One of the most noted Ronald Reagan quotes is: "I didn't leave the Democratic party. It left me."
And, now, just months after he'd have turned 100, President Reagan been abandoned again, this time by the party that in public reveres him as the patriarch of modern conservatism while running away from who he was and what he stood for.
Increasingly, it appears to be the case that the reactionaries who have seized command of the party that Lincoln created are ruled less by real principle and more by raw FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real).
Like the foul tempered Queen of Hearts in Alice and Wonderland, any Republican venturing to contemplate—much less consider—raising taxes on the wealthiest people to help pay America's debt is met with the chorus: "Off with his head!"
No doubt, Mr. Reagan would certainly have shaken his head in disbelief.
Of course, he increased taxes 11 times while in office, 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 endlessly attacked by his opponents for America's spiraling deficit.
No matter 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 swelled nearly 6 trillion dollars even as Vice President Dick 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" persists that Democrats are big spenders and the country should look back at that wise deficit hawk, Ronald Reagan.
But, the truth is, in Reagan's eight years in office, 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 American presidencies in the 20th Century combined (and twice as much as they're 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 miser compared to Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush.
Like taxes, the mantra of anti-immigration stirs the blood of nearly all red-blooded Republicans.
But how did Ronald Reagan feel? 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 more than three million illegal aliens.
4. America's Debt Ceiling
We all vividly recall the GOP brinksmanship that nearly put America into default—and which led one of the credit agencies to downgrade America's credit standing for the only time in the country's history.
Some reactionary legislators even went so far as to call for default.
What would Reagan have thought of this? In a 1987 national address, he told 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 deserted its most respected icon?
Whatever happened to "Win One for the Gipper? ".
Whatever your vision for America, are our leaders up to the political test the country faces? And, whether you loved him or, well, were relieved when he left office, the one great quality about Ronald Reagan was his real warmth and confidence about America's future.