June 11, 2004
GuestBlog: By Bill Kraus
Begging to differ
As we say goodbye to Ronald Reagan, the Washington Post and others give too much credit to Reagan for the demise of the moderate middle of the Republican Party. That was largely Nixon's doing.
Nixon gave us the southern strategy which led the Republicans down the road toward theocracy.
He also was responsible for the post-Watergate campaign reforms, which spawned the Political Action Committees and the era of big money in politics. These so-called reforms also had the unintended consequence of neutering the party itself. And, love it or hate it, the party had always been the moderates' route to power.
President Ford's pardon of Nixon (also Nixon-induced), which was great policy and lousy politics (can you imagine the class action suits?) doomed his own re-election chances.
So by the time 1980 came along, the moderates had no alternative to Reagan and no viable party organizational base from which to operate.
While Reagan was always a little too conservative for my tastes, I give him the credit he deserves for bankrupting the soviets, crushing runaway inflation, and restoring our national pride.
I do not give him credit (or, more to point, blame him) for greasing the slide into theocracy. Nixon did that.
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