Aniversary Post: Governor Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan Selling Cigarettes, Like He Sold Other Deadly Things to AmericaOn this day in 1967, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as governor of California. Mostly I think he was elected because he was going to go after those dirty hippies. But on the plus side, at least he thought it was a good idea to become a governor. Now it seems that Republicans think that anyone could be the president. According to these fools, unlike being a boiler tech, being a president doesn’t require any training or experience.

There were things to like about him as governor. As Alex Seitz-Wald has noted, he made abortion far more available in the state. Of course, then he ran for president stating that abortion should only be allowed when the life of the mother was at risk. And then as president, he didn’t do much of anything. The truth is that he didn’t care. But as we know, Reagan would do anything to get power.

Ronald Reagan also limited gun rights because he was terrified of the Black Panthers. It would be wrong to imply that Reagan was a racist; it should be stated clearly: Reagan was a racist. But lucky for him that he lived in a racist country.

Reagan also existed in that great period when Republicans were still honest about their tax policies. He raised state taxes in a big way while governor. And, of course, the taxes weighed most heavily on the poor. For example, he raised the top income tax rate by 43% and the corporate tax by 27%, but the sale tax by 67%. It was the same thing when he was president, Reagan’s Legacy: Tax Cuts for Rich, Tax Hikes for the Rest.

Overall, Ronald Reagan was terrible in every way imaginable. But it isn’t just what he did directly. I don’t think that Clinton would have ended welfare as we know it if it hadn’t been for Reagan. And despite his terms as governor of California, Reagan was unqualified to be president. And the sad thing is: he’s infinitely better than the bozos who the Republicans are looking to nominate.

10 thoughts on “Aniversary Post: Governor Ronald Reagan

  1. It’s become accepted that Reagan was more liberal than today’s Republicans and wouldn’t be taken seriously as a Republican today. I’m not sure that’s true. What I do think is that he and Nixon before him were mature enough to accept limits on their power. They wanted more conservative policies, but knew enough to compromise. Similarly, I believe (and some of my socialist friends will disagree) that Barack Obama wants more liberal policies but knows enough to compromise. The problem with most of today’s GOP, as I see it, is that they don’t know how to lose gracefully. It’s always “give me what I want or I burn this fucker down.”

    • Obama understands what a lot of people forget when they push to get someone into office-he is not merely the President of them but the President of all of America including the bits we don’t discuss in polite company. So yes, I can believe he is slightly more in favor of liberal policies but too willing to give in instead of standing up to bullies.

      And I think you correctly identified the problem with the Republicans-they don’t know how to lose because they assume they have arranged it to be impossible to do.

      • He has made mistakes, certainly. I’d say the biggest was negotiating on the debt ceiling in 2011. He thought the Republicans would negotiate in good faith and we could get a meaningful compromise, and instead we got the sequester that’s still hurting us. But at least he learned from that mistake and called their bluff next time, and now it’s clear that that particular hostage is off the table. Also, he drew a line in the sand in front of Planned Parenthood when they tried to use the threat of a government shutdown to go after it. That’s the sort of high-visibility culture war target that a lot of politicians would have abandoned to take the heat off.

        One of my favorite quotes is from the hard-right wing John Wayne, upon Kennedy’s election: “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president and I hope he does a good job.”

        • Pretty much-I do think he kind of got a little bit too much “you will change the world” because of how worshipful people were to him in 2008. And then he gets into office and finds out that half the country hates him for his having a D next to his name along with his skin color. Despite the fact I know he has dealt with American racism, I do not think he (or any of us) really knew how bad it would be despite his winning. I know that Clinton was/is expecting it to be very nasty to her because she has been dealing with it for decades at this point. He was not despite how bad it got at the end of the McCain campaign.

          I don’t think it is a surprise though on PP-he knows it is no ACORN and a lot of rich people like PP.

    • The main thing is that every politician exists in a particular political environment. But there are some interesting issues. Reagan and Nixon were less Cold Warriors than Carter. Nixon was kind of liberal on domestic issues because he wasn’t that interested in them. Still, he did push some liberal domestic policies. Reagan was a great person to deal with the USSR because he really believed all the nonsense about the evil empire. When he actually had to work with Gorbachev, he saw reality and was pretty reasonable. Just the same, Reagan got the top income tax rate lowered from 70% to 28%. Imagine if Donald Trump managed to get our current top tax rate lowered from 39.6% to 15.8%. The Republicans would love him and it would be catastrophic for the nation. All the presidents were a mixed bag. I fully believe that both Reagan and Nixon would be just like Ted Cruz if they were in their political primes right now. Although maybe it is more correct to say Nixon = Cruz and Reagan = Trump.

  2. Well Reagan does show even with career politicians you still can fail to get someone who knows anything.

    But yes, generally speaking you want someone who knows how to do the difficult craft of governing even if you disagree with everything they stand for.

    • I always come back to boiler techs. If I knew more about what they do, I would probably have opinions about this setting being better than this other setting. But regardless of these disagreements, I would want a boiler tech who is competent. In modern American politics, it’s pretty clear: Democrats are competent; most Republicans are not. This goes far beyond ideology. I would say that Bush Sr was competent. Other than him, Eisenhower. The others I don’t think knew what they were doing.

      • I just wish I could know why Republican voters seem to not care about someone knowing what the heck they are doing. They are so much style over substance that it hurts. All of us!

        • Have you heard of “affinity fraud”? I think that’s what it is all about. In my conversations with people (liberal and conservative), it is clear that they believe certain things because someone they trust told them. Rush Limbaugh can say, “The moon landing was faked,” and they believe it. But Obama can say, “Milk comes from cows,” and they will want to see documentation for it. Have you ever been in an argument with a conservative who thinks you should have scientific papers in your back pocket to back up any claim you make? If you have, you also know that even if you had those papers, they wouldn’t accept them as evidence.

          • Yes, and they really really really hate it when I do. The last time I did that my colleague claimed that regardless of what the law said, the regulations allowed for the ’08 meltdown because it made all of the innocent baby banks that would never ever do anything financially risky on their own loan money to bad credit risks.

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