Ronald Reagan's Life and Presidency
These articles, taken from HNN's archives, help put Ronald Reagan's life and presidency in proper perspective.
Click here for a roundup of articles about Reagan that appeared the week he passed away.
If you would like to post a comment on Reagan, please do so below.
- Legacy "Final Take on Ronald Reagan ?" Edmund Morris
- Legacy "Debunking the Reagan Myth" Paul Krugman
- Legacy "Reagan's Vision Triumphed ... But Is His the World We Want to Live in?" Jules Tygiel
- Legacy "The Big Opportunity Ronald Reagan Missed" Otis L. Graham
- Legacy "Was Reagan a Great President?" Christopher Bates
- Legacy "5 Myths About Ronald Reagan" David Greenberg
- Legacy "How Reagan Invented the 1980s" Gil Troy
- Legacy "How Do Historians Assess Ronald Reagan?" Chester Pach
- Legacy "The Man Who Was Responsible for Dividing the Country ... into Reaganite Republicans and Reaganite Democrats" Richard Jensen
- Legacy "Reagan's Style of Politics and Governing" Fred Greenstein
- Legacy "Where Reagan Ranks in a New Poll by Conservative Historians"
- Legacy "Reagan's Legacy " Richard Norton Smith
- Legacy "About Reagan's Tax Cuts" Paul Krugman
- Legacy"Edmund Morris on Reagan's Passing"
- Legacy " Reagan May or May Not Appear as Heroic in the Future as He Does Right Now " Lewis Gould
- Legacy "The Reagan Economics Legend" Paul Krugman
- Legacy "Reagan the Divider" Rick Perlstein
- Legacy "Reagan's Role in Ending the Cold War" Walter Russell Mead
- Legacy "Reagan Didn't End the Cold War " Robert Parry
- Legacy "66 (Unflattering) Things About Ronald Reagan" David Corn
- Legacy "Reagan Supported Dictators ... As Long as They Said They Opposed Communists" David Corn
- Legacy "On Hearing that Ronald Reagan Had Died" Rick Shenkman
- Legacy "Was He a Great President? " Rick Shenkman
- Legacy "How Reagan Looks to a Teacher of World History" Jonathan Dresner
- Legacy "Reagan's Legacy of Debt"
- Legacy "Those Reagan Deficits"
- Legacy "Reagan Wasn't a Neocon" John Patrick Diggins
- Legacy "Reagan Allied Pro-Life Catholics and Protestants"
- Legacy "Put Reagan on the Dime? "
- Bush & Reagan "The Bush and Reagan Families ... Not Really Very Close"
- Popularity "Why Reagan Is So Popular Now" Jon Meacham
- Popularity "Replace FDR on the Dime with Reagan?" Colin Gordon
- Popularity "FDR Should Remain on the Dime" Ruth Rosen
- Popularity "Turning Reagan into a Monument Is Only Going to Hurt the Conservative Cause" Phillip Payne
- Terrorism "Reagan's Response to Terrorism Was Uneven"
- Terrorism "Before We Move on, Let's Remember Ronald Reagan's First Victory Against Terrorism" Daniel Pipes
- Terrorism "Reagan Was Responsible for the Rise of Osama bin Laden " Fred Kaplan
- Cold War "Reagan's Real Role in Ending the Cold War" Fred Kaplan
- Cold War "Reagan Was No Lightweight" John Lewis Gaddis
- Cold War "Reagan's Role in Ending the Cold War Is Being Exaggerated" Roger Chapman
- Cold War "Reagan Needed Gorby to Succeed in Ending the Cold War" Marshall Goldman
- Cold War "Cold War Did Reagan's Military Build-Up Really Lead to Victory in the Cold War?" Lawrence Wittner
- Cold War "The Surprising Effect of the Nuclear Freeze Movement on the Administration of Ronald Reagan " Lawrence Wittner
- October Surprise "Remember Ronald Reagan's October Surprise? It Never Happened." Daniel Pipes
- Blacks "Why Reagan Gave MLK a National Holiday" Kiron Skinner
- Blacks "War of words on NYT op ed page over Reagan's 1980 visit to Philadelphia, Mississippi "
- Blacks "So Reagan's Policies Harmed Blacks?" Larry Elder
- Gays Reagan Opposed the Briggs Amendment, Helping Gays Hugo Schwyzer
- Documentaries The Ridiculous Criticisms of"The Reagans" Gil Troy
- Reagan Era Documents "The Reagan Papers Runaround" Hugh Davis Graham
- Reagan Era Documents "Release the Reagan Documents" Bruce Craig
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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007
Are we now in a group psychotherapy session here ?
Okay, so the loud, angry Mr. Williams's rhetoric is overboard, and he is unfairly and rudely disrespectful of the recently deceased. You are entirely justified, Mr. George W. Mahan, in making such observations, just as anyone here would be justified in remarking that grass is green, or skies in global-warming devastated Texas are blue. Call him HNN’s Bill-Heuisler-of-the-Left, if you like.
But what has any of this to do with history, the supposed subject of this website, or Reagan's legacy, the supposed subject of this page thereon ? For all his "uncontrolled anger", Williams at least has a clue about how to make a comment with some relevance to the context at hand. If you want to defend the Reagan Administration's monumental financial irresponsibility (William's key point) why don't you do so (after perhaps first taking an introductory economics course) ? Surely there are other websites specializing in psychological counseling.
Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007
Reagan was a likable guy who served his country tolerably well, given his rather limited abilities. We can, first of all, honor him for that without being historically stupid about his actual achievements or indulging in childish nonsense about him being a "great president". He was president during an important period in our history and acted in the role of leader of the West reasonably well. The economic boom of the '80s was however, more ascribable to Paul Volker, and the winding down of the Cold War much more affected by Mikhail Gorbachev.
Because we now have a president whose most noteworthy goals have been feeble attempts to rerun of some of Reagan's weaker and more counterproductive policies -trickle down supply side economics, Star Wars missile defense, misuse of intelligence and covert capabilities, for example- it is instructive to compare the two presidencies.
Both came to the White House from popular governorships of major states, but with little national or international experience. Both presented America with quasi-populist pro-business and anti-government rhetoric, welcomed to a degree by Americans dissatisfied by previous Democratic presidents lacking in credibility and clarity.
The differences vastly outweigh these similarities, and that no doubt accounts in part for the extravagantly worshipful tone of some eulogies. Reagan's passing is a reminder of how far America has fallen since his time, and especially in the last three years.
Reagan made genuine efforts to rein in government spending rather than just run up record deficits. He kept his goals and message simple, and talked TO the American electorate about those goals, not AT the targeted 51% in “swing” states with the sound bite of the week.
Reagan, more importantly, clearly acknowledged his own limitations carefully chose high quality deputies from a variety of sources, listened to their advice, whether or not it fit any pre-conceived ideological agendas he may have had, and delegated authority to his team members based at least to some degree on the actual competency with which they discharged their duties.
Above all, perhaps, Reagan sounded and looked like a President. That his actual foreign policies were of secondary importance in bringing down the Berlin Wall shortly after he left office, for example, and that he was only repeating a speech-writer's script when he admonished Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" did not matter much in the end, to most Americans, and many -if not most- Europeans. What mattered is that he sounded and acted, at least at some such key moments, like a great leader of the western alliance.
Here the difference to W could hardly be greater. When the current president opens his tongue-twisted mouth, he tries so hard not to stumble that he sounds instead like a third grader striving mightily to read Dick and Jane out loud. And most listeners naturally wonder, based on his track record, whether he might be trying to con them, rather than just chat with them the way the grandfatherly Reagan did.
Reagan's actual policies were a very mixed bag. In many ways the country drifted under his tenure in Washington while fundamental problems went unaddressed. But, as a person, he was admired and respected even by many of his staunchest opponents. He said he would make America and the world better off, and by many measures he succeeded, even if, as suggested above, most of the success was a result of good delegation and good luck. G.W. Bush, by contrast, has been a shocking disgrace. America is only now starting to wake up the long lasting cost of his disastrous presidency.
W. is not less moral the Ron was, nor less patriotic. He certainly has a higher IQ and it will be far longer after he leaves office before dementia becomes an issue. But the current chief executive is arrogant and stubborn to an extreme degree while his predecessor two decades earlier was neither.
Reagan was simple-minded by nature, but he knew how to focus on credible, straightforward and achievable visions. W. Bush is intelligent, but "ignorant by design". His sudden disproportionate and hypocritical obession with an oxymoronic "war" on "evildoers" captured a certain short-term public mood after 9-11, understandably, and no doubt has been endorsed since by the Rovian poll apparatus, but it is more significant for what it reveals about the shallow and fraudulent nature of this presidency overall.
No doubt W. would like to wrap himself in Ronnie's mantle, but there can also be little doubt that were the pre-Alzheimers Reagan still around, he would be ashamed of the comparison.
I think that is about enough from me, and wonder what some of the regulars here have to say.
Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007
Thanks, Jonathan. I agree completely with your blog comment, and found your longer piece on the "1980s coalition" also quite apt. Along those lines, the BBC World Service News on the radio this morning was interesting (and whatever one thinks of them, they are not some kind of Fabian Al Jazeera or latter-day Pravda). While NPR today was full of facile platitudes about Reagan "ending the Cold War" and other such nonsense, BBC had just three comments. One, translated from Russian, was from Gorbachev praising the man he was "able to work with despite differences" or words to that effect. The other two comments were brief negative reactions from Khadafy and some Nicaraguan figure whose name I don't recall (possible an Ortega family member).
andy mahan - 9/18/2006
Mr. Williams: I’ve noticed continual droning by many on these boards to discuss the “facts.” “Facts”? Few people here discuss “facts.” Generally these boards have nothing to do with the honest pursuit of history but with the misinterpretation of events to support political partisanship. This is a “political” forum not an “historical” forum. Further obscuring the situation is the FACT that an overwhelming number of those that fancy themselves “historians” are liberals. So there is not even a balance of partisan dialogue. So anyway, let’s talk politics.
Let’s see how much you truly are “looking at the facts”? The facts are that in 1980 Ronald Reagan inherited double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates and high unemployment. What to do? Well, history records that he had the right tack; he cut taxes to spur investment and alleviated part of the bloated government. As Keynesian economics dictates he also invested the taxpayers money to prime the pump to recovery through military spending. (Our current economy is also benefiting from the military spending.) Reagan’s supply side approach worked. During President Reagan’s 8 years America had the largest economic expansion in the history of the U.S. So robust was the expansion, that absent the short downturn immediately following the Clinton administrations and the 9-11 attack it is still ongoing.
Now your statement, “Reagan, Bush 1, and George W Bush personally approved huge increases in debt, transferred huge sums to the richest 2% of the population” is only an example of your prejudice, isn’t it? Why couldn’t it be that they were all acting on the economic premise articulated by Reagan that they are encouraging investment? Mr. Williams, can you provide one of your “facts”, not opinion, proving that, “Reagan, Bush 1, and George W Bush transferred huge sums to the richest 2% of the population”? Further, that they “did so knowing that millions will die before their time because of their actions.” Now please, no Michael Mooreisms. Real “FACTS.” A real fact would be something like, incontrovertible PROOF that led you to know that they knew that the absolute death of millions would occur as a result of their policy; both entered their minds, and that they found that the death of those millions was an acceptable consequence?
You must accept, Mr. Williams, as have all but the most extreme liberals that business is good for society. That revelation to many liberals is also courtesy of President Reagan’s policies. Business is a powerful, necessary constituency in America and must be recognized as is NAACP, AIPAC, AARP, AFLCIO, and NEA. If you alienate business interests they will seek out more accommodating circumstances in which they can profit. Unlike the other special interests I named we cannot do without business.
“Why should we honor such men?” First, I didn’t say you should honor them. I said your castigating President Reagan upon the event of his death is inappropriate, and it is, as is the last sentence of your last post. All of those cruel statements reveal a very unhappy person. Anyway, in answer to your question of why you should honor Presidents Reagan, H.W. Bush and G.W. Bush:
· Because they are all PRESIDENTS of the U.S.
· Because they all acknowledge the power of God, and try to follow the prescriptions of Christianity. (This is a positive thing for the leader of the most powerful State in the world).
· Because they are honestly doing/have done the best they can to ensure a high standard of living for the American people.
· Because they have all protected the American people militarily when necessary.
· Because they all attempt to instill pride in the meaning of America and being American when we are so prone to attack ourselves for our failures.
· Because they are all bringing hope to people around the world that their dire living conditions can be improved through the freedoms of Democratic Capitalism.
Is it Democratic capitalism perfect? Of course not, but it is the best there is. It is by far the greatest wealth producing engine and society liberating process in the history of the world.
Federal budgets are PROJECTIONS. There is no guarantee that that debt will be real in 2008. In fact I can guarantee to you that it WILL NOT be real. Budget projections have NEVER precisely forecasted debt. The debt is based on a formula of the expected revenue based on GDP, and the budget deficit, among other indicators. If business is greater, the revenues increase the deficit decreases and the debt decreases. These projections are used as a guideline to be compared with past data and other indices to ascertain the general direction of the economy. In the President’s February budget the deficit was $521 billion. With the upturn in the economy, many economists have lopped $100 billion off of that figure. In less than 4 months the current deficit has been decreased by almost 25%. Additionally, let’s look at what has happened since the first budget. Terrorists attacked the twin towers adding to the already failing economy. America has fought 2 wars and been saddled with expanding costs for security. These unexpected costs were not part of the first Bush budget. As we decrease our presence in Iraq, and complete our initial investment costs for homeland security our deficit will shrink. Finally, there is practically no reputable economist that holds the position that Bush’s tax cuts did not spur the booming economic recovery that we are now experiencing. Reagan taught us that the government will increase revenues with tax cuts. What good does it do for the government to have a little more money in the bank if they have no source of future income? Cash flow is fundamental. It is EVERYTHING to an economy.
Well, It appears that you are not bullish on 401K/IRA accounts. How about this? Don’t invest. If you really expect a 60% tax rate (I don’t, and neither should you if you were to be consistent because the rich are far more heavily invested in the stock market than any other group) get out. No need to worry about the poor, they don’t have 401K/IRA accounts, so that only leaves the middle class and rich who will be hurt by your prognostication. Nonetheless, your attitude screams ENTITLEMENT!
I’m not sure what you are referring to concerning the 5th amendment. It has nothing to do with the poor being ripped off and having no recourse. Corrupt filibustering Senators…er…ugh…please.
I am sorry for your loss by the death of your father. My father too died of cancer, as did my mother. My father too served in Korea and Vietnam. It has never occurred to me to fault President Reagan or any other politician for my father’s passing. When it is time for you to die there is nothing on earth that will keep you here. Not money, not a well-funded health system, not demonizing our political leaders, not entitlement, nothing. You might be pleased to know that the incidence of cancer in both genders is decreasing.
When one finds themselves continually thinking about all of the distasteful things that happen in the world and trying to fix fault on someone they can get trapped in an overwhelming state of helplessness and anxiety, unable to extract themselves. It is no fun. These are unbearable burdens. Life really isn’t all that bad, especially in America. God will provide. God gives peace. Our leaders really are doing their best. Thank God that someone like Saddam or Stalin does not have control of our nation and that no single person has power like that. If fault must be fixed there is plenty for all branches of government and both political parties. Still, it would be a waste of time and peace.
It is not only for our generation that we are fighting the war on terror, but for our children and our children’s children. They certainly will become more and more affected with terrorism if not addressed now. This is a long-term proposition. We cannot choose isolationism now. We are on the cusp of an expanded global economy. If we were to choose to refuse to participate America would decline markedly. Investment of all types must be made by America to solidify its status in the global economy now to ensure our future.
andy mahan - 9/18/2006
Thank God for Ronald Reagan. Without his conviction, wit, humor and indomitable ability to remain positive above, and in the face of, his virulent and tenacious detractors America would be much less than it is today. I was reminded of why he is known as the “great communicator” when MSNBC ran several clips of his press conferences. He was such a cleaver and truly nice person. Had America not been blessed with “the gipper” our nation would have been much weakened. He ended the cold war and saved the U.S. from the appeasement ideology that had taken hold of America in the 1970's. He will be remembered as one of the top 2 greatest Presidents of the twentieth century. Even those that hate are forced to acknowledge this truth in their hearts.
President Bush is an adherent to the example of President Reagan and possesses many of the same qualities. He too will be remembered fondly for remaining above the pettiness of those that hate him while taking the historic step of being the first president to take a strong stand against the long gathering threat of terrorism.
andy mahan - 9/18/2006
I haven't been to these boards often, but your uncontrolled anger adds nothing, it only detracts…from you and from any substantive discussion. Nothing you’ve said was backed up with fact, while much of it is merely an expression of your prejudice. Do you consider yourself a historian or just an angry, unhappy person?
Why would you choose the few days following the death of someone to attack them? As Al Franken says, have you no shame? Have you no sense of decency? Would your behavior be appropriate at your wake? I don’t think so. Show some control.
Honestly, you might consider taking a break from involvement in political issues for a while, you will be much happier. That is what is really important. Your screed has not informed anyone, and I doubt that anyone's mind has been changed. Good luck.
Stephen Thomas - 10/29/2004
OK, I have one more thing to say. It's very positive.
President Ronald Reagan set a personal example that we all can aspire to emulate. He is an inspiration to old guys everywhere.
President Reagan set out on his campaign to bring down the Evil Empire when he was 69 years old! What an amazing feat! He could have been sitting on his own island in the Pacific, drinking Martinis. I think of his example every day when I am tired or dejected.
President Reagan embodied all the good attributes of a strong father (which is precisely the reason that leftists hate him) in the public sphere. He understood that the juveniles didn't have the experience or wisdom and that they need, at critical times, to simply be told what to do. Fathers everywhere can learn from this example.
I think that the most inspiring legacy of President Reagan is that he recovered from taking a bullet in his first year in office, and he still found the physical and moral strength to continue and to win.
Fathers in Illinois have a new story to tell, in addition to the time-honored tradition of re-telling the story of Abraham Lincoln. My father told me the truth: any son of a working man in American can become president. The proof is not just Honest Abe, it is also Ronald Reagan. (This is another reason the leftists hate him. He proved with his life that the cliches of American tradition are true.)
And, young men, you can look to Ronald Reagan for direction in choosing a wife and helpmate. Here, too, is an inspirational and educational story. Look for a woman who embodies the virtues and principles of a Nancy Reagan. You will go far in life if you do. Belief in God is a pre-requisite here.
The best thing that our young men can learn from Ronald Reagan is winning. Don't let the eulogies fool you. The ignorant and morally sick villified Reagan viciously during his lifetime, and will continue to do so. The reason is pretty transparent. The losers were hoping that the Soviet Union and its malignant ideology, Marxism, would prevail. President Reagan responded the way a good American male should... he won!
Thanks Dutch! We can all learn from your splendid example!
clarence willard swinney - 8/3/2004
--------------------------RONALD REAGAN RECORDS AS FIRST---------------------------
(Peggy Noonan pay attention)
1.First to turn America into a DEBTOR nation
2. First to increase DEBT faster than growth of national income in eight years
3. First to increase DEBT faster than growth of gdp over eight years
4. First to double the deficit in just eigh t years
5. First to “almost”: triple the national DEBT in just eight years
6. First to increase SPENDING by 80%--over 8 years.
7. First to SPEND more in eight years than was spent in prior 50 years.
8. First to have “real” INTEREST RATES of 8% after averaging 1% over 35 years.
9. First to keep PRIME INTEREST RATES at 20%.
10.First to over value the dollar to the yen at rate of 262 yen to 1 dollar.
11.First to have served as Governor and increase STATE SPENDING by 112%
12.First to have HOME LOAN INTEREST RATES as high as 16%
13. First to CUT TAXES by 60% for his rich pals
14. First to allow the SAVINGS AND LOAN INDUSTRY to be raided after signing a deregulatory bill and proclaiming “I think we have hit the jackpot”. Come and get it the vaults are unguarded.
15. First to deal with TERRORISTS
16. First to send an AUTOGRAPHED BIBLE to a man he called “The Satan of Terrorists”.
17. First to have an ADMIRAL plead the Fifth Amendment.
18. First to have a stealing, lying, gutless wife abusing MARINE LT. COLONEL plead the Fifth Amendment.
19. First to have a “sitting” CABINET MEMBER INDICTED
20. First to have an ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE INDICTED.
21. First to have an ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE SENT TO PRISON.
22. First to have over 100 MEMBERS OF AN ADMINISTRATION CHARGED WITH CRIMES..
23. First to have more members of his administration charged with crimes than CUMULATIVE TOTAL OF ALL OTHER PRESIDENTS in the twentieth century
24. First to set a record for the LARGEST ONE DAY PERCENTAGE DECLINE in the DOW in history. 10-19-87
25. First to have over $10,000,000 INCREASE IN WEALTH from serving for 8 years as president.
26. First to testify ”under oath” 130 times that ”I DON’T REMEMBER” .
27. First to have an Admiral with a photographic memory testify 128 times “ I DON’T REMEMBER”.
28. First to undergo BRAIN SURGERY a few months after leaving office. No pain no gain.
29. First to, repeatedly, FALSIFY HIS WIFE’S AGE. As tho anyone cared.
30. First to promote his religious faith and never have an ACTIVE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP.
31. First to never use the term JESUS CHRIST in speeches.
32. First to seek GUIDANCE FROM THE STARS not from God
33. First to have had a SHOTGUN WEDDING.
34. First to have worked as a SHILL in Las Vegas.
35. First to call a Stealing, Lying, Psychotic, wife abusing Marine a “LIAR.
36. First to have been OPENLY ALIENATED from his children.
37. First To have served with ALZHIMERS
38. First to have UNEMPLOYMENT AT 10.8% since great depression.
39. First to attack a small unprotected nation with 88,000 inhabitants and 10,000 bb guns then PROCLAIM -“America stands tall again”— “we have whipped the Vietnam Syndrome”-we have defeated communism”. Gosh! What if we had whipped Cyprus?.
40. #1-in FARM FORECLOSURES
41. #1-In BANK FAILURES
42. #1-In SAVINGS AND LOAN FAILURES
43. #1-In Percent increase in PERSONAL BANKRUPTCIES
44. #1-In recorded MISSTATEMENTS
45. #1-In never having a single press conference in which he did not make at least one or more INCORRECT STATEMENTS.
46. #1-In needing a staff person standby during press conferences to tell the press “WHAT HE REALLY MEANT”.
47. #1-In having SERVICEMEN KILLED during peacetime.
48. #1-In largest DROP IN POPULARITY in one week.
49. #1-In being first to HONOR NAZI STORM TROOPERS by calling them” Innocent Victims”
50. #1-In being first to be labeled “BRAIN DEAD AFFABLE DUNCE’ by this writer.
51. First to lie-over and over-to reporters “I DO NOT DYE MY HAIR my barber uses a special shampoo”
52. First to have a wife who ”forced” him to WEAR THREE SUITS in one day
53. First to boast “Not bad for a DUMB GUY who worked only 20 hours per week”.
54. First to have his wife sit nearby and WHISPER ANSWERS to questions
55. First to FALL ASLEEP while the Pope spoke
56. First to invite the Pope to visit the White House and “BRING THE WIFE AND KIDS”
57. First to have his press secretary remove him from the microphone because he could not answer questions. Then, as the reporter
yelled out “answer my question” he replied “MY HANDLERS WON’T LET ME SPEAK”. Quick get the white coat.
58. First 20th Century president to have historians RATE HIM BELOW every president of the 20th except for Richard Nixon. 1994 Poll.
59. First to give us a First Lady with a past reputation for giving the BEST BJ in Hollywood.
60. First to suggest his eldest son undergo PSYCHIATRIC examination
61. First to have been voted in British polls (twice) as the ”MOST FEARED LEADER IN THE WORLD” sic em Rambo.
62. First to serve as Governor on a ”conservative” platform and INCREASE SPENDING BY 112%.
63. First Governor TO INCREASE personal income taxes by 60%, tax increase on cigarettes by 200%, state tax collections by 152%.
64. First to have a Special Assistant say on national TV “sometimes you had to HIT HIM ON THE HEAD with a 2 x 4 to get his attention”
65. First to have his official biographer state on national TV ‘After he was shot in 1981he GOT SLOWER AND SLOWER EACH YEAR. His speech got slower. He deliberated more and he hesitated more when he spoke. He lost his physical quickness and would not make decisions on the spot. It was a very, very slow and steady mental and physical decline”.
66. First to have a POPULARITY RATING OF ONLY 35% after his first two years in office.
67. First president to have been DIVORCED
68. First president to have the Geriatrics Department of a major
university study his behavior and conclude that AFTER THREE YEARS IN OFFICE HE HAD ALZHIMERS.
------------------------------------ THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE-------------------------------------------
Clarence Swinney—Burlington NC.—firstname.lastname@example.org
robert leon brandfon - 6/17/2004
June 9, 2004
I've been scratching my head trying to find something substantive out of the outpourings of clichéd tributes to the late President Ronald Reagan. That he is being compared by eulogists to Washington, Lincoln, or the two Roosevelts is like the news of Mark Twain’s death, and a distortion of his public record. Any leader is known by our perspective of what he left us---his “legacy." So, in as a detached a professional manner as I can, I've tried to list just a few of them--all a matter of public record.
(1) By destroying taxation's progressive qualities he succeeded in widening exponentially the gulf between the very rich and the middle class (not to mention accelerating the greater gulf between the poor and the middle class), thus (a) hastening the development of a plutocracy in this country, (b) opening the door to corporate corruption, a reduction of public morale, and an increase in cynicism among the young by means of rationalizing obscene compensation for business executives, (c) permitting restless multi-millionaires and billionaires to buy their way into public office, and (d) setting the stage for two decades of reckless financial adventures which, among many other things, caused the disastrous and permanent loss of the value of retirees' savings and investments. For this, the Congress, which, during Mr. Reagan’s terms in office was dominated by the Democrats, must share the blame equally, at the very least.
(2) Closely allied to (1) and the consequent loss of governmental revenue, his irresponsible promotion of such wasteful projects as manned space probes, star wars (which has yet to prove itself), and a vast military buildup in a fictitious arms race with the Russians created the greatest deficit (even discounting for inflation) in the nation's history. This put enormous pressure on our balance of payments, eventually leading to the deterioration of the dollar, and all the international socio-economic disasters that flowed from it. These serious consequences, fully predicted at the time by legitimate economists, were never confronted by Mr. Reagan, but dismissed behind a fog of jokes, levity, and story-telling. Again, a servile Congress, fearful of losing their seats by daring to challenge the shibboleth of a "strong military," or the ever-present smear of being “soft on communism,” went along.
(3) The boast of his admirers in the media and certain international public figures that Reagan's expensive military buildup directly caused the implosion of the "Evil Empire," of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which ended the cold war, is yet another falsification of his record that is going to keep a generation of historians busy. The harsh truth is that the Soviet Union was always inherently flawed, and it was only a matter of time when it would come apart, as it happened to do while Mr. Reagan was President; there was no trigger for him to pull.
(4) Despite decades of appeals, the Reagan Administration did absolutely nothing to stem the rising tide of health costs, in effect, adding to them by emptying the mental hospitals, through drastic cuts in federal funding, thus creating an enormous and vexing social problem of homelessness in our time. The panhandlers who made their steady appearance during the Reagan years were blamed for their plight; it is Reagan who invented the slogan about "Welfare Queens." For this again, a cowardly Democratic Party in Congress, shares the blame.
(5) Faced with Reagan's popularity (which, like the "evil Empire, I strongly suspect was more imagined that real and was promoted by the geese-flocking media scribes) the same cowardly Democratic Party that controlled congress backed away from confronting Mr. Reagan about his deep involvement in the illegal Iran-Contra affair, which, besides bringing untolled misery and needless death to the people of Nicaragua and Central America, was in every respect an unconstitutional abuse of power and every bit grounds for impeachment as Nixon's involvement in Watergate.
(6) He effectively destroyed collective bargaining first, by precipitately and rashly firing all the air traffic controllers, thus encouraging employers everywhere that it was alright to refuse to bargain with employees in a reasonable manner, according to the intent of the labor laws. Second, his biased appointments to the National Labor Relations Board insured that its decisions would be guided by the anti-labor philosophy that lies behind the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. His successors followed his lead, which accounts in large part for the decline in union membership and the increasing exploitation of immigrant labor in this country. This was a very conscious thing on Reagan's part because one must remember that he was at one time, before he became a Republican and anti-labor (a major flip-flop, right?), the president of the Hollywood Screen Actor’s Guild. In this role, he cravenly avoided speaking up for certain of its members who were hauled before Congressional anti-communist witch-hunting committees.
(7) Equally absent from the eulogies is the memory of Mr. Reagan’s brutal treatment of the City of Berkeley California, when as Governor he called out the National Guard to quell the riots over the People’s Park. Curfews, barbed wire, helicopters and tear gas terrified the populace. The rash and indiscriminate use of tear gas caused permanent damage to many innocent people who were not part of the rioting, and tried vainly to have nothing to do with it. Governor Reagan never acknowledged his responsibility, or at the very least, apologize for gassing his own people. This is a matter of public record.
(8) To add to all this we must condemn the irresponsibility of his advisors and others--his family and friends-- who, by their own belated admission, knew certainly by 1986, that the president's dementia (later diagnosed as deadly Alzheimer’s disease) made it impossible for him to fulfill the Constitutional duties of his office. His mental condition made him putty in their hands. They knew this, and immorally exploited a sick man.
Comparing him to Franklin Roosevelt (as many erroneously do), one is challenged to identify one single piece of major progressive legislation that we can identify with Ronald Reagan—legislation or executive initiative that future generations of Americans will continue to benefit from--his legacy. Where is one—just one-- influential member of Mr. Reagan’s Administration comparable to Harry Hopkins who, in 1940, reminded his boss FDR that while we concentrate on building up our national defenses, we not retreat “from our social and economic objectives, we should push forward vigorously with a program to abolish poverty from the land.”?
As commander-in-chief of the “bully pulpit,” President Reagan’s education of the public in moral truth was from the lips out. When the curtain of levity and photo opportunities was pushed aside there was exposed a kindly old Wizard of Oz who, when asked by Dorothy why he should not be ashamed at being a humbug, explained rather sheepishly that being a humbug was “the only thing I could do. “ The sad truth remains that the cheerful optimism of “Morning in America,” carried no morally based program of substantive action. It therefore degenerated into mean-spiritedness, a refusal to acknowledge error, and an immature attitude that condemns a change of mind based on new facts as a mark of weakness. These characteristics sadly define today's conservatism, detracting its value in the formulation of social and economic policy. The shrill voices of the new conservatism, which we must lay at the feat of Mr. Reagan’s administration, has had the effect of polarizing the voting public as never before, reducing the public spirit and our traditional humanitarian American creed to which the world once looked. In the future, when the glow of eulogies has burnt itself out and the present generation is thereby enabled to gain a balanced judgment by means of looking squarely at the recorded facts, it will find a direct line of descent from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.
Jesse David Lamovsky - 6/17/2004
With all respect, I think it's missing the point somewhat to regard this spat of Reagan-worship as a "conservative/Republican" thing. To me, it's got a lot more to do with the veneration of the office of the Presidency itself, and the men who hold it. Mark my words: we're going to get a bellyful of the same kind of hagiography when Carter and Clinton shuffle off this mortal coil. Gerald Ford will come in for this kind of treatment as well; he was basically an empty suit for two-and-a-half years, but he was still the President. All ideologies aside, that's all that really matters.
Don Williams - 6/15/2004
Wishing that Reagan spends eternity in hell is overkill for Reagan's actions. But make no mistake -- the acts of this smiling deceiver bought --and will bring --misery and death to millions. He deserves our contempt , not our respect.
Don Williams - 6/14/2004
1) Re "As Keynesian economics dictates he also invested the taxpayers money to prime the pump to recovery through military spending."
--Keynesian economics suggests government spending, not necessarily military spending. Plus, in the long run, Keynes is both dead and wrong. Unfortunately, Keynes does not have to pay the $500? billion /year interest on the projected $9.9 Trillion debt we will have in 2008.
Military spending is like car insurance. An adequate amount is vital --anything over that is a waste of money.
The 7.5% of GDP that Reagan spent on defense was a huge waste. I already noted that evidence above that Reagan knew the USSR was not as strong as he projected to Congress.
But even if the USSR was a real threat, he should have been able to convince Japan and Germany to share the burden. If he had done so, our debt would be $2 Trillion less. The fact that Japan and Germany's intelligence services were not echoing Reagan's claims is another indication that Reagan was lying through his teeth.
There are productive ways of spurring the economy via government spending. Building roads so that millions of workers do not waste hours of their day sitting in traffic. Encouraging scientific research to raise living standards by creating new technologies. Providing decent housing, education, police protection, and medical care to millions of Americans who strongly need it. The fact that Reagan, George W Bush, and the Republicans dismiss such spending shows how deeply they hate the common citizens of this country.
2)Re "So robust was the expansion, that absent the short downturn immediately following the Clinton administrations and the 9-11 attack it is still ongoing"-- much of the George H Bush administration was a time of misery for the workers of this country. By the end of the Reagan/Bush1 era, federal debt had soared almost 600% and every citizen owed the equivalent of 4 times his annual tax payment on the federal debt. Anyone can give the TEMPORARY illusion of prosperity by pissing away $Trillions of the taxpayers money --but the Republicans are no more immune to the laws of economics than are any other drunken, irresponsible spendthrifts. They just stick the common workers with the bill --because their spending is their corrupt way to shift massive amounts of wealth from the people who create it to the despicable predators who steal it.
2) Re "Why couldn’t it be that they were all acting on the economic premise articulated by Reagan that they are encouraging investment? Mr. Williams, can you provide one of your “facts”, not opinion, proving that, “Reagan, Bush 1, and George W Bush transferred huge sums to the richest 2% of the population”? "
Roughly 4% of the national wealth has been shifted from the poorest 80% of the population to the richest 1% since the start of the Reagan Revolution. See
That is not the result of some blind law of economics --that is the result of corrupt political policies. Things like breaking the power of American workers to unionize. Bailing out rich investors with $500 billion of the workers taxes in the savings and loan disaster. Using "national defense" as an excuse to shift hundreds of billions to the owners of defense corporations and to protect the foreign investments of the Houston oil companies.
As we saw during the boom of the 1950s, the way to encourage investment is to tax the income of the rich at 60% -- and then give them a tax cut for capital gains if they invest capital in productive, job producing enterprises. Much of the Reagan economics is deceitful sophistry -- an excuse for taking the wealth created by US workers from the workers and passing it to the Republicans' patrons.
3)Re " Business is a powerful, necessary constituency in America and must be recognized as is NAACP, AIPAC, AARP, AFLCIO, and NEA. If you alienate business interests they will seek out more accommodating circumstances in which they can profit."
Wrong. We need to elect a US Government which will run this country for the benefit of all the citizens --for the "general welfare" --instead of electing the whores of the rich..
What that government should do is what Franklin Roosevelt
did --encourage productive investments and punish the rich when they hid capital under the mattress. Government should pass laws taxing gains on foreign direct investment at rates 20% higher than gains on US investments. Plus throw 20-30 plutocrats into prison the first time they try to flim-flam with their tax returns.
I could say more, but you get the idea.
PS Your suggestion that the $9.9 Trillion in 2008 federal debt could be overstated is propostous. That debt is already ordained by the Bush tax cut. I will bet you that the next Presidental budget --in Feb 2005 -- will raise the estimate even higher.
Until George W's administration,the federal financial position was projected to 10 years. Bush won't do that because he's a liar who doesn't want the voters to realize what a disaster he is bringing onto them.
Steven Alan Dickerson - 6/12/2004
Ronald Reagan should properly be remembered for financing and arming Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, returning Most Favored Nation status to Iraq, and death and suffering on a mass scale in Central America.
The coverage in the week following Reagan’s death in the USA was mostly irresponsible, a lot of patriotic revised history rather than serious attempts to look at his record as president.
Paul Barry Weinstein - 6/9/2004
The conservative movement/Republican Party (they have essentially become one and the same) is using the occasion of Reagan's funeral to promote his canonization. Various suggestions are being put forward to rename the Pentagon among hundreds of other buildings, highways, streets, and other public venues in his honor and to place his likeness on coins and bills. The voice of Mr. Williams is a welcome relief and antidote to the hypocritical self-serving hagiography now playing throughout the media.
Richard Charles Crepeau - 6/8/2004
Reagan and Sport
Over the last few days much has been made of the connections between former President Ronald Reagan and Sport. As is typical of many American politicians Reagan associated himself with the symbols of victory and those who achieved it. Unlike some, President Reagan's associations with sport were real and in many key ways a determinant of his personal political style.
From nearly the beginning of his sport's career Ronald Reagan showed the magical and creative style that marked his time in public life, first as actor and then as President, the most significant and convincing role he ever played.
His athletic career lasted through high school and college where he was a three-sport athlete. The significant and formative part of his sports career followed his college days when he took a job as a part-time sports reporter in Davenport, Iowa, and then moved to a full-time position at WHO Radio in Des Moines.
At WHO Reagan got his first important education in myth formation and creative dissembling. Reagan loved to tell the story of his job as Cubs play-by-play announcer working from Teletype machines to recreate Cub games. One day the machine broke down and Reagan was proud to say that he didn't miss a beat. He simply made up the facts of the game and put them into their proper frame. Over the long haul of his political career he became a master of this form.
Time and time again he would simply pull fictitious numbers and facts from the air to illustrate some point he was trying to make. He did this with such alacrity and frequency that reporters simply couldn't take the time to track all these bogus references. Reporters also felt they might be viewed as nitpicking if they began to call the Great Communicator on his repeated fictions.
The public believed him because they trusted him. His credibility quotient was so high that even if he didn't have his facts right, people believed that he was essentially right on his main point and so they didn't care about the technical reality of what he said.
The baseball-broadcasting job prepared him for his next great role in myth making and communication. Although not a great actor, Reagan was a prolific one. Part of his genius was that he was able to put together film roles that spoke to basic social myth wrapped in sports myth. Two of these roles stand out. In 1940 he took the role of George Gipp in "The Knute Rockne Story." Playing in tandem with Pat O'Brien, Reagan was able to wrap himself in the Notre Dame football mystique, tie his image to the inspirational genius of Rockne, and rewrite the character of George Gipp as that of an all-American boy.
George Gipp was by all accounts an uncontrollable force prone to alcohol and the free and easy life. Reagan's Gipp showed no signs of such behavior. Instead he was the great American athlete dying young, whose tragic end provided inspiration to his teammates via his legendary coach at a critical halftime moment. "Win One for the Gipper" was the most memorable line from the film, and became a watchword throughout the Reagan Presidency. It was evoked repeatedly, often for no apparent reason, but always with effect.
Of nearly equal interest, if not as memorable, was his 1952 role as Grover Cleveland Alexander, "Old Pete," in "The Winning Team." By this time Reagan's political ambitions and career were well set as he had taken a starring role in the purge of Communists before the HUAC investigations of Hollywood's film industry. He was about to launch his right wing lecture tours on behalf of the General Electric Company and the free enterprise system in corporate boardrooms and high school assembly halls.
Again the rewriting of a key moment was critical. In the twilight of Alexander's career during the 1926 World Series after winning game two and game six, "Old Pete" was called upon to save game seven in relief. By many accounts Alexander was so badly hung over, and perhaps still a bit tipsy when arriving at the ballpark, that he had been sleeping in the bullpen. Alexander himself turned this story into a tale for the stage, intimating that he always pitched better when he had a hangover.
This would not do for a great American baseball hero in a Ronald Reagan role. In the Reagan portrayal of Alexander he is a totally reformed alcoholic who is suffering from myopia, an illness he will overcome with the help of his wife, played with virginal charm by Doris Day. With grit and determination the aging Alexander/Reagan came in and saved game seven in dramatic fashion and in the process saved the Series for the Cardinals.
As Reagan moved into the politics of the Screen Actors Guild and then on to public politics he mastered the arts of image and myth. As president he created new roles for himself as World War II hero and patriot, some of these spun out of WWII films. In one such role Reagan took on the task of liberator of the death camps, once telling the visiting Prime Minister of Israel that as President he was so deeply committed to Israel because of his experience liberating the death camps. No doubt the PM was impressed until he was later informed that Reagan had not been anywhere near Europe during the War.
The myth that Reagan most effectively wrapped around himself was one of the oldest and most fundamental of American myths. In his closing statement in his first debate with Jimmy Carter, Reagan quoted the seventeenth century governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop. Reagan effectively resurrected Winthrop's image of America as "The City on the Hill," morphed into America as the great democratic experiment serving as light of the world.
As was so often the case with Reagan it was quite simply the perfect phrase for that moment in history as he called on Americans to feel good about themselves again and seize the role of world leadership. The world was ready, Reagan was ready, and America was ready. The long night of the Iranian hostage crisis was about to come to an end and Ronald Reagan would return his nation to that historic and mythic place on the Hill. He would do battle with the Evil Empire, but more importantly America would willingly reassume its rightful place in the world under his leadership.
The Great Communicator is gone but his mythic persona and legacy live on.
Richard C. Crepeau
University of Central Florida
Don Williams - 6/8/2004
1) Unlike Mr Mahan, I like to look at the Facts. The Facts are that Reagan, Bush 1, and George W Bush personally approved huge increases in debt, transferred huge sums to the richest 2% of the population, and did so knowing that millions will die before their time because
of their actions. Why should we honor such men?
2) George W Bush's most recent budget shows that the federal debt will be $9.9 TRILLION in 2008 --$3.8 Trillion
more than what George W promised only three years ago.
That projection shows the consequences of George W's heavy spending and $2.6 Trillion tax cuts. It's too late to undo it.
3) George W's budget also shows that he is paying for his tax cuts for the rich by stealing $Trillions from blue collar/Middle Class Social Security and Medicare accounts.
The $4+ Trillion in Bush/Republican IOUs those accounts
will be holding in 2008 are worthless --because future governments can pay us back for those IOUS only by taking the money from us-- most likely by high (60%+) taxes on our 401K/IRA withdrawals.
The poor won't have money to pay and the rich will be able to block any tax increases on their assets --both because of the Fifth AMendment and because it only takes one corrupt Senator to filibuster a bill or one corrupt President to veto it.
4) By 2008, the baby boomers will begin entering retirement. The major threat they face is not death by Arab terrorist --it is death by cancer cells. Yet our bankrupt Medicare accounts will not be able to pay for any care of significance -- the best we can hope for is morphine injections to kill pain. Even today, our Republican-brewed health system is a disaster. My father died several years ago because his throat cancer went undiagnoised for six months --by which time it had became incurable. My father-in-law recently discovered he had lung cancer --but at a very advanced stage so that his case is hopeless. In Japan, the 5 year survival rate for lung cancer is 67% --because they spend money to give people CT Scans yearly and catch lung tumors when they are 1 cm in size--when they can be cured. My father-in-law's cancer wasn't detected until he had several tumors up to 7 cm in size.
Both my father and my father-in-law served in the Army during the Korean War and were middle class managers who worked hard all their life. My father-in-law was Program Manager of the project that developed the Hellfire missile, was a Korean POW, and retired as a full colonel. His mistake was depending on a Republican-funded Veterans Administration.
Yet our fathers are enjoying a golden period compared to the fate which awaits millions of baby boomers: stark poverty because Reagan and George W has stolen their retirement and early death because Reagan/Bushes have stolen their Medicare.
When spread across the households which can pay --i.e. those 61 million households which make more than $40,000 per year -- the Reagan/Bush1/Bush2 debt amounts to $116,400 per household. That debt is real -- you will pay for it either by additional taxes beyond what you are already paying or you will pay for it by giving up the Social Security and Medicare benefits which you have paid for over 45 years of work.
The baby boomers do not yet realize what a curse the "Reagan Revolution" inflicted on this country --but they will. When they do they will join me in wishing that Reagan's soul screams in hell for all eternity.
Don Williams - 6/7/2004
I really wish some of Reagan's defenders would address the facts:
a) Reagan and Bush1 alone --of all the people in Washington --had the power to halt the buildup of federal debt by use of the veto. Yet federal debt soared from 700 billion to $4 Trillion on their watch. By 1992,
a citizen's share of the federal debt was equal to 4 times their annual tax payment. (By the end of the Clinton administration, the citizen's share of the debt had dropped to 2.8 times their annual income. In spite of the huge annual interest costs needed to service the Reagan/Bush1 debt, the maligned Clinton managed to reduce
the debt burden by growing the economy and by holding spending in check.)
b) Two weeks AFTER the 1988 election, Bush 1 revealed how
Reagan's deregulation had created the massive Savings and Loan disaster -- and that it would be necessary to raid the public Treasury for $150 billion to clean up the mess.
The actual bill ended up being $500 billion. The welfare queens could have bought Cadillacs for 1000 years with that pile of money. But it was always a mark of Reagan's two-faced deceit and hypocrisy that he never acknowledged the sins of the rich --only of the poor.
c) Part of the massive Reagan debt was the result of defense budgets equal to 7.5% of the GDP. Reagan lied to the country ( and to Congress) about the threat of the "evil empire". This came out during Robert Gates' confirmation hearings for Director of the CIA. What our
news media did not point out during Reagan's administration was that the second and third largest economies--Japan and Germany -- were only spending 1% and 3% of their GDP on defense even though they were located
within miles of the "evil empire"--while we were separated by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
d) Reagan's defense buildup was more about shoveling tax dollars to General Electric's aerospace subsidary rather than defending the country. Understandable, given that General Electric had saved Reagan's bacon by hiring him to be their deceitful PR mouthpiece after the country showed it had a limited stomach for "Bedtime for Bozo"
e) There are striking similarities between Reagan and George W Bush --although ones not mentioned by the corporate news media. Both were failures who were bailed out by rich men. (In spite of all the advantages of a wealthy upbringing -- Andover, Yale, Harvard MBA, millions for his own startup -- George W was a drunk and a business failure at age 40. )
Both Reagan and George W became passionate buttkissers and advocates for the rich --because they knew that was their only salvation. Both ducked military combat.
Like many sellouts, both Reagan and George W waved the flag while showing an underlying hatred of virtue and of men better than themselves -- hatred of the common citizens who fight this country's wars and who create this country's wealth. Both Reagan and Bush transferred enormous wealth to their rich patrons by dumping enormous debt on the common people of this country.
Like many sociopaths lacking a conscience, Reagan and George W have been exceptionally good liars --exceptionally good. It must be noted, however, that both would have been exposed long ago if not for our craven, corporate-owned news media --a news media which daily lies to its readers under the direction of wealthy owners and wealthy advertisers.
Both Reagan and Bush have also been protected by the massive right wing propaganda machine. But then Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, and the other anchors at Fox News did not make personal fortunes by telling America the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Ken Melvin - 6/7/2004
Reagan deliberately manipulated the CA economy leading up to the 1970 CA election so as to enhance his reelection chances. Results: Prop. 13, CA's schools going first to last, ..... His administration again so manipulated the economy in the run up to 1984. Consequent this manipulation many Americans lost their homes, marriages, etc., ... some their lives. Under Reagan America became a land of arsholes.
Of which, we've now an administration again so manipulating the economy excepting this time too a scale heretofore unknown. After the requisite suppression, some $half-trillion priming. Wow.
I don't think Reagan, Bush I, or Bush II gave a damn about anyone.
Mr. Hellmann - 6/7/2004
His legacy is that he put labor, the working man, the guy who gets his hand dirty, at the bottom of the pile with big business's heel on his neck.
As a result, adjusted for inflation, his wages are at there lowest in 20 years,
" The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation,
should be one uniting all working people." --- Abraham Lincoln
Ty Geltmaker - 6/7/2004
In previous: squads, not quads.
Ty Geltmaker - 6/6/2004
Indifference to AIDS. Funding death quads. Ketchup as vegetable. Record deficits. Defunding social services. Degrading the environment. Owning a ranch. Getting superior health care to the day of his death. Not caring for average Americans while pretending to be a nice guy. Being credited with doing what Gorbachev and the people of eastern Europe did despite his threats.
Jonathan Dresner - 6/6/2004
Thanks. That piece came out of my western and world history survey teaching: something about that BIG perspective is really interesting.
The NPR coverage has been pretty weak, though it's had some interesting moments. They tried to interview Jeanne Kirkpatrick yesterday about Reagan's anti-communism, and she was not playing along. She was treating the interview as hostile, when NPR has been hewing a very careful bi-partisan line lately, and very respectful about Reagan (I think they're a bit afraid of a CBS-style backlash).
Orval Gene Clanton - 6/6/2004
Few things are more dangerous to a country than learning the wrong lessons from history. The death of Ronald Reagan has highlighted one of these. The media and far too many folks who should no better have credited the Reagan administration with a victory in the Cold War. Ronald Reagan neither won nor ended the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Reagan in fact merely prolonged the Cold War throughout his first administration. In the process he managed to militarize the American future and severely rearranged American priorities in an inhumane and anti-democratic fasion.
The disastrous consequences of learning the wrong lessons from history were never better illustrated than by the performance of the current Bush administration. Mythologizing the past has been a hallmark of Bush devotees.
For Ronald Reagan there is one redeeming feature for which he can thank George W. Bush: The latter has made sure that the former will no longer be ranked at the bottom of the list of former presidents; George W. Bush has claimed that spot for himself.
Jonathan Dresner - 6/6/2004
Well, you're a regular, too, though more a critic than a fan.
Actually, I agree with almost everything you wrote (http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/5505.html).
Of course, Reagan doesn't impinge on my primary interests, whereas many more of the others here are Americanists, professionally or by avocation. We'll see.