That’s the question Reagan scholar Steve Hayward poses in today’s Washington Post. The article is more interesting than the question, which is a no-brainer.
As Hayward says, if Reagan were around, he would have no problem voting for Palin should she secure the GOP presidential nomination. In addition to the fact that Palin consistently adopts Reaganite positions, the former president would admire her charisma, appreciate her status as an outsider, and not be put off by criticism of her as anti-intellectual, a charge that was leveled against Reagan in his time.
However, Hayward adds this cautionary note:
[W]hile the parallels between them are evident, it is far from clear that Palin appreciates Reagan’s discipline and substantive grand strategy. In many of her speeches and media appearances she tends to ramble on, with none of the crispness and rhetorical force of Reagan’s formulas. With the partial exception of energy, she has yet to identify a set of signature issues that can carry her particular stamp, as Reagan did in the late 1970s with his relentless attacks on detente and his championing of supply-side economics. (Even on energy, she needs something more substantial than “drill, baby, drill.”) And while her reasons for resigning early from Alaska’s governorship are plausible, they deprive her of one of Reagan’s greatest assets — an extensive executive record.
Wittingly or not, Palin hit the nail on the head in her keynote address at the Tea Party Convention last month: “Let us not get bogged down in the small squabbles; let us get caught up in the big ideas. To do so would be a fitting tribute to Ronald Reagan.” Meaningful limits on the size of government is one such idea, and it offers a substantive opening for Palin and other would-be heirs to Reagan. To pull it off, one thing above all is required: Do your homework. Reagan did his.