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View Diary: Romney haunted by Reagan's ghost (78 comments)

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  •  Reagan caused AIDs to increase? (0+ / 0-)

    Really? And Measles? Do tell. Jeez.

    And I'm sure you'll give Bush Jr credit for his efforts to treat AIDS?

    •  Reagan ignored AIDS when it really mattered. If he (7+ / 0-)

      had taken it seriously in the early 80s, the trajectory of the epidemic could have been far different, and many lives may have been saved. But it was an icky gay disease so it was ok to dismiss.

      Too many people I knew died in those days. I can never forgive him for his inaction (and for many other things like Iran/Contra) and still he looks reasonable compared to the current fuckwits.

      •  Who else was (0+ / 0-)

        all about fighting AIDS then (80's) in the political arena? No one? Carter? Mondale?

        I'll Gibe Bush Jr. credit - he did more than any politician to fight aids. reagan (and others ) were men of their times).

        •  What is your obsession... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lineatus, lanshark, Tamar

          ...with letting Reagan off the hook when it comes to his (mis)handling of the AIDS epidemic?

          Your comparison with Carter and Mondale is irrelevant because they were out of office before anyone outside of a few public health experts in NYC and SF had heard of the cases of a (then) handful of gay men showing mysterious illnesses.  

          No, Reagan could not have prevented AIDS, but his policy of near total neglect was certainly not helpful.  Because a president who was willing to speak up and put some federal effort behind fighting this epidemic in, say, 1984 might have made a difference.  Although I will give him some credit for appointing C Everett Koop at Surgeon General, since Koop was about the only bright spot when it came to dealing with AIDS during the Reagan years.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 10:24:45 PM PDT

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          •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TexasTom, Tamar

            I remember this time quite well, and it marks the time that I first became disillusioned with Reagan (I was a Reagan voter and Republican at the time). He could have done a lot to provide some leadership and stop some of the hysteria that people had about AIDS and AIDS victims.

            If you remember the plight of Ryan White, a middle school student who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion (White was a hemophiliac) and was ejected from his school, or the Ray brothers (HIV positive children and hemophiliacs whose home was burned down following a court order to allow them to attend their local school) you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

          •  not an obsession (0+ / 0-)

            but i hear this type of argument a lot. Some one person back in day SHOULD have taken  giant stand on some issue, when no one else did. And that is my point. He didn't take a giant magnanimous or heroic stand on an issues that was controversial, new, misunderstood (especially for HIS generation) and even medically people were all over the map on its cause, treatments, etc.

            No he wasn't Mother teresa- but who was?

            •  I'm FROM "back in the day" and was there to see (0+ / 0-)

              Reagan's ineptitude, lack of caring and his administration's hostility to providing what was needed to improve the health of the nation.
              I worked on a large federal child heath survey in the early 90's that was a follow-up to one conducted in the late 80's. There was a set of questions on the earlier study (conducted during the Reagan administration) supposedly to measure whether and how much families experienced barriers to getting health care for their children. But the questions were so bad, you couldn't measure anything with them. I went to the author of the survey, disgusted that he would write such bad questions. He didn't -- his original set of questions on this topic were very good, but the Reagan people had instituted a check on all surveys, and the political appointees rewrote the questions so that there would be no data showing people had trouble getting health care for their children.
              In comparison -- no one from the Clinton administration censored our survey questions and the Clinton administration proposed and successfully passed the Vaccines for Children program which has made a huge difference in the vaccine rates for children in this country.

              We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

              by Tamar on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:19:36 PM PDT

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              •  Back to the original point (0+ / 0-)

                I am too (sort of). And I'm sure they did play awful games like that. But this is off point. Why single reagan out for his insufficient attention to AIDs?

                •  did you see my quote in the other comment (0+ / 0-)

                  from And the Band Played On?

                  Public health initiatives originate in the White House since the Secretary of HHS and the Surgeon General and the heads of all the federal health agencies are political appointees of the White House. Having been in public health through several administrations, I can tell you there's a noticeable difference in how Republicans and Democrats handle these issues.
                  Perfect example: flu vaccine shortage in 2004. There was an extremely limited supply, but the Bush administration didn't want too much government interference so they did nothing to organize the supply that was available. So we ended up with situations like my MIL's doctor, who treats mainly elderly people, with no vaccine supply at all while our pediatricians got their usual amount (they kindly agreed to give my MIL a shot). There was no directive from CDC about distribution, because god forbid that the premier public health agency in the nation, the agency responsible for immunization access and data, actually tell anyone what to do.
                  Gerberding, Bush's lovely appointed head of CDC had the same kind of reputation many of Bush's appointees had. Check out this article:

                  If the CDC and Surgeon General were doing nothing about AIDS, it's because the Reagan Administration didn't want them to do anything about AIDS.

                  We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                  by Tamar on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:25:11 PM PDT

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                  •  But my point (0+ / 0-)

                    isn't what admin did or did not provide direction about flu vaccines in 2004.  Again, sigh, heavy sigh, is WHO WAS doing anything in the 80's regarding AIDs from a political perspective? To say he could have? yes. Should have? In a perfect world. But no one was jumping on that back then.

                    And as much as it pains me to say it, Bush2 did more for aids research and treat,meant than any president.

                •  Why single out Reagan? (0+ / 0-)

                  The answer to that should be obvious:

                  Reagan was president during the period when AIDS was spreading like wildfire!

                  And, needless to say, the job of the president is to provide leadership.  In this particular respect, he failed utterly.  And you can't pin that on Carter (whose presidency ended before anyone other than a very small handful of medical personnel had heard of GRIDS, the original name for AIDS), Mondale (who lost in 1984), or anyone else...because they weren't in the White House during this crucial period.

                  Really, even if you otherwise liked President Reagan, his handling of the AIDS crisis was certainly a failing.

                  Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                  by TexasTom on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 06:36:18 PM PDT

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                  •  BUt who else (0+ / 0-)

                    even brought it up? It wasn't a campaign issue  see: CARTER/ MONDALE (that I can recall) and It wasn't even a high profile public issue (sadly) until Magic Johnson. My point is it is easy to say THAT PERSON should have done something way back when I wasn't around.

                    But is one thing to say it is a shame that Reagan wasn't on the bleeding edge of a radical new mysterious medical condition showing leadership on an issue that was just emerging and, as the diarist did, say he was to blame for more AIDS cases.

    •  immunization rates among children were dropping (0+ / 0-)

      to low enough levels that public health officials knew there would likely be big outbreaks.
      The Reagan administration chose to address the problem by discontinuing the surveys that showed the rates were dropping. They made no effort to improve access to immunization or to make sure children were getting the vaccines they needed. There were a number of epidemics (measles, mumps, pertussis and rubella) in the late 80's because of the lack of immunization coverage.  Measles was the worst of them. In another comment, I overstated the hospitalizations, but there were 130 deaths, 11,000 hospitalizations and 55,000 cases of measles reported between 1989 to 1991. (I published an article on this in 1994: )
      On AIDS, while there is certainly plenty of blame to go around, Reagan was the president and he essentially ignored the problem even though he knew it was a growing and dangerous issue. The author of the book: And the Band Played on:

      Shilts accused Ronald Reagan of neglecting to address AIDS to the American people until 1987—calling his behavior "ritualistic silence"—even after Reagan called friend Rock Hudson to tell him to get well.[35] After Hudson's death and in the face of increasing public anxiety, Reagan directed Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to provide a report on the epidemic. Though Koop was a political conservative, his report was nevertheless clear about what causes AIDS and what people and the U.S. government should do to stop it, including sex and AIDS education provided for all people.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:10:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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