Rejecting The Footsoldiers

by digby

Sirota catches today's attempt to frame an impending election of a Democratic government as a victory for Republican philosophy:

The Village freakout continues, this time in the form of Peter Wehner's op-ed in the Washington Post today. With most Republican candidates explicitly running on a platform promising a revival of Reagan conservatism and berating the supposed "socialism" of Democrats, this former Bush hack writes that "it is a mistake to assume that significant GOP losses, should they occur, are a referendum on conservatism."

It's hard to overstate how absurd this is. Let me repeat: In the stretch run of this campaign, the Republican Party has decided to make this an ideological contest between Reagan conservatism and supposed wild-eyed liberalism/socialism - and now, sensing a potentially huge loss, conservatives are now arguing that despite their decision to make this an ideological contest, "an Obama victory would be a partisan, rather than an ideological, win."

Obviously, the Right understands what's really going on in America - and is working to reinterpret that reality.

Having doubled-down on Reaganism, they know that a loss under these circumstances would be not just a momentary electoral set back, but a huge repudiation of conservative ideology, and a huge mandate for progressivism. And so conservatives are already trying to revise history to pretend these last few months of the campaign never happened.

To underline Sirota's point, I would just remind everyone of this:

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Ronald Reagan would look at the issues that are being debated right here and say, one, we're going to win in Iraq, and I'm not going to walk out of Iraq until we win in Iraq.

Ronald Reagan would say lower taxes. Ronald Reagan would say lower spending.

Ronald Reagan would -- is pro-life. He would also say I want to have an amendment to protect marriage.

Ronald Reagan would say, as I do, that Washington is broken. And like Ronald Reagan, I'd go to Washington as an outsider -- not owing favors, not lobbyists on every elbow. I would be able to be the independent outsider that Ronald Reagan was, and he brought change to Washington.

Ronald Reagan would say, yes, let's drill in ANWR. Ronald Reagan would say, no way are we going to have amnesty again. Ronald Reagan saw it, it didn't work. Let's not do it again.

Ronald Reagan would say no to a 50-cent-per-gallon charge on Americans for energy that the rest of the world doesn't have to pay.

Ronald Reagan would have said absolutely no way to McCain- Feingold.

I would be with Ronald Reagan. And this party, it has a choice, what the heart and soul of this party is going to be, and it's going to have to be in the house that Ronald Reagan built.


MCCAIN: Ronald Reagan would not approve of someone who changes their positions depending on what the year is.

Ronald Reagan -- Ronald Reagan came with an unshakable set of principles, and there were many times, like when he had to deploy the (INAUDIBLE) cruise missile to Europe and there were hundreds of thousands of demonstrators against it, he stood with it. Ronald Reagan had a deal in Reykjavik that everybody wanted him to take, but he stuck with his principles.

I think he knows that I stick with my principles. I put my political career on the line because I knew what would happen if we failed in Iraq.

I hope that the experience I had serving as a foot soldier in his revolution would make him proud for me to continue that legacy of sticking to principle and doing what you believe in, no matter what.


PAUL: I supported Ronald Reagan in 1976, and there were only four members of Congress that did. And also in 1980. Ronald Reagan came and campaigned for me in 1978.

I'm not sure exactly what he would do right now, but I do know that he was very sympathetic to the gold standard, and he told me personally that no great nation that went off the gold standard ever remained great. And he was very, very serious about that.

So he had a sound understanding about monetary policy. And for that reason, I would say look to Ronald Reagan's ideas on money because he, too, was concerned about runaway inflation and what it does to a country when you ruin the currency. And that's what's happening today. The dollar is going down and our country is going to be on the ropes if we don't reverse that trend.


The way to stop Iran, [Giuliani] said, was through resolute American leadership facing down the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"He has to look at an American president, and he has to see Ronald Reagan," Giuliani said.

All of the Republicans ran explicitly as the heirs to the legacy of Ronald Reagan, at times to the point of absurdity.

The right is working overtime to frame a Democratic win as a repudiation of Bushism --- which it is. But there can be no doubt that it is also a repudiation of Reaganism. They have been evoking his name like a sacred talisman, making the case that they would adhere to St Ronnie's policies without deviation. If the Republicans lose, it's not because the American people want Reaganism again. If that's what they wanted, they had a bunch of Republicans who said over and over again that they would deliver it to them.

It's pretty clear the American people are tired of conservatism, whether it's Bush conservatism or Reagan conservatism, and that scares the villagers. They are inherent conservatives, guardians of the status quo and protectors of the wealthy elites, even as they style themselves as jes plain folks down at the beauty parlor.

The liberal hippies are coming to their town to trash the place --- and it's not their place. They're already setting up the barricades.