Gravesite Reminder: Reagan Was No Purist

Reinventing yourself is a promise of the American Dream. Barack Obama, once a community organizer, is now in the Oval Office. Ronald Reagan, a movie actor, transformed himself into the same role.

But evolution stops short of fantasy and now, as the GOP demonizes our 44th President and deifies the 40th, come reminders of the limits.

Speaking near Reagan’s grave, Haley Barbour, a conservative, tells colleagues:

“In the 2012 campaign every candidate for the Republican nomination has invoked Reagan…But Reagan did not demand or expect everyone to agree with him on every issue. He wasn’t a purist…

“Some candidates are vying to be the most conservative candidate, and some voters are seeking purity in their choice…Well, in politics purity is a dead-dog loser. You need unity. And purity is the enemy of unity.”

Before taking office, Barack Obama worried publicly about trying to hold onto his authentic self, telling Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” with a worried smile that his wife and friends thought he was still there behind all the hype but admitting on 60 Minutes that the “attempt to airbrush your life…is exhausting.”

In this campaign, airbrushing has escalated to fictionalizing as Newt Gingrich’s minions are caught trying to rewrite his Wikipedia entry to alter the self-professed historian’s own history, making 60 “adjustments” about his three marriages and the ethics charges against him while he was Speaker of the House.

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Author: ROBERT STEIN

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6 Comments

  1. Re-writing history? Newt joins a long line of re-writers from Nero blaming the Christians for the fire to current day holocaust deniers.

    As far as Reagan, the re-writers always skip over the fact that he almost tripled the national debt, a feat no one else has equaled – so far.

    Mr. Barbour has it right, “Well, in politics purity is a dead-dog loser.” Obama’s left wing and Romney’s right wing should take heed. Purism is both unreasonable and self-defeating.

  2. Obama a purist? The guy who allowed the ‘public option’ to go the way of the dodo bird? The guy who increased forces in Afghanistan? The guy who wanted to increase nuclear powered energy? The guy who hired all the Wall Street hooligans?

    Which left-wing purity are you referring to?

  3. Most of us who lived through the Reagan years know how grossly his mythology has been inflated. A pity he wasn’t even half the president his admirers seem to think he was.

  4. Rcoutme

    The left wing purists who still harp about all those things you mention as though the health bill never passed, the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan never happened, and the economy turnaround isn’t happening and are grumbling about having to vote for him again.

    Not to mention those left wing purists who think he should be put out of office for the Bradley Manning affair, the drone program, trying to compromise with the Republicans – the list goes on.

  5. Reagan has a legacy so distorted by the Conservative idolization of him that we may never have a clear picture of the real man behind the television set beyond the elaborate myth now concocted around him. Did he really rid the world of commie scum? Did destroy or save our economy? Check out my portrait of The Gipper in commemoration of the Reagan Centennial and help me figure it out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.....ipper.html

  6. While I believe Obama made the rookie mistake of trying a little too hard to compromise with an uncompromising right in Congress he learned from it. The last 6 months we’ve seen a much tougher approach — which has me believing him when he tells us he is getting better.

    No he’s not a purist– but purists seldom last long in Washington as Jimmy Carter found out very quickly.

    Our most accomplished presidents learn when to hold strong and when to compromise. I know everyone expected Obama to be the Messiah- but he and they didn’t have realistic expectations of how much could be done in such a partisan environment and with the country in its worst shape since the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

    I judge him by the purity of his intent and the strength of his efforts not merely on a mixed bag of results

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