A Reagan Conservative

Reporters and their constant need to sensationalize headlines are something that I will never understand. The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Patrick Wilson tried to divide the Republican Party with his headline about Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie, a common occurrence these days.

However, Wilson did get something right in his title, Republican Ed Gillespie: A Reagan conservative tries to appeal and prevail in the age of Trump, about Ed Gillespie. Wilson called Gillespie what he truly is, a Reagan Conservative:

“When he was attending Catholic University of America, Ed Gillespie worked three jobs, one in a campus dining hall, one as a short order cook and one parking cars at the U.S. Senate.
Through the job as a parking lot attendant, Gillespie learned of an internship opportunity which led to a job on Capitol Hill and he has not stopped working in politics and public affairs since.

Gillespie, communications ace, former lobbyist and senior aide to President George W. Bush, will find out Tuesday if Virginia voters will send a Reagan conservative to the Virginia governor’s mansion in the era of Donald Trump.

Should Gillespie succeed he would become the first Republican elected statewide in Virginia since Bob McDonnell led his party’s sweep of statewide offices in 2009. He would likely have a GOP-controlled legislature to pass a broad agenda of bills he could sign into law.

“Job creation, getting Virginia growing again, is central to my campaign,” Gillespie said in an interview Thursday. “I truly think we should be first in the country. … I’ve been talking about this from day one.”

A Reagan Conservative means many things to many people. However, in a time where the Republican Party has drifted from its conservative principles, sometimes it’s news story headlines that can remind us what it truly means to be a Republican.

However, after reading the RTD article, a question still remains for me. When did being a Reagan Conservative become a bad thing? When did reaching for our highest ideals become a bad thing? When did the principles of a limited government and a strong national defense become a bad thing?

Ronald Reagan was the greatest president in American history. The man destroyed communism. He revitalized the economy, built one of the strongest militaries in the world, and did so by communicating directly to the people.

Gillespie himself captures the Reagan spirit in his life story. He grew up the son of Irish immigrants who owned their own grocery store. Gillespie began working in that store at the ripe old age of 12. He then worked three jobs to put himself through the Catholic University of America. Later he became the Republican National Committee Chairman, and then went to work for the greatest president of my lifetime, George W. Bush.

With the 20-plus policy plans that Gillespie has put forward, he is proposing sweeping changes to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Those include a tax cut for all Virginians, more funding to the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force, and working with law enforcement to stop crime. Gillespie’s policy proposals could change the course of the Commonwealth for decades to come.

Since we are on the topic of President Reagan, I would be remiss not to say this to my fellow moderate Republicans who may be on the fence. Virginians, it is a time for choosing. We have a choice in Virginia. Higher taxes or lower taxes, sanctuary cities or enforcement of the law, Medicaid busting the budget (or in the case of Justin Fairfax, full socialized medicine), or the free market solutions to healthcare.

So to those who may have drifted from the party, some who may have been enticed by Lieutenant Governor Northam’s so-called moderate record, or some who are on the fence, come home. Come home to the party of Lincoln, Reagan, and Bush. Come home to the party of Governor George Allen, Senator John Warner, and Governor Bob McDonnell. Ed Gillespie will work to solve problems for all Virginians.

I wish Gillespie and his ticket mates the best of luck. The entire ticket of Gillespie, Vogel, and Adams have my full support.

  • old_redneck

    Let’s bring a dose of reality to this article.

    Reagan destroyed communism? Hardly. In July 1947, Foreign Affairs journal published an article by “Mr. X.” titled “Sources of Soviet Conduct.” X was later revealed to be George Kennan, Deputy Chief of Mission in Moscow for several years. Kennan proposed the US adopt a policy of containment and anti-communism to confront Russia. Every single US administration from 1947 until the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union held to this policy. That consistency, plus internal conflicts and contradictions, brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and its European empire.

    Now, I understand you Reaganistas just love to tell us how Reagan’s “military buildup” forced Russia to spend itself into bankruptcy. Too bad for you that’s a myth.

    Then there’s your claim that Reagan revitalized the economy Nonsense. It was Reagan’s attacks on financial regulations that led to the savings and loan collapse . . . the cleanup cost us more than $150 billion. However, that was only the bow wave as continued deregulation led directly to the mortgage crisis of 2008.

    The main problem with Reagan’s economic and anti-regulations policies was a failure to recognize that government regulation serves business interests effectively by promoting openness and fairness in transactions. New Deal reforms separated commercial and investment banking because speculative investments by commercial banks had been one of the principal causes of the 1929 crash. Reagan began to break down the wall between commercial and investment banking, a disastrous move we are still living with.

    Finally, there’s this. Reagan was born and reared in Illinois in a Main Street, mom and apple pie America. He went to California to seek — and find — his fortune. When he was nominated as the Republican Presidential candidate in 1980, where did he go to make his first speech as the GOP candidate — California or Illinois?

    Actually, that’s a trick question. The answer is neither California or Illinois. Instead, he kicked off his presidential campaign with a speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, location of the brutal kidnapping, torture and lynching of three civil rights workers in 1964. Speaking to a cheering, foot-stomping all-white crowd at the Neshoba County fairground, Reagan proclaimed his support for “states’ rights” — a dog whistle to Jim Crow Southerners.

    So, yes, Gillespie is a Reagan Republican . . . right down to his open, vigorous playing of the race card.

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