For anybody to compare Reagan’s conversion and Trump’s convenient declaration to conservatism is as misleading disparaging as comparing the French Revolution to the American Revolution. The only similarities between the two would be the word revolution and the separation of the people from the king. In the American Revolution the king kept his head and so did the kings generals and soldiers, while the French separated not only the king’s head from his body, but also did the same to the queen.
The American Revolution resulted in a truly great experiment in freedom. The king was replaced by freely elected officials who were regarded as servants to the people. A Constitution was adopted and the absolute intent of the Constitution was and is to safeguard freedom for the people. The American victors did not take vengeance against the vanquished; in fact many of the vanquished elected to stay in the new nation as free individuals.
The French Revolution came about as the result of a riot. The leaders of the riot took vengeance against the vanquished. After dethroning the king, the mob formed a more tyrannical government than what existed prior to the abdication of the king. The guillotines became dull because of constant use. Blood ran in the streets as the tyrannical leaders took vengeance on the opposition as well as anyone who might dissent in any way. The end result was a reign of terror.
As different as were these two revolutions, so is the difference between Ronald Reagan becoming a conservative and Trump declaring himself a conservative. Trump has advocated liberal policies his whole life. Trump supported Tarp and even said it would be fine if the banks were nationalized. Trump said he was a liberal on health care and would support a nationally controlled health care. Trump said he thought Obama was doing a great job and that Obama was totally a champion. Trump said he was a liberal and becoming more and more liberal. Trumps positions, not his words, based on his sketchy plans reveal no change from his prior positions.
Reagan had a conversion. Reagan was a registered Democrat for many years and changed his registration after it was pointed out to him that his positions had nothing in common with the Democrats positions. This was in 1962 while he was campaigning for Republican candidates. It was in 1954 that Reagan began his journey with General Electric and began to give talks on the evils of big government. In July of 1961 Reagan gave a talk to the Orange County Press Club where he denounced any form of government involvement in health care. This was before Medicare was even adopted. Reagan was a co chairman of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign in California and in late October of 1964 gave the nationally televised speech for Goldwater that resulted in Reagan being asked to run for governor in California as a conservative. Goldwater is often called the father of Conservatism and was the author of “Conscience of a Conservative.” Reagan was identified as a Goldwater conservative.
Reagan was not a conservative for convenience. Reagan was a conservative because of conviction. Reagan espoused conservative principles for many years before he ran for president. Reagan had been noted as the one who was handed the torch of conservatism and he carried it into the White House.
Please people, have some respect for the memory of Ronald Reagan, for to compare Trumps convenient declaration that he is a conservative to the true conversion to conservatism of Reagan is as disrespectful and repugnant as comparing the American Revolution to the French Revolution.