The Left’s New Twist on “Reagan Democrats”

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Among the most preposterous claims being made on MSNBC about the fight over public sector unions in Wisconsin is that Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans are losing “Reagan Democrats” by taking on government employees.

The theory seems to have been concocted by Howard Fineman, editor at The Huffington Post, who said, back in February on Lawrence O’Donnell’s “The Last Word,” that the “whole idea of a Reagan Democrat” was that union families were voting for Reagan. But today, according to Fineman, they are shifting against Republicans because of Walker’s tough line on government unions. “That’s got to scare Republican strategists nationally,” he said.

Private sector unions are as similar to public sector unions as they are to gay civil unions.

But again on “Hardball,” Fineman said that while Ronald Reagan appealed to union members, their “sons and daughters” were “having second thoughts.”

This could be true — but only if the sons and daughters of construction workers and miners, clinging to their guns and religion, grew up to be public school teachers, clinging to Earth Day and Kwanzaa.

About a month later, The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne was pitching the Reagan-Democrats-Come-Home canard as his own fresh insight in his column and on “The Ed Show,” where he said that the Obama White House was no longer worried about losing the Midwest because “former Reagan Democrats” are saying, “This is not our politics.”

Yes, who can ever forget the way government workers idolized Ronald Reagan?

In his first year in office, Reagan gave striking air traffic controllers 48 hours to return to their jobs or they’d be fired. He hired permanent replacements and left thousands of illegally striking government workers jobless, banned from ever returning to their government jobs — until President Clinton allowed them to be rehired.

(And they’ve done a terrific job since then, haven’t th– HEY! WAKE UP!)

In Reagan’s second year in office, not only he, but his vice president and education secretary all declined invitations to speak at the public school teacher extravaganza, the National Education Association’s 120th annual convention.

In his third year in office, The Washington Post reported that “few members of government employee unions plan to vote next year for Ronald Reagan.”

As Howard Fineman suggests, Republicans must have been scared of how that might play out in the 1984 election. Still somehow, Reagan managed to win the largest electoral landslide in U.S. history, despite government workers being overwhelmingly, implacably opposed to him.

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  • bob maram

    i was one of those reagan democrats and i remain proud to be a part of that great movement. i hope that the republican party in 2012 chooses a responsible candidate in the tradition of ronald reagan and not an extremist so that i can support a republican ticket again. bob maram

    • peteywheatstraw

      hey bob, and the other option would be?…4 more years? get real. the extremists are constitutionalists, it's time t reset. the whole dem party are socialists.

      • bob maram

        if sarah palin is the best of the lot, considering the low level of the competition i would recall the wit of the late great william f. buckley and say that that is like celebrating the tallest building in topeka. bob maram

      • Turner Ashby

        Open Primaries to ensure neither party nominates a whack job! Yes libtards and socialists.. but pro-life "Constitutionalist" are just as naive and stupid.. unfortunatly for the GOP, the bell curve left siders are out breeding the rest and excelerating that process with illegal alien "voting rights" .

    • davarino

      So you are saying the current candidates for president are right of Reagan? Hehehehe thats funny

  • Supreme_Galooty

    When the Democrat Party seemed to actually be the party of the "little guy," many were content (in their apathy) to call themselves "Democrats." The worm has turned since those heady days after WWII and it has now become obvious that the Democrat Party is most surely NOT the party of the "little guy." Neither are they the party of the blacks. They are the party of trial lawyers, school teachers great and small, perfessers, and union thugs. They make it their business to increase costs for ejamakashun at every level, to raise costs of every single product produced and sold in the USA, to achieve the unachievable egalitarian ideal not by raising up the downtrodden, but by beating down the successful.

  • Supreme_Galooty

    Does that view make me a Republican? Hardly. The Republican Party IS, however, undergoing a significant battle for its identity, for its very soul. If the so-called Tea Party people have their way, the Republican Party will become the party of Americanist Common Sense and Decency. If they are successful in driving out the traditional country club, ruling class poseurs who currently have a partial strangle hold on the party, this Galooty may gallumph right on over to the nearest precinct committee meeting.

  • Truthteller

    Well, for the first time Coulter is partially right, as she outlines a few of the crimes of the Reagan administration. Deeply ironic that Republicans, who putatively push for laissez faire, would have sided with Reagan's use of government thugs against hard-working Americans.

    • Steeloak

      Hey Lierepeater,I was around back then when Reagan fired the PATCO idiots. They bet he wouldn't have the guts to call their bluff & fire them…they bet wrong and deserved everything that happened to them. I didn't know Clinton made it possible to re-hire them, shame on him. The dirty deeds done by him are still trickling out. Third worst president in my lifetime, right after Obama & Carter.

      • Truthteller

        So your're a Republican who actually AGREES with heavy govt intervention? So what else is new? Republicans (like those in Wisconsin) are all for laissez faire until it benefits them to have the military arm of the state put into place.

        • Steeloak

          Don't know where you got that idea. I stand for the rule of law. Federal employees do not have a right to strike. I would argue that no government employees should be alowed to strike, but I digress. Patco went out on strike illegally, Reagan told them to go back to work or else, they refused, he fired them. End of story. They were wrong, they broke the law, Reagan did the right thing. It was not heavy government intervention, it was enforcing a reasonable law.

  • Maxie

    Like most libby's you could use a crash course in economics and another in reading comprehension. Lowering taxes puts the earner's money in his own pocket to spend. That rev's up the economy. Giving that money to the political bureaucracy means much of it gets wasted in the non-productive friction of government inneficiency. The government PRODUCES nothing especially not jobs.
    As to the Tea Party, their pitch is to make the Gov stop bankrupting the country by running-up unserviceable debt which, if not stopped, will lead eventually to crippling inflation.

    • Truthteller

      I know all about Economics. Sure, everybody likes lower taxes. And I agree that lower taxes for some is a good, even great, thing that can jumpstart the economy (I never said otherwise, bro). But if you look at the recent bilateral committee which looked at Ryan's so-called deficit reduction plan, you would see it won't make a dent in the deficit in a decade. And in terms of taxes, corporate taxes and individual taxes are opposite sides of the coin. I repeat, the gov't will get its money (both Repubs and Dems want your taxes), and if you lower corporate (which we have, DRAMATICALLY, in the past thirty years, with NO BENEFIT FOR THE DECLINING MIDDLE CLASS), then taxes for those who pay them (unlike your buddies at GE, EXXON, etc) will have to go up. In terms of govt being non-productive, talk to your buddies in the military-industrial black hole. Finally, the Tea Party isn't even serious: A RECENT POLL SAYS 2/3 OF THEIR MEMBERS DON'T WANT ANY CHANGES TO MEDICAIRE OR S.S.

    • Dennis X

      If thats the case then what happen under bush, he lower taxes?

  • Steve Chavez

    Reagan cried, "We need to stop the Communists before they cross the Rio Grande." The reason was that the Soviet KGB and the Cuban DGI were the leaders of taking over Central America and eventually Mexico. But I wrote him back and said, "They're already here" meaning the COMMUNIST PARTY USA that was helping the KGB and DGI with their front groups set up at universities. Google "Obama Sundial 1983." This is an article written by Obama while at Columbia on COMMUNIST-FRONT GROUPS that he supported. MORE IMPORTANTLY, Obama "sought out Marxist professors" and this article proves he also sought out Marxist students! THESE STUDENTS OF THE 80'S KGB/CPUSA, ARE THE LEADERS TODAY! American Communists were the most bitter of all Communists when their beloved Soviet Union fell! THEY SEEK REVENGE! When the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain fell, we cheered, they cried. When the Twins fell, we cried, they cheered! Now they, and the MSM, are again admiring KGB PUTIN by showing him shirtless, judo throwing, horseback riding, playing the piano, and a nice guy on Larry King! Now a photo of Medvedev dancing and all in attempt to show that Communists are the Big Bad Wolf afterall! But the word "Communist" is a bad word on par with the N-word so now they are using "Socialist" which is more PC! REAGAN is spinning in his grave saying "Steve Chavez, you're right! STOP THEM!"