political power. But at the heart of the problem is a dweeb named Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform. As Mann and Ornstein note, 238 of the 242 House Republicans and 41 of the 47 GOP senators have signed Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge", which binds its signers to never support a tax increase. But the "pledge" goes far beyond what rational people would consider a tax increase, it even considers closing tax loopholes as "tax increases". Anything that increases a single dollar of income to the federal government is a "tax increase".  With such vast majorities of Republicans in Congress bound lockstep into this lunacy it's no wonder compromise is impossible and nothing gets done.

Let's revisit what actually happened during the Presidency of the great Republican hero, Ronald Reagan. While fondly remembered as an "anti-tax hero", Reagan actually raised taxes eleven times over the course of his presidency. That would include the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, which was the largest peacetime tax increase in American history. And the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984. In fact, from 1981 to 1987 Congress passed and Reagan signed into law tax increases of some nature in every single year. Why would Reagan do such a thing? He explained it in two simple words: Fiscal Responsibility. Choke on that Mr. Norquist.

While he was no champion of gay rights, it was actually Ronald Reagan who helped defeat the hideous Briggs Initiative in California that would have banned gays, lesbians, and even straight supporters of LGBT rights from working in public schools in California. Reagan's opposition to the initiative was instrumental in its landslide defeat by Californian voters. And of course it was President Reagan who signed the law requiring every hospital, including privately owned for profit hospitals, to treat every patient regardless of their ability to pay. And he signed the law granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. In short, any candidate promoting Reagan's policies would be labeled by today's Republican Party as a "tax & spend librul", a "socialist" who want's to take over free enterprise and healthcare, someone who doesn't share the values of "American families", and is an "open borders" advocate. The conservative icon would be too liberal by today's standards of the GOP. To be blunt, today's Republican Party has lost their fucking marbles.

Want to help the Republican Party? Vote the bastards out of office, maybe they'll finally get some sense into their thick heads. Want to help the American people? Get off your ass and get out there and work to reelect President Obama, elect a Democratic majority back in the House, keep our Senate seats in ND, OH, MT, etc., and take back GOP seats in MA, NV, IN, and even one right here in bat shit crazy Arizona!

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Originally posted to Baja Arizona Kossacks on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 09:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ornstein and Mann (6+ / 0-)

         were on NPR this morning talking about their new book.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:41:45 AM PDT

  •  Dave, I always considered Reagan an actor who (2+ / 0-)

    played the role.  I once supported John McCain, before he took a right off the cliff.  I've been voting straight (no pun intended) Democratic ticket since 2000.  

    It's a short history, filled with irony, disappointment, and satisfaction.  I live with the hope that AZ will not let these, libertarian, tea-publicans take over governing our state.  They are crazy as only a song by Patsy Kline could illustrate.

  •  I guess I would re-post a comment I once made (4+ / 0-)

    about how I felt when Reagan came to town:

    As someone who actively applauded the coming of this revolution, for what I thought were good reasons at the time, I eventually came to the realization that the end result of this 'revolution' was exactly this: The creation of a violent, hateful bunch of bigots who can never never never accept the facts that America belongs to all of us, not just them.  That the current generation is deaf to their million worded lies is heartening.That mine was not is dispiriting. And that so many still cling to them - in all their exploited bitterness is unbelievable.

    It is a hard thing to admit this, but I have to: I was wrong.

    I'm sorry.

    And further, when someone commented on how hard it can be to change ones values, I replied that, no, sometimes the change is the easy part:

               I mean, there are various rationalizations one can always invoke. One could say that it wasn't me, it was the Republican party, starting with 'Saint Ronnie' that started moving in the wrong direction, and now it, not me has left the stage of rationality. Or one can say how enlightened I have become over the years; that I have 'broadened' or use the excuse of youthful callowness. And of course the times were different; one can also use the 'it was the cold war' excuse that Robert McNamara used (See "The Fog of War". Everyone should).  I actually sort of pride myself in being comfortable with change; in part because change is as much a part of life as birth, death and sex.
               The hard part is admitting that I had to change because I was wrong. That a lot of stuff I believed was in point of fact, fallacious. That unlimited tax cuts don't in fact grow the economy. [true, Reagan did raise taxes when he had to, but who does Grover Norquist venerate and quote? Who came up with that 'government is the problem bullshit?] That weakening EPA regulations actually does crap up the environment . That adding 10,000 nuclear warheads to the arsenal didn't really make us any safer, and just got dismantled 20 years later. And maybe all AFDC recipients don't deserve the label 'welfare queens'.
                Which gets us to the real hard part, which I was thinking about when not only reading the diary [on Reagan], but listening to the Trayvon Martin case playing in the background, including the comments from his grieving parents: admitting that in some small way, from lack of knowledge or empathy or whatever, I supported something that I truly believe has hurt many. And led us to this fearful, neurotic, uptight society we now live in. Particularly hurt were the poor, the undereducated, and the under or uninsured. Kids like Trayvon Martin.

            It is, in a small way, a feeling of guilt. And another emotion which can be hard to live with.

            It is shame.

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 03:09:16 PM PDT

  •  in 1980, the GOP was, I'm afraid to say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LostBuckeye, Spoc42

    pretty much a party of pompous, lying,  self serving bastards.

    Reagan's "Shining City on a Hill" never included all of us.  People were just pissed off at OPEC, gas lines, a worldwide inflationary spiral, and Watergate.  The Church Committee's findings on what our CIA had been doing for years wasn't exactly greeted with open arms.  There was, and still is, a strain of Americans who just didn't want to know these things, and felt it was counterproductive and somewhat unpatriotic to even mention them.

    Reagan Democrats weren't really Democrats.  They were something else.  

    Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 04:39:53 PM PDT

  •  Dave, I love your frank embrace of the old (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in AZ, LostBuckeye

    Dave who loved Ronald Reagan's policies and direction.  Though the old me cried bitter tears over Reagan's policies--  I remember vividly holding our kitten in my lap at some point in 1982 and rocking in fear and anger over the nuclear arms build-up of Reagan's cold war-- the current me thinks Reagan would be a welcome alternative to the petty tyrants and willful idiots, the callous rat bastards who control GOP deliberations and policy nowadays.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 04:41:43 PM PDT

    •  I think you're missing the point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I wasn't so much remembering my fond memories of the Reagan Administration as pointing out that today's Republican Party is so out of step with America that they would now brand Reagan's policies as "liberal".

      I think Reagan did good & bad. I'm fine with letting history be the judge.

      I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one!

      by Dave in AZ on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 07:35:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  lot's of Gen-X'ers got caught up in Reagan (0+ / 0-)

    For whatever reason.  I think it's the same reason kids where the jeans down around their mid thighs....because they know it makes somebody older than they are shake their head in disgust.

    HoooYah!  Or whatever.....

    Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 04:53:33 PM PDT

  •  Reagan: biggest political joke of the 20th century (0+ / 0-)

    Reagan was the biggest political joke of the 20th century
    Now he’s a mensch to be emulated…  

    Nudniks need not apply.

    by killermiller on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 05:34:11 PM PDT

  •  It became perfectly clear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in AZ, history first, lissablack

    in late 2009, when the GOP considered adopting a 10-point Reagan purity test and requiring candidates to agree with at least 8 of those points to get support from the RNC.

    St. Ronald himself would only have scored 4/10. IIRC, one blog pointed out that no Republican president in history would have scored above 5/10, and only Reagan and George W. Bush would have even scored above 2/10.

    The GOP's gone off the cliff. That's why, even though I originally registered to vote as a Republican in 2002 and only switched my registration to Democratic in 2008, I've voted straight Democratic tickets in every election since I've been eligible to vote.

    •  Rewriting Reagan (3+ / 0-)

      Reagan looked like a raging leftist compared to the Republicans today. So the GOP simply rewrites Reagan to suit their current political agenda.

      They have put in a great deal of money, energy and time to create the myth of Reagan's popularity. He was never as popular as the GOP wants people to think.

      The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

      by A Citizen on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 06:11:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As for the "center-right country" meme, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Citizen

        we may well be a center-right country, but our two parties are now a center-right party (the Democratic Party) and an extreme-right party (the Republican Part).

        Looking back, there were other signs of the Republicans going off the cliff. In the mid-1990s, Barry Goldwater lamented that he was considered one of the "liberals" in the GOP, even though his views were largely unchanged.

      •  Reagan's history isn't the only one they edit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Citizen

        to make them feel better, so it's not surprising that they do that. Modern Republicans and reality aren't even on a last-name basis.

        The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

        by jayjaybear on Tue May 01, 2012 at 03:06:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A fun party game to play with conservatives... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    history first, lissablack to quote Pres. Reagan without attribution, and ask them who they think said it.  "That socialist Obama" is a common answer I get.  "Karl Marx" is another.  

    Reagan said a lot of stuff these people think is "liberal."  Of course the "Bus driver" quote is now well known, but there are others in that same vein. Some of his quotes about nuclear weapons (specifically his hope that they be banished from the earth) are also ripe for this picking with this game. Immigration is another one.    

  •  We need to produce a documentary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Great Lakes Liberal

    of who Reagan really was.  We should show him raising taxes, screwing up the savings & loan, dealing arms to terrorists, etc.  That would be dismissed by those on the far right, but moderates may wake up a little.

  •  In that case, you must be a big Obama fan too (0+ / 0-)

    not that there's anything wrong with that!

  •  I reject any assertation (0+ / 0-)

    that puts Reagan in our camp. Screw him and the stupid horse that he rode in on. It sickens me that we have to point to the man whose policies are the cause of most of our current economic woes as a model to follow.

    That said, I totally get what you're saying. I just think that for long-term political benefit, we need to be out there telling the truth about Reagan instead of painting the guy as a moderate.

    Unless the Democrats develop the spine to get out there and say "These crazy bastards make a dangerous reactionary like Ronald Reagan look like a liberal", it's all for naught. We're feeding the personality cult.

    Because this community is worth staying and fighting for.

    by Great Lakes Liberal on Tue May 01, 2012 at 07:57:17 AM PDT

  •  And a proponent of a Weak Dollar (0+ / 0-)

    Something that escapes so many GOPers, even some who worked in his administration.

    The Plaza Accord or Plaza Agreement was an agreement between the governments of France, West Germany, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom, to depreciate the U.S. dollar in relation to the Japanese yen and German Deutsche Mark by intervening in currency markets. The five governments signed the accord on September 22, 1985 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

    Why did Reagan want a weak dollar?  To help US exporters.
    The justification for the dollar's devaluation was twofold: to reduce the U.S. current account deficit, which had reached 3.5% of the GDP, and to help the U.S. economy to emerge from a serious recession that began in the early 1980s. The U.S. Federal Reserve System under Paul Volcker had halted the stagflation crisis of the 1970s by raising interest rates, but this resulted in the dollar becoming overvalued to the extent that it made industry in the U.S. (particularly the automobile industry) less competitive in the global market.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Tue May 01, 2012 at 08:18:23 AM PDT

  •  MSM never challenged scripted Reagan rhetoric. (0+ / 0-)

    If Ronald Reagan said at a press conference that he could walk on water, no boot licker like NBC's Tom Brokaw or others would dare break a plastic TV face to comment common sense in reply.  The MSM went totally south under Reagan.  Carter was the last human being questioned by the MSM on any kind of accountability scale.

    just because man invented God, does not mean that God does not exist

    by MikeMcShea on Tue May 01, 2012 at 09:03:27 AM PDT

  •  The So-Called Leaders Of Today's Republican (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    party are a collection of mentally ill sociopaths. Which is why Democrats and Progressives must do all they can to prevent them from taking the reins of government power - the inmates will be running the asylum, and the country will suffer greatly for it. Unfortunately, the Rethugs succeed at winning elections because of their sociopathic nature - they are able to convincingly lie to a lot of Americans, and cheat whenever necessary. And some Democrats have problems of their own - like needing to grow a spine, being afraid to stand up for traditional Democratic values (like protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid), offering an alternative message/vision to the Republicans "me first" greediness, and cutting ties with corporate lobbyists.  The diarist is correct though - the only way to make the Rethugs understand how ridiculous they have become, is to hand them their asses in election after election over the next 20 years or so.

  •  In comparison to both parties today? (0+ / 0-)

    Absolutely.  But both increasingly narrowly and stridently refine his doctrines, to which both subscribe, into their sharpest, most uncompromising and unmixed essence.  Combine them with the "pragmatism" of Thatcherism:  "There Is No Alternative" to ideological Reaganism, and you have what passes for "centrism" in today's Washington discourse.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Tue May 01, 2012 at 03:48:08 PM PDT

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