What is a Republican?

Republicans who question the most belligerent or outrageous statements from the party’s fringes will quickly find themselves branded a RINO, a “Republican in Name Only.” The accusation has become so pervasive that is begs the question – what is an authentic Republican?

In this confused climate, it may be impossible to understand what a Republican is without looking back at what a Republican was. Only by tracing our path to this point can we find our way back toward relevance.

Officially the Republican Party was formed in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854, but that date more accurately marks a rebranding than a birth. Antebellum Republicans were a coalition formed by anti-slavery members of the recently collapsed Whig Party. Through the Whigs (and the Federalists before them), Republicans have a heritage that goes back to birth of the Republic and the influence of Alexander Hamilton.

From the beginning Republicans were the party of commerce. Democrats, through leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson built a core among farmers and laborers. Republicans, through Hamilton, were the party of townsfolk, business people, and capitalists.

In the long period between the Civil War and the Cold War neither party had an overriding ideological alignment. Republicans endorsed Progressives like Teddy Roosevelt and Conservatives like Herbert Hoover. Democrats harbored labor socialists like Eugene Debs and religious conservatives like William Jennings Bryant.

The ideological confusion that muddles modern Republican politics has roots in a decision made by President Truman in 1948 that scrambled the poles of political alignment. Moved by appalling incidents of unpunished violence against black veterans returning from World War II, Truman took the only action he felt was open to him at the time. Through an executive order, he ended racial segregation in the military.

Southern Democrats were furious at this threat to their values. South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond broke from the Democrats and staged a third-party challenge to Truman.

In his Presidential campaign, Thurmond sought to recast Southern white supremacist ideology to make it palatable for a national audience. Thurmond’s 1948 speech accepting the nomination of the States’ Rights Democrats (“Dixicrats”) laid out an ideological opposition to desegregation that still resonates in far-right rhetoric.

Since the earliest days of the Republic, Southern conservatives had been violently opposed to Industrialization. They were the country’s most powerful opponents of Capitalism and as such, were staunchly anti-Republican. The emergence of the Soviet threat offered an opportunity for a new alignment between Southern conservatives and the GOP that would have been previously impossible.

Thurmond outlined a case against desegregation that was technically independent of racism. In a beautifully contorted appeal, Thurmond positioned Southern segregationists as the nation’s truest patriots, protecting liberty from Communists in our own Federal government. Thurmond was exploiting a narrow opening, created by the Soviet threat, for Southern Conservatives to align with Hamiltonian Republicans on the basis of their common opposition to Marxism.

Thurmond’s political formula subsumed white supremacist rhetoric beneath religious and nationalist themes to which Republicans were generally friendly. His campaign failed, but the manner in which he cloaked the Southern defense of white supremacy in Cold War rhetoric would change our politics.

Republicans, as the party of Marx’s “bourgeoisie” were anti-Communist to the core. As Southern Conservatives grew alienated by the nation’s growing hostility to their values, they needed a new political outlet. They found that outlet in the nearly empty Southern GOP.

Grassroots Republican political infrastructure was virtually non-existent in the South before the ‘80’s. Taking advantage of that vacuum, Southern conservatives built the rough equivalent of a Neo-Confederate third-party beneath the national Republican brand. As the success of the Civil Rights Movement accelerated the white flight from the Democratic Party, Southern conservatives began to alter the political balance inside the GOP at the national level.

In 1964, South Carolina Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond joined the Republican Party. In 1989, Texas Democratic State Representative Rick Perry joined the Republican Party. Those two events could be considered the bookends that define the GOP’s pivot away from its commercial, Hamiltonian roots. This seismic shift was made possible by aligning Southern segregationists with political conservatives and religious fundamentalists elsewhere in the country. This influx changed the balance of power among Republican liberals, moderates, progressives and conservatives all over the country.

Between the ’64 and ’88 conventions, the new alignment sent the party careening rightward and Southward. By ’92 Republicans were beginning to lose in their historic strongholds in northern urban areas while building new support in Dixie.

As long as there was a Communist threat it remained possible to hold together this awkward alignment. Without the unifying force of the Soviet threat, there is nothing left to mask the racism that has glued the current coalition together since 1964.

The tensions that pit racial conservatives against the party’s traditional commercial interests are now hopelessly exposed. As Southern conservatives recruited over the past generation perceive a historic opportunity to cripple the Federal government, grounds for cooperation with Hamiltonian Republicans are becoming harder to find. Everyone is waking up to the absurdity of this alliance.

So, what is a Republican? Too often it is someone willing to let every political position be vetted and shaped by a small but powerful core of religious extremists and latent racists. The better question is what was a Republican and how can the party’s pragmatic majority restore their former influence?

Republicans were the traders, innovators, investors, and industrialists who built our urban landscapes and brought us our modern economy. Republicans were Progressives, Conservatives and Moderates united by their faith in the power of well-maintained markets to fuel prosperity, innovation, and freedom. Republicans understood that, for better or worse, business is the engine that powers everything else we value.

The Republican Party was not so much about less government or more government. The Republican Party was about making things work. Republicans were the sober, prudent voice in every debate. Those values still represent a majority in the country, more than strong enough to regain control of the GOP.

Restoring the party’s credibility will be easier than most people think, but it will require a few individuals to step out of line and risk precious political capital that they have accumulated over decades. Once a few people find the courage to break from the party’s recent history the tide may turn. Until then, what Republicans are will continue to be something less proud and promising than what Republicans were.

44 comments on “What is a Republican?
  1. Sue Endsley says:

    One of the saddest things to me is what the Republican lies and hatred have done to Churches. Some preachers actually pass these along from the pulpit; I have heard them do it. I believe they, themselves, have been so brain-washed that they don’t even know what they are doing. It is heartbreaking to me to see “Christians” believing the lies they have heard and letting hatred be poured into their hearts. Jesus gave us two commandments that sum up the 10 by Moses, to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, strength and soul and our neighbors as ourselves. Satan has blinded even Christian hearts. Please pray for them.

    • Demi Lynn says:

      A LOT of preachers pass the hatred, fear-mongering and divisiveness from the pulpit. That’s actually a major part of the conspiracy to create a hyper-dogmatic political lens. The strategy has been to tie to to faith. These people are so steeped in the hatred they’re conditioned to have that it’s blinded them to the idea of how disgraceful it is to have politicized Christianity like that.

  2. 1mime says:

    The Southern Strategy was a very effective short term “fix”. It is now strangling what is left of the decent elements of the Republican Party. They sold their soul to attain power. Power that has devolved into racism, homophobia, suppression of rights of women and people of color and means, exacerbation of distribution of wealth. And, so much more. They are being strangled by the creature of their own making. The sooner they kill the creature, the sooner the Republican Party has a chance of reframing its agenda and becoming viable and sane.

    • Marq Goldberg says:

      The Republican Party was originally the party of the North Eastern bankers and only benefited the 1%. As such they were desperately in need of votes, Since they had nothing to offer to voters they appealed to the Southern Dixiecrats with an offer of letting them be just as narrow minded and racist as they wanted so long as they were willing to vote against their own economic well being. Sure the beast has now turned on its creator. But it the bankers kill off that part of their party they are back to not having enough votes to screw everyone over. However since the DNC has not been bought off by the bankers as well I predict a 3 party system going forward. The corporatist Reps will join with the corporatist Dems and sell themselves as the “rational middle”. They will be opposed by the Tea Party lunatics on the right and the real Democrats on the left. Of course the corporate media will control the narrative.

  3. 1mime says:

    I love how all the GOPlifer regulars are kicking bootie! Way to have Lifer’s back. Proud of you guys! (and girls)

  4. 1mime says:

    Did your history courses expose you to the treatment of Black people who were slaves? Did you watch the peaceful march by Black people in Selma where the police turned dogs, clubs and hoses on them? Or the thousands of Black people who were lynched? Or more recently (guess lynching takes more effort) shooting? Or Black people being required to enter a back door or drink at a different fountain? Oh, but those things have changed, you say. No, dear, they just look different now.

    BLM exists just as the peaceful march in Washington DC against the Vietnam War happened. To make people see the truth. Maybe you need to refresh your history. All Black people are asking for is safety, equality of opportunity, fair treatment. I thought that’s what America promised all its people, not just White people.

  5. Marq Goldberg says:

    Just a reminder that you don’t have to vote for Hillary if you don’t like Trump. There are other candidates who will be on the ballot.

    • L Beck says:

      Yes, there is the Green Party. Dr. Jill Stein is brilliant without the callus ego found in so many politicians. You may find her interesting.

  6. Marq Goldberg says:

    It is impossible to properly understand today’s Republican Party without talking about the “Southern Strategy”.

    In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to a strategy by Republican Party candidates of gaining political support in the Southern United States by appealing to racism against African Americans.[1][2][3]

    During the 1950s and 1960s, the African-American Civil Rights Movement achieved significant progress in its push for desegregation in the Southern United States. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in particular, largely dismantled the system of Jim Crow laws that had enforced legal (or de jure) segregation in the South since the end of the Reconstruction Era. During this period, Republican politicians such as Presidential candidate Richard Nixon worked to attract southern white conservative voters, most of whom had traditionally supported the Democratic Party, to the Republican Party,[4] and Senator Barry Goldwater won the five formerly Confederate states of the Deep South (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina) in the 1964 presidential election. In the 1968 presidential campaign, Nixon won Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee, all former Confederate states, contributing to the electoral realignment that saw many white, southern voters shift allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party during this period.

    In academia, the term “southern strategy” refers primarily to “top down” narratives of the political realignment of the south, which suggest that Republican leaders consciously appealed to many white southerners’ racial resentments in order to gain their support.[5] This top-down narrative of the southern strategy is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed southern politics following the civil rights era.[6][7] This view has been questioned by historians such as Matthew Lassiter, Kevin M. Kruse and Joseph Crespino, who have presented an alternative, “bottom up” narrative, which Lassiter has called the “suburban strategy.” This narrative recognizes the centrality of racial backlash to the political realignment of the South,[8] but suggests that this backlash took the form of a defense of de facto segregation in the suburbs, rather than overt resistance to racial integration, and that the story of this backlash is a national, rather than a strictly southern one.[9][10][11][12]

    The perception that the Republican Party had served as the “vehicle of white supremacy in the South,” particularly during the Goldwater campaign and the presidential elections of 1968 and 1972, has made it difficult for the Republican Party to win the support of black voters in the South in later years.[4] In 2005, Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman formally apologized to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a national civil rights organization, for exploiting racial polarization to win elections and ignoring the black vote.[13][14]

  7. 1mime says:

    A most certain good bye to you sir. You don’t belong in this nice group of people. We actually speak in complete sentences, with respect and without profanity. Imagine what that might be like. If you can. But do depart. You are not welcome at this nice blog.

  8. Why aren’t you running for president???

  9. […] overhaul of white supremacy. And there’s a lot to this- as Chris Ladd (GOPLifer) has demonstrated time and time again, the GOP after the Southern Strategy received an influx of racist Dixiecrats and became a white […]

  10. Mike Hager says:

    Well said indeed, sir. I am a liberal democrat and I contend that there are many moderate parts of the republican platform that warrant serious discussion. However, as long as the litmus test applied by republicans is the most extreme far-right social policies imaginable, nothing else they have to say is of any importance. The nonsense has to be wiped away first and a republicans must begin trying to adhere to some standard of fact and reason rather then ideological purity.

    • terry says:

      Lets all vote for Killary and lets really listen to our Black Brothers who yell kill cops and all that vile evil shit. I will vote for SATAN himself before that Bitch. She doesn’t worry about the knockout game or walking alone down a public sidewalk. She doesn’t worry about taking the wrong exit and getting killed. She sure doesn’t worry about being an Ambassador to some hostile country with no back up AT ALL!
      You can keep your mafia organization known as the DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Why don’t you move into the hood and fix that real quick and then Fix the Islamic terrorists whose only mantra is death to America. Only a fool would bring hoards of Muslims into this country! A FOOL! I am sorry that their way of life FAILED but they chose their life.
      If we had kissed HITLERS ASS like the democratic party does all our enemies we would be gone already. I will say this for you though you are putting up the best fight I have seen to totally destroy America and make it as uninhabitable as far as the working class goes. If you can’t afford protection you wont be able to own anything because it will only be destroyed. Their will be no way of making it in America if your family was born and reared here.
      My great grandfather, grandfather and my father fought and died for nothing in the end.
      I’m sorry I am not politically correct OH THE SHAME! Have a nice America Hillary.

  11. John Lax says:

    Informative article. Would have been better if it didn’t have an underlying hatred.

  12. briandrush says:

    Just a nitpick or two, Lifer, on an otherwise excellent article.

    “Democrats harbored labor socialists like Eugene Debs and religious conservatives like William Jennings Bryan”

    Eugene Debs wasn’t a Democrat. He was the leader of the Socialist Party. I also don’t think I would call WJ Bryan a religious conservative. That impression may arise from the Scopes trial, but he was the champion of a lot of progressive causes before that incident.

    I’m also not sure I’d consider Herbert Hoover a conservative, but that’s a complete nitpick since the party included Calvin Coolidge as well, and about him there’s no reasonable doubt. You’re quite right that the GOP was the Hamiltonian, industrial capitalist party from the beginning, and one can see that in both its progressive and its conservative wings. Progressive Republicans like T. Roosevelt leaned in a socialist direction; recall that in Marxist theory, socialism emerges from capitalism and can’t pre-exist capitalism, so advocating socialist policies is perfectly understandable from the capitalist party; one could not, on the other hand, expect such policies from the feudalist party, which is what the Democrats used to be and what the Republicans are, alas, becoming today.

    “Taking advantage of that vacuum, Southern conservatives built the rough equivalent of a Neo-Confederate third-party beneath the national Republican brand.”

    They had done the same thing before under the Democratic brand. Before the Civil War, they had a dominant position in national politics (the notorious “slave power” operated through the Democratic Party). After the war, with slavery ended and capitalism unleashed, the Democrats lost a lot of influence outside the South. From 1860 until the sea change election of 1932, Democrats won just four presidential elections and shouldn’t have won two of them. What you”re calling the Blue Wall used to be a Red Wall.

    The Democrats availed themselves of an opportunity in the Great Depression and built a coalition not unlike the Reagan coalition in its tensions and for the same reason: because it included the racist element. Beginning in 1948, the Democrats resolved these tensions by abandoning the white Southern vote. Snapping up that vote was a terrible mistake on the part of Republicans.

    A healthy political order involves an argument between liberals and conservatives, as you’ve described conservatives elsewhere in this blog, all in a capitalist/socialist context, feudalists need not apply. The only way we’re going to see that via the two parties is for both of them to abandon the white racist vote. So far, we’ve never managed that, but as the demographic declines, as the South urbanizes, maybe it will dwindle in political importance to the point where pandering to it won’t be so tempting.

    • terry says:

      Thanks for the history lesson. Now how do we fix this. Somebody, Anybody sound off with a plan. I hear all this political mumbo jumbo but I got that in college. We have so called peaceful marchers blocking highways so that sick kids can’t get to Lebonner and no one made them break it off. Why is that?
      I’ll tell you why.Tthese people are not peaceful and they know every one is afraid to offend them, they have no problem destroying everything in their path if anyone even suggests they act civilized and we are afraid to do anything. if someone doesn’t stop them they will be the end of America.
      Did anyone see what the police were subjected to by these BLM terrorists. In their so called peaceful marches. Has anyone checked out the you tube videos of these same peaceful people or checked their police records?
      I don’t need self gratifying shows of political theory and knowledge I need some of you geniuses to tell me how you are going to fix it!
      Maybe the idea is to let a bunch of Muslim terrorists in the country or maybe totally open our boarders to everyone will that fix it!

  13. EJK says:

    The author’s type of Republicans never won a national election. Lowell Wicker, Chuck Percy never made the presidency. They were defeated by Dems who ran to their right.

    • briandrush says:

      Here is a list of the author’s type of Republican who won national elections:

      Abraham Lincoln
      Ulysses S. Grant
      Rutherford B. Hayes
      James A. Garfield
      Chester A. Arthur
      Benjamin Harrison
      William McKinley
      Theodore Roosevelt
      William H. Taft
      Warren G. Harding
      Calvin Coolidge
      Herbert Hoover
      Dwight D. Eisenhower
      Richard M. Nixon

      One could arguably add Ronald Reagan to the list, but as that’s open to question I’ll leave him off. It’s still a long list.

  14. csarneson says:

    First of all I love this article as a history lesson. As a former Reagan republican this is very somber and depressing.

    What you don’t seem to grasp is that you have lost. You have been kicked out of your own party by the wing nuts. Now you are left clinging to the past with no strategy or likelihood of a better future.

    Isn’t it better then to learn from the past but stop frantically clinging to it and set on a path forward? For me it means that I am now labeled as a democrat even if the term still repulsed me.

    • csarneson says:

      I re-read my post and it sounds condescending. Sorry about that.

      Still you sound like a Baltimore Colts fan who still believes after 20 years that your team might come back. They treated you like garbage and left you. Now get over it and either move to Indianapolis or become a Ravens fan.

    • EJK says:

      5 of the last 5 GOP presidential nominees were to the left of Reagan.

  15. Smeagel4T says:

    From an educated independent, I congratulate you on the excellent and honest write-up. However, I believe your write-up overlooks one key element moving into the future. The capture of both political parties, but by a wider margin the Republican Party, by the crony capitalists.

    Thus we have situations in which somebody like McConnell holds a press conference following the Citizens United farce in which McConnell says “disclosure laws will make it all okay” — while at the SAME TIME he’s organizing the filibuster against any disclosure laws. In other words, the GOP power structure is pursuing power, not responsible governance.

    The “game” is now about the “business” of politics — as in who gets to rake in the bucks by doing who’s bidding. Precisely the kind of situation Adam Smith warned against when he said all policies presented by the capitalist class should be viewed with extreme skepticism.

    And no, I’m not intending to be partisan about this. I only focused on the GOP because the article talks about reversing course for the GOP. Crony capitalism has also gone to far toward influencing the Democratic Party. However crony capitalism finds a far easier ear to manipulate in the GOP because of the cozier relationship between the GOP and the capitalist class.

  16. Mike says:

    I was raised in Michigan. totally Republicanville where I am from. voted for them my whole life until 2012. I think when I started getting called a Libtard and a RINO simply because I think mandatory background checks on all gun sales is a good thing or that something had to be done about the healthcare delivery system in this country and that the ACA was better than the nothing the GOP seems to be in favor of. I gave up on them for now.

  17. IAdmitIAmCrazy says:

    Kudos for setting the record straight on the history of the Republican Party! There is, in principle, nothing wrong to adhere to the nostalgia of a (mostly idealized) agrarian society or to conservatives social values. But what is wrong is to rewrite history of the Republican Party Soviet style in order to ban anyone thinking differently as being a RINO and in consequence, basically un-American. It would seem to me that people doing this do not sufficiently believe in their own political concepts, and therefore shroud them in an embellished history.
    Since the political process in a democracy in the end requires 0-1 decisions, one needs to hold together ideologically diverse political factions in order to marshall majorities. Therefore, the temptation is apparently overwhelming to paper over those differences, remain mushy on purpose so as to allow people to project their own aspirations onto politicians (both Reagan and Obama come to mind, for example). Even the overarching principle of the free market, so ably described here, is not enough to marshall such majorities. Instead, history – rewritten, if need be – is (ab)used to produce the unifying force.

  18. Creigh says:

    Restoring the party’s credibility…will require a few individuals to step out of line and risk precious political capital…

    A few good thumpings at the polls will probably be required first.

    Good article, BTW.

  19. Tyrinel-Deucalion says:

    As a student of history, particularly American political history, this is a great, brief history of the GOP, very honest and refreshing. I especially liked the part where you connect the GOP to its roots in Hamiltonian Federalism and the Democratic Party’s roots in Jefferson. The idea that Civil Rights and the Cold War were catalysts for ideological change in the GOP is spot on and it’s effects on the GOP are still very apparent in U.S. politics to this day.

    In my opinion, the GOP will either have to revive its Hamiltonian roots and re-brand as it has done before (from Federalists to Whigs to GOP) or let the racist and segregationist strands live on through it in the guise of staunch, libertarian and capitalist rhetoric. I believe the GOP, whether it continues in the future to be called Republican or not, must abandon these reactionary and now-apparent anti-American ideals as the Democratic Party did or it will disappear completely. I don’t imply that its conservative or pro-capitalist ideals should also be abandoned, no. It is the party of Hamilton, Clay, and Lincoln, not the party of radical right-wing demagogues. History shows us that policies change and opinions come and go, but the GOP must stand by its founding principles and ideals with equally-valued reason and conviction, for the benefit of all the People of the United States.

    The GOP, alongside the Democratic Party, is a living testament to history of what America believes in and stands for. If the GOP continues to allow its values to be bastardized by right-wing extremists and racists, then we, GOP, Democrats, and Americans of all backgrounds and opinions, lose a piece of our American identity and heritage. It is the collective responsibility of the American People to save it, but only if the GOP wants to be preserved for future generations to come. America is ultimately a two-party democracy, and if the Hamiltonian “continuity” of Federalists-Whigs-Republicans disappears, then so have our long-held democratic traditions of fruitful debate and cooperative bipartisanship. The extremists bring about divisions and gridlock, but a restored and preserved Hamiltonian GOP working alongside a cooperative and rational Democratic Party, can expel extremism and bigotry and put America back on the “right” track towards “a more perfect Union.”

    May that day speedily arrive!

    P.S.: If anything is taken out of context or found to be incorrect, irrelevant, or offensive, please forgive your fellow American for that. I am only exercising my constitutional freedoms to the best of my human ability and understanding, so please reasonably contribute to this rather than irrationally disparaging it. Thank you.

    • Alan G says:

      “If the GOP continues to allow its values to be bastardized by right-wing extremists and racists, then we, GOP, Democrats, and Americans of all backgrounds and opinions, lose a piece of our American identity and heritage.” Very astute point. Except the tense is wrong. We have LOST a piece of our American identity and heritage. Unfortunately the best that sane Republicans can now hope to do is join the Democrats and try to keep them as rational or centrist as possible. Not ideal, but better than clinging to a fantasy of a return to the GOP of Teddy Roosevelt or even Eisenhower.

    • R says:

      Republicans are off the deep end. The Democrats are all ready rational and would like some cooperation on acknowledging mutually available facts, is all, like the existence of global warming, and that national regulations on industry are as necessary to a functional society as traffic lights are to traffic flow in New York City. Baby steps like that. You got racists in your midst? Democrats have said so, that it’s a problem the Republican Party has. You need to deal with them. All the Democratic Party can do is not accept racist views. That’s it. That’s the sum total of the Democratic Party’s responsibility towards the issue as it relates to the Republican Party. And, getting rid of those views is all the Republican Party needs to do. All that talk about food stamps over the years, as if eating is a crime. Constant association with welfare and crime. Things like that. That’s the sort of thing you need to get rid of, which the Republicans just might do now, because it doesn’t work any more, kind of like German generals, all for the war until they started losing. Some policy helping people out who aren’t billionaires, might be helpful to many millions of people, but that’s asking too much from Republicans right now. Baby steps.

      When you require “rational” Democrats who are “cooperative” with the ridiculous no-no nosies of the Republican Party, in order to clean up the Republican Party, you’re really struggling to find something to lay on the Democratic Party, for problems unique to the Republican Party. The Democratic Party will simply win elections, including, soon enough, down ballots all the way, if the Republican Party does not deal with its unique problems.

      Hamiltonian GOP working alongside a cooperative and rational Democratic Party, can expel extremism and bigotry and put America back on the “right” track towards “a more perfect Union.”

  20. T Tyler says:

    Your article is a complete and utter fraud.

    • Dc says:

      What is wrong with you? Do you not believe history. Just another who wants to rewrite history the way they wished it would have happened, instead of what really happened. So sorry for your ignorance.

  21. DanMan says:

    oh come on! you know they are nothing more that Dixie-crats and everything else is rubbish, all the dems know this

  22. bubbabobcat says:

    Nice synopsis of the roots and history of the Republican Party Chris.

    “The Republican Party was not so much about less government or more government.”

    Well we can thank Ronald Reagan for starting that road to Republican ruin. I believe, he more than any other modern Republican is responsible for the current schism and sorry state of the party. He obviously talked a good game (not surprising for an actor) but I don’t get how he is lionized as a great “leader”. More of a Forrest Gump type accidental witness and participant in monumental turns in history.

    I’ve said this before but I believe Mikhail Gorbachev was the real visionary in recognizing the failure of Communism and actively ending it. Reagan inadvertently hastened it by accelerating the arms race and spending like a drunken sailor on useless military toys (like the obsolete when built B-1 bomber, refurbishing WWII era battleships, and unrealistic “Star Wars” SDI) and driving the US economy into the worst recession since the Depression and highest budget deficit ever at that time. Again, Gorbachev was the visionary in refusing to bankrupt his own country in a knee jerk tit for tat arms race and thankfully also had the cooler head in NOT allowing Reagan to drag us into a MAD (Mutually Assured Destructive) nuclear World War III.

    Lionized for being an accidental tourist in history. And destroying the Republican Party as an equally reasonable and rational counterpart to the Democratic Party in what is essence a political duopoly.

    • EJK says:

      Your sense of history is a total failure. Reagan created the worst recession since the great depression??? The 1980-82 recession was created by the Fed’s 1979 policy of targeting the money supply, which lead to a sharp increase in interest rates.Tax cuts in 1981, which dont take effect until 1983, didnt cause a recession.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        EJK, perhaps you should reflect on YOUR warped sense of history devoid of FACTS.

        The Reagan tax cuts took effect on October 1, 1981, less than 2 months after it was signed into law. The full impact was phased in over 3 years and the cuts were not in suspended animation for 2 years as you erroneously stated.

        “The Administration bill calls for a 5 percent reduction of withholding taxes on Oct. 1, a further cut of 10 percent on July 1, 1982 and a second drop of 10 percent on July 1, 1983.”


        You lack credibility when you flame without even performing a cursory Google search.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        “The United States was experiencing its worst recession since the Depression, with conditions frighteningly reminiscent of those 50 years earlier. By November 1982, unemployment reached, nine million, the highest rate since the Depression; 17,000 businesses failed, the second highest number since 1933; farmers lost their land; and many sick, elderly, and poor became homeless.

        The country lived through the recession for a full year before Reagan finally admitted publicly that the economy was in trouble. His budget cuts, which hurt the poor, and his tax cuts, which favored the rich, combined with the hardships of a recession, spawned the belief that Reagan was insensitive to his people’s needs.”


        Yes, Reagan did create the worst recession since the Great Depression.

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