All the Reagan-licking going on at the Republican debate last week has stirred up quite a backlash. The Gipper qualifies as someone I would rather have as President than, say, the current Commander Guy, but the inflation of the Reagan myth has got to stop.
We can start with the admission he made about Iran-Contra. While it's nice to see someone admit they did something wrong, this is pretty pathetic.
Rachel Maddow asks if the Republicans have "a Reagan problem":
Was Reagan as great as conservatives have made him out to be? Hardly. The campaign to get him on the dime or Mount Rushmore have a mountain of real history to overcome.
In 1998, after Washington National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, David Corn of The Nation wrote an article called "66 Things to Think About When Flying Into Reagan National Airport".
The firing of the air traffic controllers, winnable nuclear war, recallable nuclear missiles, trees that cause pollution, Elliott Abrams lying to Congress, ketchup as a vegetable, colluding with Guatemalan thugs, pardons for F.B.I. lawbreakers, voodoo economics, budget deficits, toasts to Ferdinand Marcos, public housing cutbacks, redbaiting the nuclear freeze movement, James Watt.After Reagan's death Steve Gilliard responded to the fawning over Reagan by the national media by looking at the long term effects of the Reagan Administration on American life.
Getting cozy with Argentine fascist generals, tax credits for segregated schools, disinformation campaigns, "homeless by choice," Manuel Noriega, falling wages, the HUD scandal, air raids on Libya, "constructive engagement" with apartheid South Africa, United States Information Agency blacklists of liberal speakers, attacks on OSHA and workplace safety, the invasion of Grenada, assassination manuals, Nancy's astrologer.
Drug tests, lie detector tests, Fawn Hall, female appointees (8 percent), mining harbors, the S&L scandal, 239 dead U.S. troops in Beirut, Al Haig "in control," silence on AIDS, food-stamp reductions, Debategate, White House shredding, Jonas Savimbi, tax cuts for the rich, "mistakes were made."(more)
We need to ask what hath Reagan wrought. His economic policies crippled this country, preventing the kind of long term structural changes which are still needed. How long will American businesses have to foot the bill for health insurance? How long will unequal funding for schools exist? How long will the right of women to control their bodies be subject to restrictions? This is the real, domestic legacy of Ronald Reagan. His breaking of the PATCO strike began the road to anti-Union policies across business. Once, businesses wanted labor peace, after Reagan, strike breaking was permitted, hell encouraged.For more Reagan debunking (major h/t to Neil Rogers' News Archive):
Reagan began the road of crippling America's ability to care for Americans. Now we have this failed trickle down economic policy pushed by yet another President. One that leaves Americans in record debt and record bankruptcies. Instead of tax rates which fairly distribute the burden of funding America, the rich have been encouraged to avoid their fair share. Ronald Reagan began the bankrupting of America and the creation of a super wealthy CEO class, one where their great grandchildren will never have to work, an aristocracy of trustifarians. Under Reagan hypocracy and selfishness became the rule of the road. Not just in public life, where his staff routinely lied, eventually leading to Iran-Contra.
- Last year Larry Beinhart received an email promoting the legacy of Ronald Reagan. He deconstructs the great Reagan's empty quotes one by one.
- In 2003, Richard Blow wrote, "Reagan Revised" about the uproar that greeted CBS's planned miniseries on the Reagans.
- After Reagan's death in 2004, Trevor Royal wrote, "Reagan was the Original Forrest Gump Who Struck Lucky"
- Timothy Noah, "Ronald Reagan, Party Animal, The Man Who Taught Republicans to be Irresponsible".
- Peter Preston, "Ronald Reagan: Towering he wasn't"
- Randolph T. Holhut, "Ronald Reagan's squalid legacy"
- Robert Parry, "Rating Reagan: A Bogus Legacy"
- John Nichols, "Reagan's Politics of Passion"
- Tom Carson, "Death of a Salesman - Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004"
- Paul Krugman, "The Great Taxer"
- Robert Scheer, "A nice guy's nasty policies"
- Danny Schechter, "Making the myth, forgetting the man"
- Colin Shea, "He was a madman"
- Doyle McManus, "A week that could bolster Bush: GOP to milk Reagan's death for all it's worth - Unofficially, GOP insiders hope nostalgia for Reagan will reap political dividends."