Wisconsin Governor and putative 2016 candidate Scott Walker has made no attempt to hide his idolatry of President Ronald Reagan. Walker has likened his own showdown with Wisconsin public sector unions to Reagan’s breaking of the Air Traffic Controller’s Union, which Walker also called the “most significant foreign policy decision” of his lifetime; his 2016 website foregrounds a quote from the Gipper, rather than one from the candidate; and he has taken it so far as to get married on Reagan’s birthday.
But the New York Times talked to at least one Reagan biographer who ain’t buying it. Lou Cannon told the Times that Walker’s continued comparisons of his policies to Reagan was based on a “caricature”:
Reality was more complicated, he said: As governor of California, Reagan signed tax increases and an abortion-rights bill. As president, he found common ground with the Soviet Union and did not relish firing the air traffic controllers, Mr. Cannon said.
“He never made his bones on trying to break the back of labor the way Walker has,” Mr. Cannon said. “Walker is borrowing from Reagan’s mystique more than any other Republican eyeing the presidency, but Ronald Reagan he ain’t.”
Claiming Reagan’s legacy has become second nature for GOP candidates, to the point that the former president can be cited to make both sides of an argument.
[h/t New York Times]
[Image via screengrab]
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