Ronald Reagan, Heretic

By Timothy Egan, New York Times - September 7, 2015

In just under two weeks, the Republicans who want to be president will gather in Simi Valley, Calif., at the presidential library of Ronald Reagan for their second debate. You can expect much brown-nosing, bloviating and outright fabricating in homage to the patron saint of all true conservatives, the charming 40th president.

If only the candidates were truthful to the man and his record. For the real Ronald Reagan — serial tax-raiser, illegal immigrant amnesty granter, deficit creator, abortion enabler, gun control supporter and peacenik — would never be allowed on the stage. The party has moved so far to the right from Reagan’s many centrist positions that the guy would be told to go find a home among the Democrats.

More than three decades after Reagan was first elected, his name is invoked, like political Tourette’s syndrome, by everyone from Scott Walker to Donald Trump. But there’s a gaping disconnect among Republicans between the Reagan worship of 2015 and the reality of his long, public career.

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