Richard Viguerie, the king of mail order conservatism from the Goldwater days wasn't impressed with the stable of GOP candidates last night. Via my inbox:
Manassas, VA -- Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, issued the following statement regarding the Republican presidential debate in Ames, Iowa:
"The Republican debate was missing the big ideas that were the hallmark of Ronald Reagan's successful campaigns and presidency.
"There are two things a candidate must do to win the Republican nomination for President.
"First, the candidate must convince Republican primary voters that he or she is a committed conservative. They don't have to be the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, but they do have to be convincing as the conservative standard bearer.
"Second, that person has to convince Republican primary voters that he or she can defeat Barack Obama.
"None of the eight on the stage tonight can, as yet, pass both tests."
I guess Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich didn't talk about raising taxes enough for Richard. And if the tea party wants to be more like Reagan they should probably run on the promise to raise the payroll tax to about $160,000 a year to offset the cost of living increases so Social Security will thrive for decades longer than it will now.
In 1983, for example, he signed off on Social Security reform legislation that, among other things, accelerated an increase in the payroll tax rate, required that higher-income beneficiaries pay income tax on part of their benefits, and required the self-employed to pay the full payroll tax rate, rather than just the portion normally paid by employees.
Will Bunch lists five other myths about the Gipper's legacy. Facts do matter.