One of the most famous Ronald Reagan quotes is: "I didn't leave the Democratic party. It left me."
And, now, just months after he'd have celebrated his 100th birthday, he has been left again, this time by the party that in public reveres him as the patriarch of modern American conservatism while running away from who he was and what he stood for.
Increasingly, it appears to be the case the reactionaries who are taking control of the party that Lincoln created are governed less by real principle and more by raw FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real).
Like the Queen in Alice and Wonderland, any Republican daring to contemplate—much less consider—raising taxes on the wealthiest people to help meet the demands of America is met with the chorus: "Off with his head!"
You've got to wonder whether Mr. Reagan would certainly have shaken his head in disbelief.
In fact, he increased taxes eleven times as President, including four times in two years.
Yet, the "myth" of Reagan as the great tax cutter lives on.
2. America's Deficit
President Obama is widely attacked by Republicans for America's burgeoning deficit.
No matter that it's mostly the result of Republican decisions and actions before Obama was elected. During President George W. Bush'es eight years as President, the country's deficit skyrocketed $5,700,000,000,000 even as Vice President Cheney so blithely dismissed it "Deficits don't matter."
Obama's policies are projected to increase the deficit by $1,400,000,000,000—less than 25% of the deficit run up by President Bush.
Yet the "myth" is loudly proclaimed as fact that Democrats are big spenders and the country should hearken back to the days of that old deficit hawk, Ronald Reagan.
However, the truth is, in Reagan's eight years in power, the deficit increased more than $3,000,000,000,000 (are you beginning to see a Republican pattern here?) which was more than the total deficits for all his 20th century predecessors put together (and twice as much as they are projected to increase if Obama is president for eight years).
While it is fair to say that Obama is a big spender, he's a relative spendthrift compared to Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush.
Like taxes, the battle cry of anti-immigration riles the blood of nearly all red-blooded Republicans.
And President Reagan? Here's where he stood: "I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally."
He believed so strongly about it that he granted amnesty to over 3,000,000 people who had come to America illegally, put down roots,and had families.
4. America's Debt Ceiling
We all vividly recall the Republican Congressional brinksmanship that nearly put America into default—and which led one of the credit agencies to downgrade America's credit status for the only time in the nation's history.
Some extremist Congressmen even went as far as to call for default.
What would Reagan have thought of this? In a 1987 nationwide address, he said to the country:
"Unfortunately, Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest markets would skyrocket. Instability would occur in financial markets and the federal deficit would soar.
"The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility — two things that set us apart in much of the world."
Indeed, during President Reagan's two terms, the debt ceiling was raised 17 times.
Which leads me to this. Of all the Republican presidents in the last half century (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, and his son, George Bush) why is it that the Republican Party has abandoned its most revered icon?
Whatever happened to "Win One for the Gipper? ".
Regardless of what is your vision for America, are our leaders up to the political test the country faces? And, whether you loved him or, well, were glad when he left office, the one great quality about Ronald Reagan was his real warmth and confidence about America's future.