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Yep. I agree with THIS via Andrew Sullivan. Ronald Reagan would be considered a RINO today and probably draw sneering comments from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others. How do I know? I was at that time a Democrat who became a Reagan Democrat. My late Uncle Louis Gandelman of Los Angeles told me in 1981 right before he was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor that he was betting Ronald Reagan would reach the White House one day — and he was not a conservative Republican.

Further evidence: in his must-read book “Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents” guess who historian Gil Troy includes as a moderate? YES: Ronald Reagan, due to his willingness to c-o-m-p-r-o-m-i-s-e on issues about which he strong felt. Reagan didn’t always get all he wanted but by compromising he got a lot of it and by being open to compromise and coming across as a lockstep, knee-jerk ideologist people who didn’t agree with Reagan were willing to at least give him a serious listen. Which meant he could slowly change some minds. And build a coalition.

Which he did.

Also: people forget how Ronald Reagan was often blasted by conservatives when he was in office because he compromised. But all of that is forgotten now since it gets in the way of him being an icon — sort of like Colonel Sanders is for KFC.

Except today all that is being offered is right wings.

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JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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  • The_Ohioan

    Maybe, though they might applaud the emptying of state mental hospitals, the cessation of free tuition for college students, and the enormous buildup of the defense department – which tripled the national debt, a feat never yet equaled by any succeeding president.

  • zephyr

    Yes indeed, Reagan seems moderate in hindsight, but he made a lot of decisions that were anything but moderate. Also he is the one who kicked the “government is bad” meme into existence – which an absurdly large number of people bought into. I agree though, he would be considered a RINO by today’s (addled) GOP.

  • bluebelle

    The reason that Reagan seems so moderate now is that his party has moved so far to the right. At the time of his presidency, Reagan was considered very conservative- as we still had plenty of moderate Republicans -who would today be Democrats.

  • dduck

    That’s the trouble with labels; history has a habit of loosening them and they fall off due to the loosening glue of changing attitudes.

  • brcarthey

    Also: people forget how Ronald Reagan was often blasted by conservatives when he was in office because he compromised. But all of that is forgotten now since it gets in the way of him being an icon — sort of like Colonel Sanders is for KFC.

    Except today all that is being offered is right wings.

    This just proves the point I made in another thread. They taste like chicken…especially the “white” meat variety. 😉