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Ronald Wilson Reagan physically died on June 5, 2004, but his legacy has lived on in the psyche of Americans long after his presidency ended, and even after his death.  I just got finished reading Rachel Maddow's book, "Drift," and I had to stop reading it to catch my breath at how awful of a President Reagan was and to see with my own eyes how the 80s was the progenitor for all of the insanity I see in my own country.  I've never understood this culture's comfortable relationship with violence, mayhem, and militarism.  My formative years were the Bush years.  Iraq was a debacle.  I felt my country had overreacted to 9/11 and was going to unleash death and destruction in the Middle East.  People who criticized the war were publicly excoriated as unpatriotic and un-American.  No one could effectively find the right words to speak out against military adventure after military adventure, as liberals were painted as weak willed and enemies of soldiers.  I can't tell you how many military blogs I've read with abject hate speech towards liberals.

Now I know why.  And I also understand more about why Obama is an existential threat to many on the hard right and less moderate Republicans.  He signifies to them that Reagan is truly dead and they realize on a subconscious level all that Reagan symbolized will finally be buried.  Of course, I don't think that's true, but that's their perception, not mine.  You see, after doing some reading on the man, I think Reagan was a psychotic raving lunatic, a doddering old fool, a two legged Drudge report, and above all, the ice pick that lobotomized this nation.  This is not hyperbole, Ronald Reagan disgusts me.  I finally read in full the welfare queen attack, and I could not believe any human being could be so stupid as to believe Reagan's pandering.  Reagan fought against old people getting health care, frothing at the mouth about a communist plot.  Reagan got away with gross ignorance of foreign policy using his actor's charm.  He literally just made stuff up and sold it, and Americans were willing to gobble up sweet half truths and bald faced lies.  In an era of deregulation and flattening wages, Reagan said that it is perfectly fine to tear your neighbor down to make yourself feel better.  And above all, as Maddow brilliantly points out, Reagan would never force Americans to question the wisdom of their actions or to look facts straight in the eye.  After all, Americans for some reason are hesitant about peace, but sure of themselves about war.

You see, Reagan transformed America into Rome.  Compassion is weakness, life is about the naked pursuit of material goods, and a strong army solves all problems domestic and foreign.  Plunder what you can and take what you can.  You're American, so you operate under a different morality than others.  The world is a sea of savage, cunning enemies waiting to pounce.  America must remain loyal to itself and resolute, or it will crumble.  Americans are imbued with magical powers that make them smarter, faster, and more capable than non-Americans, except those who claim allegiance to us.  The American way of life is truly superior, needs no second thought, and our economy can grow infinitely by relying on faith.

You see, Bill Clinton, despite being a Democrat, didn't really deal any sort of blow to the Reagan ideals.  He deregulated, put in free trade, busied himself with being a "New Democrat," and was a centrist.  But to right wingers, Obama is of a different strain.  Obama talks about compassion for  your fellow man, for caring about the least of us, for advocating a left wing style of Christianity that does not rely on making enemies out of our fellow Americans just for living a different lifestyle, and for dealing with a world stage where other countries have a right to exist and exert power like anyone else.  The President probably prefers clean energy to dirty fossil fuels as a rule and wants a well educated populace with a voice at the workplace.  Now, I think Obama is just as culpable for the expansion of the military industrial complex and the savagery against civil liberties and the erasure of checks on executive power that has existed since Reagan, but that's never come up in a non-libertarian/non-green party critique of his presidency.  In short though, Obama is everything Reagan was not.  

To these people, Obama is there to erase them.  He's there to erase their fact free world.  With Obama as the authority, then there is no one to sanction tearing down others to make yourself feel better. Ayn Rand's philosophy of makers and takers is replaced with a humanity affirming message of group responsibility.  Obama wants America to actually focus on what the Gospel says, not the contorted libertarian right wing business Jesus Right Wingers have created.  In short, logic, sanity, compassion, caring, restraint, and prudence will replace arrogance, foolhardiness, insanity, coldness, and viciousness as our values, and  they know it.  The fact that it's a Black man doing it makes it all the worse.  They know that the regressive mindset is on the decline, and this is their last gasp.

Reagan's ghost can finally disappear.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting read and I tend to agree with (6+ / 0-)

    your assertions about the (still undefined by any serious political reporter to date) basis for the undeniable loathing that the entire Republican Horde bears for the sitting POTUS.

    The idea that his very existence as the sitting President obviates their (as Bill Maher calls it, the) "bubble" and forces them to have to think about a black man as the Commander in Chief... and that just makes them go a bit more insane each time they think it.

    Which has subconsciously been poking all of the conservatives who are also bigots and racists (I'm not making any judgments about the ratio there, just noting that it exists) in the virtual eye. You know, the one about which their holy book said something like...

    A rich man man enter Heaven as easily as a camel may pass through the eye of a needle.
    Which, in case @MittRomney is reading this message, seems to be a straightup callout to #MittShambles and a rating on his chances at putting up the Bruno Maglis under the Resolute Desk.

    According to Nate Silver over at the 538 Blog, at online newspaper, the President has a 75.2% chance of winning re-election today. Which means, statistically at least, that #MittRomney should not reserve any moving vans for the week of Jan 20, 2013.

    "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.''
    -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr
    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"
    -- Angie in WA State

    by Angie in WA State on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:17:10 AM PDT

  •  you know the Reagan adminstration (5+ / 0-)

    was apparently a huge admire of Rand and so in a way a refutation of Reagan is a refutation of Rand (and about fucking time too)

  •  As candidate, he invoked Reagan as (0+ / 0-)

    a hero while he codemned Bill Clinton. He also extend a trickle down tax cut that during his term has added more to the national debt, $5.9 trillion, then the $4.5 trillon that the 3 consective presidential terms that Reagans tax cut were the law.

    Trickle down economics is alive and "well".

    •  Actually, he invoked Reagan's transformative (7+ / 0-)

      legacy, not his policies.  

      President Obama is also a transformative President, but in a very different way.

      As far as the national debt goes, The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities would disagree with you. The three largest contributors to the debt are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts, and the Republican dismantling of the economy. The continuous Republican obstruction of any legislation that would create jobs isn't helping either. Their blockage of the American Jobs Act alone is costing us at least 2,000,000 jobs and a rise in GDP.


      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

      by Onomastic on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:57:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We are operating under George Bush's (4+ / 0-)

        deficit producing tax cuts. We were bleeding $3.8 billion day when Bushleft office and are bleeding $4 billion a day today.

        The cuts were extended in 2010 at the urging of the President by his lame duck Democratically controlled congress.
        This wa a quid pro quo. An easy way out to throw the R's a bone so that he could pass a flurry of legacy building bills before the end of the mid-term.

        What is being done ro fund those unfunded wars.

  •  he's also smarter than they are... (13+ / 0-)

    ... and they're bursting with jealous racist resentment that a black guy (insert the actual word they use here) is smarter than they are.  

    Whereas most progressives love having a president who is smarter than we are, because it means America is in good hands.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:46:51 AM PDT

  •  This is immediately what I thought of (5+ / 0-)

    when I heard Obama make that comment a few years back about trying to "turn an ocean liner".  Am pretty sure that came at the same time he was praising Reagan as transformational.  Ever since then I have found myself giving him the benefit of the doubt whenever I feel like he's giving away too much -- I keep thinking of the sickening rattle of a giant ship oversteered.....

  •  i recommend another book to you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    greenwald's great american hypocrisy.  

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:08:39 AM PDT

  •  Clintons first major piece of legislation (0+ / 0-)

    was a budget renciliation bill that repealed the Reagan tax cut to end a dozen year of deficit budgets. Middle and poor classincomes rose substantially and 22 million jobs were created.

    Nafta wa the genesis of trade agreemnts drafted during the Reagan/Bush senior years. George H. Bush signed the Nafta treaty with the member countiries before he left office. The legislative bill spilled into Clintons first term where it was passed.

    This President has governed right of center. As a senator he voted for the Fisa Ammendnent/Telcomm imunity Bill and TARP. He has floated trial ballons on SS changes and and n unfunded deficit producing Simpson-Bowles package.

    It annoys me antime someone trys to portray Clinton as the devil. I like Obama but hes has done nothing for the middle class., relative to what Bill Clinton did, and he is no Regan killer

    •  If the best you have is "trial balloons".... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....that shows you are full of hot air.

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 04:22:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again, an extension of the tax cuts, $5.9 (0+ / 0-)

        trillion in new debt, an increase in the gross debt to GDP ratio of 35%. What is you point here?  Rhetoric doesn't count.

        We are digging a massive hole. This administration has 4 years of ownership on these policies and it maybe going on 8. Looking at the different budget number the national debt will be anywhere from $18 trillion to $22 trillion by the end 2016 with a gross debt to GDP ratio as high as 130%.

        He might have as well signed Norquist's ant-tax pledge.  The end game here to break the bank and force cuts to social programs and the all the rhetoric around the tax cuts is more, more more.  They have won the tax battle.  Starve the Beast has hit critical mass.

        The payroll tax cut was not a good idea. It plays right into their argument and take a percentage of the taxes that the many of us in that 47% should be paying and instead draws it from a budget that is bleeding $4billion/day.

        "We will reform the tax code so that the wealthy and corporation will actually pay more." Does anyone believe that?

  •  and he's also a Great Communicator. (8+ / 0-)

    Obama's speaking skills are just off the charts brilliant.  

    For one thing he is just about the most emotionally level-headed president we have had in as far back as I can think of.  Nothing freaks him out, and no matter what comes his way he deals with it confidently and rationally and with a can-do spirit of realistic optimism.  

    For another thing, he has the rare talent of a voice that speaks from the heart and soul as well as from the mind.  You can hear it in his inflections, his intonation, and his rhythm and cadence of speaking.  

    His moods are contagious, his family is a paradigm case of a psychologically healthy family, and he lives by a strict code of self-discipline that is a source of national pride and will never allow a national embarrassment on his watch.

    And lastly, he has a natural grasp of the facts of psychology and cognitive science that add up to certain ways of using words that are uniquely effective.  Those of us around here who know anything about the details of that should keep mum about it, so we don't give the Republicans any clues.  Suffice to say that even the best minds in the advertising world have a tough time coming up with anything equally effective, despite their expert knowledge of the field.  

    All of that adds up to being the Great Communicator of our era, moving hearts and minds and souls and votes in a way that we have not seen in America perhaps since JFK's immortal words "Ask not what your country can do for you..." and "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard..."

    A President such as Obama in difficult times is a necessity.

    Now consider the outcome of having a President such as Obama in more normal and prosperous times.  

    That's why it's necessary to translate our present momentum into a tidal wave of votes that not only gives Obama a second term, but secures the Senate and recaptures the House.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:11:40 AM PDT

    •  a great comment and a great diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries, G2geek

      from the reagan years on, until 08, i had dropped out: stopped paying attention

      the national psyche as attested to by who was winning  elections scared me

      i knew this black man could be elected, when in the spring of 08 i was interviewing a young client whose mother was being accused of neglect; this was a young white girl living in nys appalachia; when i asked her about mother's boyfriend the client's first response was that he was "all right";

      then after a short hesitation, she added:  "but he's a racist"

      the repub candidate(s) are so obviously disconnected from the masses that the electorate is being given, despite the false equivalencies promoted by the msm, the opportunity to demonstrate that money can't buy everything

  •  And here I was (4+ / 0-)

    thinking that the unconscious reason they hate Obama is that they're dumb and racist.

    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are in a confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift

    by American Zapatista on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:12:14 AM PDT

  •  Pres. Obama is the 'anti-Reagan' in many ways (6+ / 0-)

    The obvious skin color difference cannot and must not be ignored. Reagan railings against 'welfare queens' was coded specifically against those Americans of African descent. Reagan had no problem with welfare when it went to white people or large corporations.

    Reagan started his campaign in Philadelphia MS with no reference whatsoever to the horrific tragedy and gave a speech re-affirming his belief of "states's rights".  Recall that the deaths of civil rights workers had take place in Philadelphia as scant 16 years earlier. It would be akin to a someone starting a campaign in 2016 at the WTC site referring to the need for US troop to leave Saudi Arabia with no mention of 9/11

    Reagan was also an economic neophyte. He managed to raise effective tax rates and balloon the national debt. His endorsement of 'supply side economics' has come close to destroying the US economic engine.

    Three Presidents did their best to undo Reagan's damage. Bush (Pere) was abandoned by his party. President Clinton was impeached by the GOP. And what the GOP has done President Obama is self-evident. According to the GOP, President Obama is solely responsible for the USA's $15 trillion debt.

    Reagan's worst legacy was his infatuation with Islamic fundamentalism.  For some bizzare reason, Reagan conflated Islamic fundamentalists with our founding fathers.

    Under his watch,  Reagan used taxpayer money to arm and train Islamic fundamentalists. He gave them access to sophisticated technology. He sent them plane loads of arms in an attempt to free our hostages.

    And it wasn't just guerilla fighters. Reagan, in direct violation of US law, looked the other way while Pakistan acquired atomic weapons. Reagan's adoration of Pakistan was still prevalent during the Bush years when hundreds of billions of tax money was given to our 'ally' in the War on Terror. Bush would rather allow OBL to roam free rather than risk enimity of Pakistan.

    President Obama has shown the fallacy of Reagan's policy and the foolishness of his cult.

    •  uhh, Really? (0+ / 0-)

      Not so long ago, Obama was seen carrying around a book about grandpa reagan.

      Under his watch,  Reagan used taxpayer money to arm and train Islamic fundamentalists. He gave them access to sophisticated technology. He sent them plane loads of arms in an attempt to free our hostages.
      Under Obama's watch, the Predator/Reaper program has been expanded-- likely costing Billions of our tax dollars. the number of attacks/deaths of terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan has grown-- with no end in sight.

      this program is really a more sophisticated version of Israel's totally failed tit-for-tat terrorist killing policy which they have used for years-- and which has gotten them ZERO, nowhere near any sort of resolution to their problem.

      I object to copying failed policy, I object to wasting my tax dollars.

      "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 05:04:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Partly Agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    NPR just had a segment where some people actually stated they are not voting so much for Rmoney as they are voting against Obama.

    they would do this even if Satan himself was the GOP candidate (which is why I don't respond much here to the totally redundant diaries day after day, re: "Romney is evil, Romney is this, that, blah blah).

    they are voting against Obama because:

    1.) the are flat out racists.

    2.) they are consciously or unconsciously responding to at least thirty years of propaganda/brainwashing: "lazy stupid black people are ALL on welfare, getting your tax dollars, driving Cadillacs..."

    but regardless of #2, numerous racists are voting against Obama-- simply because he's black.

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 04:56:57 AM PDT

  •  I hope this is the end of Reaganomics, (0+ / 0-)
  •  The Festering Ideas (0+ / 0-)

    of the unburied dead corpse of so-called conservatism remain a potent and noxious force within the minds of many.  The rotting stench does little to awaken some of the least fortunate citizens of this nation. Yes, racism has undonned it's white robes and brown shirts but it still lurks in the minds of many poor souls. The remarkable idea that government is a problem unless it is building copious numbers of weapons and employing them abroad is a sad and active legacy of the so- called conservatism of Reagan.

    We should not forget, Reagan, like Eisenstein and Goebels, understood the power of media short circuits active thinking. Thinking, honest to goodness focused empirical thinking with a clear epistemological basis is not in the ken of very many. Rand, at least, thought deeply about important matters. Her followers accept her thought errors prima facie because they can't distinguish Kant from Hegel. Reagan not only didn't have the capacity to think deeply about anything, he made this way of being fashionable.  To paraphrase Mr. Twain, rumors of Reagan's corpse demise have been greatly exaggerated.

  •  Good, ding dong the witch is dead & in the ninth (0+ / 0-)

    Circle of hell.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 05:44:31 AM PDT

  •  That, plus racism. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kurt from CMH

    I spoke with my age-72 mother in law about this over the Rosh Hashanah holiday.  She is a Democrat living in Tampa, FL (where Obama happens to be fundraising tonight).  At her upper-middle-class synagogue, political leaning are mixed and have been for some time.  But between things she has heard and seen among her fellow congregants and among the general population of Tampa, these past several years, she has come to the sad conclusion that racism is a definite co-factor in many people's antipathy toward Obama.  She said to me (paraphrasing),

    "I didn't want to believe that about people I know, but, I am sorry to say it, they are racist.  That is part of what is going on, all the hate. It just is.  I feel sure of it, and this is based on the past several years, not just this season.  Some of what I have heard has been shocking."
  •  I do not agree with much of what you have written (0+ / 0-)

    First the movement that Reagan represented wanted to dismantle the New Deal. Obama is not a great believer in the New Deal. Reagan believed in a muscular American foreign policy ans so does Obama according to his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Reagan compromised with Democrats and Tip O'Neill and Obama has tried mighty to compromise with Republican leadership. The real difference is between the Democratic leadership of the 80s who were willing to work with Reagan and the Republican leadership unwilling to work with Obama. The difference is in the makeup of the Congress.

    Obama talks affectionately about Reagan. Do you hear him talk this way about Truman, Roosevelt, or LBJ? Or great Democratic Congressional leaders? Has any program he proposed resembled anything from the New Deal. Health Care is a mandated purchase of a privately provided product from a for profit company or companies. That does not resemble the New Deal. it represents a private-public cooperative project on a for profit basis.

    have we seen the President pound the table for food assistance or job assistance or unemployment assistance. For this President these are matters that can be negotiated over.

    The problem for this President is that the nature of the Republican Party has changed. They refuse to negotiate. Negotiation equals failure. And although the embrace the idea of Reagan they reject his policies and methods. And this seemingly hypocritical, indefensible position for them is not a problem. Because they have given up on rationality. Only Obama thinks he is still dealing with rational men. He is not.

    •  Okay first off (0+ / 0-)

      perception over fact.  Remember, right wingers don't care about fact.

      Second, Obama is more for Medicare and Social Security than you think.  You gotta parse what he says and what he does and what legislation actually gets through.

      Romney/Caligula 2012!

      by sujigu on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 08:49:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Truth trumps perception. Show me what a man (0+ / 0-)

        does and I will show you who he is. Obama should be speaking clearly if he is not doing so already. I am not going to parse his statements to fit what I think he should be or what he should think. I have 3 1/2 years worth of deeds and positions and compromises to judge him upon. In other words a record. If we want to save social security we may have to do it in the streets in mass protests. The DNC position on gay marriage and abortion both prove that the party can be strong and direct without taking critical hits. Why have we not done this on medicare and social security?

        If the President moves one inch on full support for social security as it now exists I will never believe another Democrat again as long as I live. And I believe I am not alone on this.

  •  I remember Reagan's presidency (0+ / 0-)

    well.  I was in high school when he was elected and graduated from college before his second term ended.  It was a different country then-- we were in the thrall of Cold War paranoia over the strength of Soviet military power.  We had an economy beset with stagflation, and we were still recovering from our self-inflicted wounds from the Vietnam War.  I assumed the conservative beliefs of my family, even volunteering for Reagan's first campaign.  The diarist is right, Reagan did try to transform our country into the Roman Empire.  But the truth is that we had overtones of empire from at least the Spanish-American War and probably before that-- remember the wars against the Native American Indians?  Perhaps I was prescient about what the future held, because in college, I began to dissociate myself from the Republicans until I got to the point where in 1988 I voted for Dukakis.  I saw the elitist attitude of conservatives, I saw the effect of their policies on the country, and I decided that I was not a conservative.  

    I find it interesting that so many people believe that part of what motivates the right-wing Obama haters is the fact that he is black.  I think racism was the motivation of a lot of Reagan supporters back in the day, including my family.  The "welfare queen" stereotype played right into that.

    "You're not allowed to sell your countrymen out to multinational financial corporations anymore and still call yourself a patriot." --MinistryOfTruth

    by Kurt from CMH on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 07:34:48 AM PDT

  •  Another factor: Bush humiliated them (0+ / 0-)

    Your diary is a very interesting read. ANd I agree with most of it.

    I would ad that I see another factor, less important of course, but it's there:

    they have been totally humiliated by the disastrous Bush presidency. They're very well aware that "their guy" is considered one of the worst presidents in history. They're very well aware that he was detested, both nationally and internationally. And then comes this black man who excites crowds, who's immensely popular both inside the country and OUTSIDE...  It must have been painful. So, consciously and/or unconsciously, they have wanted to see Barack Obama fail and be humiliated in the same way that "their" president was.

  •  "actually focus on what the Gospel says" (0+ / 0-)

    Satan's not going down without a fight!

    And he's got a huge zombie army at his command.

    To hell with him, and all who support, aid and comfort him.

    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. -

    by No one gets out alive on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 11:07:28 AM PDT

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