If Ronald Reagan could see things today?
— Forty years ago this month, speaking at the same conference, Ronald Reagan offered a searing critique of Marxist-Leninism that could be read today as an indictment of Trumpism. “All the facts of the real world have to be fitted to the Procrustean bed of Marx and Lenin,” he explained. “If the facts don’t happen to fit the ideology, the facts are chopped off and discarded. I consider this to be the complete opposite to principled conservatism. When a conservative states that the free market is the best mechanism ever devised by the mind of man to meet material needs, he is merely stating what a careful examination of the real world has told him is the truth. When a conservative says that totalitarian communism is an absolute enemy of human freedom, he is not theorizing. He is reporting the ugly reality captured so unforgettably in the writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.”
Reagan’s 1977 CPAC speech remains one of the most important political addresses he ever delivered. Fresh off his loss to Gerald Ford in the Republican primaries, and Jimmy Carter’s victory in the general election, the former California governor went on to presciently outline a vision for “A New Republican Party” that would unite fiscal, social and national security conservatives in common cause. His clarion call helped win him his party’s nomination in 1980, ushered in the first political realignment since Franklin Roosevelt and allowed the GOP to win five of the next seven presidential elections.
— Alas, the Reagan era is over. And if you needed another data point that the Party of Reagan has been hijacked, this week’s “conservative” confab offers many. Needless to say, Trump will not quote Solzhenitsyn when he speaks here later this morning. Reagan embraced freedom in all of its forms — from the aspirations of Eastern Europeans looking to throw off the yoke of their Russian overlords to open markets and, to a lesser degree, open borders.
It’s always fraught to speculate on what a historical figure, who died 13 years ago, would say about current events. But based on a decade of closely studying the 40th president, including countless hours reviewing his archives, it seems safe to stipulate the following: Reagan would frown upon the dark portrait that Trump paints of his shining city upon a hill. He would be disturbed by his protectionist and isolationist rhetoric. And he would be aghast at the 45th president repeatedly drawing false moral equivalency between the United States and Russia.
Reagan would never have suggested that Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who presides over an authoritarian regime, is a stronger leader than Barack Obama. Among the many words Trump says that would never have come out of Reagan’s mouth: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?”
But it’s much more than that: The Reagan Revolution was always more about ideas than a cult of personality built around a single man…..Share on Facebook