Published On: Sat, Nov 16th, 2013

How conservative was Ronald Reagan? ‘Not very’ says one scholar

From Michael Medved to Hugh Hewitt to the whole Fox News clan, plus unlikely bedfellows like Chris Matthews, former President Ronald Reagan is held on a pedestal as what conservatism is supposed to be.

Ronald ReaganTo countless Republican politicians from all levels of government who, at least in words, some in deeds, Reagan is the man and they try to emulate the 40th President.

Several years ago, I published a blog post on the site, The Desk of Brian, and have since put it here, where I looked at some of the numbers related to the Reagan 8 years and was clearly not impressed.

I asked, “How did he become such a conservative icon?” The media? The Reagan spin machine?

During the past week I had the opportunity to ask Senior Fellow of the Independent Institute, Dr. Ivan Eland, “How conservative was Ronald Reagan?” The interview aired on the Saturday, Nov.16  Dispatch Radio show. (Listen below).

I asked Eland specifically about President Reagan concerning entitlements, taxes, regulation and limited government.

We also delved into Reagan’s foreign policy, the Cold War and Iran Contra.

Not quite the “conservative” picture presented on cable news and conservative talk radio day in and day out.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

Displaying 9 Comments
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  1. Ted Cruz: Peeling back the layers of a politician - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Is Cruz the Reagan of this time? He may be and that’s not exactly a great complement ans Mr Reagan sounded very, very small government conservative; however, we got something else HERE and HERE […]

  2. Why I can’t vote for Rick Perry - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is frequently praised for his work on the border with Mexico and his pro-10th Amendment stance and small government rhetoric (more than 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan also gave a lot of small government rhetoric and didn’t deliver). […]

  3. Rand Paul was correct on his Carter-Reagan comments - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] LISTEN: How conservative was Ronald Reagan? ‘Not very’ says one scholar […]

  4. Libertarians slam the name ‘Paul’ - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] First a little history. I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984 primarily because I was young, in the military and a single-issue voter and our pay went up appreciably. I later discovered that Mr. Reagan spoke a pretty good game; however, was just another big government politician and wrote about it -see HERE and HERE […]

  5. Lindsey Graham, a divided South Carolina and the Mike Huckabee endorsement - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] to South Carolina. And everyone appreciates good humor, good manners and a positive outlook. Ronald Reagan set the standard; Lindsey Graham lives […]

  6. My favorite President: Warren G. Harding - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Eric Bolling, who tries to talk the small government game these days, selected the predictable Republican and Fox News icon, Ronald Reagan. I personally could not even consider Reagan as if you look closely (or not so closely at his 8 year record in office), is not all that small government or conservative. […]

  7. Republican strategist, Ford O’Connell advise the GOP to ‘End the Reagan fetish’ - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Related story: How conservative was Ronald Reagan? ‘Not very’ says one scholar […]

  8. On the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s Assassination, Let’s Examine His True Legacy - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Related story: How conservative was Ronald Reagan? ‘Not very’ says one scholar […]

  9. John Lofton says:

    FORGET, PLEASE, modern “conservatism.” It has been a failure because it has been, operationally, de facto, Godless. In the political/civil government realm it has ignored Christ and what Scripture says about the role and purpose of civil government. Thus, it failed. Such secular conservatism will not defeat secular liberalism because to God they are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and thus predestined to failure. As Stonewall Jackson’s Chief of Staff R.L. Dabney said of such a humanistic belief more than 100 years ago:

    ”[Secular conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.


“American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth.”

    In any event, “politics,” for the most part today, is whoring after false gods. It will not save us. Our country is turning into Hell because the church in America has forgotten God (Psalm 9:17) and refuses to kiss His Son (Psalm 2.) See, please, 2 Chronicles 7:14ff for the way to get our land healed.

    John Lofton, Recovering Republican
    Dir., The God And Government Project
    Active Facebook Wall
    [email protected]

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