If, like me (congrats to my carrier, who got the paper here late on one of the toughest streets in town), you didn’t get a daily newspaper delivered this morning, you might be missing your weekly dose of Gene Lyons. Not to worry. His syndicated column is also carried — often in a fuller form — in Salon.

This week, Gene writes about what happened when a caller confronted Rush Limbaugh about St. Ronald Reagan’s real record.


[Liberal blogger Mike] Stark said that he couldn’t understand why conservatives idolize Ronald Reagan. He listed his reasons: “Instead of privatizing Social Security,” Stark said, “he raised taxes. We’re all paying higher taxes today out of our paychecks every single week because he decided to save Social Security.”

Talking over Limbaugh’s constant interruptions, he continued. “The Greenspan Commission. He signed it into law, and it raised taxes on Social Security.”

“What?” Limbaugh blustered. “Wait, you’re talking about Reagan or Clinton?”

“I’m talking about Reagan. Reagan did that. He raised taxes on Social Security. He negotiated with terrorists, sending — over and over again — arms to Iran in exchange for hostages.”

That would be the Iran-Contra scandal that probably would have ended in Reagan’s impeachment had he been a Democrat.

Stark went on: Reagan (humanely) gave amnesty to millions of undocumented aliens. When terrorists bombed U.S. Marine headquarters in Beirut, killing 283 Americans, he (wisely) pulled out of Lebanon’s civil war.

“He’s a tax-raiser, an amnesty-giver, a cut-and-runner, and he negotiated with terrorists,” Stark continued. “Why is he a hero to conservatives?”

Limbaugh was beside himself.

Heh. You could look it up, Lyons added. Had Bill Clinton’s tax policies been kept in place, the Tea Party and Republicans wouldn’t have a national debt to mewl about.