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Many people regard the incompetence, corruption - the sheer cravenness - of the Bush Administration as unprecedented in American history.  But there is a robust argument that he was outshone in propagating evil and idiocy by the Administration most responsible for shaping modern times - that of Ronald Reagan.

A lot of people - even critics - think of Reagan wistfully, nostalgically.  They think he was strong, stood up for America, was optimistic, and was probably a nice guy.  In fact, he was a cynical, hypocritical con man who learned how to get people to like him with his ticks and charms (tilt head, two beats "well...heh, heh").  He got people to trust him with well-scripted, well-rehearsed lines, and then took them (us) to the cleaners - the colossal trench of debt we are digging for our kids, and the complete inability of current politicians to even discuss government finance like adults - is all the legacy of Reagan.

Reagan's legacy is also 9/11 and Iraq.  We (and our Saudi buddies) built the network that became Al Qaeda because Reagan's campaign manager - who he decided to stick in the role of head of the CIA, William Casey - thought it would be a clever way to lure the Soviet Union into "their own Vietnam."  Reaganauts also thought it would be clever to incite and fuel a war between Iraq and Iran, supplying weapons to both sides, and with the profits...  Iran-Contra was arguably the unpunished breach that gave the Bushniks their cardinal insight "we can get away with anything - as long as the PR campaign is well-managed and the smear campaign against critics is vicious enough."

As the bulk of this diary will demonstrate, all the vile themes of W's presidency were presaged by Reagan and his crew of evil clowns.

My point in this diary is not to argue that scumbags tearing down our country for their own twisted ideological and/or profiteering agendas is somehow the norm in American politics.  My point is that the Reagan Administration set a new low, and that our failure to confront its excesses at the time, set the stage for the outrages of W and crew.

It cannot but pain the hearts of patriotic Americans to contemplate what we're paving the way for if we let the Bush Administration off the hook today.

So, in the interest of illustrating both context and urgency, as we confront our current Constitutional crises, I invite you to sit back, buckle your seatbelt, and come along with me for a ride.  For the next few minutes, we will return to those systematically airbrushed days of yesteryear, when deeply flawed, corrupt men (and women) set off the spiraling unraveling of American Democracy.

We are going back to the Reagan era, which officially began 25 years ago today.

(For those of you who lived through the 1980s, and have been able to put it out of your minds, it might be prudent to brace yourselves - reliving some of this stuff... well, this could get pretty rough.)

Familiar Themes

"When you meet the President you ask yourself, `how did it ever occur to anybody that he should be governor, much less president?' - Henry Kissinger in the mid 1980s, failing to recognize the presence of a news reporter

Lets start by looking at a few headlines from Reagan's first year:

February 11 - "Department of Labor eases requirements for labeling of hazardous chemicals in the workplace."

February 21 -  "Reagan Chops Wood as Top Aides Prepare to Sell his Budget Cuts" - NY Times

May 9 - "CIA Seeks Law for Surprise Searches of Newsrooms" - NY Times

May 10 - "Reagan Wants to Abolish Consumer Product Agency" - Washington Post

May 21 - "White House Seeks Eased Bribery Act" - NY Times

August 6 - "White House Seeks to Loosen Standards Under Clean Air Act" - NY Times

December 5 - "Reagan Widens Intelligence Role; Gives CIA Domestic Spy Power" - NY Times </div>

This is just a warm-up.

The following looks a bit more systematically at the odious record.  There was so much misguided policy, incompetence, and sleaze that I broke it into three parts:
Today: Class Warfare (You Lost)
Tomorrow: Foreign Policy Disasters
Sunday: Corruption, Whoppers and the Collapse of the Media

I drew heavily from books and articles by Paul Slansky (The Clothes Have no Emperor), Marc Green and Gail MacColl (Reagan's Reign of Error), Garry Wills, and William Greider - most things with a date reference come directly or are paraphrased from the first two sources).

I have broken out a few highlights, here and there, in special boxes, and have tried to flag a few events that - startlingly - reveal how we've subsequently declined even further with "[THINGS HAVE CHANGED]" observations.

Welfare Queens

"There's a woman in Chicago.  She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and is collecting veterans benefits on 4 non-existing deceased husbands.  And she's collecting Social Security on her cards.  She's got Medicaid, is getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names.  Her tax-free cash income alone is over $150,000." (NY Times, 2/15/76)

The "Chicago Welfare Queen" got a lot of play during the 1976 Republican primary.  Sometimes she had 12 names and 30 Social Security numbers, sometimes she was also an unwed mother on AFDC.  Candidate Reagan never bothered to point out to his shocked small-town audiences that his story was largely allegation and rumor.  The woman in question, Linda Taylor, had been officially charged with using 4 aliases - not 80 - and fraudulent collection of $8000--not $150,000.  She had not, at the time of Reagan's statements, been convicted of anything.

("Under the Banner of Heaven" describes a white polygamist Mormon community in northern Arizona that receives $8 in state and federal subsidies - prominently including food stamps and Medicaid - for every dollar they pay in taxes.  A comparable situation probably applied 20 years ago.  Funny that Reagan didn't mention them then.  Funny that Democrats don't mention them now.)

"[Reagan] says `You know, a young man went into a grocery store and he had an orange in one hand and a bottle of vodka in the other, and he paid for the orange with food stamps and he took the change and paid for the vodka.  That's what's wrong.'  And we just shake our heads." - Senator Bob Packwood (R-OR) in March, 1982.

On March 24, 1982, Agricultural official Mary C. Jarratt tells Congress her department has been unable to document president Reagan's horror stories of food stamp abuse, pointing out that the change from a food stamp purchase is limited to 99 cents.  Deputy White House press secretary Peter Roussel says Reagan wouldn't tell these stories "unless he thought they were accurate."

The subtext of all the welfare queen stories, of course, was racism, and deft leverage of racism to help keep the great shift of southern whites to the Republican Party going.  Subtle racism had always been part of Reagan's shtick, and would continue to be.

Reagan was famous for having opposed the voting rights act in the 1960s.  To win the California Governorship, he talked often about the "forgotten American, the man in the suburbs working sixty hours a week to support his family and being taxed heavily for the benefit of someone else" (read: black welfare queens).

He was photographed in 1966 by Look magazine standing next to a statue of a painted black lawn jockey with large white lips that welcomed visitors to his Malibu ranch.

In his 1980 campaign, he chose to make a prominent speech in Philadelphia., Mississippi - known outside the state only as the place three activists had been murdered for advocating civil rights (which inspired the movie "Mississippi Burning").  The topic of Reagan's speech was "states' rights," the bulwark states had used for decades to suppress the civil rights of African Americans: "I believe in states' rights...  I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment."  He went on to promise to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them."  (Reagan's hagiographers suggest - preposterously - that there was no significance to the setting or the topic of the speech; its actually an interesting case study in the white-washing of Reagan's legacy.)

(By the way, now that they have the majority of all three federal branches, and use the NSA to spy on you, that Republicans have stopped talking about states rights?  Not to mention balanced budget amendments, term limits, and all the other bullshit "reforms" they used to spout.)

MLK day last week reminded me of a memoir by Terrell Bell, Reagan's Education Secretary, where he recounted that his peers in the Administration regulalry, cavalierly made references to "Martin Lucifer Coon."

On August 24, 1985, Reagan would claim that the "reformist" administration of P.W. Botha had made significant progress on the racial front - eliminating the type of segregation that had been prevalent in the US in the 1960s.  Of course, nothing about Apartheid had changed.

The Great Tax Hiker (Rich People Excluded)

 "A trillion dollars would be a stack of $1000 bills 67 miles high." - Ronald Reagan

Another pillar of Reagan's odious, nonsensical ideology was the Laffer curve - the idea that cutting taxes - from whatever rate you may be starting at - will lead to permanent, accelerating increases in federal revenue because of the supposed positive economic impacts that must follow.  It is a thoroughly disproven postulate, but "researching" it continues to put bread on the table for armies of right-wing think-tank stooges.

Generally, the most jaw-dropping Reagan-related whoppers are about his economic performance, tax cuts, and budget cuts.  Almost nothing said about any of these things is ever true.  Reagan oversaw all-time record unemployment and oversaw, among other calamities, the collapse of the US steel industry (which didn't happen to nearly the same extent in other industrialized democracies).

With respect to taxes, average people ended up paying more in taxes at the end of the 1980s than they had at the beginning (both federal - mainly in the form of FICA - and state - partly to offset the disappearance of federal funds).

With respect to budget cuts, well, Reagan is the undisputed father of most of our national debt, now over $6 trillion - through both his own deficits and the brand of budgetary crack he taught his minions how to market (out-of-control deficit spending and borrowing, artfully denied or blamed on Democrats).

Lets focus on the tax-cut lies, as they are the most stunning, enduring, and disastrous.  First the prologue in California (drawn from Reagan's Reign of Error):

Reagan statement: "Because I don't think government has a right to take one dollar more than government needs, we gave the surpluses back to the people in the form of tax rebates.  We gave back over eight years $5.7 billion to the people of California.  We stopped the bureaucracy dead in its tracks, the same way I would like to stop it at its national level."

Truth: Reagan campaigned as the "greatest tax-cutter in the state's history" when, in fact, he was the greatest tax-hiker.  The portion of the budget over which the governor has the most control - operations - increased under Reagan from $2.2 billion to $3.5 billion.  State income tax revenues quadrupled, sales tax income tripled, and property tax revenue more than doubled.  Reagan enacted the largest single tax hike in California history - a $1 billion omnibus tax rate increase.  Tax brackets were narrowed in order to soak middle-class taxpayers.  The top personal income tax went from 7% to 11%.  The "rebates" consisted of shifting the incidence of taxation and redistributing revenues to local government - very little actually went back to taxpayers.  As for the stopped-dead bureaucracy: the state budget more than doubled, going from $4.6 billion to $10.2 billion.  One analyst put the eight-year increase in real terms as 85%.  The number of state employees rose by 5.7%.  In the same period, the number of federal civilian employees declined by more than 3%).

As President, Reagan got his requested tax cut on July 30, 1981.  On February 27, 1982, the CBO reported that taxpayers making less than $10k lost an average of $240 from the 1981 tax cuts, while those earning over $80k gained an average of $15,130.

David Stockman explained the whole thing - with stunning honesty - in a famous interview with William Greider, then of the Atlantic Monthly.  From a prescient retrospective before W reprised Reagan's act:

"Another of Stockman's vivid metaphors... the "Trojan horse" approach to rewarding the rich. Giving everyone the same percentage rate cut sounds fair, but actually delivers most of the money to the very wealthy, who pay the top rate. Supply-side doctrine "was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate," Stockman revealed. "It's kind of hard to sell trickle-down economics, so the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really trickle down." (Atlantic Monthly, 2001)

(When the budget director goes on record that supply side is a "Trojan Horse" -- and keeps his job -- how does supply still hold any currency 25 years later?)

But wouldn't all those tax cuts lead to huge deficits, violating the Republican positioning as deficit hawks?  More from Greider:

"The great accomplishment of Reagan and the supply-siders was to persuade the old-guard Republican Party that its root-canal approach to fiscal policy was a loser--and that recklessness can be a win-win proposition for their side. If the Trojan horse approach succeeds in winning regressive tax-cuts, the GOP delivers huge rewards to its favorite clients. If this also creates a big hole in the federal budget, that's OK too, since runaway deficits will throw another collar around the size of the federal government and provide yet another reason to slash the liberals' social spending. With clever marketing, the GOP may even persuade voters it was spendthrift Democrats who created the red ink."

Of course, Reagan made a point of constantly referencing his commitment to fiscal discipline, complimented by an array of oversize props (4-foot scissors, saws, hammers, etc.).  How did they get away with it?

At first, one critical mechanism was the "magic asterisk."  From Greider:

Stockman's boldest accounting gimmick--reporting $40 billion in budget cuts but declining to identify them--was dubbed by insiders "the magic asterisk." Bush has already topped him with his "magic blueprint" and the miraculous "trillion-dollar reserve" he saves and spends at the same time. The new President has not actually issued a real budget, only a "blueprint" that leaves out the grisly, painful details of what spending will get whacked.

Greider's retrospective offered a good summary of the long-term structural damage the "Reagan Revolution" caused:

"The awkward fact neither party brings up is that federal financing has depended crucially on collecting more money than it needs from working people since 1983, when both parties collaborated in a great crime of bait and switch. After Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy and business in 1981, he turned around two years later and raised Social Security payroll taxes dramatically on workers (earnings above $76,000 are exempted from Social Security taxes). Ever since, workers have been paying in extra money toward their future retirement--trillions more than needed now by Social Security--and the government simply borrows the surplus revenue to spend on other things: upper-income tax cuts or paying off Treasury bonds or reducing the fiscal damage from deficits in the operating budget..."

"...Government still owes workers the money, of course, and someday will have to find the borrowed trillions somewhere, either by raising taxes or borrowing the money or possibly by cutting Social Security benefits. When FICA taxes were raised in 1983, Reagan at first objected and reminded aides that he was opposed to raising taxes--of any kind. David Stockman reassured him. If the rising payroll-tax burden was imposed on young working people, they would eventually revolt and Social Security would self-destruct of its own weight. The Gipper liked that and gave his OK. The same objective, now called privatization, shows up again this year on George W. Bush's agenda. He proposes to "save" Social Security by destroying it.

On April 12, 1986 David Stockman published The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed. Choice quote: Recalling having to sit through an "embarrassing 20 minute lecture by the ignorant Reagan," Stockman writes, "what do you do when your president ignores all the palpable relevant facts and wanders in circles?"

Reagan may have been an oaf, but his henchmen knew what they were doing, and for whom.  An outsized 60 percent of the growth in the average after-tax income of all American families between 1977 and 1989 -- and an even heftier three-fourths of the gain in average pretax income -- went to the wealthiest 660,000 families - less than 1 percent of the total (NY Times, March 5, 1992)

Economic Carnage

On August 5, 1981, Reagan issued the first notices laying off PATCO members.  The PATCO precedent, and the general, unrelenting assualts of Reaganauts on unions, would help expedite the long, painful decline of the labor movement.

December 12, 1982 - unemployment hits 10.8%; 11.9 million were out of work.

Reagan's high-interest rate / strong-dollar policies (to protect the assets of the wealthy from inflation) precipitated the collapse of the steel industry.  More than 500,000 jobs were lost in the steel industry alone between 1979 and 1983.

His administration oversaw record numbers of farm failures and bank failures - and S&L failures, wherein taxpayers bailed out unsuccessful rich-guy gamblers (Neil Bush: we'll remember you, too) to the tune of $125 billion.

Conclusion: Part I

The economic record and its distortion makes one angry.  The foreign policy record (tomorrow) was outrageous.  The corruption (Sunday) makes you wonder how our Democracy broke down so completely.

I'll conclude by restating my major theme: Letting Reagan and friends off the hook set the stage for Bush.  Imagine what letting Bush off the hook would set the stage for.

Originally posted to Minerva on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:20 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4.00)
    For those who can bear to look, please also consider the foreign policy entry I'll post tomorrow.  To quote the Gipper: "You ain't seen nothing yet."

    Anybody seen my owl?

    by Minerva on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:20:46 AM PST

    •  The idea (4.00)
      That Bush is worse than Reagan is wrong.

      Reagan was the worse President of my lifetime.

      A great diary!

      •  It was the Reagan presidency (4.00)
        that made me take a closer look at politics and the policies of our government.  I was in education at the time and, although this may seem like a small thing compared to everything else that administration did, when I read that Reagan and his evil band were trying to have ketchup declared a vegetable for the purposes of poor kids' school lunches -- well, that tripped the wire.  I'd previously thought that I "voted the candidate, not the party," but that one thing turned me into a Yellow Dog Democrat and I've never looked back.

        Which man is the worse president is arguable, and I'll leave that argument for more historically astute minds than mine.  Personally, I hate them both.

        Stay strong!

        "No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a Party that ignores her sex." -- Susan B. Anthony

        by Yellow Dog Dem Woman on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:59:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Gotta disagree (3.88)
        I thought it could get no worse than Ronald Wilson Reagan . . . until GWB.  Control of the judiciary and the congress probably helps the latter, but I still think he's worse.  Sure, Bush tries to put a populist, "compassionate" sheen as a gloss over his actions and Reagan was more likely to sound like a geriatric Randroid, and I think that rhetorical difference may color the perception of some.  But, Reagan was an evil, evil man.
        •  But the underlying reason (4.00)
          Bush can get away with being such a lying, stealing, power-grabbing, war-mongering SOB is that Reagan laid the groundwork.  After Reagan Rethug presidents were no longer held to account for words or deeds.  The slime 'n slander machine was well oiled.  Reagan acclimated the public to expect lies and stupidity and pointless beligerence.  

          Reagan was an evil bastard but I have to admit that when he was elected I didn't see it.  In my mid-twenties, I remember thinking of him as a stupid joke of a one-term president that we would all be laughing about in 20 years.  Sadly with the perspective of 25 years clearly he was the great destroyer of the American Republic, RIP.  

          Geonomist - Charge for privileges; abolish taxes on production.

          by Geonomist on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 08:20:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, Reagan laid the groundwork (4.00)
            just as Reagan tread upon the road prepared by Nixon -- wedge politics, the "silent majority", southern strategy, the Powell's memo, etc.  But GWB has done more damage than either of them combined.

            PS - The biggest boon to the right since the late 1980's, however, was the Reagan FCC's rescinding of the Fairness Doctrine, with nary a peep from the Democratic Congress.  This ennabled the rise of Right Wing Radio and the whole hateful apparatus of right wing media.

        •  i don't believe Reagan was evil (none)
          in fact, I think he genuinely liked people in the same sense that Clinton does. It's just that Ronnie's methods, his policies and his advisors, were unsound.
          Bush, on the other hand, Bush....is an actual sociopath. For me there is NO contest. That W stands for wicked
        •  I don't know how many of you remember (none)
          "Laugh-in", but they used to have a regular segment called "News of the Future", and in one Dan Rowan got one of the biggest laughs ever when he said, "Twenty years in the future... President Ronald Reagan.." He wasn't off by much.

          What happens when Bush takes Viagra? he gets taller. Robin Williams

          by Demfem on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 05:49:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't go that far (4.00)
        The student has surpassed the master.  

        Sam Alito doesn't just think Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided: he thinks the Revolutionary War was wrongly decided.

        by Malacandra on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:20:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  i disagree (4.00)
        While the threat of nuclear annihilation has somewhat abated, Reagan-era shitbags like Cheney and Rumsfeld have been back with a vengeance. And i worry that the worst is yet to come.

        -7.00,-7.74 "He is a bad version of us! No more money for him."

        by subtropolis on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:39:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Bush is worse (4.00)
        No question, these are the two worst presidents in our history. But as bad as Reagan was, he has a few traits to make him not as utterly, ridiculously, apocalyptically terrible as Chimpy.

        • Reagan actually fought in a war, and did so admirably.  W just wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on Jet training that he knew he would never use and just deserted.

        • Unlike W, Reagan was actually 'self-made' in a way and lived the American dream, rising from humble small town beginnings through the ranks of sports broadcasting and acting.  Bush has never done anything remotely useful in his life.

        • Reagan inherited a small deficit and made it way worse.  W inherited a huge SURPLUS and turned it into crippling deficits.

        • Reagan's entire life wasn't a fraud.  At the time, the fact that he dyed his hair was controversial.  W has manufactured an entire false identity, transforming from Kennebunkport aristocrat into a fake parody of an ignorant redneck embodying the worst traits in our national character.

        • Reagan was a good speaker, and envoked, albeit falsely, the positive aspects of our national character.  W is a babbling idiot... intentionally.. and hearing him speak makes people vomit.

        • The kind of crappy music Reagan liked, Glenn Miller and so on, is WAY less incredibly bad than the kiind of crappy music Chimpy likes, which is pop country ala Brooks & Dunn and boy band wuss stuff.

        I rest my case.

        It turns out that Bush IS a uniter... he united the intelligent half of the country virulently against him.

        by fizziks on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:51:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Reagan actually fought in a war..." (4.00)
          No, he didn't. From Wikipedia:
          Reagan was commissioned as a reserve cavalry officer in the U.S. Army in 1935. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was activated and assigned, partially due to his poor eyesight, to the First Motion Picture Unit in the United States Army Air Forces, which made training and education films. He remained in Hollywood for the duration of the war, attaining the rank of captain. Reagan tried repeatedly to go overseas for combat duty, but was turned down because of his astigmatism.
          Now, bad eyesight wasn't his fault, and I'm sure his attitude to military service was miles better than Bush's. But he didn't actually fight in the war.

          He just acted in a lot of movies about fighting.

          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

          by Canadian Reader on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 08:24:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  A hero in his own movie (none)
          "Reagan actually fought in a war, and did so admirably."

          Where did you get that idea? Actually, during World War II, Reagan served in the army's motion picture unit, narrating training films. Which is admirable, but is not combat.

          •  Ok, I was wrong about the war thing (none)
            so you can partially strike my first bullet point.  I say partially because making films is still more than Georgie did.

            It turns out that Bush IS a uniter... he united the intelligent half of the country virulently against him.

            by fizziks on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:58:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Reagan's Presidential center (none)
          was built with union labor, as well. He was also president of the Screen Actors Guild back long ago. And the poor schmuck got called before the HUAC! A friend of mine says he saw the footage of Reagan's testimony - he was screaming angry denials after being asked if he was a Commie.

          Reagan also used to be a liberal Democrat. He did radio ads for Truman in '48. It was during the fifties, especially while hosting that GE variety show, that he turned to the right.

          For whatever tiny plusses may exist there are just so many huge negatives. Legalizing the use of scabs for strike breaking was devastating for workers and has been a sword hung over all of us ever since.

          And don't even get me started on his foreign policy!

          •  Poor schmuck, my eye! (4.00)
            And the poor schmuck got called before the HUAC! A friend of mine says he saw the footage of Reagan's testimony - he was screaming angry denials after being asked if he was a Commie.

            He may have been pissed at being called communist himself, but he was more than happy to cooperate when it came to smearing others - knowing full-well what would happen to them as a result:

            Mr. REAGAN: Well, sir, my testimony must be very similar to that of Mr. (George) Murphy and Mr. (Robert) Montgomery. There has been a small group within the Screen Actors Guild which has consistently opposed the policy of the guild board and officers of the guild, as evidenced by the vote on various issues. That small clique referred to has been suspected of more or less following the tactics that we associate with the Communist Party.

            Mr. STRIPLING: Would you refer to them as a disruptive influence within the guild?

            Mr. REAGAN: I would say that at times they have attempted to be a disruptive influence.

            Mr. STRIPLING: You have no knowledge yourself as to whether or not any of them are members of the Communist Party?

            Mr. REAGAN: No, sir; I have no investigative force, or anything, and I do not know.

            Mr. STRIPLING: Has it ever been reported to you that certain members of the guild were Communists?

            Mr. REAGAN: Yes, sir; I have heard different discussions and some of them tagged as Communists. . . .

            Mr. STRIPLING: Would you say that this clique has attempted to dominate the guild?

            Mr. REAGAN: Well, sir, by attempting to put their own particular views on various issues, I guess in regard to that you would have to say that our side was attempting to dominate, too, because we were fighting just as hard to put over our views, in which we sincerely believed, and I think, we were proven correct by the figures--Mr. Murphy gave the figures--and those figures were always approximately the same, an average of 90 percent or better of the Screen Actors Guild voted in favor of those matters now guild policy.

            ...

            Mr. STRIPLING: Do you know whether the Communists have participated in any way in this strike?

            Mr. REAGAN: Sir, the first time that this word "Communist" was ever injected into any of the meetings concerning the strike was at a meeting in Chicago with Mr. William Hutchinson, president of the carpenters union, who were on strike at the time. He asked the Screen Actors Guild to submit terms to Mr. (Richard) Walsh, for Walsh to give in in the settling of this strike, and he told us to tell Mr. Walsh that if he would give in on these terms he in turn would break run this Sorrell and the other commies out--I am quoting him--and break it up. I might add that Mr. Walsh and Mr. Sorrell were running the strike for Mr. Hutchinson in Hollywood.

            Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

            by mataliandy on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:41:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  One thing... (none)
          Reagan was supposedly horrified by nuclear weapons, and apparently really pissed off his true believers by all the arms reductions he pushed for with Gorbachev.

          Certainly, the "Saint" Reagan crowd on the right always crows about how his massive spending toppled communism, but I wonder how they rationalize that with Reagan's stated desires to reduce the number of ICBMs and medium range missiles.

          I mean, if the point is to spend them into oblivion, cutting them a break on missile building (a very expensive and societally detrimental activity) was hardly conducive to that aim.  Better to step up missile building right?  

          I'm willing to be wrong as I didn't personally research this, it was discussed in a class I took in Uni, by a prof who was hardly a Saint-reaganite.

          "I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

          by Scientician on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 09:08:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You may believe... (4.00)
        You hate Reagan more than I, but you would be wrong.

        So very very wrong.

        He was a profoundly evil man. He did more to corrupt government than any other president. A racist of the first order. He is among the few human beings in history to deserve the torments of hell without hope of redemption. If I indeed have an immortal soul and it's destiny is fetched upon whether I can forgive Ronald Reagan his sins, I could not.

        May he burn in hell forever.

        I have a picture of Ronald Reagan on my wall:

        Covered in spit.

    •  thanks (none)
      Very well done. I turned 15 when Reagan was elected and had already been monitoring the darkness enveloping our neighbours to the south. I had a really bad feeling about him. The 80s, for me, were a very dark time, indeed (as i'm sure you will continue to lay out for us over the next couple of days). It was like a miserable, rain-soaked monday morning, that entire decade.

      And the haircuts! Ouch!

      -7.00,-7.74 "He is a bad version of us! No more money for him."

      by subtropolis on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:37:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Shoot, I thought that was Bachman Turner Overdrive (none)
      Great job.  Looking forward to tomorrow's entry.
    •  Thanks for doing this. (none)
      I've never understood how everyone was willing to give Reagan such a free pass.  I agree with your analysis completely and have been saying much the same things for years.

      I've thought that it was the complications of the financial dealings in Iran-Contra that kept people from going after Reagan gang of miscreants as they should have.  One of my hopes for bringing down Bush is that, at least so far, their crimes have been very pedestrian and easy for people to grasp.

      •  Circumstances and Nancy (none)
        We had gone through a long succession of ruined presidencies, five in 20 years.  Kennedy was killed.  LBJ, after a monster election win was practically turned into a hermit.  Nixon, after a monster re-election win, was forced to resign in disgrace.  Jerry Ford was a short-lived national joke (remember Chevy Chase falling all over hinself on Saturday Night Live).  Carter was nearly as savaged as Ford and the Iran Hostage situation looked like the end of the world, or at least the end of America as a world power.

        Within that framework, Nancy very simply begged the key opinion maker in America at the time to lay off and he did.  Unfortunately, that was Johnny Carson.

        The media wanted Reagan to succeed badly.  Sure enough, he succeeded all right in doing a bad job.  The public was almost desperate to give him a break.  So he made sure the country went broke.  What a travesty.

    •  Wise Minerva (none)
      this is the best diary I've read in ages.  Consider yourself hotlisted!

      I hope you are making money with your talent.

  •  A great summary Minerva (4.00)
    I hope all the installments make the rec list. This is history that's well worth reading.

    "Be kind" - is that a religion?

    by ThatBritGuy on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:38:32 AM PST

  •  Wonderful Diary! (4.00)
    This is really a fantastic diary.  It illustrates the way that GOP economic policies are very clearly stacked against the best interests of the general public- against the Commonwealth.

    The disturbing conundrum faced by Democrats (when not acting complicitly), is that comprehending this requires understanding concepts or formulas with more than one term - I'm not sure I'd call them super-complex, but they aren't easily converted into slogans.

    The supply-side trick relies on the gross simplification of asserting that "less taxes means more money for investment, including creation of jobs".  It's a distortion and a lie, to be sure, but it's false logic and appeal to greed make it a powerfully attractive lie to people who are financially squeezed and not all that well-educated;  in other words: the perfect rhetorical tool to use against the lower classes in a class war.  

    Even where "supply side" (GHWB's astonishingly apt "Voodoo Economics") and Laffer curves were too complex to be grasped by the ignocenti, GOP pols could simply say, "don't worry about it - just remember, less taxes to the government is more money for you."

    We need to discuss these ideas - a lot - and do better than VooDoo economics - we need to come up with a slogan and approach - Progressive - that makes the obvious benefits of our Tax policy crystal clear.  I'm sure that we can come up with such a rhetorical device if we sift and sort.  Just think of Edwards' "Two Americas".

  •  For starters... (none)
    For starters, we need you to run for office to get the truth out..It will be hard in this media but please we need you..
    •  the media (4.00)
      The only way the "teflon President" was able to get away with so many impeachable crimes and still appear as "likeable" was because even then, the corporate owned media were actively cooperating with  the administration.  As another poster pointed out, many of the same pardoned and unindicted criminals are back in the saddle today, but with MUCH more control of the flow of information.

      Timid and complacent Democrats seemingly felt no outrage at the damage being done, so they certainly share the blame.  Unfortunately, most of the current "leadership" are ALSO still in the saddle.  The Democratic party is horribly obeiscent to seniority, so the Senate Joes, and many others, who lived through all of the Reagan years are pulling all the strings inside the beltway.  It's no wonder we're so screwed!

  •  Highly Recommended (4.00)
    Brings me back to my adolescence, when I was aware, but only dimly so, of what Reagan was up to.

    Here's another domestic tragedy:

    Watching him consciously ignore the AIDS crisis, hastening the deaths of too many, and with the underlying homophobia it generated.

    Kind of like Katrina in slow motion...

    "A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government." - President-Elect Gore

    by Republic Not Empire on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 05:26:24 AM PST

    •  I was a teeny-bopper too (4.00)
      I bought school lunches and remember that he wanted to declare ketchup a vegetable. I resented the condescending way he talked down to us, and don't understand the way his rabid followers lapped it up. The first time I saw him give a prime time speach I couldn't stop laughing. My concerned parents asked me what I thought was so funny. I said that guy really looks like Ronal Regan. I was convinced it was a comedian and that a president of the US would never really say such things.

      I was especially concerned about the hostage negotiations he involved himself in before he won election.

      BTW, when Reagan was elected, I thought it would be the end of the world. It wasn't. We will live through these times as well.

      •  Reagan speeches (4.00)
        I remember watching one of his speeches in a college dorm lounge.  At one point I said out loud, "What the heck is he talking about?"  When some of the other students there turned to look at me, I said something like, "He talks pretty, but he isn't actually saying anything."  A couple of people nodded, but mostly I got blank looks.

        Reading transcriptions of his speeches in the paper was particularly instructive.  I'm sure it was nothing new in kind, even then, but I think he and his speechwriters set a new low in this as well.  It was evidently totally unimportant for his speeches to actually say anything coherent.  It was all about how he sounded, and what the potential sound bites were.

        Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

        by Bearpaw on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:47:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The untold story (4.00)
    During Reagan's 8 years in office, the minimum wage remained unchanged.  Not until Clinton was in office was the minimum wage raised.  By that time, it had declined in real value to what it had been in the late 1950's, early 60's.  At the same time that executive pay was starting the 25 year escalation that is still going on.

    The untold story: how and why did the Democrats abandon working Americans for "free market" ideology?  How and why did the minority of the press that was pro-working class and pro-middle class get snuffed out, co-opted?  (The media were always conservative, including during the Vietnam War that they supposedly opposed and made "unwinnable.")

    The story begins in the Carter administration.  As Reagan for Beginners points out, but does not explore, many of Reagan's policies were built upon Carter's.

    •  Republican Talking Points (4.00)
      The story begins in the Carter administration.  As Reagan for Beginners points out, but does not explore, many of Reagan's policies were built upon Carter's.

      Pure baloney.  Reagan's policies were built on Republican ideology and that alone.

      Carter suffered from having poor foreign policy advisors in a time in which foreign policy was savaging the American economy.  And a Democratic Congress that saw itself in opposition to the President (which incidentally, was until Ronald Reagan's Congress's traditional role even when one party controlled both Congress and the Presidency).

      Republicans alternate between attacking Carter as weak and claiming that he was the proto-Reagan.  It's the same as the "everything was Clinton's fault" defense of the Republicans.

      •  Some facts for Mr. Bullshit (4.00)
        I believe the best way to fix things is to understand what went wrong.  Your "pure bullshit" remark is uncollegial and unsupported by ANY facts.  I am open to hearing your reasoning and facts - in fact, I think I have a right to hear them and you have an obligation to present them.

        Carter did some good things as President and even more as ex-President.  For example, he re-oriented Federal building programs to focus on downtown areas, reversing a 20 year trend to locate Federal facilities in the suburbs.  

        But any serious analysis of the decline of the Democratic Party will show that it started under him - not Reagan.  Here are some facts that I think support my reasoning:

        1. Carter supported Somoza when he was bombing poor neighborhoods in Managua.  He supported the rightwing alliance that was about to take over in El Salvador.  Reagan and Ollie North built on Carter.  Carter's foreign policy, which trumpeted human rights more than it actually supported them, did nothing to address North-South issues or explain why we share common economic interests with the South.

        2. Carter initiated the Pershing Missile strategy, which led to the anti-nuke movement in Europe.  The Republicans went him one further and invented the so-called Window of Opportunity and the Soviet "first-strike" myth.  The CIA under Carter was churning out phony stats about Soviet military capacity - just as it did under Reagan.  Combined with the previous point, I believe these moves on Carter's part made it easier for Republicans to argue that Dems were "Republican Lite."  Why not just vote for the Real Thing?

        3. Carter never argued for an increase in the minimum wage.  See next point, for more on economics.

        4. ALL of the good work on deregulation, including the breakup of the Bell system, was done under Carter.  Carter's people are the folks who introduced deregulation of the trucking industry, the airwaves, the banks.  Most of this work (by economists) was of high caliber.  It was highjacked by Reagan's thugs.  Meanswhile, the growth in income inequality started under Carter and was NEVER raised as an issue by him. By focusing on deregulation, however, and not on universal health care or on income eqaulity, Carter helped create the frame we have today - that "deregulation" "liberates" the "magic of the marketplace."  George Bush pere called the Supply Side version of this "vodoo economics" in 1980.  But Carter helped set up the frame: companies good, government bad.

        I am not saying that Carter caused the decline of the Democratic Party.  For the most part, I don't think Presidents are where the action is.  I'm saying the Dems decline is visible under Carter and is consistent with his policy positions - and I would like to know more about what happened.  Dismissing my arguments does not advance my understanding or yours.
        •  That's Mr. Baloney, please (none)
          But any serious analysis of the decline of the Democratic Party will show that it started under him - not Reagan.

          Any serious analysis of the decline of the Democratic Party will actually show that it started in the failed Vietnam policies of the Johnson administration and was sealed with Richard Daley's police riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

          1.  The Democratic foreign policy establishment supported what Carter implemented.  Look at the individuals who were advising him.  The moral calculus of American foreign policy was much different in the late 1970s.  Which is why Carter's position on human rights was so controversial at the time.

          2. Initiating the Pershing missile system could not have been foreseen to have the consequences that you identified--that is hindsight.  The CIA under Carter is highly suspect in its loyalty to the President because of its reaction to the Church Committee's exposure of its atrocities.  It is also suspect because of the surprise liberation of the US hostages from Iran to coincide with Reagan's inaugural.  This was the Cold War; on foreign policy until Reagan there was not much difference between the parties.  This was the era of Scoop Jackson.

          3. Carter was President in a time of inflation.  The politics of raising the minimum wage in a time of inflation are very convoluted; people who would ordinarily have supported a minimum wage increase were afraid that it would create a larger boost in prices.

          4. Deregulation was sold to America as a way to fight inflation and grow jobs.  And more Democrats besides Carter bought it.  The secret to understanding the Carter administration is to understand that it was a strong Congress-weak executive administration (much like the Clinton administration) because of the historical situation (Carter was the reconciliation President after Watergate and the fall of Saigon).  Congress drove the push for deregulation, one of Clinton's advisors decided to sign on to the idea.  Carter's focus was to try to do it right.  He did but as you said Reagan made it the monster it is today.  And the frame companies good, government bad was set up by the Republicans during the Nixon administration.  Carter was swimming upstream on this one.

          The AT&T breakup was decided by a judge and was independent of telecommunications deregulation.  What we have seen since is the gradual reassembling of AT&T with the penultimate step being SBC's purchase of AT&T and taking the name.

          The real turkey of the deregulation era (besides the electronic media) was the deregulation of the banking industry that opened customers up to the nickel and diming service charges.  That was unforeseen at the time.  The public story was that it would produce higher interest rates on savings in a time of inflation.

          The success story was trucking deregulation.  It stopped a period in which there was gradual consolidation of trucking companies and referencing of prices (if not some degree of price fixing).

          Carter is as underestimated today as Eisenhower was in the mid-1960s.

          Carter was President when a lot of formerly liberal baby boomers, frustrated with stagflation, decided that "I'll get mine."  That is what Reagan tapped into.

          Sorry for the tone.  But Reagan's policies were not built on Carter's, they were Reagan's own.  The problem's with them are Reagan's alone.

    •  One of the reasons why so many (4.00)
      "Democrats" went along with Reagan was that they really weren't Democrats.

      I speak now of probably 100 or so members of the House from below the Mason Dixon line, some of whom did not endorse Mondale for President in '84.

      The Democratic Party is actually more ideological now than it was when Reagan was President.

    •  The untold story (4.00)
      The untold story: how and why did the Democrats abandon working Americans for "free market" ideology?

      It started with the backlash against Reagan's horrific policies -- the Jesse Jackson Presidential primary campaign in 1984 and the Rainbow Coalition.  Many in the institutional Democratic party considered Jackson and his allies as a direct threat -- a threat to their position in the Party, and a threat politically.  What were all these crazy black people and leftists capable of?  Jackson was more of a threat to their interests than Reagan was.  They decided to do what was necessary to destroy a people's movement within the Party, and make the Party (and America) safe for corporate capitalism.

      And that's how, and why, the DLC was founded in 1985.  You can fill in the rest of the story yourself.

      "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

      by Pesto on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:05:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We are paying the price of hubris (4.00)
    We are paying the price of Richard J. Daley's (the elder one) hubris.  Had not the Chicago police rioted in 1968 and killed moderate Democratic support.  Had not the 1968 Democratic Convention been so oppressively pro-war that it killed off progressive support.  Had these not been the case, Hubert Humphrey instead of Richard Nixon would have been elected President (it was that close, after all).

    From Nixon to Reagan, we paid the price of the machine politics that helped keep Democrats in power from FDR through LBJ (with the exception of liberal Republican Eisenhower).  Now we are paying the price of the individualistic politics of the post-Nixon Democratic Party, with it's dependence on campaign fund-raising and lack of party discipline.

    That's the bad news.  The good news is that the Republicans will soon be paying the price for their Soviet-style totalitarian ideology and nomenklatura-style corruption.

    •  nomenklatura-style corruption (none)
      In other words, K-Street.

      I like it:  nomenKlatura-street Republicans.

      BushAmerica -- Now killing 24/7/365. *Your tax dollars at work*.

      by Yellow Canary on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:41:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually (4.00)
      We are paying the price for supporting Civil Rights and Voting rights.

      1968 was the year the Dixiecrats left the party.  And they have never come back, and they aren't coming back.

      Daley was a bastard - but he had nothing to do with Wallace running as an independant.

      •  Racist flight (none)
        Hopefully, no one misconstrues it as a bad thing.

        The Republicrime Party is coming for your money and your life.

        by cskendrick on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:59:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He framed racism (4.00)
        in a way that made it not sound so bad.  He called it "states rights"...  and lots of good people didn't realize what that meant.
        •  Any one who was paying attention (4.00)
          in history class when the Civil War was taught would realize immediately, as my parents and I did, what "states rights" meant. It was what the Civil War was fought over, not slavery. Slavery was the "buzzword", but states rights was the real reason. Did the Federal Law have the right to supercede state law? The secessionist states said no. And fought a war over it. They lost. Ronald Reagan gave hope to all the good ole southern boys that they could bring back the Jim Crow days. That's one of the main reasons the South has been Republican since. Unfortunately for them, the courts didn't agree. But now they are working on that too.

          What happens when Bush takes Viagra? he gets taller. Robin Williams

          by Demfem on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 05:33:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  As LBJ prophesied (4.00)
        When he said to a colleague, after signing either the Civil Rights Bill or the Voting Rights Bill (I forget which, "We just signed away the South for a generation."

        Can anyone back me up here with a reference?

        •  You're correct (4.00)
          From an October, 2004 story by The Guardian:

          "When the Democrat president Lyndon Johnson signed the civil rights act in 1964 he told an aide: 'We have lost the south for a generation.' Forty years on it looks as if they may have lost it forever."

      •  1966 (none)
        The year 1966 was when the Dixiecrats left the Democratic Party.  In 1965, Strom Thurmond was stripped of his committee chair for supporting Barry Goldwater instead of LBJ.  Strom Thurmond moved to the Republican Party and a number of Members of Congress (like Albert Watson) followed him.

        Without the split in the Democratic Party over Vietnam, I believe that Humphrey would have won even with Wallace in the race.  How Vietnam would have played out in that scenario is very unclear.  But there would have been a Democratic President and Congress.  I doubt that the conservatives would have taken over the Republican Party in that event.

  •  the most frightening aspect of this (4.00)
    is that one day, George W. Bush might be as revered and virtually worshipped the way Ronald Reagan is by the "delusional right".

    And the media might cover his funeral the way they covered Reagan.

    That scares the shit out of me.

    Because, yes, Reagan was a joke.  An absolute joke.  Even my Dad, who worked in the most top secret echelons of weapons development for the Pentagon and who is a rabid right-winger (and has turned into a full blown fascist in recent years) told me BACK THEN that Reagan was just an empty puppet.  

    And now they want to put him on our money, they're naming airports and highways after him, and my God you saw the fawning funeral coverage.

    The man was a joke, and his people were the same people who are are now running this country over the cliff.

    My first election was in 1980 and I will never forget the disgust and shock I felt when he won that election.  

    I seriously thought that he would go down as one of the worst presidents ever.  

    Hey George Bush!  There's hope for your reputation yet!

    "There is more stupidity around than hydrogen and it has a longer shelf life." Frank Zappa.

    by Nordic on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 05:34:52 AM PST

    •  James Watt. PATCO. Deficit. Tax cuts. (4.00)
      Iran-Contra.

      Second. Worst. President. Ever.

      We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

      by occams hatchet on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:44:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  James Watt - rapture-ready (4.00)
        Secretary of the Interior who felt that the country ought to get what it could out of all those pristine lands while the getting was still good:

        "I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns."

        -- James G Watt, Congressional hearing, 1981

        -7.00,-7.74 "He is a bad version of us! No more money for him."

        by subtropolis on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:56:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was working for an ... (4.00)
          ...alternative paper in Denver in 1977 when I wrote the first-ever newspaper interview with James Watt, when he became the founding director of the rightwing Mountain States Legal Foundation.

          I did some background reporting on where MSLF got its money - Coors, Scaife and others - and then just wrote what Watt said. MSLF subsequently got our paid permission to reprint 2000 copies to hand out for fund-raising purposes.

          But when Watt testified at his confirmation hearing and was confronted by Sen. Gary Hart regarding a comment he had made in that article about how affirmative action was producing black surgeons too dangerous to be in the operating room, his reply was "Consider the source."

          In other words, the article he'd found so useful four years before now was no good because a lefty had written it.

          •  I never thought I would again hate (4.00)
            anyone in government the way I hated James Watt back then.

            Boy was I wrong

            "There is more stupidity around than hydrogen and it has a longer shelf life." Frank Zappa.

            by Nordic on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:08:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Amen (none)
              My thoughts exactly. Watt was beyond loathing, an incredibly evil destroyer of the environment, a tool of Mr. "Seen One Redwood, You've Seen 'Em All"; I thought at the time that no one could be worse. But (at the risk of sounding like a "Lord of the Rings" geek) Watt was merely Sauron to Cheney's Morgoth.

              We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

              by occams hatchet on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:31:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You forgot NAFTA (none)
        That was Reagan's baby too!

        Parties divide, movements unite.

        by Gegner on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:41:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exceptionally unlikely (4.00)
      I do not think the unswerving loyalty of the Bushies translates to their wanting their kids to be just like him.

      At the end of the day, Bush is not a very good role model, either in temperament, talent, or temper...or character.

      It's a low person, indeed, that raises their kids to be vain, venal, vicious, violent and vile.

      Not saying that it's not done -- just that it's low.

      The Republicrime Party is coming for your money and your life.

      by cskendrick on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:58:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My wife and I argue about this (4.00)
      She has an MA in history and teaches part time at a community college.  She keeps telling me how, in 20-30 years, Bush will be reviled as one of the worst presidents ever.  I tell her that this is wishful thinking -- if the right continues to win the debate, and can buy enough history "scholars" (which it certainly can), in 2036 we'll be hearing about GWB's heroic efforts to "reform" the economy and "fight" terrorism.

      See, she sees history as something that is objective (which it is) and historians as dutifully reporting it (which they may or may not do).  I see it as objective, in the sense that it happened, but every bit as malleable as the human mind is fallable -- which is to a very great extent.  Hell, Stalin erased the memory of the purges and famine in the minds of millions of Soviets; Hitler erased the popular revolt against Kaiser Willy and put in people's minds a sinister plot of jews and socialists/commies.  Unfortunately, most people's heads are so empty that the transplant of fiction for fact is all too easy for clever propagandists.

      •  What does it say that Herodetus (none)
        one of the earliest modern historians (whose aim was to tell the 'objective' truth instead of promote one version of propaganda or another) still stands as one of the more objective historians of all time?

        I don't know how he 'did' it - where so many historians afterwards continue to get tangled up in their OWN personal agendas, kissing up to the powerful, propagating the national mythology as truth, etc....

        In any case - it's impossible to know how Bush will be seen in the future considering his presidency isn't even OVER yet. The fact that 9/11 and (so far) the invasion of Iraq has happened under his watch DOES however probably guarentee that he won't be forgotten the way SOME of the lame-ass terrible presidents of the past have been (Tyler, etc).

        After those who remember Reagan have died, the legacy of his presidency will probably hinge on Bush - as Bush's presidency is really a continuation of Reagans.

    •  Personally... (none)
      I'll just be glad if the world's still around long enough to celebrate Bush's funeral. At the rate he's going, we may have nuclear armageddon before 2008...

      "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." - Thomas Jefferson

      by EsnRedshirt on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 05:54:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very nice (4.00)
    Please consider combining the whole series into a feature article for submission to the dKosopedia. It would be too bad to let this research scroll off into oblivion.
  •  David Stockman Anyone? (4.00)
    December, 1981

    the Atlantic Monthly

    an article detailing what a farce RayGun's budget was.  

    http://www.theatlantic.com/...

    For all THE TRUTH obsessed Dems out there -

    uh - THE TRUTH is NOT a political strategy.

    THE TRUTH needs organization and synthesis to from THE TRUTH to effective message.

    Effective Message does NOT need THE TRUTH.

    Effective Message wins elections (see RayGun, Bush ...)

    the Dem party can't won't don't deal with those facts cuz:

    1. they are politically incompetent?

    2. they are corrupted by living large in DC?

    3. a mix of both?

    rmm.  

    Grassroots Organizing Should Be for The Community, By The Community - NOT for "Leaders" http://www.liemail.com/BambooGrassroots.html

    by rmdSeaBos on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 05:47:02 AM PST

  •  A racist regime (4.00)
    Ronald Reagan's crew perfected the practice of race baiting to scare decent (but non-thinking) people and to embolden hate-mongers with these lies about welfare queens. The campaign kickoff in Philadelphia, Miss., was no accident. I was a college student back then and I recognized what he was doing.

    These are reasons why I will NEVER support republican causes. They do not instill hope. They play on irrational fears that are very entrenched in this country.

    Thank you for this diary. People need to know just who their heroes and icons are. Maybe some decent people will see the light and run away.

    -7.38, -5.23 One day we ALL will know the truth about the 2000 presidential election. God help us all.

    by CocoaLove on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 05:48:02 AM PST

    •  "Of the minorities that you recall (4.00)
      We are the most minor of all
      We're blacks for Reagan we're knocking on your door.
      Make a contribution and we'll scrub your floor."

      -Mark Russel

    •  That is why Dems who downplay the struggle (4.00)
      against racism are so terribly wrong.

      "The Great Communicator" showed white Americans how to be racist while, at the same time, denying they were racists.

      That, in a nutshell, is how the GOP wins elections.

      Democrats will never beat the GOP at this game. The only way we can win is to call them out on it.

    •  Yes! Yes! Yes! Thanks for ... (4.00)
      ...reminding all those who don't remember or who haven't read about Philadelphia. For those of us who spent the summer of '64 registering voters in Mississippi, Reagan's speech there bounced a lot of jaws on the floor. We were foolish enough to think that such a brazenly racist appeal would fall flat.
  •  Truth and Lies (4.00)
    Great diary. I don't think the Dems are going to have a shot at really reclaiming the public mandate until they begin calling out the GOP on all of their CW lies. Excellent point about the FLDS welfare polygamist kings of Utah, as well.

    Mediocris, located at -6.13/-5.90

    by zenbowl on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 05:59:24 AM PST

    •  It Won't Happen... (4.00)
      .....because then the Democrats would also have to address the issue of the Hasidic welfare kingdoms of Williamsburg, New Square, etcetera.

      The bottom line is that both parties are quite willing to demonize African-Americans on welfare in order to pander to the prejudices of their white voter bases, but unwilling to even acknowledge pervasive and organized welfare abuse by politically well-organized groups of European descent.

  •  Right on! (none)
    Always hated the bastard. And he had his own blair in the Wicked Witch of the East.

    touche pas à mon pote!

    by Mr Bula on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:05:25 AM PST

  •  All points well taken... (4.00)
    but our country's fundamental cynicism about both government and the Press stems from the "credibility gap" which commenced under Lyndon Johnson and was widened into a chasm under Richard Nixon.

    It was a one-two punch to the body politic.  Two psychological messes at the pinnacle of power, playing out their personal psycho-emotional melodramas in the Oval Office, just like the current incumbent.

    With examples like these three, one sees the wisdom of the founding fathers in designing government to be so cumbersome.  I do think a parliamentary system would be superior in many ways, but certainly no one has come up with a better way to protect the people from messed-up chief executives.

    Bush, of course, is hard at work sticking his thumb in the Founders' eyes, trying to undo their elaborate system of checks of balances...

    •  American System's Record is Worse (4.00)
      Look at what the American System has produced for heads of state:

      Nixon -- possible personality disorder, no grasp of interpersonal behavior, paranoid
      Ford -- flunky put in as VP by paranoid
      Reagan -- Mentally ill, enough said
      Bush I -- CIA, crime family, FEMA
      Clinton -- our system investigated and tried him for 8 years
      Bush II -- Who thinks he's mentally healthy? enough said.

      So in 40 years we've had 6 terms of leaders with seriously questionable emotional or mental health. The system spent the entire 8 years of the last provably elected president attacking him with civil and criminal investigations and impeachment.

      The parliamentary systems have done vastly better at producing national leadership than our system. Furthermore they're sustaining better standards of living and more opportunity for their peoples for about two generations (the last 10+ years certainly).

      We lose.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:28:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (none)
        The key reason is that the prime minister is chosen by his or her colleagues who usually have worked with the person for years. Working with someone over years gives you a perspective that the public can't get in 30 second sound bites

        H.L. Mencken: "A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves"

        by igneous on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 09:19:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Paliaments have "question period" (none)
        I often think the major reason why Bush, Reagan and such get away with being morons so easily is that they never face prolonged direct questioning by people who aren't afraid of them.

        In the Parliamentary system, Prime Ministers and their cabinets routinely have to answer questions from the openly hostile and partisan opposition.  This has a great way of filtering out garbage.  The media has proven to be a failure at soliciting the truth from powerful leaders, because they fear the consequences of their wrath.  If they hit too hard, they get accused of bias.  Question Period is expected to be biased.  If the opposition leader wasn't blasting the government, he'd be blasted for not doing his job.

        Americans are thirsting for this too.  Look at the attention paid whenever a cabinet member has to answer questions to a congressional committee.  People like seeing the verbal sparring.  The footage of Rice being forced to admit the memo was titled "Bin laden determined to attack in the US" is still used by pundits routinely.  That suggests a dearth of such direct questioning of bullshit.

        Imagine if Bush had to take questions from Congress at the end of the state of the union.  The constitution doesn't stipulate that the SOTU has to be a one-way communication, just that the president must "report" periodically.  It could happen if congress had the will.  

        "I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

        by Scientician on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 09:21:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think the Constitution would benefit by (none)
        turning the House into a Parliament-style body, leaving the Senate and the rest of the system alone, except for making explicit the post-FDR, pre-Reagan interpretation of the Constitution through amendments, including adding an explicit right to privacy, and a limit on the "rights" accorded to money and corporations in relation to free speech and the election process.

        To think, perchance to dream. . .

        Novus Ordo Seclorum. Since 1776.

        by Ignacio Magaloni on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 12:39:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Woah... (none)
        The older I get (by the day these days), the more I see how ignorant I am on so many things.

        Nevertheless, it seems to me that if the U.S. had a parliamentary system at the time of FDR, Hitler (his backers) would be ruling the world today.

        Please, let's think long and hard before we throw the Constitution out with Bush-Cheney (their backers).

        A strong executive operating within checks and balances is good. The parlementary systems of Europe all crumbled facing the fascist onslaught of the 1920s-30s.

  •  Mary Lou Retton's Smile (4.00)
    But..but...but

    IT WAS MORNING AGAIN IN AMERICA!

    I'm smart! And I want respect! -- Fredo Corleone

    by angry blue planet on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:43:02 AM PST

  •  Bush Sr and Al Quaeda (none)

    I believe that Bush Sr continued Reagans legacy by quickly pulling out of Afganistan after the cold war. They left the place in a state of turmoil and Al Quaeda with all the weapons they provided them.
  •  Democrats never came out hard on Reagan (4.00)
    His legacy doesn't match up with his record.

    "Took down communism" -- I say he prolonged it and is largely responsible for the situation in Latin America today.

    "Fiscal responsibility" -- I say he took on one of the largest defecits in the country's history, and sabotaged the economy.

    "Traditional American values" -- when many people did worse under his short sighted and elite-serving administration.

    ronald reagan is the devil. proof: his names all have 6 letters. Ronald Wilson Reagan = 6 6 6.

    by danthrax on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:54:18 AM PST

  •  I agree with your diary, but (none)
    there is one thing that I can't get out of my mind about Reagan.

    While Reagan was running for President for the first time, I met my future mother-in-law.  I knew her children for a few years before I met her and they described her to me on occasion.  They loved her, they admired her, and they described a person I never knew.  She was not as bright and lively as they described her.  Instead of leading conversations, she barely joined in.  Because we were all gathered in large family groups, and because her children all had a strong memory of her, they did not notice that she had changed.  I did not know if she had changed, but I was sure that she was not the woman her kids described.

    After some years it became clear that she had Alzheimer's.  She is still alive and has been in a home for over 10 years.  I know that Reagan did a lot of crazy things and I think that he felt the effects of his Alzheimer's while he was in office.  We ordinary citizens had no way of knowing, but his wife, children and lifelong friends knew and they kept it quiet.  So I'm willing to forgive Reagan for what he did, but I can never forgive those who took advantage of him and who kept the American people in the dark.

    Bush, on the other hand, suffers from a different kind of dementia.  I don't know whether he deserves any forgiveness, but I am sure that the whole group, taken together, does not.

    A man who does not learn Evolution has no advantage over a monkey who cannot learn Evolution.

    by hestal on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:11:04 AM PST

    •  i hear you (4.00)
      Although Reagan was already suffering the early effects of dementia (We had no way of knowing? I certainly noticed, and i was just a high school kid) he nevertheless has a record as a shitbag going well back into the 60s. It's just that the optics were so cleverly controlled, you see.

      -7.00,-7.74 "He is a bad version of us! No more money for him."

      by subtropolis on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:30:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have often (none)
      thought that Alzheimers had taken hold of Reagan while he was still president.  Nancy Reagan would have done anything to protect him, and it is easy to chalk up the beginning symptoms to an unusually busy life.  It is even easier when you have a huge staff taking care of the little details of your existence.

      With the same thugs running this White House it is easy to imagine their thought processes-- "We can't find another Alzheimer's patient for the oval office but we can sure find an idiot!". The "cabal" is real and must be stopped, this time for good.

      "Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar." Edward R. Murrow

      by justrock on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 12:09:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Worst president? (none)
    Before Shrub, there would have been no question that Reagan was the worst president, by far, in my lifetime. But nothing RR did was as blatantly un-American as Bushco's invasion of Iraq, IMHO. Final score: Reagan -999998, BushJr -999999 : the "winner" !

    Greg Shenaut

    BTW, excellent diary.

    •  Reagan Was Trapped by a Functional (4.00)
      nation that he had started dismantling. He couldn't have gotten away with it then.

      Same argument applies to Nixon. Give either of them today's apparatus and we wouldn't be allowed to have this conversation. Reagan did much more damage to America. Bush is merely using Reagan's nation for its intended purposes.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:18:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  maybe not as blatantly unamerican (none)
      but covertly unamerican activities in latin america and elsewhere were thriving under RR. when you reach the level of shitbaggedness(?) as both Reagan and Bush, there's really no point debating who's worse, in my view.

      Republican politicians are not elephants. They're filthy, greedy pigs.

      by sadair on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:05:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  major kudos (4.00)
    Minerva for this diary.

    I keep waiting for the chronological connect-the-dots diaries, and finally I see one.  Please keep this up, and like a previous commentator said, please put this in the wikipedia.

    One little detail (ok, not so tiny) is that you write

    With respect to budget cuts, well, Reagan is the undisputed father of most of our national debt, now over $6 trillion
    .  

    From context it seems you are talking about contemporary times - ?  Because as you know the current national debt is $8,188,000,000,000+.

    karma runs over dogma

    by stonemason on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:29:39 AM PST

    •  af (4.00)
      because most chronologies of our Bush despair start around 2000.  This is just the most recent head on a monster that's been growing for the last century, offering four generations of Bush people who have profited from war (they do little else, other than debt hypothecation).  The secret government has been going strong for over 50 years.  We really need historical emphasis on the back story to George Bush.  Thank you so much for your work.

      karma runs over dogma

      by stonemason on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:31:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reagan: the Science Fiction President (4.00)
    The Reagan Admin laid the foundation for the dark worlds forseen in '1984,' 'Farenheit 451' and other grim predictions.

    That was our last time to prevent certain societal forces from outgrowing our system, that was when we observed real-time the consequences of deregulating powerful greedy forces, that was when we set in motion the transformation of our commun culture into a nightmarish halloween theme park of inanity that would be ripe for outrageous propaganda.

    I screamed myself hoarse during that era explaining what we were becoming. Nobody I knew got it. Everybody thought I was nuts.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:33:25 AM PST

  •  Great diary... (4.00)
    Reagan's "FUNERAL WEEK" almost killed me - I couldn't get the blood pressure down.  It got so bad I couldn't even turn on the TV.  I thought he was a hideous president and the false accolades were gagging.  They should have pelted his casket with vegetables...or in Reagan terms... ketchup packets.

    For you youngsters (from wikipedia):  
    In 1981, US President Ronald Reagan's budget director, David Stockman, proposed classifying ketchup as a vegetable as part of Reagan's budget cuts for federally financed school lunch programs (it would make it cheaper to satisfy the requirements on vegetable content of lunches). The suggestion was widely ridiculed and the proposal was killed.

    "W" - the Homer Simpson Presidency...DOH!!

    by Needa Bigger Pretzel on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:43:02 AM PST

    •  Ketchup isn't a vegetable? (none)
      David Stockman, proposed classifying ketchup as a vegetable as part of Reagan's budget cuts for federally financed school lunch programs (it would make it cheaper to satisfy the requirements on vegetable content of lunches). The suggestion was widely ridiculed and the proposal was killed.

      Judging by the decline in quality of school lunches, as well as the groves of pop machines, I would have bet my lunch that ketchup had indeed been reclassified as a vegetable.

    •  I thought all the flags at half mast were for... (none)
      ...Ray Charles.
  •  Thanks. I was forgetting. (none)
    I cut my liberal teeth on hating Reagan, hating his policies, listening to his speeches on the radio on WGY Schenectady while sitting at the foot of my mom's bed and seething.

    He spent us into economic disaster and it became "Winning the Cold War". He pushed us to the brink of nuclear catastrophe and it became "Making America strong again". He exterminated the War on Poverty programs and that showed he was "deeply religious".

    What priest-novelist Andrew Greeley called "the bizarre canonization of Ronald Reagan" has almost made us forget what he was really like.

    The less a man knows about how sausages and laws are made, the easier it is to steal his vote and give him botulism.

    by SensibleShoes on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 08:01:05 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the work!! (4.00)
    Haven't commented in a while (didn't have time to argue with children who are pissed at their parents), but was moved by your efforts.
    I plan on printing this out and carrying it with me everywhere I go.
    I've long felt in my gut that the man was a simpleton and a joke and found his wife tiresome and frightening.  It will be great to have well-researched ammunition to argue with those that think that the man actually did something worthwhile, and don't get me started on the argument that he single-handedly destroyed Communism.
    The man was a shallow, confused, puppet.  He was a very lame actor and an even worse president.
    Props for all of the work you did.  I, for one, am very appreciative of your efforts.

    I wish I was clever enough to figure out something profound to place here.

    by boocilla69 on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 08:02:35 AM PST

  •  I always said that.... (none)
    the Academy should give Reagan the Oscar for best actor of the 20th century.

    For 8 years he pretended to be President and dammit we all belived it!

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." Seneca

    by Ralfast on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 08:14:36 AM PST

  •  Yes, we are in an era of unprecednted corruption (none)
    Historians will look upon the Reagan coup of 1980 (I can't call it a fair election as Reagan's men were involved illegally and unconstitutionally in preventing the return of the American hostages in Iran), as the start of era of a monumental level of corruption of the U.S. government.

    Now, it is up to us, the people, to bring an end to that era!

  •  Great diary! (4.00)
    I'd like to add one more observation;  He started the connections with the religious right by creating wedge issues.  Some in my family were in that-group and were convinced Jimmy Carter was not a true Christian because he was "soft of homosexuals."  I know that sounds  incredulous, but that is what they were saying at the time.  I'm still not sure how that message to "out there."  But it did.
  •  Recommended!!! (none)
    Finally someone had the guts to say it, even if someone  will blindly wrap themselves in the  flag or (hang themselves with it).

    And BTW  the Reagan as the hero who destroyed Soviet Communism is the biggest load of crap, American-Self Obsessed-Myth  ever!!!!

  •  Another Reagan story re: race (4.00)
    While governor of California, Reagan often spread around a false story about a group of Black students holding up a school administrator at knifepoint and demanding admission to the school under an affirmative action plan.

    What's horrifying is that I still have to explain to people that this story was a lie.

    Needless to say, Reagan seized upon every hateful impulse in this country for his party's benefit. The 1980 election, for instance, was when the Christian Right really burst out onto the scene. "With God on Our Side - George W. Bush and the Rise of the Religious Right in America" is a good documentary showing a lot of the history.

  •  Foreign Policy Tommorrow... (none)
    Perhaps this is jumping the gun but please do go into the Reagan treason of negotiating with the Iranians behind President Carter's back.  It is amazing that most Americans still don't know about Reagan sending his campaign team including Bush-the-less-dumb and William Casey (future CIA Director) to negotiate with the Iranians to NOT release the American hostages until Reagan's innaguration.  The Iranians (Medhi Karrubi - current speaker of their pariliment) and numerous European diplomats have all testified to facts of these meetings.  The Soviet-like American "press" (court stenographers) refuses to cover these facts, though they have been widely reported overseas.  The Rethugs continue to deny that such meetings took place....SOP.

    The Iran-Contra affair was not a "mistake" or an "abberation" but was the standard modus operandi for Reagan.  The fact that they got away with it, thanks to Bush I's crucial pardons and the newly emergent corporate RW media, surely embolded Bush-the-Dumber to believe that he can get away with anything.  Maybe he can.  But if that's true, it is true because of the unspeakably corrupting influence of Ronald Reagan......a truly evil man as well as a criminal against law and the constitution.  

    The standard Rethug line that Reagan "won" the cold war is also exposed as another lie by the many testimonials freely given by the former soviet leaders.  Almost to a person they say that Reagan's belligerance prolonged the cold war.  The top Soviet leadership was looking for a way out of their economic madness from the late 70's but the hardliners gained the upper hand out of very realistic fear of American aggression.  Anybody remember Reagan's public jokes about nuking the Russians?  I doubt if those jokes were very funny in Russia.  Almost all of Bush's team of merry war-mongers came of  political age during the Reagan administration.  We are only just beginning to pay the full cost of that evil SOB.  

    Geonomist - Charge for privileges; abolish taxes on production.

    by Geonomist on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 08:55:56 AM PST

  •  What else do Reagan and Dubya have in common? (none)
    Arguably Bush 41 was really the worst President ever, both before and after his election.
  •  Air Traffic Controllers (4.00)
    Sorry if this has been covered, but I don't think the aviation system has ever recovered, nor has the labor movement in general, from Reagan's vicious and callous decision to fire all federal air traffic controllers when they wanted to strike.
  •  Roger Ailes (4.00)
    Don't forget that FOX News liar-in-chief was RR's image man. If anyone knows the details of all the shenanigans that screwed the middle- and lower-class in favor of the rich during that era, it is Ailes. He helped package them.

    And Bush the Elder was "out of the loop", as he said, during the Iran-Contra scandal. Baloney! I'm sure that if somebody paid the right Iranians enough money, they would divulge who Reagan's campaign's agents were, that "convinced" them to not release the hostages until Reagan was elected.

    I remember how our lap-dog media used split-screen shots to show Reagan's inaugural and the releasing of the hostages. The tough-talkin' Cowboy is comin' to town, so we better let 'em go, is how it was presented to a naive America.

    The success of the Republican party in transforming the racist right, esp. in the South, into the right-wing religious fundamentalist wackos that we see today, is an amazing political feat. It is amazing, in part, because these people are always fooled into voting against their own economic interests.

  •  asdf (none)
    One of the most important diaries ever written on this site!!!!
  •  Great diary (none)
    I'm at work and haven't had a chance to read the whole thing yet. But this is important stuff. Thank you for laying this horror-story out so well, I look forward to the next installment.

    Violent means will give violent freedom.
    -Gandhi

    by DjW on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 09:47:52 AM PST

  •  HUD corruption (none)
    was under reported. Funds meant to house the poor were funneled to developers for other purposes.

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 09:48:06 AM PST

  •  Scary (none)
    I remember growing up in the 80s, and by the sixth grade had it figured out that if this country ever went fascist it was going to be because boomers were in charge.  Reagan was just the smiling, doddering father figure who blessed the eruption of their worst characteristics.
    •  I've heard it said that (none)
      Reagan was elected as a reaction to the '68ers.

      I suspect we are saying the same thing here, though, if it were discussed through. (Maybe "if this country ever went fascist it was going to be because boomers were in charge." is the boomers in power, and then there are boomers who are fighting like hell against fascism...)

  •  nice job, recommended (none)
    Looking forward to the next ones...
  •  Plausible Deniabilty (none)
    Don't forget to mention that little political legacy in your foreign policy discussion.

    Don't go there? Oh yes, I'm going there!

    by coigue on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:09:37 AM PST

  •  Very well done. (none)
    One teesy recommendation: it would be interesting to  have a paragreaph at the end that ddiscusses how his methods are used by Bush.

    Optional, of course.

    Either way, Recommended.

    Don't go there? Oh yes, I'm going there!

    by coigue on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:11:26 AM PST

  •  Another take on the same subject (none)
    published in 2004 after the Apotheosis of Saint Ronald into heaven:

    Storybook President

    And I posted this comment on a diary by Trapper John the week Ronnie Boy rode off into the sunset for good. Note the article by Charles P. Pierce, who should know what he's talking about, concerning Reagan's deterioration WHILE IN OFFICE.

    The Republicans made a big mistake: They became obvious. --Roddy McCorley

    by Sharoney on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:31:37 AM PST

  •  Anagram (4.00)
    It's hard to add anything significant to the excellent note and comments, but in case you never noticed, an anagram of RONALD WILSON REAGAN is INSANE ANGLO WARLORD.  Do we really need to know anything more?
  •  bush (none)
    bush and reagan were/are both puppets. They aren't there own man. They basically just "play" president, while others manipulate and use them as pawns.
  •  Thanks for the memories (none)
    Although all of them from the Reagan era are bad.

    Seriously, I think it helps us to get our focus if we can recall that there have been times in the past that seemed as dark and hopeless as this one.  I can't decide who was/is worse - Reagan or Bush.  It may be that each has been horrible in his own egregious way.

    Certainly one advantage that we have now is that progressives can connect with each through the internet.  I was in high school and then college during the Reagan years, and I recall them as very lonely years from a political perspective.

    "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt

    by blueinnc on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:54:36 AM PST

  •  I trudged through the 80s and early 90s... (none)
    ...in depressing so. cal. where families had photographs of Reagan on their walls, right next to the Duke and Jeebus. And they happily regarded them all day...unemployed...blaming Democrats.

    I held on to one bright hope: that after the Reagan-Bush One fiasco, we would become enlightened about national politics and the role they play in our lives. Resolving never to make those mistakes again.

    What a naive young man I was.

    [ Anyone who thinks my bark is worse than my bite, has never seen me bite. ] -6.63 | -5.38

    by dj angst on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 11:17:05 AM PST

  •  If you do the revelation thang... (none)
    The man whose name was the number of the beast who was injured in the head but survived and all the world wondered after the beast and said who is like unto the beast, who is able to make war with him?  Ronald Wilson Reagan (count the letters)

    The next beast who speak as a lamb yet has the power of the dragon who invades Iraq the first time - GHWB (wouldn't be prudent - not at this juncture)

    Then there's a fellow known only as "The Great Adulterer".  He's one of ours.

    Finally, the Antichrist, who goes into Iraq the second time, who brings down the whore of Babylon, who brings the world into darkness and applies the mark such that none can buy or sell without it... well... something to look forward to.

    Not that I believe any of this.  But I find it interesting that the people who are most likely to believe in an Antichrist are also the ones most likely to have voted for him.  Idiots.

    -8.75;-5.28. But it don't mean nuttin if you don't put your money where your mouth is

    by ultrageek on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 11:32:07 AM PST

  •  New Poll (none)
    Should crimes in defense of the environment or animals be dealt with severely under terrorism laws?   * 2907 responses

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

    Yes, even if no one is hurt, those extremists are intimidating innocent people and causing physical damage.
    71%

    No, people who commit those crimes are careful not to harm others and shouldn't be considered terrorists.
    29%

    -Hype

  •  In 2000 (none)
    When Bush was elected, I said "How bad could he be? This nation survived Reagan, and now Clinton put us back on track". Boy was I wrong.

    Not only did we NOT survive Reagan, Bush is taking the Reagan Revolution and going a LOT futher.

    A President in his own league. The Bush League!

    by Tuba Les on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 11:32:57 AM PST

  •  These guys are a lot smarter than you think (none)
    The fast-talking, sharp Yankee who gets outwitted by the bumbling, "ignorant" country rube is a stock character in American literature, for very good reason. I ran into this type in Texas all the time - they're only PRETENDING to be stupid. Did Reagan pretend to be senile? Of course! Does Bush "misspeak" words on purpose? Of course! He never does it when he's angry, only when he's calculatingly folksy, or when he's drunk (I do think he's impaired in certain ways, ones that are advantageous to the masters).

    A bumbling frontman serves a brilliant purpose - these guys are way, way beyond you if you don't know this. Likewise, a so-called "insane" frontman like Pat Robertson serves to make Limbaugh and O'Reilly seem comparatively MORE sane, and serves to make Bush and Cheney seem downright moderate. If they're so stupid, why are they getting absolutely everything they want? If you're so smart, why aren't you running things?*

    *(A: Because "sane" people are incapable or unwilling to acknowledge the sophistication, manipulativeness, venality and monstrosity of the so-called "conservative politicians" who have targeted them for enslavement?)

  •  Not *all* of it can be laid at Reagan's door (none)
    Reagan's legacy is also 9/11 and Iraq.  We (and our Saudi buddies) built the network that became Al Qaeda because Reagan's campaign manager - who he decided to stick in the role of head of the CIA, William Casey - thought it would be a clever way to lure the Soviet Union into "their own Vietnam."

    We have to take responsibility for what we're complicit in, too:

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, interviewed by  Le Nouvel Observateur, January 1998

     Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

    B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

    B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?

    I believe they call it "blowback"...

    "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

    by bellatrys on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 12:25:19 PM PST

  •  YOur premise is correct ... (none)
    ... the darkness descended with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Bush is a continuation of that darkness and evil.
  •  If I could change history.... (none)
    People sometimes get the notion of imagining if they could change one thing in history, what would it be.  Things like stopping the assasination of Kennedy, or stopping 9/11.

    I pick the debacle in the desert when so many of our marines died trying to rescue the hostages during the Carter administration.  Had that gone right, Carter would have one re-election, thus HE would have gotten credit for the economic surge during the Reagan years, -- because it was Carter's allowance of tight money policy that finally killed inflation once and for all, and it was Carter that put together various programs that broke the back of OPEC -- (of course, finding oil in the NOrth Sea helped as well).

    But most important, ending the Cold War would have been credited to the foreign policy initiative that actualy really ended the cold war, which was the Truman Doctrine.  Plus, detente also helped a whole lot.  

    Instead, we hear that RR ended the cold war and that it was tax cuts that helped the economy.  This is hogwash, but this is the line we are being forced to listen to.  And MANY American's believe it to this day.  And the vested interests that own our media wants this belief to continue because that's how people like GW can justify more tax cuts, and how resorting to war is a just fine first choice option for people like GW.  Because RR proved it.

    Ask any historian what happens to a country when they are threatened from without and you will see that such a country pulls together, it doesn't collapse.  

    The 1970s was not a perfect time, but at least this nation was continueing the great American Experiment such that it was better and better every year for both the common person and for America.  But since the election or RR, progress for the common man has been blunted and reversed, and America's greatness is fading.  

    So thank you for this diary.  I still find the adulation of RR incredulous so thank you for this.

     

  •  Imagine the 1980's (none)
    if President Jimmy Carter had won re-election in 1980.

    So different.

    •  I made my worst political blunder during the (none)
      1980 Presidential election--my first Presidential election. I voted for Anderson, in part because I though Carter too conservative and (when running for office) manipulative; and--here is the worst of it--I though Americans would never accept the political regime Reagan would unleash, and would come to their senses after the experience.

      I was so wrong: despite the obvious harm Reagan and his handlers inflicted on the American people--and to the political process--he was re-elected handily.

      That hard lesson taught me to prepare for a permanent fight against our native fascist streak; a lesson I see some kossacks just now learning.

      My elders must have looked at me through similar eyes.

      Novus Ordo Seclorum. Since 1776.

      by Ignacio Magaloni on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 01:04:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I sympathize. (none)
        I did the same dumb thing - voted for Anderson.  All the "born again" stuff gagged me (his business, of course, but I thought it had no place in political discourse), and I too thought Carter far too conservative.

        I didn't see the Reagan Revolution coming, either, and it didn't cross my mind that my country would simply start to disappear.  Foolish me.  I thought freedom and justice in America were perpetual.

  •  add to this, his calif governor yrs... (none)
    dismantling mental health, dismantling the University of California, all infrastructure, etcetc--some quotes:
    "seen one redwood, ya seen 'em all."
    "the only birth control pill you need is to squeeze an aspirin between your legs"...can't remember any more, but can remember my mom making an awful gagging sound every time he would show up on tv during the 60's.  at 89, she is a treasure trove of reagan info.--and a major roger ailes hater.  she knows every character that has resurfaced in the present play, too.
  •  Letting Bush off the hook sets the stage... (none)
    ...for more Bush.

    Seriously, I think Bush is going to somehow remain in control of things even after 2008.  There are many ways in which he might do it, most of them illegal, some openly so, and I'm not going to speculate as to the exact mechanism, but my guess is that if people don't make a concerted effort to stop his appointments and crookery now they may not get another chance.

    Oh, and that applies to both democrats and republicans.  I suspect it's already to late for the voting public to actually have any more say.

  •  Amazing differences (none)
    compared to this piece [http://www.opinionjournal.com/...]

    I find it funny how differently the folks that enjoyed the Reagan years portray it even though it produced such high debt and it's affect on the lower ranks.  I liked Reagan's charm but I knew deep down even then that the folks he was in league with weren't thinking about the best interest of our country.  Getting rich is all they look at.

    Republicans are men of narrow vision, who are afraid of the future. - Jimmy Carter

    by kidfury on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 01:04:41 PM PST

  •  Also... (none)
    Excellent diary. But you left out an ad copy legacy that is equally idiotic and insidious.

    He created the term "big government." The government is a distribution mechanism of moneys to services of various natures. The more money being distributed to the service does not make the govenment itself bigger. Government is not a physical thing like a building. To say, "I don't want to pay more taxes because I don't believe in big government," is like saying, "I don't want to pay higher postage because I don't believe in big post office."

    In this way he started the idea of people hating their own govenment. Very ingenious. His own administration can be as inept as possible, but it's never it's own or his own fault because, hey, government by nature is a bad thing.

    The ultimate in cynicism as a PR tactic.

    And then 2/27/33 happened, and that changed everything.

    by Julian on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 01:23:06 PM PST

  •  don't forget bitburg (none)
    and the nazi connection...

    why? just kos..... *just cause*

    by melo on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 02:48:43 PM PST

  •  Thank you (4.00)
    for the information.

    I find myself unequipped to answer the old-timer republican Reganomics arguments.  This is a big help.

    Can't wait to read the next installments.

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 03:02:32 PM PST

  •  A Reagan story passed on to me (none)
    Many people think that Reagan was a dolt and it was his henchmen that were up to the evil work, but I have a story that says otherwise.

    This story comes from my mother.

    Ronald Reagan came to have dinner with my grandfather in the early 60's. My grandfather held a very important union position at the time, and was a prime candidate to curry political favor with. He is also a horrible racist.

    My mother, who was not invited to this dinner, hid under the table and listened to the conversation between my grandfather and Ronald Reagan as they dined.

    Reagan had aspirations to the Presidency in the early 60's. And he spoke as if it was a forgone conclusion. The one Reagan quote that my mother remembered went something like this:

    "Someday I will be president, and when I am I will put those niggers in their place"

  •  Reagan gutted Media Fairness (4.00)
    but hey, he made Americans "feel good"

    He got elected by playing games with Iran to make Carter look bad and reversed ANY movement to weaning off oil.

    Thanks Gipper.

  •  Song: "Politicians / Double Dealers" (none)
    Sung to the tune of "Science Fiction/Double Feature" from RHPS

    LIPS: Jimmy Carter felt ill
    When his campaign stood still
    And in panic tried to explain
    But the voters didn't care
    They had had it up to there
    Besides they needed someone to blame
    Then a new voice came along
    Said the liberals had been wrong
    What we need is a leader with verve
    Then on election night
    You told them they were right
    Now you got what you deserve
    Like those...
    Politicians -- double dealers
    Special interests -- faithless healers
    See young men fighting -- worker layoffs
    Slush-fund scandals -- corporate payoffs
    Woah oh oh oh
    It's the '80s -- Ronnie Reagan -- Horror Show

    (From the TV show "Fridays" Fall 1980)

    False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.--Socrates

    by Ranting Roland on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:32:31 PM PST

  •  Excellent diary! (4.00)
    It was during the Reagan era that I began feeling like a stranger in my own country.  I kept wondering how apparently sane people could LIKE this disaster of a President, this selfish, shallow, useless human being.

    If there had been no Reagan, there could have been no Bush.  

    The worst of his foul legacy was deregulation of television.  There was a time when "equal time" had to be given to differing points of view.  Jesus, look at what television is now.

  •  Not that I needed that reminder, (none)
    but you are so correctomundo! Another book, Haynes Johnson's Sleepwalking Through History, includes this paragraph at the end. Note his four points. Reagan sowed the seeds, BushCo is doing the harvesting:

    If America falls, it will most likely be from its failure to address long-festering social and economic problems and growing divisions among its citizenry; from subversions of its constitutional system, as in the Iran-Contra affair; from the corruption and ineffectiveness of its government; and from the cynicism and inattention of its people.

    "One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native land of hope." Wallace Stegner [-7.13 -6.97]

    by Mother Mags on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 07:29:38 PM PST

  •  I was born in 1977.... (none)
    so Reagan was someone I don't remember a whole lot about. This is a great diary for that reason...I learned quite a bit.

    I do remember disliking him from the very first time I saw him. My dad never liked him much at all...and I always knew he was a godamned liar.

  •  actually, IIRC, (none)
    The most damaging mistake made by the Reaganites was to change the treatment of CEO compensation to provide unlimited writeoffs for CEO compensation and favoring short-term compensation practices like options and bonuses based on quarterly performance.

    If you've gotten the impression that Fortune 1000 CEOs have a fixed quarterly horizon, that's why. The incentives have been set up so that improving company financial performance in the short run is so much more important than building a company for the long run that CEOs simply don't bother to think about the future.

    Easiest ways to improve short-run performance? Cut costs, regardless of long-term impact, and cook the books with the CEOs figuring that they'll have cashed out and left the USA long before anyone can notice.

    This is so important that any good book on "what the hell happened to America" should start with Reaganite changes in tax policies.

    Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:38:18 PM PST

  •  They keep getting worse (none)
    They really do just keep getting worse. Four Republicans were elected twice within the past 100 years: Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush.

    Eisenhower presided over 3 recessions, overthrew governments all over the globe through the CIA but at least he started funding the interstate highway system, sort of presided over the first hesitant steps of the modern civil rights movement, and was not crazy.  True, he was a chickenshit warrior who let Joe McCarthy go over his old boss (and career saver) George C. Marshall but there were some plusses.

    So Nixon, Ike's VP, was next.  Sure, after having campaigned on his secret plan to end the war in Vietnam, he prolonged it and doubled the killing of Americans.  He rigged elections and siced the federal government knowingly and with a vengeance on his political enemies.  But despite his talk, he didn't really derail the civil rights movement and even helped a lot of poor people by going along with SSI.  He even helped to end the Cold War, a bit, by meeting with the Chinese.  Crazy as a bat or whatever, though.  His politics of hate and division, sore losing, and playing of "media bias" would pay evil dividends down the road.

    Fumbling for a few years post Nixon, the country settled some how, on Reagan.  I could never, ever figure him out.  He lied all the time, not even convincingly, and still no harm came to him.  Just made stuff up as he went along.  Hurt the poor, the elderly, the disabled, workers, etc.  Got away with it through some sort of charm I never, ever could get.  "Morning in America."  "There you go again."  He either said nothing or made arrogant demands and was never called.  The good was small.  Communism was weakened but at a huge cost that weakened us as well.  I figured at the time that Japan was the winner but in retrospect it may have been Asia in general or even China.  Social Security was strengthened (although that was never sold effectively to much of the public.  

    Then there is Mr. 9/11.  I can't say much good about him at all.  He fixed elections.  He fixwed wars.  He scandalously favored the rich and corporations and sold off our future for electoral spoils.  He neeedlessly killed a 100,000 people and killed off one of country's great and unique cities.  I can't watch him on TV.  Just can't deal with it.

    So in 2008 or 2016 or 2020 who will come next in this doleful chain?  Mary Cheney?  Jeb Bush?  Clint Eastwood?  

  •  Good. Good. Good.... (none)
    "Letting Reagan and friends off the hook set the stage for Bush.  Imagine what letting Bush off the hook would set the stage for."

    Most excellent! Keep up the good work!

  •  ...treading water in American politics ONLY (none)
    starts after one first comes to the full realization that "the Republican Party is the Party of Hate"!
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