Reagan and RINOs: The Big Difference

President Reagan, calling on the Soviet leader to "tear down this wall," June 12, 1987

President Reagan, calling on the Soviet leader to “tear down this wall,” June 12, 1987

The claim is often made (to excuse liberal RINOs) that “Reagan wasn’t perfect” and “Reagan couldn’t get elected today” and “Even Reagan did blah blah blah liberal thing.” Liberals are so like undisciplined children who feel they must use the real or perceived shortcomings of others to justify their own bad behavior, rather than seeking to do the right, best thing.

Before we go any further, we would do well to recognize certain truths in our imperfect world. One is that no one is right on everything. Another is that everyone grows and learns, and hopefully abandons bad positions when they learn that they are wrong (I used to be pro-abortion, pro-UN, and some other pro-liberal positions back when I was relying on the “mainstream” media and academia to provide information to me). Yet another is that sometimes you simply must compromise some priorities to gain other (hopefully more important) ones–after you have done everything in your power to achieve the best possible (and don’t negotiate with yourself). And sometimes you just get taken in by putting trust in people who do not deserve to be trusted.

Even beyond all that, there are some critical differences between Reagan and today’s RINOs, and some critical differences between Reagan’s situation and today’s situation, that RINOs and RINO apologists desperately hope you will forget about or won’t realize.

For one thing, Reagan was a true conservative. It showed not only in his throwaway policy statements but in his heartfelt speeches and statements. Even more important, it showed in the policies for which he fought. In comparison, today’s RINOs don’t just compromise or surrender in the face of liberal aggression, many of them actively push for liberal policies. Reagan didn’t talk conservative, then do liberal, then try to BS people into believing that the liberal thing he supported was somehow conservative because he did it.

Another important difference is that for most of his presidency, Ronald Reagan had to use the bully pulpit to fight for conservative policies while opposed by a Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives (where all taxing and spending bills must originate). Even with Leftists firmly in control of the U.S. House and Republicans with a slim majority in the U.S. Senate (and the “Fourth Branch” “mainstream” media peddling anti-Reagan propaganda as hard as they could), Reagan managed to force those anti-American bastards into grudgingly providing the tools necessary to breath new life into a country smothering under decades of socialist garbage. In contrast, today’s RINOs squander not only small opportunities for Republican gains, but gold-plated opportunities (the Bush years when Republicans controlled the White House, House and Senate, yet they spent money like drunken sailors and exploded the size of government…Republicans in South Dakota with a Republican governor and a Republican super-majority in both houses of the legislature, yet they can’t pass a bill dealing with illegal immigration or insisting on responsibility from drug using welfare recipients or expanding Second Amendment rights and instead pave the way for ObamaCare in the state).

Reagan also had to get his message out in the complete absence of a conservative or even objective media. In Reagan’s day, there was no talk radio, there was no Fox News, there was no blogosphere. There was no internet. Yet Reagan still managed to get his message out, by going straight to the people with his speeches and statements, both in and out of the media eye, with a message that resonated with patriotic Americans who understood right from wrong. By contrast, today’s RINOs not only do not make use of conservative or objective media sources, they cower in fear of liberal media and cravenly attempt to appease the “mainstream” media into liking them.

Woodrow Wilcox


He also wasn’t embarrassed by Christian conservatives like today’s RINOs are. He didn’t call Christians who are serious about their God, their Bible and their faith “extremists” and “radicals” and “fundamentalists” and “fringe” and “wackos” and “kooks” and “Taliban” and such as we hear some “Republicans” of today refer to Christians of conviction.

Reagan was a Christian conservative with real, living faith. Reagan understood that all we hold dear in America is due to our Christian heritage, as revealed by his comment:



Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.

Accordingly and contrastingly, he also understood that oppression and the denial of freedom was evil.  He acknowledged our mistakes in this area in the past:

There is sin and evil in the world, and we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might. Our nation, too, has a legacy of evil with which it must deal. The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past.

He also saw it abroad, and didn’t pretend evil could somehow be erased by just “thinking good thoughts” or “understanding” our enemy or “compromising” with evil. No, he recognized that we have a duty to stand firm against evil and denial of freedom:

So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride – the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

No, Ronald Reagan didn’t have to fake it, and he wasn’t ashamed of genuine Christian faith–faith that moves and guides our actions in public and in public policy–like the RINOs of today.

If you want to know more, you can find out all you need to know in “God and Ronald Reagan” and “When Character Was King,” both of which grace my personal library.

pq20130703Liberals (some with “D”s after their name, and some with an “R” after their name) also like to make the ludicrous claim that “Reagan raised taxes.”  Really? When did the U.S. Constitution get amended to grant power to the president to raise taxes?  It didn’t?  Oh. Then they must mean the taxes that liberals passed, the ones Reagan (because his party did not control the U.S. House where all taxing and spending bills originate) was forced sign in order to get the more important agenda items he needed (you know, like ending the Soviet empire, getting the economy moving again, bringing down confiscatory taxes, etc.). They were usually the least egregious kind of taxes as well, i.e. the closing of loopholes and such that put everyone on a more even footing with one another–you know, the American way versus the Marxist way of envy and special favors.

It must be those taxes they’re talking about, the ones which illustrate something today’s Republicans have completely forgotten: how to “compromise” while coming out ahead and not giving away the farm. It would seem that many of them have also forgotten how to fight to advance Republican principles, since too many of today’s “Republicans” seem far more zealous about passing Democrat policies than Republican ones.

We desperately needed to build up our armed forces after they were gutted and neglected by Jimmy Carter and the Democrat congress, and to face an increasingly aggressive Soviet Union that was making incursions on freedom worldwide. Unfortunately, Democrats insisted on being allowed to waste far more billions of dollars on unconstitutional social programs. The only way to stop a liberal from wasting other people’s money is to completely remove power from him, and that was not what we had to work with during the Reagan years.

Reagan doesn’t deserve the “credit” for new taxes passed during his administration any more than the Leftist Bill Clinton deserves credit for the DOMA or welfare reform passed by a Republican congress during his administration. When presidents and congress’ are in opposing parties, sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some; would that today’s Republicans had a little more taste for winning some (winning Republican issues, that is, not Democrat ones).

Another attempt liberals will make to use Reagan to excuse Republican liberalism is a statement he made:

The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor.

While we could legitimately quibble over whether Reagan had in mind certain vitally important “hill to die on” issues like national defense, human life and such, I can say that in a fallen world where the pernicious lie is so widely spread by the Leftist intelligentsia throughout society, I can live with that math.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who call themselves “Republicans” who don’t even come close to 80% on various scorecards measuring adherence to Republican values. What about the “Republican” who is with you (or more importantly, with Republican values) 60 percent of the time?  Or 40 percent of the time?  Or 32 percent of the time (as some of our “Republican” leaders are)?

Well, Reagan had another statement about sellouts like that, and it’s one the RINOs don’t like you to know about:

We don’t intend to turn the Republican Party over to the traitors in the battle just ended. We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support. Turning the party over to the so-called moderates wouldn’t make any sense at all.

So enough with the “Reagan wasn’t perfect” crap. Comparing Ronald Reagan with the eager sellout RINOs of today not only smears the greatest president in the last 100 years, it also reveals how little the one making the comparison actually thinks of conservatism’s greatest icon. In other words, making fraudulent comparisons between Ronald Reagan and today’s craven, sellout RINOs makes YOU look bad, not Reagan.

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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
Bob Ellis
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  • SDJammer

    Excellent article – I personally believe that Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest presidents in the history of this country. He truly was a conservative as evidenced by his actions.

    On the issue of taxes, he adhered to the conservative principles of if you are going to have a tax, it should do one thing and one thing only and that is raise revenue. It should not try to influence behavior. He also adhered to the conservative principles of keeping tax RATES as low as possible and keeping the tax code as BROAD as possible so everybody has ‘some skin in the game”.
    He also painfully learned his lesson of compromising as he found out that liberals never keep their promises. In my opinion, the English language should be changed and the word liberal should never be allowed to be used by itself. It should be changed to lying-liberal because that is what they are.

    I loved Ronald Reagan and long for the day when we will have another president like him. However, I would also offer one additional thought to my conservative friends. Ronald Reagan was not always a staunch conservative. He began his adult life as a democrat and became more conservative as he grew older and gained experience. We all remember the Ronald Reagan of 1988 not 1958.

    Therefore, I encourage conservatives to have a little understanding for politicians that are not always 100% conservative in their actions. It is the trend that is important. If they are on the same trend line as Ronald Reagan, we will all be well served. We simply cannot slam the door in their face.