Today is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, so expect a lot of conservatives on TV pushing their false narrative about Reagan. There are some good reads about Reagan’s actual legacy. I recommend this take by Will Bunch (author of a book on Reagan Tear Down This Myth): “Five myths about Ronald Reagan’s legacy.”
1. Reagan was one of our most popular presidents.
2. Reagan was a tax-cutter.
3. Reagan was a hawk.
4. Reagan shrank the federal government.
5. Reagan was a conservative culture warrior.
For your reading pleasure, read this really satisfying takedown of Rush Limbaugh from progressive blogger Mike Stark (partial transcript below). Stark leaves the usually talkative Limbaugh almost speechless.
STARK: Why is Reagan a hero to conservatives?
RUSH: “Why is Reagan a hero to conservatives?” I don’t think you… Given what you’ve said, and I’m not trying to avoid the question, I don’t think you’d ever understand it.
STARK: Well, he’s a tax raiser, an amnesty giver, a cut-and-runner, and he negotiated with terrorists. Why is he a hero to conservatives? I don’t think you understand it.
RUSH: No, I do. Most assuredly I do. I just don’t think that you would understand it. Where did you get this silly notion that Reagan raised taxes on Social Security? What websites do you read? Where did you pick that up?
STARK: Look up the Greenspan Commission. It’s not too hard to find. I mean, it’s a matter of history.
RUSH: Where did you get it? I mean, you’re asking me questions. I’m just reversing one on you here.
STARK: I’m sorry. It’s just general knowledge. It’s something I’ve known for a long time. I can’t remember where I got it from.
RUSH: You can’t remember? You’ve never heard of a website called Media Matters which highlighted it yesterday?
STARK: (static) Oh, no. I know Media Matters very well but that’s not where I got it.
RUSH: Oh, not where you got it. It’s an amazing coincidence.
STARK: (static) I mean, I’m a liberal. Of course I know Media Matters.
RUSH: Amazing coincidence out there.
STARK: They’re a fantastic website. But why are you dodging the question? I want to know why a tax-raising, amnesty-giving, cut-and-running, negotiating-with-terrorists guy is a hero to the conservative movement.
Where did Stark get the idea that Reagan raised taxes? Uh well, because he did raise taxes, many times. He gave us the biggest tax raise in history (plus stole some of my Social Security benefits). He also proved that tax cuts decrease revenue but we live in a black-is-white fact-free world right now so Reagan’s myth gave us magical tax-cutting unicorns.