How He Transformed the GOP

By Linda Feldmann and Liz Marlantes writers of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, June 7, 2004 | Go to article overview

How He Transformed the GOP


Linda Feldmann and Liz Marlantes writers of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Though Ronald Reagan served as president for eight years, 1981 to 1989, his impact on the nation's politics extends to this day.

To many Americans, he gave political conservatism an attractive face, converting an entire wing of the Democratic Party to Republicanism, which in turn has left the country with a sharply and evenly split electorate. In economics, he left an ideology that preached lower taxes, smaller government, and less regulation, but a reality that also meant skyrocketing deficits.

For some Americans, the Reagan years were a time of tremendous prosperity, of government "getting out of the way" and allowing market forces to flourish. For the less fortunate, the Reagan era was a time of hard knocks.

Most historians see Reagan's global legacy as a hastening of the end of the cold war: an expensive arms race with the Soviet Union that ran America's adversary into the ground, leading to the breakup of the Soviet behemoth and the entire communist bloc, leaving the United States the sole global superpower.

"The irony is he spoke of government as a problem, not a solution, but what he did was restore a kind of faith in government," says historian Robert Dallek.

Reagan's ascent to the corridors of national power, after his years as a Hollywood actor and governor of California, got its start in the presidential candidacy of Barry Goldwater, a conservative Republican who lost badly in the election of 1964. That failed campaign, to which Reagan lent his rhetorical skill and genial personality, allowed him key moments in the national spotlight with a conservatism that the nation wasn't ready for at the time. By 1980, however, America was, after Vietnam, Watergate, the failed Ford presidency, and the Carter years of "malaise" and Iranian hostage crisis.

It was probably Reagan's entire persona that sold conservatism, a term that didn't need to be embellished with "compassionate" until the second George Bush sought the presidency. To this day, says Professor Dallek, Reagan "has a continuing hold on the public's imagination.... Reagan was able to rekindle hope in the country and reestablish a positive spirit."

By the time Reagan left office, he was the first American president in nearly 30 years to have completed two terms. And with Democrat Bill Clinton, the next two-term president, there were echoes of Reagan's style and even doctrine. If Reagan was the Great Communicator, then Clinton was his heir. When Clinton uttered the line, "The era of big government is over," he was borrowing directly from Reagan.

In more direct ways, the current President Bush is seen as the heir to the Reagan mantle. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

How He Transformed the GOP
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.