If you can't even get your own party's history right, you're doomed. Writes Reagan historian Craig Shirley:
[S]ince Reagan remade the GOP beginning in early 1981, the party had been organized around the concept of freedom. That year, when the newly elected Reagan pitched a plan for tax cuts to a group of conservatives, he said the proposal was intended to reorder the relationship between the citizen and the government. It wasn’t just a tax cut — it was part of a philosophy.
No, Mr. Shirley, that was no philosophy. That was the genesis of an ideological, faith-based conservatism, both of which are profoundly antithetical to the authentic conservatism of Edmund Burke.
Let's remember clearly: Reagan entered the White House on the promise of lower taxes (or less government revenue), more defense spending, and, somehow (never adequately explained), blissfully balanced budgets. It was a fraud. It was all a fraud, and his own director of management and budget told him so, which President Reagan, with his usual, chipper and wistful Gipperism, promptly ignored. The product has been three decades-plus of a rising and now staggering national debt.
No, Mr. Shirley, that was no philosophy. That was a catastrophic failure of empirical grounding and a launching of intensely delusional wishful thinking at nothing less than escape velocity.