Emulating Reagan won’t cut it

EMULATING REAGAN WON’T CUT IT…. For many Republicans, there’s an impression that if the party could only convince voters that they’re following Ronald Reagan’s vision, the public would look more favorably on the modern GOP agenda.

As it turns out, according to a new Fox News poll, that won’t work, either.

Are we still a center-right nation, as many Republicans continue to insist? And can the GOP revive itself through a return to the spirit of Ronald Reagan, as Rush Limbaugh has said?

Check out this question from the new Fox News poll: “What do you think the nation’s economy needs more of right now — the economic policies of Ronald Reagan or the economic policies of Barack Obama?”

The answer: Obama 49%, Reagan 40%.

Of course, it’s probably worth noting that, as long-time Monthly readers may recall, Reagan’s economic policies aren’t quite in line with at least some Republicans’ memories. Reagan did, after all, raise taxes several times, in order to help offset the costs of increased spending.

So, when some conservatives argue, as the Wall Street Journal‘s Daniel Henninger did yesterday, that Republicans should “relearn the core idea handed down to them by Ronald Reagan,” there’s ample room for debate as to what that core idea might be.

In any case, the Republican network’s poll didn’t offer much in the way of good news for its party. When respondents were asked about Obama’s tax plan — increases on households earning over $250,000 a year, cuts for nearly everyone else — 66% approved of the idea (even 41% of self-identified Republicans endorsed the White House plan).

And for Ayn Rand fans, there was one other interesting question, flagged by Greg Sargent: “Do you think asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes is a good idea because it levels the economic and social playing field, or a bad idea because it punishes work and success?”

Despite the wording of the poll, a majority (55%) of the Fox News poll’s respondents said it’s a good idea to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

The John Galt movement is probably going to struggle a bit.