Huckabee: Reagan would have a “very difficult, if not impossible time” getting nominated today

Ronald Reagan was not a moderate — but he was a deal-maker (see “The Gipper almost single-handedly ruined America’s leadership in clean energy — but helped save the ozone layer“).

As a sign of how extremist the party has become, the man who came in second in the GOP presidential primaries last time explains the party today would be all but certain to reject Reagan.  Think Progress has the story (and video):

ThinkProgress has spent the past two years documenting the GOP’s ideological lurch to the right under President Obama, as evidenced most recently by last night’s GOP presidential debate featuring mostly fringe candidates and a pre-debate rally sponsored by extremist groups like the Oath Keepers militia and the paranoid anti-communist John Birch Society. Meanwhile, a heightened demand for ideological purity has forced GOP leaders to kowtow to an increasingly relevant and legitimized fringe. The result is a conservative agenda that is far more radical today than it was decades ago.Potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee acknowledged this shift on Fox News today, telling host Bill Hemmer that even former President Reagan, the great conservative icon, would likely be unable to win a GOP primary in the current Republican “atmosphere”:

HUCKABEE:  “Ronald Reagan would have a very difficult, if not impossible time being nominated in this atmosphere of the Republican party.”

HEMMER: “How come?”

HUCKABEE:  “Because he raises taxes as governor, he made deals with Democrats, he compromised on things in order to move the ball down the field. As president, he gave amnesty to 7 million illegal immigrants. There were many things that would have been anathema. People speak of Reagan as if he was absolutely steadfast. He was in his convictions, but you have to govern in a way that is different that is different than the way you campaign.”

Huckabee’s comments also reflect the fact that the Reagan conservatives speak of today never really existed. The “Reagan Myth” ignores much of the Reagan reality that conservatives would find “anathema,” as Huckabee says, including Reagan’s vigorous support of unions and his vast expansion of the federal government.

In February, former GOP Sen. Bob Bennett (UT) “” who lost a primary to a tea party candidate last fall “” echoed Huckabee, saying, “Ronald Reagan would probably not recognize the description of Ronald Regan that is coming out of a lot of the tea party blogs.”

As I wrote back in September, the victory of the Tea Party extremists (backed by Big Oil) over the slightly less extreme GOP establishment (also backed by Big Oil) may be good for progressives, but it is bad for climate and clean energy.

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9 Responses to Huckabee: Reagan would have a “very difficult, if not impossible time” getting nominated today

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    “Ideological purity” plays a minor role here. The fossil fuel companies, emboldened by Citizens United, are trying to hijack the national government in order to weaken or destroy all safety nets, and reduce their taxes as much as possible. This smells a lot more like pathological greed than conservative beliefs.

    People like Koch, Boyce, and Tillerson don’t care any more about political theory than did the plantation owners and the robber barons. The “think tank” authors from CEI and Heritage who write in those terms are just convenient geeks providing cover for them. The pay is good for them, but peanuts for the oil companies.

    The fossil fuel companies may be setting themselves a trap here. So crazed are they with greed that they have made certain that all Republican presidential contenders deny man made global warming, and resist any improvements in public health or environmental protections.

    They think that whoever they nominate is going to be working for them after he takes office, as with Bush/Cheney. It could happen, but the GOP have backed themselves into a corner even if their man gets elected. If their President has an attack of conscience, and does something like increase taxes on oil companies or slow fracking, their party will fracture into feuding factions. If he continues to fight for burning coal and gas and destroying forests, he will find himself hounded out of office- as Bush would have been if not for the terrorist scares.

    Better to make sure they lose elections so we don’t have to worry about whatever mischief they come up with.

  2. Snapple says:

    I totally agree: the ideology is just a smokescreen. The Koch’s dad built the Russian oil refineries. It’s really not ideological for these powerful people; it’s about making sure that the fossil fuel companies control the government and media. The ideology is just to fool the ordinary people.

    I’ve already seen this movie in Russia. In Russia, the fossil-fuel companies own a lot of the media. Gazprom and the government are kind of the same thing. The Russian petrostate is like a company town.

    On the pretty CNN natural gas commercials, they are harping on “clean gas” from fracking deep in the ground. These natural gas commercials are supporting CNN.

    There is nothing about climate science on CNN, even though we are having all this extreme weather. I never have seen CNN have a discussion about climate change.

    I stopped watching FOX because I realised they were lying to me about climate change. Plus, they just hated everyone and there was no news. It was just that insane Glenn Beck ranting with his chalk board. All that propaganda about the evil schemes of climate scientists made me check it out for myself. It sounded too much like Stalin’s Doctor’s Plot and the KGB claims that Pentagon scientists made AIDS.

    When I looked at the Russian media, Pravda was citing the Fox News account about how Phil Jones admitted there was no warming. Pravda was more truthful–they mentioned “statistically significant,” but didn’t explain what that means. That was my ah-ha moment.

  3. Peter M says:

    Huckabee is probably very right. The major political comparison the GOP should worry about today is their slide into Neo-Fascism. They as a party certainly resemble many elements of both Pre WW2 fascism, and the modern day definition of the extreme far right.

    Far right politics usually involve supremacism — a belief that superiority and inferiority is an innate reality between individuals and groups — and a complete rejection of the concept of social equality as a norm. Far right politics often support segregation; the separation of groups deemed to be superior from groups deemed to be inferior.

    The ideologies usually associated with the far right include fascism, Nazism and other ultra-nationalist, religiously extreme or reactionary ideologies.

    At the far right, the limitations of the conventional left-right political spectrum become apparent. Whereas small government and laissez-faire capitalism are sometimes considered right-wing ideals.

  4. BBHY says:

    So true. Obama ran on a platform that was centrist Republican from just a few years ago and was regarded as an extreme liberal.

    Does anyone else remember the “pendulum theory”; that politics can only go so far either to the right or to the left before eventually turning around and going the other direction? That seemed to make a lot of sense for a while, but now politics just keeps turning right, further right, ultra-right, extreme ultra-right, etc. If the pendulum ever does reverse, I would assume that we must be headed for a fully socialist system based on how far to the right we are now.

    As Rev. Jess Jackson said, “A bird can’t fly with two right wings”.

  5. dhogaza says:

    The major political comparison the GOP should worry about today is their slide into Neo-Fascism.

    Why should they worry about what they are actively embracing?

    Seriously …

  6. Richard Brenne says:

    It’s important to remember that all this has happened with mere minor inconveniences relative to what could be coming. What will the trajectory so eloquently described in the previous comments become then?

    After 9/11 there was no meaningful discourse or debate at all. What would happen with a nuclear terror attack? And that’s just one scenario that could lead down the most dangerous path of all.

  7. Hmm… so does this mean we have to choose between climate denial fascism and carbon combustion fascism?

  8. Leland Palmer says:

    The problem with WWII style fascism was that it was too good at motivating people to do stupid things, I think. Also, nobody could disagree publicly without risking his life. So, fascist societies ended up totally out of control, and shared a widespread flight from reality.

    I wonder sometimes about the unity of the Republican party. They seem to march almost unnaturally in lockstep.

    What are they afraid of?

    I’ve sometimes wondered about the Bush era wiretapping, and whole scale real time monitoring of internet traffic. It is possible to construct social network diagrams using such phone and email traffic, and find our literally who sleeps with whom, even if attempts are made to conceal such relationships.

    The Bush era illegal monitoring of communications would not be very good at finding terrorists. Any attempt to the Total Information Awareness system, or the Total Terrorism Awareness system that succeeded it against terrorists would bury the system in false positives.

    But against politicians with known addresses and jobs, these systems would be admirable blackmail material gathering systems, I think. I have speculated about John Edwards and Elliot Spitzer, for example,, both cut down in the prime of their political lives by sex scandals.

  9. Ed Hummel says:

    I think the far right wing really wants a return to feudalism with corporate CEOs the new nobility and everyone else the new serfdom. But then I think that climate disruption, among other things, will be the new Black Death that destroys the new feudalism. However, since it’s global, there won’t be any islands of sanity left in the world for real societies to regenerate for a very long time, if ever.