What would Reagan do?

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What would Reagan do? (sometimes abbreviated WWRD) is a phrase that has become popular primarily among conservatives and Republicans in the United States. Its usage reflects a belief in former United States President Ronald Reagan as a model conservative leader whose philosophy and policies provide guidance and a good example for modern politicians.


President Ronald Reagan (1911–2004)

The phrase derives by analogy from the earlier phrase What would Jesus do? and its related initialism WWJD, coined in the 1890s and repopularized during the 1990s.

While the phrase "What would Reagan do?" has existed since at least the early 2000s, it attained greater prominence during the 2008 Republican party presidential primary,[1] and in particular at a debate held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.[2]

The phrase has also been promoted by the Heritage Foundation,[3] in partnership with radio talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, aimed at promoting policy in line with Ronald Reagan's, as well as preserving Reagan's legacy. The organization maintains a website named for the phrase, featuring video and audio archives, transcripts of Reagan's speeches and other resources.[4]


In recent years it has been used as a title or lead question in columns by numerous conservative writers, including Rebecca Hagelin,[5] Edwin Meese,[6] Kate O'Beirne[7] and James Pethokoukis.[8]

The phrase on occasion has been used by iconoclastic conservatives to claim the mantle of Reagan as they criticize mainline conservatives,[9] by some liberal commentators as a way of chastising Republicans whom also they believe fall short of Reagan's ideals[10] and also by non-partisan public policy organizations that seek to emulate aspects of Reagan's leadership.[11]


  1. ^ Currie, Duncan. What Does "Reagan Republican" Mean In '07? CBS News, 2007-05-25.
  2. ^ Herdt, Timm. 10 favor rekindling Reagan spirit, Ventura County Star, 2007-05-04.
  3. ^ Cohen, Patricia. Conservative Thinkers Think Again, New York Times, 2008-07-20
  4. ^ An insider's guide to the upcoming week, Washington Post, 2008-03-09
  5. ^ Hagelin, Rebecca. What Would Reagan Do?, TownHall.com, 2008-01-09
  6. ^ Meese, Edwin. Reagan Would Not Repeat Amnesty Mistake, Human Events, 2006-12-13.
  7. ^ O'Beirne, Kate. What Would Reagan Do?, National Review Online, 2006-06-02.
  8. ^ Pethokoukis, James. Energy: What Would Reagan Do?, U.S. News & World Report, 2008-08-06.
  9. ^ Gvosdev, Nikolas. Gipper Anxiety -- The Struggle Over What Would Reagan Do, Taki's Magazine, 2008-06-30.
  10. ^ Mantyla, Kyle. What Would Reagan Do? People for the American Way, 2006-07-11
  11. ^ Kessler, Jim. What would Reagan Do? Third Way, 2008-09-25
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