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Wish I’d Said That

Time magazine has managed to irritate both the right and the left with its recent cover showing a doctored image of Ronald Reagan with a single tear rolling down his cheek.

Sure, there’s some nonsense in the accompanying story, “How the Right Went Wrong,” like this gem: “Conservatives are in many ways victims of their successes.”

But there is some solid analysis too:

But everything that Reagan said in 1985 about “the other side” could easily apply to the conservatives of 2007. They are handcuffed to a political party that looks unsettlingly like the Democrats did in the 1980s, one that is more a collection of interest groups than ideas, recognizable more by its campaign tactics than its philosophy. The principles that propelled the movement have either run their course, or run aground, or been abandoned by Reagan’s legatees. Government is not only bigger and more expensive than it was when George W. Bush took office, but its reach is also longer, thanks to the broad new powers it has claimed as necessary to protect the homeland. It’s true that Reagan didn’t live up to everything he promised: he campaigned on smaller government, fiscal discipline and religious values, while his presidency brought us a larger government and a soaring deficit. But Bush’s apostasies are more extravagant by just about any measure you pick.

The U.S. Attorneys scandal is just the latest display of the ironic folly of putting politics above principle. Having lost control of Congress for betraying conservative principles, Republicans must now answer to the currrently powerful Democrats for allegedly firing Attorneys
on misstated grounds and exploiting the Patriot Act to replace them with political loyalists.

The sooner Republicans remember Ronald Reagan’s mantra that sound policy is sound politics, the better off they and the country will be.

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