Sixty years ago, Robert A. Taft was the gold standard. Forty years ago, it was Barry Goldwater, who backed Bob Taft against Ike at the 1952 convention. Twenty years ago, it was Ronald Reagan, who backed Barry in 1964.
There are a couple of problems here. First, Goldwater backed Ike, not Taft. In fact, he was an Eisenhower delegate to the 1952 convention. Second, while Reagan did famously support Goldwater in 1964, the man from Arizona did not return the favor four years later. As former Nixon speechwriter Buchanan should remember, Goldwater endorsed Nixon for the nomination.
Buchanan looks back at the Reagan years as a time of unity for conservatives and Republicans. At best, he oversimplifies. In 1982, Reagan changed course on fiscal policy and backed the largest peacetime tax increase in history. Many GOP lawmakers resented the move. Then-Rep. Newt Gingrich (Ga.) even said that he was “trying to score a touchdown for liberalism.”