Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goodbye to Gipper, welcome Abe back

It's time for the GOP to dismiss the Gipper, but turn its attention to Abe. And maybe Ike too.

It should continue to honor the achievements of Ronald Reagan, of course. But the party must wean itself from the mythologic Gipper.

Reagan defied the Soviet Union. Along with Margaret Thatcher and John Paul the Great, he led a successful stand. Soviet Communism couldn't take it.

But is excessive spending on the military also part of his legacy? Remember President Eisenhower, who warned against the military-industrial complex.

And the Gipper cut and run in Lebanon, after putting U.S. troops in an untenable spot.

Immigration? The Gipper signed the first amnesty. This encouraged millions of people to enter the country illegally.

The mantra is that they were needed. It's now becoming evident that many came here to build houses and shopping malls that weren't needed in the first place.

Or to take care of the homes and families of stock market hustlers who -- it is now evident -- were running financial schemes they didn't understand.

Yes, Reagan helped restore American optimism. But did The Gipper make "pessimism" -- a.k.a. caution and prudence -- taboo in political discourse?

Did the Gipper's tax cuts temporarily stimulate the economy, but also ignite what now seems like growth with a faulty foundation?

And note that his tax reforms removed millions from the tax rolls. These voters now, notoriously, are unconcerned with raising taxes.

Maybe that's why the party needs to turn back to Lincoln.

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