Reagan’s Liberal Legacy

Reagan is often essentialized by both the left and the right for their own purposes because he remains a powerful iconic figure. But as with most politicians, Reagan’s policies are often more nuanced than how they are portrayed in the media or by pundits. For instance, most GOP candidates in 2008 claimed to be a Reaganite, ignorant of the fact (or hoping that their audience was ignorant of the fact) that Reagan signed the 1986 Immigration Reform Act, granting amnesty to the undocumented. Despite some of his other policies that I disagree with, I grew up in the Reagan era and as a youngster I have fond memories of him. When he talked about American values he spoke with a confidence that an expanding nation was a nation that would infect incomers with our values. To Reagan, immigrants were not seen as a problem, but an opportunity. Today’s GOP leadership lacks that confidence in America and, as is often the temptation, are capitalizing on our tough economic times to bait their constituents with it. This is unfortunate, if unsurprising. #nofb

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