Who knew that the centennial of Reagan’s birth would be the occasion for a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers? In the present case, the pod people of liberalism are trying to make Reagan into a crypto-liberal. I mention a couple of examples in my current NRODT cover story, but since that item went to bed, along came Jacob Heilbrunn, writing in the Los Angeles Times that “Reagan. . . couldn’t be counted among today’s Reaganites.” And now Time magazine comes along with a “Why Obama [hearts] Reagan” cover.
This is more than ironic; it was just two years ago that Time and other liberal pods were depicting Obama as a second coming of FDR’s New Deal with the style of JFK’s New Frontier. Now he’s the Gipper.
It is tedious to work through and correct all the distortions, and the partial or inaccurate recollections of Reagan’s presidential record that appear in these body-snatching efforts (I can recommend a book that gets all of this right), but suffice it to say that the attempt to divorce Reagan’s style from his substance, and explain his success strictly as a function of his style, reveals the superficiality of many liberal understandings of political life.