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Tomorrow Is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan, and we just passed the thirtieth anniversary of his inauguration as president, so we have already been subjected to hagiographic portrayals of him, his life, and his supposedly classic American virtues.

As he ran, so he governed. From his support for the racist policies of Bob Jones University to his references to "big bucks" abusing Food Stamps; from his support for apartheid to the clear understanding of his aide Lee Atwater, who explained how Reagan and Bush used concealed racism to win Southern votes, Reagan's presidency was suffused with racism, but you won't hear any of his acolytes discuss it this week.

<span style="font-weight:bold;">Support for dictators.</span> If you listen to the Reagan apologists this week you'll hear endless recitations of claims that he revered and valued democracy and freedom. Of course, the opposite is true. As I mentioned, he supported apartheid and resisted any efforts to attack or dismantle it. His foreign policy is characterized by support for the most vicious dictators, with his support for the incumbent dictator in El Salvador and his creation of the contra mercenaries in Nicaragua to restore the Somoza dictatorship there the most outstanding example.

<span style="font-weight:bold;">Bargaining with terrorists.</span> Maybe a smaller point, but remember that part of Reagan's support for the contras was giving weapons to terrorists to free American hostages.

<span style="font-weight:bold;">Corruption.</span> Let's not forget: Reagan's administration may have beenthe most corrupt in our history.

<span style="font-weight:bold;">Superstition.</span> It's a daily event that American presidents engage in superstition and mythology to gain public support. (Hint: when's the last time you heard a presidential speech that didn't end with "God bless you and God bless the United States"?) Reagan went beyond this by basing his public decisions on the favorite superstition of the soft-headed, astrology.

<span style="font-weight:bold;">Taxes.</span> Even today, every Republican pledges loyalty to Reagan's anti-tax ideology. We know that after he cut taxes he raised them again, so take it as stipulated that he wasn't as consistently opposed to taxation as his worshippers claim. Nevertheless, the message stuck. This is what I would say is the worst of the many evils that Ronald Reagan is responsible for: he convinced a wide swath of the American people that they can have all the benefits of our American society and government without paying for it.  When the teabaggers claim him as their political and spiritual godfather, this is really what they're talking about.<div>
Oh, just one last thing: it has become a shibboleth to ask Republican candidates for president or RNC chair who their favorite Republican presidentwas. The universal answer is Ronald Reagan. When they give that answer, they're not lying. They actually do prefer the racist tool of the wealthy to the man who preserved the Union and ended slavery.

<div>So this weekend, do contemplate the legacy and nature of Ronald Reagan. Just remember the reality, and not the myth.

Originally posted to JackMcCullough on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 07:09 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm not going to worry about Reagan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Reagan was a creature of liberalism's stagnation.  Show me one, just one, liberal innovation of the 1970s.  Frankly I have no interest in going back to bash the liberalism of that era, but you cant understand one without the opening provided by the other.

    APSCU is the trade group of diploma mills that rip off students and the government.

    by Rich in PA on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 07:15:24 AM PST

    •  do you really think that that's the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JackMcCullough, kid funkadelic

      Reagan was a creature of liberalism's stagnation.  Show me one, just one, liberal innovation of the 1970s.

      whole story? in the marketplace of ideas, conservatism won out because liberals had nothing to say? seriously?

      what about the four years of non-stop drubbing that carter (ostensibly the standard bearer for liberalism) got, from the press and the congress, for the unpardonable sin of not being a washington insider? "america held hostage"? reagan's democratic enablers in the democratic congressional leadership?  the reagan white house's unprecedented, 24/7 propaganda machine's largely successful effort to make "liberal" a dirty word? heck, even the popular culture played along, glorifying greed and excess in tv shows like dallas, dynasty, falcon crest (starring reagan's ex, no less!), and all of their imitators.

      this is the context in which reagan was operating. how can you ignore that?

      "I'm all for pragmatism just as long as it's not just a slight pitstop on the road to hell." - TJ, 11.30.10

      by output on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 10:15:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reagan cut taxes for the rich, but didn't he (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kid funkadelic

    raise taxes on working people? It was before I was old enough to pay taxes but I believe he was the one that started taxing unemployment benefits. Kicking the unemployed when they're down.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 08:31:11 AM PST

  •  Reagen was absolutely the worst (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kid funkadelic

    Most of what Reagen said was nonsense, just as what most of the GOP says today is self serving lies and propaganda, the same nonsense Reagen spewed. These people are, through some unfortunate aberration of the human mind, the expression of an evil force in our society.  They cannot be "worked with" in bipartisan fashion as President Obama envisions.  Their ideology is a dysfunctional adjustment of their personality to the challenges of life.  They are like human cells which adapt to the challenges of life by becoming malignant cells.  Once that happens they are obligated to that path only, not by reason, but by necessity of survival (their perceived pursuit of safety and well-being).  These are emotional maladjustments and not rational.  Therefore, they can never be reasoned with. They are a force that must be defeated if we want the US to have a decent future.  Reagen himself was a malinancy in political thought because his absurd ideals have since been perpetuated and heralded by conservatives ever since.  Lets face it, what really rational and decent person would embrace the ideals of the current Republican party???

  •  Anyone else think Raygun copied mannerisms and so (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kid funkadelic

    on from Mike Connor's Mannix?

  •  Don't forget his connection (0+ / 0-)

    To Iran/Contra and Ricky "Freeway" Ross who dumped crack in the hood to finance it withthe help of the CIA.

    Think...It ain't illegal yet ! George Clinton

    by kid funkadelic on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 10:56:20 AM PST

  •  His Ambassador to South Africa (0+ / 0-)

    Was Alan Keyes, the guy that ran against you know who for several offices. His VP running mate for Prez prays everyday for the POTUS to die. No wonder Nelson Mandela has the POTUS write the introduction for his book.

    BTW, Keyes work FOR the Afrikkaner Government during Apartheid.He was Reagan's boy.

    Think...It ain't illegal yet ! George Clinton

    by kid funkadelic on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 11:10:29 AM PST

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