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In his column at the Chicago Tribune, Clarence Page says that even Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting nominated by today's Grand Old Party, which is looking for candidates who are fire breathers and bomb throwers.

… Reagan's name is invoked repeatedly like a sacred mantra in GOP debates. But even the Gipper would be the target of vicious attack ads as some sort of moderate "RINO" (Republican in name only) by today's hard-core conservatives. After all, even Reagan was not always the conservative purist Reagan that we think we know.

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Sure, he took office as a tax-cutting, deficit-reducing, Cold War commie fighter, especially in his speeches. He signed a major tax cut and proposed billions in budget cuts shortly after his inauguration and vowed to scale back Social Security and Medicaid, which were heading into a funding crisis.

Reagan also promised to eliminate the Departments of Energy and Education, which were established by President Jimmy Carter. Both are still opposed by conservatives like today's GOP contender and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (who also famously wants to eliminate Commerce) as symbols of excessive Washington regulation.

Read Clarence Page's entire column at the Chicago Tribune.

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