So when you see folks with iconic Reagan buttons, or, like Sarah Palin, playng the revisionist Reagan card against taxes and deficits, shouldn't we remind them that it betrays the annals. He did, indeed, raise taxes, again and again (11 times!), and set a record for increased national debt ($3 trillion) at that moment with budgets that soared past the total of all previous presidents when the Democratic Congress had sought less.
As the New York Times David Leonhardt pointed out: "Unemployment jumped to 10.8 pct. after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level."
Ah, abortion? He arrived with a pro-life reputation. Eight years later, he left after giving it only mild lip service. For this piece, we won't even examine the lawlessness within his first team in the Iran-Contra scandal and other ugly matters. Scandals? Do the names Oliver North, Caspar Weinberger, Richard Secord and James Watt - among many other culprits - mean anything to the record today.?
There was myth attached to Reagan before he turned to politics. As an Air Force captain he never left the states during WW11 and spent much of his time in California making war movies. Still he was hailed as a national hero and when he came to Hollywood the local paper declared that "Reagan Returns!" (From where?) The Hollywood glow remains today for everything else.