Thursday, July 15, 2010

Republican senators not from Maine

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a conservative who still seems to have replaced John McCain as a "sane Senate Republican not from Maine," has little competition for such a title. Not only has McCain caved to the yahoos, but most of his GOP contemporaries are drooling big time. (For instance, take Mitt Romney. He recently decided that Obama's nuclear disarmament treaty was the president's "worst foreign policy mistake." If that was Obama's worst, his record must be rather sterling indeed.

But enough making fun of Republicans, shooting fish in a barrel, as it were. Instead, let's think about a recent Newsweek article that is pro-Republican to its core: The author, Andrew Romano, obviously wants a Republican resurgence. But he worries: In an article headlined "What would Reagan REALLY do?", the idea is that while Ronald Reagan was indeed a cool guy and a good president, he hardly was a model for current GOP dunderheads. Reagan, who talked a pristine conservative line, was a pragmatist. The author says that if today's candidates had to pass a Reaganite purity test, which many of them do, they'd be dealing with a test that Reagan himself wouldn't have passed.

For instance, in 1982 Reagan rolled back his earlier tax cut, restoring a third of the taxes - the largest tax hike in history. The next year, he raised gas taxes and created new taxes on payrolls to bolster Social Security. In 1984, he cut tax loopholes worth $10s of billions, and in 1986 he supported tax reform that hit businesses with hundreds of billions in new fees. Reagan was a pragmatist. His rhetoric was pure conservativism, his other actions - say, appointments to the high court - were sorry indeed, his foreign policy was incredibly lucky despite being blindsided by Gorbachov, but in the end Reagan often was ruled by reality.

That's more than can be said for most Republican senators not from Maine.

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