Taxes. Yes, Reagan reduced the top rate, which was onerously high. But he was no absolutist, as required under the senseless no-new-taxes-ever pledge that all Republicans are supposed to take. Reagan raised taxes at least four times during his two terms in office, and 11 times by some readings of the record.
He had to do this because the federal deficit and the size of government ballooned all out of proportion while he was president. Yep, with Reagan the government-hater in charge, the size of the federal government grew to 5.3 million employees, and the federal debt nearly tripled, to $2.9 trillion. What’s more, he raised the debt ceiling — something modern Republicans are willing to shut down the whole shebang over — 18 times. Heretic!
What about social issues — the bedrock of values? It’s a given that Republican candidates oppose abortion in nearly all cases. Some of them want the government to reach into the bodies of American women and declare zygotes to be people, protected by an intrusive federal intervener.
And the sainted Reagan? Yes, he mouthed the pro-life line, while doing next to nothing for the cause as president. But if you want to see an act of real consequence, turn to the abortion liberalization bill that Reagan signed as governor of California in 1967. Legal abortions in his state went from 518 a year to nearly a million over the next decade.