Nyhan on Reagan
Read Brendan Nyhan. He is very convincing.
The post is too good to excerpt but I was particularly struck by a figure
the claim that he “transformed Americans’ attitude about government” is not well-supported. Consider UNC political scientist Jim Stimon’s measure of public mood (Excel spreadsheet [sic it is really just a *.gif]), which captures Americans’ demand for more or less government spending over time
I think there is a typo in the vertical scale. 60% Liberal? Most polls show about 20’s % self identify as Liberals. How did Reagan win 2 landslides if the electorate is 60% Liberal? So, unless there is a typo, this data is very suspect.
Anyhow, Reagans’ legacy is about Conservatism, not Liberalism. He lifted the Conservative ideology from the ashes of the Goldwater defeat and made it a political force that endures to this day 30 years later. He might not have transformed ‘all’ Amercians attitude towards government, but he surely transformed a lot of them.
The better off people are, the better the future they see, the more generous of spirit and liberal they can afford to be or say they are. I would like for everyone to have free health care, food, housing, too. Wouldn’t that be nice?