Nobody knows what Reagan, who died in 2004, would make of the recent fight over the debt limit. But 100 years after Reagan’s birth, it’s clear that the Tea Party Republicans have little regard for the policies of the president they claim to venerate.
Below are a few examples of Reagan’s record that are the complete opposite of Tea Party positions.
1) Tea Party Republicans call a vote to raise the debt ceiling a threat to their very existence; Reagan presided over 18 increases in the debt ceiling during his presidency.
2) Tea Party Republicans say they would sooner default on the national debt than raise taxes; Reagan agreed to raise taxes 11 times.
3) Tea Party Republicans, in “cut, cap and balance” legislation on the House floor Tuesday, voted to cut government spending permanently to 18 percent of gross domestic product; under Reagan, spending was as high as 23.5 percent and never below 21.3 percent of GDP.
That same legislation would take federal spending down to a level last seen in 1966, before Medicare was fully up and running; Reagan in 1988 signed a major expansion of Medicare.
One thing that is certain is that Reagan despised the exact techniques employed by the Tea Party in their negotiations with the White House on the debt ceiling. Like the financial backers of the Tea Party, he fully understood the threat such brinksmanship would pose to our economy.
It’s also telling that Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, the organization that started the Tea Party, when challenged by Chris Matthews on MSNBC, starts talking about what Reagan said — but when confronted with what Reagan did, is forced to admit Reagan wouldn’t pass the Tea Party’s own litmus test. So if the President of the organization that created the Tea Party says that Reagan wouldn’t make the grade, can someone please inform the Tea Party troops that their hero is really the enemy.
In fact if the Tea Party followers were truly deficit hawks, they would be denouncing the likes of Reagan and the Bushes and hailing Bill Clinton — who left the second Bush a record surplus. Are you starting to smell a rat? Are you beginning to get the picture?
Conclusion: All indications are that Reagan wouldn’t have liked the Tea Party because he despised their tactics and refusal to compromise and the Tea Party would have denounced him as just another Tax and Spend socialist.