The PJ Tatler

Trust Me, Reagan Would Win the Nomination

My colleague Rick Moran has agreed with Jeb Bush’s assessment that Ronald Reagan, whose name is something of a by-word for conservatism, would have trouble getting the GOP nomination in today’s political climate.

I must respectfully disagree. Over at The American Spectator, Jeffrey Lord has thoroughly disemboweled the essentials of Bush’s argument. For my modest part, I offer here a restatement of a comment I made under Rick’s article, in which I propose the following thought experiment:

Let’s say Ronald Reagan were somehow brought back to life, had his health restored to that which he had in the early 1980s (although our knowledge of his two terms as president would remain fully intact) and, in light of the abolition of term limits, decided to run for president again on the GOP ticket.

Who from the most radical leftist to the most mealy-mouthed centrist to the most dedicated Burkean conservative doubts for one fraction of a nanosecond that Reagan would be able to get the nomination to run against Obama?

For the philosophical purists out there, I realize that my thought experiment contains a built-in bias. This notional, resurrected Reagan benefits from our knowledge of what his presidency was actually like, but I believe that Lord has shown that even if our New Reagan were brought back to life in a pre-1980 version, he would still win the nomination, since the Gipper faced harsh criticism from the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party even before he ran against Carter, and still went on to rip the peanut farmer and Mondale apart.