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Who was the last TRUE Conservative president?

tncdel 2011/07/06 01:30:54
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I expect most will say Ronald Reagan. But I think he was a hybrid, maybe a neocon. For a true Conservative would never have given amnesty to illegals.

Further, according to the Congressional Budget Office, government spending averaged 22.4 percent of GDP during Reagan’s two terms. Based on estimations of federal spending during the final years of his first — maybe only — term, the CBO figures that Obama’s fiscal legacy will average 24.6 percent of GDP, not too far off from what Reagan accomplished. It should be noted that Reagan’s 22.4 percent stands as the all-time record among U.S. Presidents.

If the CBO’s calculations hold true, Obama will break that record, but the fact that the conservative torchbearer holds the record now (and he didn’t have wars like other presidents to blame it on) really puts everything into perspective.

In a related topic, Obama’s ability to “create jobs” (an outcome of government expansion/contraction) is never considered as being at par with Reagan’s. Yet, it is eerily similar. During the first year and a half of his presidency, Reagan saw the unemployment rate increase from 7.5 to 9.8 percent. When Obama came into office, unemployment stood at 7.2 percent and 18 months later it was at 9.5 percent. Reagan’s growth for that period was 2.3 percentage points. Obama’s — 2.3 points, too.

The Reagan myth also has the man pegged as the greatest tax-cutting president ever. Yes, in 1981 he forced through Congress some major tax cuts but, in other years of his presidency (specifically ‘83 through ‘87), he introduced a multitude of tax increases and new taxes that pulled in revenues from other bases. Historians look at 1982 and 1984 as featuring the highest tax increases in peacetime America. While in power he also increased funding for America’s two behemoth entitlement programs: Social Security grew by 50 percent from 1981 to 1987 while Medicare grew by a startling 84 percent over that same period.

If you step back and look past the rhetoric and hero worship that surrounds the Republican Insiders’ Reagan myth, you’ll realize that he was anything but a conservative (based upon the most factual definition of the political belief) and — like most people who count themselves as conservatives nowadays — he is more appropriately identified as a neoconservative. Someone who, like George W. Bush, is socially conservative yet quite liberal in the application of government powers and military might. His approach to governance was, quite frankly, no different than Obama’s.

After objectively analyzing Reagan's record, I think I have to conclude that Ike Eisenhower was the last TRUE Conservative president.

In stark contrast to Reagan's record, Eisenhower ordered "Operation Wetback," mass-deporting almost two million illegal aliens, mostly Mexicans.

Eisenhower's New Look, a policy of nuclear deterrence, gave priority to inexpensive nuclear weaponswhile reducing the funding for the other military forces to keep pressure on the Soviet Union and reduce federal deficits at the same time.

He Kept America at Peace.

  • Eisenhower was confronted with major Cold War crises every year he was in office: Korea, Vietnam, Formosa, Suez, Hungary, Berlin, and the U-2. While more than once America seemed on the brink of war and those around him clamored to drop the Bomb, Eisenhower always kept a level head. He dealt calmly and rationally with each situation, always finding a solution that avoided war without diminishing America's prestige.

He Ended the Korean War.

  • He alone had the prestige to persuade Americans to accept a negotiated peace and convince the Chinese that failure to reach an agreement would lead to dire consequences. Eisenhower considered this to be his greatest presidential accomplishment.

He Balanced the Budget, Not Just Once, But Three Times.

  • Despite much pressure to do otherwise, he also refused to cut taxes and raise defense spending. His fiscal policy contributed to the prosperity of the 1950's.
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Top Opinion

  • Ken 2011/07/06 01:33:23
    I think someone else was the last TRUE Conservative president [tell us who an...
    Ken
    +3
    Reagan, the deal with amnesty was a compromise to stop further illegal immigration and as usual the Democrats lied again.

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  • AL 2011/07/06 08:07:31
    Ike Eisenhower was the last TRUE Conservative [explain why].
    AL
    Ike was the last one that had enough guts to protect our own borders and truck illegals back home as well.
  • The Bantam Seditioner 2011/07/06 06:47:23 (edited)
    I think someone else was the last TRUE Conservative president [tell us who an...
    The Bantam Seditioner
    Good ol' Silent Cal Coolidge!

    ol silent cal coolidge

    He didn't spearhead any new government programs, nor did he preside over any foreign wars. He was content to mind his own business, because he knew that the Presidency wasn't supposed to be a grand, Imperial office with wide-sweeping powers. That's why the history books don't write about him much; he did what every good President *should* do...he got out of the way and let Americans live and lead their own lives.
  • DFA 2011/07/06 06:04:32
    I think someone else was the last TRUE Conservative president [tell us who an...
    DFA
    The definition of "TRUE Conservative" is really an opinion. And Reagan actually ended up raising taxes.
  • JohntheChristian 2011/07/06 04:11:56
    I think someone else was the last TRUE Conservative president [tell us who an...
    JohntheChristian
    Whoever was the last true scotsman
  • sbtbill 2011/07/06 03:30:27
    I think someone else was the last TRUE Conservative president [tell us who an...
    sbtbill
    +1
    I agree Reagan was a social conservative and a fiscal leftist. He was also a great talker who said what the right wanted to hear and did what he wanted. Unfortunately the right has been trying to govern by what he said and not what he did ever since. The result is failure.

    I'd say you have to go back to Cal Cooledge to find a true conservative and he cause the Great Depression.
  • FAWKES' NOOSE ~ ΔTX 2011/07/06 03:06:56
    Ike Eisenhower was the last TRUE Conservative [explain why].
    FAWKES' NOOSE ~ ΔTX
    +1
    Eisenhower: Raise Taxes
    Eisenhower: Create public sector jobs
    Eisenhower: Institute Public Works Programs to decrease unemployment
    Eisenhower: Promoted the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 - The largest Public Works Program in US History.
    Eisenhower: Cut spending commensurate with increasing revenue.
    Eisenhower: Believed that taxes could not be cut until the budget was balanced.
    Eisenhower: Allowed recessions to occur, to wring out inflation.
    Eisenhower: Overrode governors to protect Civil Rights (Little Rock Nine)
    Eisenhower: Protected Egypt from Britain, France and Israel.
    Eisenhower: Dispatched troops to Viet Nam offering military, economic, and technical assistance.
    Eisenhower: Sent troops to Lebanon promoting the creation of the Baghdad Pact between Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran.
    Eisenhower: Utilized covert actions.
    Eisenhower: Opened relations with Fascist Spain and leader Generalissimo Francisco Franco building a trade and military alliance with the Fascist Nation.
    Eisenhower: Beginning Debt-to-GDP Ratio: 71.4%
    Eisenhower: Ending Debt-to-GDP Ratio: 55.2%
  • Johnthe... FAWKES'... 2011/07/06 04:12:56
    JohntheChristian
    ROFL
  • FAWKES'... Johnthe... 2011/07/06 04:16:09
    FAWKES' NOOSE ~ ΔTX
    He asked for it lol.
  • Johnthe... FAWKES'... 2011/07/06 04:18:59
    JohntheChristian
    +1
    The really funny part, is how everyone expects presidents to be bastions of Conservative/Liberal philosophy, when in reality the issues are way too complex to boil down to simple left vs. right tribalism.
  • DFA Johnthe... 2011/07/06 06:06:21
    DFA
    TRUTH!
  • Teancum79 2011/07/06 02:01:40
    I think someone else was the last TRUE Conservative president [tell us who an...
    Teancum79
    I've not read up much on Ike, but in Reagen's defense he was trying to win the cold war and he did not have the luxury of having a lot of congress liking him.
  • NPC 2011/07/06 01:56:09
    Ike Eisenhower was the last TRUE Conservative [explain why].
    NPC
    +1
    We actually had Ronald Reagan.Reagan was a Democrat Governor in CA first. He swithed to the GOP later
  • sbtbill NPC 2011/07/06 03:31:54
    sbtbill
    Reagan started as a Democrat and union leader but became a Democrat before he became Governor. He was a better President then Governor.
  • Fef 2011/07/06 01:55:43
    I think someone else was the last TRUE Conservative president [tell us who an...
    Fef
    +1
    President Ronald Reagan.... Reagan, unfortunately, had a Democratic congress to contend with.

    Reagan went up against very Liberal leaders in the legislative branch: Tip O'Neill (Speaker of the House) and Ted Kennedy (Senate leader). Reagan had to make compromises -- as do most elected leaders -- which included some increased spending and his reluctance to eliminate the Department of Education.

    Reagan did an outstanding job, but he didn't do 100% Conservative agenda because he acted to get some bi-partisan support in saving the country from the Soviets and Jimmy Carter.
  • sbtbill Fef 2011/07/06 03:34:27
    sbtbill
    The Democratic congress excuse doesn't hold water. Reagan campaigned on increasing military spending. He did. Don't think he ever saw a weapons system he didn't want at least a dozen off. He cut domestic spending.
  • Fef sbtbill 2011/07/06 06:28:05
    Fef
    Increasing military spending doesn't violate Conservative rules. Reagan had to increase it after Carter gutted the military.
  • Gooky 2011/07/06 01:48:08
    Ike Eisenhower was the last TRUE Conservative [explain why].
    Gooky
    +2
    Operation Wetback.
  • Jason 2011/07/06 01:47:22
    Ike Eisenhower was the last TRUE Conservative [explain why].
    Jason
    +1
    Very comprehensive analysis.
  • 2012 rick 2011/07/06 01:44:42
  • Ken 2011/07/06 01:33:23
    I think someone else was the last TRUE Conservative president [tell us who an...
    Ken
    +3
    Reagan, the deal with amnesty was a compromise to stop further illegal immigration and as usual the Democrats lied again.
  • tncdel Ken 2011/07/06 01:40:15
    tncdel
    +1
    But what about all the other things I noted above? Reagan's record shows him as a tax & spend neocon.
  • Ken tncdel 2011/07/06 01:47:29
    Ken
    If that's what he was, we need another one.
  • Fef Ken 2011/07/06 01:56:46
    Fef
    +1
    Reagan did not have unlimited powers -- he had to contend with a Liberal legislature.

    Funny, when Reagan acted bi-partisan, the Democrats attack him for big spending.
  • tncdel 2011/07/06 01:31:48
    Ike Eisenhower was the last TRUE Conservative [explain why].
    tncdel

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