Ronald Reagan, a self-proclaimed enemy of “Big Government,” left what was the largest national debt in American history when he left office in 1988. As his second term came to a close, it was clear that the Treasury coffers had been emptied. Despite the fact that the government was overspent, during the 1988 presidential election Democrats could not overcome Reagan’s long-term battle against liberalism. Republican George H.W. Bush won easily against Democrat Michael Dukakis.