Imaginary Reaganism

by Patrick Appel

Massie calls it out:

For a long while and certainly at the time he was in office Reagan was an under-rated President; today he's in danger of being over-rated. The problem with the Cult of Reagan is not Reagan, but the impact membership has on the believers. He was more flexible than his admirers today sometimes acknowledge. Few of today's Republicans would, one supposes, endorse Reagan's tax-raising 1982 budget. Nor, one suspects, would today's nationalists approve of his decision to talk to the Soviets (indeed, at the time there were some who whispered that Reagan was "soft on Communism".) Nor, for that matter, could a Republican with national aspirations today endorse Reagan's liberal approach to immigration issues.

Indeed, it's not clear a less gifted communicator armed with Reagan's actual beliefs could really win the Republican Presidential nomination today.