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5 Reasons Ronald Reagan Couldn’t Make It In Today’s GOP

Memo Pad Politics

5 Reasons Ronald Reagan Couldn’t Make It In Today’s GOP

Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, GOP, Tea Party, Divide, Party Lines, Gun Reform, Israel, Immigration, Deficit, Taxes

Former Senate Majority Leader and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole slammed the state of the Republican Party over the weekend, telling Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that the GOP should be “closed for repairs” and lamenting that some of the most famous Republicans would have no chance at becoming party leaders in the Tea Party era.

“I doubt [I could fit in with the modern party],” Dole said. “Reagan wouldn’t have made it, certainly Nixon wouldn’t have made it, because he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.”

While Dole’s criticism of his party’s current platform could be debated, his assertion that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t have prospered in the current political climate is pretty much unassailable. Here are five reasons that Republicans’ favorite Republican could never fit in with today’s party:

Henry Decker

Henry Decker was formerly the Managing Editor of The National Memo. He is currently an Online Associate at MRCampaigns.

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  1. Lynda Groom May 28, 2013

    All of this is old news, but now and again it has to be repeated for today’s audience. Reagan indeed would be hounded out of the party today by the very folks who’ve granted him sainthood. Very strange times we find ourselves witnessing.

    1. wjca May 28, 2013

      Well, it’s hardly the only case of the Republican base embracing their delusions about the world in preference to the reality.

  2. John Pigg May 28, 2013

    I don’t think the individual points were all that well made. Bush also meets most of the criteria above. But the general theme holds true. Further evidence for this trend of a smaller tent GOP is the adamant disgust that Barry Goldwater felt for the modern Republican Party.

    But lets be honest the GOP is only concerned about the budget and deficit when it does not hold the executive.

    1. Fern Woodfork May 28, 2013

      The GOP Has Been Highjacked By The Tea Party, They Would Run Reagan Out Of Town For Not Being Crazy Enough To Suit Them!!! LOL

      1. RobertCHastings May 28, 2013

        Fern, both you and John Pigg are exactly right, on both points. When Barry Goldwater doesn’t agree with today’s Republicans, something is seriously wrong with the GOP. Reagan had his own craziness, such as getting advice from a psychic (something some 19th century people may have done, but not 20th century). But he was definitely not in the same league with Michelle Bachman and Glen Beck.

  3. Dominick Vila May 28, 2013

    I agree with all the points made in this article, but I am surprised they left out one of the most important reasons why former President Reagan would be unacceptable in today’s Tea Party-GOP: he supported and was determined to preserve call he called the safety net (social programs such as Social Security and MEDICARE). For the TP that is tantamount to being a socialist, a communist, or a two-headed monster.

    1. ralphkr May 28, 2013

      An yet, Dominick, in an interview after he was out of office he was asked if he had any regrets and he answered his major regret was that he had been unable to dismantle Social Security.

  4. johninPCFL May 28, 2013

    Reagan’s term started under a recession that carried through Ford and Carter, his “stimulus” spending was hundreds of $billions per year, and the only reason his “budgets” only showed a hundred $billion of red ink per year was the creative accounting started during his tenure. Military expenditures were pulled from the budget process and as a result (according to “debt to the penny”) about $4T in debt was added during his 8 years. “Borrow and Spend” was the new norm.
    But, on the good side, it adds up quickly when hammers are $800 and toilet seats are $1200, and you’re buying aircraft that the air force doesn’t want at over a $billion apiece. Oh, yeah, and the $100B+ spent on “star wars”…

    1. JDavidS May 28, 2013

      And don’t forget that Saint Ronnie raised the debt ceiling 17 times….

      1. idamag May 28, 2013

        And he raised taxes.

  5. David May 28, 2013

    I remember a certain Reagan “tax cut” That increased my income tax by 10%

  6. David May 28, 2013

    And Reagan notoriously swore in Cuban refugees as American citizens as well

  7. David May 28, 2013

    selective memory is an unfortunate companion of politics. But the Republicans make it an art.

  8. JDavidS May 28, 2013

    Sadly, even with his dementia, Reagan wouldn’t be crazy enough for the Tea Clowns. I honestly think, no matter how wrong-headed his policies were, that Raygun wanted what was best for the U.S. The Tea Clowns and the current GOP (Goofy Odious People) only want what’s good for them and screw everyone else…

    1. idamag May 28, 2013

      I never doubted that Reagan wanted what was best for the United States.

  9. latebloomingrandma May 28, 2013

    Reagan was the great Teflon president. He has entered mythical status and sainthood. Articles such as this one causes me to have a big head scratching moment. It’s true he would not fit into today’s conservative politics, yet that doesn’t keep them from quoting him and eulogizing him continuously and awaiting the next great Reagan. It’s laughable as they accuse us Obama supporters of over dosing on Kool-Aid.

    1. FredAppell May 28, 2013

      We should be so lucky as to end up with a Reagan style president over whatever the Tea Party would find presentable. I’m not advocating the second coming of Reagan by any means but it’s worth making the analogy.

  10. charleo1 May 28, 2013

    There’s no doubt the T-Party would hound Reagan out of the Party.
    Too Liberal. But, the question that keeps me up, is who isn’t too Liberal
    for the T-Party? And, what would a T-Party that controlled Congress,
    and the White House, look like? Because, as of now, they mainly oppose.
    We know from the debt ceiling debacle, that cost the Country 18.5 billion
    dollars, and a bond rating downgrade. They are willing to be incredibly,
    ideological. And when they oppose, or do not believe in a thing, like a
    strong Federal Government. If given the chance, they will create
    a crisis, and pursue their aims with reckless, irresponsible, abandon.
    Apparently convinced, their cause, and their vision for the Country, is
    so infallible, and of such importance. That to compromise, would be an
    unforgivable betrayal of principal. Better that the Country fall into chaos,
    and ruin. Because they continually, warn, if the Country doesn’t adopt,
    and carry out their agenda to the letter. The Country is doomed anyway.
    So, to the Conservatives out there, that voted for Reagan, and both
    Bushes, and a straight Republican ticket. This is not Conservatism my
    friends. What Congress has always looked at, as a matter of formality,
    What Congress did 18 times for Reagan, 7/8 times, for Bush. The T-Party,
    was willing to send the entire world economy into tail spin, because they
    believed their ideology, and their principals, were far more important, than
    any economic, devastation, that would have surely been the result of what
    they were threatening. The freshman T-Party Senator Ted Cruz, said last
    week, in his remarks to the Senate. Said, he doesn’t trust the Republican
    Party. I’m curious, when was the last time the Conservatives in this Nation,
    recall hearing something like that, come out of the mouth of a Republican
    Senator? I’ll wait, if you need to research the question. The word is, Senator
    Cruz has the Presidency in mind. Do we really want Mr. Paranoid, to have
    his finger on the nuclear button? With his attitude? I urge the true Conser-
    vatives of this Country, to come to their senses, and stop this madness.
    Your Country needs your return to sanity, and common sense.

    1. Jim Myers May 28, 2013

      Unfortunately, most of the “True Conservatives” are dead. All that is left is the scum known as “Tea Party.”

      And, there are a huge amount of people who cannot understand that the “Tea Party” is only interested in promoting the causes of the ultra-wealthy and powerful.

      Everyone else can go to hell as far as they are concerned. Unless they vote the “Right” way.

      1. plc97477 May 28, 2013

        Looks to me as like the tea party is one large temper tantrum.

    2. FredAppell May 28, 2013

      Charleo1, even I have to admit that there is a certain appeal to the Tea Party ideology, after all, who among us wouldn’t want to keep every dime we make.
      That is where the fantasy ends and reality begins. Now the Tea Party stands in the way of the grownups trying to fix this mess. No worries though, I think the Tea Party only represents a small number of the electorate. The only reason why they seem to have more numbers is because they are good at organizing,
      meaning, most of them do turn out for the rallies which gives an illusion of their true size. Also, they tend to squawk the loudest because they aren’t pleased with anything. As the economy starts to improve more, the Tea Party becomes more marginalized which brings me back to a prior point, they wouldn’t squawk so loud if they actually had something substantive to say and they know it. In other words, we are witnessing the utterances of a breed of people that are about to become a relic of a time that passed them by.

      1. charleo1 May 28, 2013

        From your lips to God’s ear, Fred. And you are keen student of
        human behavior. After all, who handles their money to maximize
        their tax bill? On the other hand. Who would want to live in the
        kind of place their tax policies would create, in a few short years?
        “But, they wouldn’t squawk so loud, if they actually had
        something substantive to say, and they know it.” Now, there’s
        that good old fashioned, common sense. That’s not always that
        common. But made this Country the best place on Earth!

      2. plc97477 May 28, 2013

        And I will say good riddance.

        1. FredAppell May 28, 2013

          We should make a National Holiday of it.

  11. idamag May 28, 2013

    I think Bob Dole is right.

  12. FT66 May 28, 2013

    GOP praises Reagan but funny enough they do not follow his deeds. What is the use of praising him then?

    1. wjca May 28, 2013

      Hey, they praise and revere Jesus, while mostly rejecting everything that he said about how to treat other people. So doing the same with Reagan is just a matter of internal consistency.

      1. Garry Owen Ault May 28, 2013

        To read what you said and savor it is truly a once in life time experience.
        Keep it up, you have a new friend liking what you write. It made my day.

    2. Travis Shaw May 28, 2013

      It’s no different than the people who tend to be most vocal about their Christianity also tend not to follow very closely the actual words of Christ.

      1. FredAppell May 28, 2013

        What an interesting set of contradictions they pose. The self proclaimed party of Christ has a hard time following his word let alone interpreting them. All the while, the supposed party of the atheists and heretics seem to live up to those words without much difficulty. Funny how that works isn’t it?

  13. midway54 May 28, 2013

    Dole was Senate majority leader when Reagan’s tax increases were passed. As a moderate Republican, he made it clear during the floor debate on one or more of the increases that he never believed in “that trickle-down stuff.” Eisenhower and House majority leader Bob Michel were examples of moderate Republicans who are no longer permitted in the current Republican Party (or more accurately, the rightwing conspiratorial arm of the plutocrats and their henchmen). Michel;s chief of staff was
    Ray LaHood….yes, THAT Ray LaHood, Obama’s transportation secretary.

    I was a moderate Republican until Reagan and his gang rode into town, whereupon I registered as an Independent, and have remained one. I was pleased later on to learn that Kevin Phillips, a close counsel to Nixon, did the same thing. In fact, he started giving Reagan and the party in general a lot of justified and accurate criticism, focusing in on the great times the plutocrats were having from their stooge Reagan and continuing into today. Needless to say, Phillips is a pariah to the crazed Teabaggers, the rightwing lunatics in Congress, and the media hacks deluding the yahoos and rubes into cheering against their own social, economic, legal and political interests.

  14. bpai99 May 28, 2013

    The #1 criterion for the GOP today is to hold hatred and contempt for those who disagree with its extremists. That alone would disqualify Reagan, who was not a hater.

  15. howa4x May 28, 2013

    Republican presidents were more able to negotiate with democrats in olden times, and were realists. If they needed to raise taxes they did, If they need to have deficits they did .Reagan drank with Tip O’Neil and hammered out compromises. Boehner tried to do it with Obama but the TP wouldn’t go along. Democracy is based on compromise. No one wants one party rule, which is what the tealiban wants.

    1. FredAppell May 28, 2013

      In other words, they governed to the realities of the America’s needs. They never felt like they were betraying their principles by doing so either. These Tea Party clowns want to create a zero sum outcome in politics (our way or nothing at all). Forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t that a Dictatorship?

      1. howa4x May 28, 2013


  16. Robert P. Robertson May 28, 2013

    In Reagan’s time and before, Republicans stayed within the frame work of reality. Everyone knew that Republicans represented the rich, and wehen they got into office, they undid what Democrats had straightened out. Democrats straightened things out, Republicans messed things up. That went on for decades. But, when it was realized that President Obama stood a chance to become president, the Republican Party went into a frenzy of white supremacy. They were in this frenzy before David Koch created the Tea Bags and they made their appearance in 2009. That’s when the kooks and zombies started crawling out of dumpsters, abandoning their shopping carts under the bridges, and climbing from steamy sewer drains. The air was filled with the musty, moldy funk of 40.000 years. They were cleaned up by Koch money, and ran for election with their zany chants “We want our country back!” “Keep your hands off our kids and our health care!” I vividly remember that and thought they were joking until Koch money started to get them into office . That’s when they aligned themselves with the Republican Party. It was an unholy alliance for Republicans because they were slowly turned into Republicunts. Now, they stink worse than a neo-Confederate Tea Bag. The neo-Confederate tea Bags will take them down. And good riddance.

    1. Fern Woodfork May 29, 2013

      You Got That Right My Friend!! 🙂 Let The No Good Bastards Go The Way Of The Dodos And The Whigs!!!

      1. Robert P. Robertson May 29, 2013


  17. nana4gj May 29, 2013

    Does anyone really care? Reagan is gone. Today is today. The Republican Party’s viability is not the main concern of this nation. People have other concerns. We have to deal with today. We do not have time to navel gaze and obsess about the woes of the Republican Party. We cannot make them into what we want them to be. We cannot make it any more clear why we reject them and find them offensive. We cannot lead that elephant to water and force them to drink it. They have made statements to the effect that it is not them or their message. It is us. That once we understand who they are, we will vote for them. They believe the onus is on us.

    So, let it lie. There are other things we need to do.

  18. clarenceswinney May 29, 2013

    Reagan gave Amnesty to three million in 1985.
    Five years later they could apply for citizenship.
    In 1990, 1,500,000 were admitted to America on a 500,000 quota.
    GHW Bush had increased the quota to 700,000.
    The Peso crash under Clinton began a rush of illegals to America for there were few jobs in Mexico.
    When the ones given Amnesty by Reagan gained citizenship we had a massive increase since, ,once they got citizenship, they could bring in the entire immediate family.

  19. eb19720 May 31, 2013

    Without Large support of US Government Socialism, Capitalism would only be in history books. Capitalism cannot stand on its own.

  20. BlueJoubert May 31, 2013

    I’m tiring of the ‘Reagan wouldn’t make it today’ meme. Making these comparisons assumes the man had a moral core that history shows no signs of being true. His certitude today would simply be a part of the rightest of wings on the far right spectrum. Remember, after all, he was the one who finally put ink to paper when the time came to sell his soul (and that of the RNC) to Falwell, Robertson, et al in exchange for the Presidency. Today he would simply be selling his soul to another group of coin changers in the temple of Right Wing Orthodoxy.


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