Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 | 2:01 a.m.
A common theme from some Republicans is that their party has drifted away from its core values and that they need to return to the days of Ronald Reagan. They believe that if conservatives would only embrace the Reagan agenda, they would be able to nominate small-government candidates and start winning elections.
Lest those on the right with no recollection of history forget, here are just a few of President Reagan’s achievements: He signed 11 tax increases into law during his tenure as president; he granted amnesty to illegal immigrants; in his eight years, the U.S. went from being the world’s largest international creditor to being the world’s largest debtor. In 1981, the deficit was $74 billion and the national debt was $930 billion. By the end of his presidency, the national debt had spiraled to $2.9 trillion. He strongly supported the 1991 Brady bill and threw his full support behind the 1994 assault weapons ban.
After President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, Republicans in Congress said their top priority was to make him a one-term president. After his second inauguration, they whined that his speech wasn’t more bipartisan. With hypocrisy like that, it’s no wonder the Republicans begin their new session with a 73 percent disapproval rating, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll last month.
As a Democrat, I personally would welcome someone with Reagan’s political acumen. A significant portion of today’s crop of Republicans in no way resemble Reagan-era Republicans. So, yes, by all means, let’s return to the good old Reagan days. Perhaps, then, things will actually get done in Washington.