They called it the Reagan Revolution. I meet intelligent and articulate people who cannot remember America before Reagan.
Steven Colbert interviewed a young conservative woman who wants to go back to the "old days" and she looks longingly back to a by-gone era. But that era that she describes was an era of Democratic Presidents and liberal reform.
The conservative nostalgia is based on an era with mainly Democrats in the White House and Congresses largely control by the Democrats. From 1932 until Ronald Reagan, the only two elected Republicans Presidents were Eisenhower and Nixon - Nixon who resigned in disgrace and had Ford fill out the remainder of the term. The rest were all Democrats in the Presidency with a largely Democrat Congress.
So the nostalgia that conservatives wax poetic about has nothing to do with the "Reagan Revolution," except in the sense of the nostalgia.
Reagan was old enough to by my grandfather, or great-grandfather to people in their 20s. People in the era of Reagans own youth had memories of growing up in the Great Depression. These were hard times and the Democrats came to power because economic times were bad. Rightly or wrongly the bad economic times were blamed on the Republicans and they were voted out.
America became powerful and great during an unprecedented era of government involvement and regulation.
The Reagan vision of America before Nixon/Ford/Carter does not square with the fact that for almost 50 years, the Democrats' vision of America is the one that made America what it was. The conservatives think that by reversing all the Democrat/liberal policies and programs that this will make America what it once was.
The halcyon days were not achieved by Republican policies.
GWB, our President, is not in a Great Depression scenario, but clearly the economy is not what it once was.
We got a glimpse of what Democrats can do - and Clinton (a rather conservative Democrat) was able to bring fiscal responsibility and move the government into the black.