Was Reagan Conservative?

by Mark T. Mitchell on August 17, 2009 · 7 comments <span>Print this article</span> Print this article

in Short

If you listen to mainstream “conservatives” in America today, the poster-boy for the movement is, of course, Ronald Reagan. “We need a new Reagan revolution” they spout. “We need to recover the values of Reagan.” But was Reagan truly a conservative? In this piece, Richard Gamble argues that Reagan’s legacy is, well, at least problematic for conservatives.  He’s right, of course.  And this helps us to get at some of the serious problems vexing the right.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Bob Cheeks August 19, 2009 at 4:47 am

Mark,
Thanks for posting this. Dr. Gamble is a favorite and his essay was well rendered. One quibble re: his critique of RR’s ‘conservatism.’ On the economic question related to RR’s tax ‘cuts’ and gummint spending. The truth is RR’s cuts resulted in a doubling of gummint’s annual income. The problem is spending increased. The GOP always blamed the Dems but here, if Ron really had been a conservative, he’d have blocked their spending legislation and made a war. After all he had public opinion on his side and he was the Great Communicator.
I liked Ron, he showed us we don’t need no stinkin’ Commie-Dems and that they were vulnerable but man, did we miss an opportunity to return to the principles of the old republic.

avatar D.W. Sabin August 19, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Those espousing a kind of New Reagan Revolution are doomed to continuing the ongoing farrago because they still….despite mountains of evidence…have not quite recognized the cult of personality locking the American Political System into a Stockholm Syndrome Seminar during a Weekend at Bernies.

Much is said and everyone has a swell time but the Host is Dead.

avatar John Médaille August 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm

It is just one of the many myths of the Reagan years that the tax cuts actually increased revenues. No, they decreased revenues, or at least that is the conclusion of the Bush Treasury dept. (see http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a67eed12-88ea-11de-b50f-00144feabdc0.html) Reagan increased revenues the old fashioned way: by raising taxes. Or rather, by shifting them, from the upper to the middle and lower classes, and forward to the next generation. So much for “family values.” He changed the tax laws practically every year in office (none major bills in all) yet still managed to triple the federal deficit, no mean feat.

It is a great irony that there was more genuine conservatism in Carter’s so-called “malaise speech” with its denunciation of a culture of consumerism.

Many of the current ills of the economy trace themselves to the Reagan era, ills such as the finacialization of the economy, mindless “free trade”, and the “deficits don’t matter” mentality.

Conservative? I don’t think so.

avatar Dan August 21, 2009 at 10:46 am

The question is similar to the question of whether Nestorius was a Nestorian. The answer is pretty clearly no but if you say so no one will believe you.

avatar Kent J August 21, 2009 at 11:41 am

So.. the problem with the republican part in general is this.

They say some nice things.. but don’t live them out.

I didnt read the article.. don’t intend to. I liked what Reagan said. So i voted for him. I would any day.

Do i want better politicians, more conservative who actually DO what they say? Yes.

Please.. write an article about how to fix the problem.

I will take Reagan over Obama any day. Period.

I do not find any of you bloggers or so called conservative writers actually solving any of the problems we have… and here is what we nedd to figure out.

its simple.

are you holding your breath?

We need to find out how to convince 10% of the moderates that we really DO need to cut the federal government by huge LOPS. By 10 percent a year for 10 years.

We need to find a hot button of the middle of the road people , the swing vote,

Stop preaching to the choir.
Stop wasting your time in conservative blogs…. start trying new thigns to convince these IDIOTS that we are walking on the road to socialism.

have a nice day

avatar B.E. Franks August 21, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Kent,

If you look around a bit more you’ll see pretty quickly that this is not a “conservative” blog (at least not in a political sense.) I’ll leave your other comments to more capable minds.

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