With just a few word changes, Andrew Romano's lead paragraph for his latest Newsweek item would make perfect sense:
Grown men don’t tend to worship other grown men—unless, of course, they happen to be professional journalists, in which case no bow is too deep, and no praise too fawning, for the 44th president of the United States: Saint Barack Obama.
Only in his version, it's "professional Republicans" and the object of veneration is "the 40th president of the United States: Saint Ronald Reagan."
While Romano mostly gives props to the late president himself for his political and policy successes while in the Oval Office, he takes glee in mocking conservatives who yearn for a modern-day Reagan, insisting that:
In the years since Reagan left the White House, a vocal contingent of Republicans has sought to enforce current party orthodoxy—cut taxes at all costs; limit government spending (except defense); let the Bible be your guide—by insisting that Reagan was its source. But while these concepts often shaped Reagan’s campaign rhetoric, they didn’t define how he governed once in office. As a result, the Reagan that Republicans now revere—a mythical founder figure who always cut taxes, always rattled his saber, and always consulted Jesus—barely resembles the more pragmatic Reagan who actually ran the country.
Romano concludes that Republicans are worshiping the "myth" of Reagan rather than the actual Reagan record, which is more nuanced than an airbrushed history. While some elements of that critique are valid -- political partisans do tend to gloss over their heroes' memory and see only the positives of their records -- the same criticism could be said for Democrats and their reverence for FDR, JFK, or even Clinton.
What's more, the liberal media have more than worshiped and adored the sitting president and long after he's out of office it's almost certain the media will portray his presidency in a gauzy manner.
So why focus on bashing Republicans for their reverence for the Gipper? It's all about attacking conservative policy priorities such as lowering and simplifying taxes and border enforcement -- Romano noted Reagan's tax increases and 1986 illegal immigrant amnesty.
Of course, given Newsweek's diminishing influence in the public policy debate, it's unlikely Romano's argument will move even the most liberal of Republicans, but still it's pretty clear the magazine is intent on downplaying the relevance of conservative policy prescriptions heading into the midterm congressional elections.
Photo above by Newsweek.