May 2, 2012

Many Americans regard Ronald Reagan as one of the greatest presidents of the twentieth century. For many conservatives, he’s an exemplary, iconic figure. While the eight years of his presidency was a period of modest economic growth, his legacy is largely one of broken promises and empty rhetoric. In spite of his often repeated criticisms of “big government,” he actually increased the size and scope of Washington’s power. His economic, fiscal and tax policies, which even his own vice president had called “voodoo economics,” brought a drastic increase in US long-term debt. Destructive trends in American cultural life, and the drastic demographic transformation of large sections of the country, continued with undiminished velocity. Reagan’s understanding of history was meager and childish. In keeping with his mythologized, semi-mystical view of America, he approved a large-scale amnesty for illegal aliens. Reagan’s career and legacy should help make clear to everyone why conservatives can’t and don’t win.

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