Originally Posted by rjakapeanut
conservative superhero that didn't do or represent 90% of the shit that today's republican politicians think. really great man.
This is basically it. OP, the best explanation I can give is that "He" is like a turning point (perhaps a Christ-like figure) for conservatives. in before tl;dr/:colinpowell.gif:
From the Great Depression (and the successes of FDR, the New Deal, and winning WWII) thru the 1960s, the Republican party was largely a dead letter. The South was solidly Democratic and run by back-slapping good ole boys, the Industrialized-North was solidly Democratic and ran by urban machine politics. The Republicans were some weird coalition of Connecticut garden party types (like George H.W. Bush), Westerners (who moved out there post-Depression or post-WWII to live in the newly created suburbs) and radical right-wing extremists (John Birch Society). Some writers thought it was going to be a permanent-minority party and the Democrats would be a permanent-ruling party. Dwight Eisenhower was a Republican and won the Presidency twice, but mainly because he was a war-hero. And he was pretty moderate politically. His VP, Nixon, failed to win the Presidency against JFK. Barry Goldwater, an Arizona libertarian-esque type got the Republican presidential nomination and ran against JFK's vice-president, Lyndon Johnson, in 1964. He lost, but it inspired a lot of folks. Reagan comes around and wins the Governorship of California in the 1970s. Towards the end of the '70s we had a stagnant economy (not unlike England, but for different reasons) and a lot of self-loathing after losing the Vietnam War, losing the Iranian hostage situation, and generally feeling like the US was in decline and the Soviet Union was going to crush us. Reagan beat Jimmy Carter and is remembered as the first modern Republican president to curry a lot of favor with the supply-siders on the Wall Street Journal editorial board, mention God a lot, and was very pro-America and pro-defense. Reagan's wins in 1980 and 1984 (thus his policies and national-acceptance) are seen as paving the way for Bush Sr. in 1988, and for the 'Republican Revolution' taking over the federal legislature in 1994 for the first time in like 40 years and numerous state legislatures for the first time in like 50 years. As rjkapeanut points out, he is basically fetishized by the new mixture of neo-cons and Tea Party types, even though his positions are irreconcilable with theirs most of the time. They would argue that he was only moderating because of politics in the 1980s, and now he would be with them . . . In my state, the Democrats have controlled the state legislature for about 130 years, until last fall. The newly-minted Republicans will trace their success, to a degree, back to Reagan who either 1) made conservatism acceptable again or 2) stood up for "conservative values" when the Democratic party abandoned them. Depending on which perspective you have, of course. EDIT - also, he was B.F.F. with Margaret Thatcher. They were both recent politicians to stand up to unions, argue that the government should be smaller, push privatization, reduce regulation, etc.