Ronald Reagan Would Be RINO To Some In Today's GOP

A woman poses beside a Ronald Reagan statue outside the U.S. embassy in London, Monday, July 4, 2011.. i i

A woman poses beside a Ronald Reagan statue outside the U.S. embassy in London, Monday, July 4, 2011.. Matt Dunham/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Matt Dunham/AP
A woman poses beside a Ronald Reagan statue outside the U.S. embassy in London, Monday, July 4, 2011..

A woman poses beside a Ronald Reagan statue outside the U.S. embassy in London, Monday, July 4, 2011..

Matt Dunham/AP

It's a safe bet that President Ronald Reagan's name is likely to be invoked frequently at Wednesday's Republican presidential candidates' debate because of the incantatory power of his name in conservative circles.

Between all those invocations and the debate's venue, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA., the 40th president's influence will loom large, like the airliner that served as his Air Force One that will serve as a backdrop.

So it's always worth noting the irony, as Los Angeles Times political writer Mark Barabak does, and he's not the first certainly, that Reagan, who raised taxes and worked with Democrats, would probably be seen as not sufficiently Reaganesque enough for the latter-day version of his own party. An excerpt:

At bottom, Reagan was a pragmatist, willing, when necessary, to cut a deal and compromise.

"He had a strong set of core values and operated off of those," said Stuart Spencer, a GOP strategist who stood by Reagan's side for virtually his entire political career, starting with his first run for governor. "But when push came to shove, he did various things he didn't like doing, because he knew it was in the best interests of the state or country at the time."

Spencer, with characteristic bluntness, dismissed the current vogue of Reagan revisionism: "A lot of those people running out there don't really understand what he did. It's just a matter of attaching themselves to a winner."

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