A Party Without a Past | Steven Conn

They trooped to Simi Valley like pilgrims to a shrine. The second GOP presidential debate was held at the Ronald Reagan Library in order for all the candidates to genuflect at the altar of the Last Great Republican President.

It was easy to notice that most of those on the stage had only a wobbly grasp of who Reagan actually was or what he actually did. No mention of Reagan the Raiser of Taxes. Or Reagan the Creator of Massive Deficits. Nary a word about Reagan, Denier of HIV/AIDS. Reagan, who left office almost 30 years ago, has become a blank screen onto which Republican politicians can project almost anything they like. No mention either that Reagan's approval ratings when he rode