A Test for 'Reagan Conservatives'

Jack Kerwick
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Posted: Feb 26, 2016 12:01 AM
A Test for 'Reagan Conservatives'

Donald Trump is not now, nor has he ever been, any sort of conservative in the traditional or classical sense of that term.

This being said, those self-declared “conservatives” in the media who have been tirelessly blasting Trump on this score are motivated by, not the love of truth but, rather, political partisanship.

To hear them go on incessantly about Trump’s past outspokenness for positions that are typically associated with liberal Democrats, one could be forgiven for thinking that for these anti-Trumpsters the idea of nominating for the presidency anyone who is not a rock-ribbed conservative is unacceptable.

Yet these are the same folks who have spent every presidential election cycle until now lecturing their audiences against succumbing to the trap of “purism,” the trap of holding out for the “perfect” (most conservative) candidate—even while they endorsed one candidate after the other—think George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney—who was anything but conservative.

To see that these “conservative” commentators are behaving more than a bit hypocritically now, let’s play a little game.  In the following list of multiple choice questions, let’s see if we can’t figure out the correct answer. 

Who said: A “uniform standard [of gun-control] across the country” is necessary, for “this level of [gun] violence must be stopped?”

  • a.    Barack Obama  b. Hillary Clinton  c. Bernie Sanders  d. Ronald Reagan

Who said: There’s “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons,” for guns are “a ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will?”

  • a.    Barack Obama  b. Hillary Clinton  c. Bernie Sanders  d. Ronald Reagan

Who supported the “Therapeutic Abortion Act?”

  • a.    Barack Obama  b. Hillary Clinton  c. Bernie Sanders  d. Ronald Reagan

Which American president deployed hundreds of Marines to the Middle East, got them murdered, and then “cut and run” in spite of having promised to “stay the course?”

  • a.    Barack Obama  b. Bill Clinton  c. Jimmy Carter  d. Ronald Reagan

Who said: “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though some time back they may have entered illegally?”

  • a.    Barack Obama  b. Hillary Clinton  c. Bernie Sanders  d. Ronald Reagan

Who raised taxes 11 times while president; increased the debt to unprecedented levels; preserved every government program and department; grew the federal government by creating a new agency; and created a progressive system of taxation to continue funding Social Security?

  • a.    Barack Obama b. Bill Clinton c. Jimmy Carter  d. Ronald Reagan

Who decried tax “loopholes” for millionaires while complaining that they don’t pay their “fair share” in taxes?

  • a.    Barack Obama  b. Bill Clinton  c. Jimmy Carter  d. Ronald Reagan e. all of the above

Which president nominated to the Supreme Court two justices who maintained—and ruled—that it was unconstitutional to both deny women access to abortion services and deny homosexuals the right to marry?

  • a.    Barack Obama  b. Bill Clinton  c. Jimmy Carter  d. Ronald Reagan

If your answer to each of the foregoing questions was “Ronald Reagan,” the most “conservative” president in all of modern American history, to hear the anti-Trumpsters tell it, then you can go to the front of the class!

And while Reagan was governor of California, he didn’t just support the Therapeutic Abortion Act. 

He made it law. 

Consequently, the number of abortions in California increased exponentially.

Governor Reagan can also be credited with having burdened Californians with the largest tax increase in the history of their state, and he passed into law the Mulford Act, which made it illegal for legal gun owners to carry their guns anywhere in public.

Moreover, Reagan, in spite of having once rejected Medicare as “socialist,” went on as President to support it (and Medicaid).  When, in 1980, Carter challenged his earlier denunciations of Medicare, Reagan replied that he never opposed “the principle of providing care” for the elderly.”  The only reason that he opposed Medicare is because, at the time, Reagan said, there had been an alternative piece of legislation that would have done the work of Medicare—but do it better.

It seems, though, that there was no alternative piece of legislation.  But even if there had been, Reagan in effect had admitted that his earlier argument against Medicare, his argument from socialism, had been rhetoric, that it wasn’t the socialist character of Medicare that he opposed, but the fact that it wasn’t his brand of socialism.

At any rate, when Reagan was president, he signed the “Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act,” a law—a federal law, mind you—that compels hospitals to provide emergency care to anyone, irrespectively of whether they can afford to pay for the care or even whether they’re citizens.

And Medicaid was expanded multiple times during Reagan’s two terms.

In fact, long before there was Obamacare or Romneycare, there was Reagancare!

While governor of California, Reagan called for a mandatory health insurance plan for his state’s residents.

Though Reagan did all of this as a Republican, we shouldn’t forget that until he was 51 years old, Reagan was a Democrat.  The more Conservative-Than-Thou anti-Trumpsters who never miss a moment to remind us that Trump donated to Democrat politicians through much of his adult life may want to recall that Reagan was a Democrat.

So, if Reagan is the gold standard of “conservatism,” then how exactly does Trump fail to measure up?