My personal experience with Ronald Reagan
Despite his "sainted" status by the "right," in reality, Reagan was a liar, a big one, and a bad one. That's just a fact.
That whole, "One... small shipment..." which was of course a bunch of planeloads and clearly arms to our enemies for hostages (and more favors) and he pauses, looks down, all the classic signs of lying--he's supposed to be an actor and he can't deliver it convincingly.
There are many reports of him being outright senile in office, too, people visiting the oval office and he thought they were visiting him on a set in Hollywood. May be apocryphal but I don't think so.
I met him once when I was in a singing dancing group--he was still gov of CA, so maybe I was 15 I have his signed photo.
He and Nancy rented a house for $2,000 a month (that's when my parents were paying $127 a month for their mortgage) because the governor's mansion wasn't nice enough.
It was a huge tudor estate and they'd built a stage over the pool in the backyard for this party.
We were flown up, put up in nice hotel rooms, given a bus tour, they went all out. We waited for the show in the basement pub of his house (just like a British pub), with a big pool table.
Several times Nancy came down and yelled at us, "Don't touch the pool table!"
So we did the show, over the pool, afraid we were going to fall in (there was enough of the pool left exposed for that to be possible).
After, Reagan had his picture taken with us, and we were all shocked because he was wearing full makeup--to a party (well, he had to look good in photos--but other politicians didn't do this and he wasn't that old at the time).
But clearly, he played the part convincingly enough to get elected president.
But Reagan was really the end of the Republican party as anything even remotely reasonable.
Now the bar for Republican presidential candidates is just not to be crazy. So far very few of them have been able to get over that bar that's so low you could trip over it. Romney's "presidential" and I'll give him credit for persistence, too. He tried to run in 2008, he's run tirelessly now. Trouble he, he's changed his positions because he was too liberal. And, he's Mormon, which means most Christians in the south won't vote for him, because they think Mormons aren't Christians (and if they don't know it, they kind of suspect it because of the space alien underwear business).
I expect Palin to rear her ugly head at some point when there's no clear leader, but I also don't think she wants the job--she's quit every political job she's had--she just wants the attention and money.
Taxes: Reagan raised taxes four times between 1982 to 1984, increasing the payroll tax, broadening the base of Social Security payees, applying the income tax to higher earners and rolling back corporate and individual tax breaks.
Reagan’s historic tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, whose rate went from 70 percent to 28 percent during his administration, ultimately forced the president to raise taxes on more people than any other U.S. president during a time of peace, according to New York Timescolumnist Paul Krugman. In total, Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his two terms in office. (http://bit.ly/vc5r0Z)