Rush Limbaugh caller points out Reagan raised taxes, granted amnesty (Audio)
It is a rare occurrence, but every few months an educated liberal caller manages to slip through the screening process and contact Rush Limbaugh by phone on his radio show. Today was one such moment, and what ensued was a moment of awkwardness when Limbaugh was confronted with some "inconvenient truth" about President Ronald Reagan (Audio to the left).
Limbaugh, like other conservatives, often holds up Reagan as the ideal for conservatives to live up to. Conservatives claim that Reagan generated tremendous economic growth, cut taxes, and played a huge role in defeating the Soviets during the Cold War.
However, liberals claim that conservatives have built up something of a "Reagan myth" over the years. As the caller points out, Reagan actually raised taxes a number of times during his presidency. In fact, in 1981 and 1986 Reagan signed legislation that, at the time, constituted the largest tax increases in American history during peacetime. In 1983 Reagan signed a bill that greatly accelerated payroll tax increases for Social Security. The tax increases Reagan signed into law are largely credited with helping extend the life of Social Security many decades. If President Obama called for the same kind of tax increases today to help pay for Social Security or Medicare he would likely be called a socialist, yet Reagan maintains the "conservative mantle" for similar actions.
The caller also points out that Reagan took a number of actions that would hardly fit the "conservative agenda" today. After United States Marines were attacked in Lebanon Reagan withdrew all troops from the country. Today that strategy would be called "cut and run" by conservatives. When confronted with illegal immigration Reagan signed compromise legislation that granted amnesty to approximately three million "illegals."
Limbaugh never disputes these facts, but instead simply questions the caller on where he got his information. The caller refuses to play Limbaugh's game, instead demanding Limbaugh answer how Reagan can be called conservative given the facts. At certain points there is dead silence as Limbaugh struggles to come up with a new response. The facts, in this case at least, seem to have had a liberal bias.
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