It remains fashionable these days for Republicans to cloak themselves in the legacy of Ronald Reagan, especially those who served in Washington during the 1980s. Thad Cochran and his supporters have already tried to remind the people of Mississippi of his steadfast conservatism. But don’t be fooled. Thad Cochran was no soldier in Reagan’s army.
Let us begin our story in Kansas City, at the Republican National Convention in July 1976, the nation’s 200th birthday. Ronald Reagan, the former two-term governor of California, decided to challenge the unpopular President, Gerald Ford, who had angered a good many citizens by pardoning Richard Nixon before any charges had ever been brought in the Watergate case. His foreign policy was also a disaster, allowing South Vietnam to fall to the North without any response and signing the Helsinki Accords, essentially handing the Soviets control of Eastern Europe.
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