Would Reagan vote for Palin?

Rick Moran
Since he left office, Republicans running for president have been trying to claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan in order to connect to the bulk of GOP voters who still have great admiration and affection for the Gipper.

As Stephen Hayward points out in this piece in the Washington Post, Reagan's pragmatic idealism, his ease in public, and his heartfelt conservatism would have made him a fan of Sarah Palin:

This populist undercurrent is why I am certain that Reagan would have been an enthusiastic supporter of the tea party movement. While the tea partiers confuse the media and annoy the establishments of both political parties, Reagan would have seen them as reviving the embers of what he called the "prairie fire" of populist resistance against centralized big government -- resistance that helped touch off the tax revolt of the 1970s. That movement was often dismissed as a tantrum, but when The Washington Post called California's 1978 antitax Proposition 13 "a skirmish," Reagan replied that if so, then the Chicago fire was a backyard barbecue.And who might be able to tap into the potent brew of the tea party? Right now the leading candidate is undoubtedly Palin, whom Reagan would probably have cheered on and surely would have had no problem voting for should she secure the GOP presidential nomination. Like Reagan, she has enormous charisma and a populist style. At her best, such as on the "Tonight" show last week, she shares his self-assurance and ease in front of a crowd. Like Reagan, she hails from outside the political establishment and does not crave the approval of the elite; rather, she seems to thrive on their disapproval.

Like Reagan, Palin consciously speaks in ways appealing more to principle than to party. And like Reagan, she divides people across the political spectrum. Her "death panels" broadside against Obama may have seemed like cheap demagoguery, but it resembled Reagan's attack against the Panama Canal treaties in 1978: "We built it, we paid for it, it's ours, and we're keeping it!"

I would note that Reagan was a lot more popular within the Republican party than Sarah Palin is today, although that might be a product of the Gipper's longevity, being at the forefront of the conservative movement for a couple of decades before being elected president.

Regardless, there is little doubt that Reagan would have been a big cheerleader for the tea party movement - if he had not been afflicted with Alzheimer's. Similarly, though he would be 99 years old today, does anyone doubt he wouldn't be out on the hustings criticizing Obama and rallying conservatives to fight the president's agenda?

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky


Since he left office, Republicans running for president have been trying to claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan in order to connect to the bulk of GOP voters who still have great admiration and affection for the Gipper.

As Stephen Hayward points out in this piece in the Washington Post, Reagan's pragmatic idealism, his ease in public, and his heartfelt conservatism would have made him a fan of Sarah Palin:

This populist undercurrent is why I am certain that Reagan would have been an enthusiastic supporter of the tea party movement. While the tea partiers confuse the media and annoy the establishments of both political parties, Reagan would have seen them as reviving the embers of what he called the "prairie fire" of populist resistance against centralized big government -- resistance that helped touch off the tax revolt of the 1970s. That movement was often dismissed as a tantrum, but when The Washington Post called California's 1978 antitax Proposition 13 "a skirmish," Reagan replied that if so, then the Chicago fire was a backyard barbecue.

And who might be able to tap into the potent brew of the tea party? Right now the leading candidate is undoubtedly Palin, whom Reagan would probably have cheered on and surely would have had no problem voting for should she secure the GOP presidential nomination. Like Reagan, she has enormous charisma and a populist style. At her best, such as on the "Tonight" show last week, she shares his self-assurance and ease in front of a crowd. Like Reagan, she hails from outside the political establishment and does not crave the approval of the elite; rather, she seems to thrive on their disapproval.

Like Reagan, Palin consciously speaks in ways appealing more to principle than to party. And like Reagan, she divides people across the political spectrum. Her "death panels" broadside against Obama may have seemed like cheap demagoguery, but it resembled Reagan's attack against the Panama Canal treaties in 1978: "We built it, we paid for it, it's ours, and we're keeping it!"

I would note that Reagan was a lot more popular within the Republican party than Sarah Palin is today, although that might be a product of the Gipper's longevity, being at the forefront of the conservative movement for a couple of decades before being elected president.

Regardless, there is little doubt that Reagan would have been a big cheerleader for the tea party movement - if he had not been afflicted with Alzheimer's. Similarly, though he would be 99 years old today, does anyone doubt he wouldn't be out on the hustings criticizing Obama and rallying conservatives to fight the president's agenda?

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky