Whenever you have guests over for dinner, you always neaten up the place, clean areas you never clean regularly, make the house smell nice, etc. You do this not because you are some uber-mensch that just does these type of things for others, you do it to represent yourself to others in a positive light. However we all know it is not a fair representation of who you are; we all know you live a disgusting slob and right after the dinner you are going let the dishes rot in the sink for a week. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but let’s not pretend this is ‘you’.
This is exactly what the GOP does when they constantly claim they are the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
First off, anyone who really thinks Lincoln is a reasonable paragon for the GOP is sadly mistaken. Other than the obvious fact that the Republican Party is a homogeneous as my milk (remember, Lincoln was the one against slavery), here are some other examples:
Conservatives by definition want minimal change and tend to lobby for status quo. Eh, Lincoln didn’t adhere to that.
Conservatives prefer smaller government and less government interaction. Strike two.
The classic core philosophical divide between Republicans and Democrats revolve around State vs Federal rights. Republicans argue for State rights, Democrats want a stronger Federal influence. I would say the political leader during a Civil War where you are fighting against the idea of state-by-state slavery laws favors a stronger Federal government.
Regardless of the labels back in the 1860’s about who is ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’, it is fair to say those labels have changed. This is the GOP cleaning up the house before independent voters go to the ballot booth.
Now about Reagan…
He obviously is far more of a conventional modern-day conservative. I mean anyone who runs the economy into the ground for military purposes and defends the rich at any cost is a modern-day GOP legacy. But what makes Reagan all the better is the fact he was exhibiting symptoms Alzheimer’s as early as 1983 (maybe early but our research friends at Arizona St aren’t willing to commit to an earlier time). I mean just watch that Mondale/Reagan debate in ‘84. Holy cow! This performance makes Admiral Stockdale look like Henry Clay. And obviously we cannot forget ye olde Iran-Contra stuff. I mean how could he not know what was going? Did he actually forget all he said he forgot? Well, if your hippocampus is as shriveled as George Costanza’s penis after swimming, he probably did forget.
I’m so tired of the ‘party of Lincoln and Reagan’ rhetoric that permeates every GOP mouthpiece. It’s played out, lame, and not even completely accurate. Let’s go with a more fitting representation of the GOP: Nixon or Grant? OK, not real fair (selection bias works both ways). Let’s settle on Rutherford B. Hayes and call it a day.