As Sunday’s centennial of President Reagan’s birthday nears, an even louder chorus of conservative admirers is singing his praises. But as Jacob Heilbrunn noted, Reagan’s actual record on taxes, spending, deficits, immigration, abortion and foreign policy often doesn’t match the mythology of him as “the model of Republican, and even ‘tea party,’ virtue.” In fact, compared with the new standards of conservatism, Reagan would appear moderate. “Despite venerating Reagan, the party has moved to the right of him, suggesting that the federal government should be kneecapped and that a unilateralist, militaristic foreign policy would fulfill Reagan’s legacy,” Heilbrunn wrote. In other words, Reagan “couldn’t be counted among contemporary Reaganites.”
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