Newt Gingrich took pains to wrap himself in the mantle of Ronald Reagan during last week’s Fox debate in Iowa. He reminded viewers that Reagan was once called “not electable,” just as he sometimes is. He went on to point out he had “accomplished conservative goals” as speaker in the 1990s, including welfare reform and a balanced budget. “I am someone who campaigned with Reagan,” he concluded.
But at the same time Newt tries to wrap himself in the Reagan mantle, he also exhibits another nostalgic tic that should give conservatives agita. Newt is an unabashed admirer of the Roosevelts — Theodore and Franklin. Together those two presidents embodied the Progressive Era and the New Deal, developments which dramatically expanded Washington’s powers and radically changed the expectations Americans had of government.
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