By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Enough already with the talk in GOP circles that it's time to put a stake through Ronald Reagan's heart. Just the opposite, says self-described Reaganite Haley Barbour, Mississippi's two-term governor and a former Republican National Committee chairman. The time is now to apply Reagan's values and principles to a party that's lost its way, he says. "My point is that the issue-set changes that you've got to deal with," says the popular guv, who is on some 2012 GOP presidential shortlists. "Republicans aren't thinking that we ought to get out Ronald Reagan's playbook and go start practicing those plays. But our principles and values haven't changed," he says.
Barbour comes down between those in the party who want to junk Reagan and others who want to resurrect him. His advice is simple: Adopt the heart of Reagan's stands—low taxes, smaller and less intrusive government, compassion—and apply it to everyday issues. And then use that to take on President Obama, whom Barbour dubbed a far lefty. "I guess it's an issue of the definition of freedom," he says, adopting the language of the Reagan Foundation, which is planning to open a Washington office soon to keep the Gipper's values alive.
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