Transcript per Think Progress:
HUCKABEE: …Ronald Reagan would have a very difficult, if not impossible time being nominated in this atmosphere of the Republican party.
HEMMER: How come?
HUCKABEE: Because he raised taxes as governor, he made deals with Democrats, he compromised on things in order to move the ball down the field. As president, he gave amnesty to 7 million illegal immigrants. There were many things that would have been anathema. People speak of Reagan as if he was absolutely steadfast. He was in his convictions, but you have to govern in a way that is different that is different than the way you campaign.
Mike Huckabee is absolutely correct, of course, I’m just amazed to hear a leading Republican actually say it publicly! My only quibble with Huckabee is that Reagan wasn’t “steadfast in his convictions,” either. In fact, there’s a long list of Reagan heresies, other than those Mike Huckabee correctly references, including: negotiating with the “evil empire” (and offering to give up U.S. nuclear weapons); raising taxes multiple times as president; racking up enormous deficits and growing the government as president; trading arms for hostages; “cutting and running” in Lebanon; etc. In today’s Teapublican Party, Reagan wouldn’t just have a tough time being elected, he’d be run out of town on a rail.
And that’s the Great Ronald Reagan. Can you imagine what today’s Teapublicans would do with Teddy “Progressive Taxation and Environmental Protection” Roosevelt? How about with Richard “Detente/Wage-and-Price controls/EPA” Nixon? How about with Bob “Individual Mandate” Dole? How about with…ok, you get the picture.