Gideon Rachman is one of the editors over at the FT. He wrote a comment today in the FT, on "How Reagan Ruined Conservatism". Unfortunately it's behind the FT paywall, so I can't link to it here.
However, this kind of fairly brainless hit article is typical of how the Left sees Reagan and how little the Left understands the Republicans (at least the Left typified by Gideon Rachman). It's filled with ad hominem attacks that the Left continue to fail to understand don't work, calling both Reagan and Palin dummies (while, at the same time, admitting that at least Reagan was right, implying just how absolutely INSANE it would be for Palin, of all people, to also be proved right by history: one can imagine Rachman and his ilk going into apoplexy and needing to be institutionalized if someone like Sarah Palin were to be elected).
What Rachman doesn't realize is that the conservatism that he mistakenly assigns to the Republicans doesn't exist, and actually hasn't existed, basically, since Goldwater lost the election.
He thinks that all Republicans should be what are called Country Club Republicans, the kind of safe, stolid, WASP Republicans that don't want the status quo changed, that sort of stifling Republicanism that was best portrayed by the inept and failed candidacy of Bob Dole.
Hey, Gordon, got some news for you: it ain't your father's Republican Party.
Reagan broke with that mold, broke radically with it. Thank goodness he did, or the Republicans would have ended up a footnote in history like the American Whigs or "Know-Nothing" Party (which actually looks more and more like the Democrats, since they know nothing about economics).
Sarah Palin infuriates people like Rachman because she doesn't fit. She's not the policy wonk, she's not the supreme speaker, she's not the super-intelligent-went-to-Harvard member of the intelligentsia that the Left believe, fervently, is a fundamental requirement to be President.
I've had my share of conversations with folks like Gideon Rachman, and what they all fail to understand is that the quality of a man's character is vastly more important than the measure of his intelligence. If anything, we are seeing with President Obama how intelligence without understanding, how smarts without common sense, are ruining his presidency because of President Obama's sheer inability to get along with others who disagree with him without being condescending and arrogant.
Reagan's legacy wasn't a poisonous one for the "conservative movement", as Rachman claims: rather, Reagan's legacy is the repudiation that conservatism has to be what the Left wants it to be, a caricature of conservatism.
There's a good reason why Country Club conservatism is about as moribund as the housing market: conservatism isn't about WASP values and suppression of civil rights (after all, that's the history of the Democratic Party, not the Republicans), but is about values and beliefs that there's a lot good that deserves to be treasured and protected against those who would destroy and dismantle in order to test out their own radical Utopian schemes.
And that is what drives the Left, progressives especially, into a paroxysm of incoherent rage.
And that is what will land the Left on the garbage heap of history.