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Arts and Culture

Lou Cannon on Ronald Reagan

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Posted on May 1, 2009
book cover

By Lou Cannon

(Page 3)

Even before the ink was dry on this notable document, Reagan’s supposed soul mates in the conservative punditry—especially William F. Buckley, George Will and William Safire—were accusing him of perfidy for trusting Gorbachev and were supporting Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., in his battle to block ratification of the treaty. For years conservative pundits had risen to Reagan’s defense whenever liberals questioned his motives or his intellectual candlepower. Now they became derisive—Will accused Reagan of “moral disarmament”—or even abusive, as in the case of Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus, who described Reagan as “a useful idiot for Soviet propaganda.” Mann usefully revisits this ground, although he doesn’t seem to realize that Reagan was confident of prevailing. Reagan knew intuitively that no one could sell the American people on the notion that he was soft on communism—and the surveys that were taken for him regularly by in-house pollster Richard Wirthlin confirmed his views. A Wirthlin poll in January 1988 found that six of 10 Americans (59 percent) thought the INF treaty must be in the national interest if Reagan thought it was. The treaty itself was favored by 79 percent. This overwhelming public support for the treaty assured that Helms would fail, and he did. The INF treaty was ratified on a 93-5 vote on May 27, 1988, just before the Moscow summit.

 

book cover

 

The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan

 

By James Mann

 

Viking Adult, 416 pages

 

Buy the book

 

But it wasn’t just the far right that opposed Reagan’s summitry. Mann makes a singular contribution by digging up a memo at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library that recounts a secret Nixon meeting with Reagan at the White House on April 28, 1987. Nixon’s message was that Gorbachev, although smoother, had the same evil intentions of prior Soviet leaders. Reagan did not mention this meeting in his diary or his memoirs, but he could hardly have been impressed by it. At the time of the Nixon visit, Secretary of State George Shultz had just returned from a meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow that set the stage for the INF treaty. Nixon writes that he sensed a “coolness” in Reagan and, as he often did, disparaged Reagan’s command of issues. Reading the memo now, however, makes one wonder what planet Nixon was living on. “There is no way he [Reagan] can ever be allowed to participate in a private meeting with Gorbachev,” Nixon wrote. But Reagan had already done that at Geneva and, as the transcripts of the Reykjavik summit show, had held his own with Gorbachev, which was no small feat. Furthermore, Reagan had dismayed conservatives including Pat Buchanan, who then worked for him, immediately after the Geneva summit in 1985 by saying that Gorbachev was the first Soviet leader who wasn’t out to dominate the West. Later, Reagan told me that he considered Gorbachev a “moral man.” 

Mann’s book is a reminder that Reagan followed his own course, one that he had long charted. He was much helped by Shultz, to be sure, and by moderates on his staff such as Michael Deaver and by Nancy Reagan, but he followed his instincts against not only his fellow conservatives but the “realists”—as they thought of themselves—such as Nixon, Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, all of whom misread the leaders of both their country and the Soviet Union.

Reagan and Gorbachev deserve considerable credit for following their instincts in trying to reduce the threat of nuclear war, as has been eloquently said by Alexander Bessmertnykh, a high-ranking Soviet official during the Reagan-Gorbachev summits. “The experts didn’t believe, but the leaders did,” Bessmertnykh commented at a retrospective Princeton conference, published in a valuable 1996 book called “Witnesses to the End of the Cold War.” In our current dangerous multipolar world, it’s worth remembering that enlightened leaders can make a difference—and to hope that President Obama pursues his idealistic goal of a world free of nuclear weapons even if his critics consider it a fantasy.

Lou Cannon, a former Washington Post reporter, has written extensively on Ronald Reagan. His books on the 40th president include “Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy” (2008), with Carl M. Cannon; “Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power” (2003); and “President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime” (1991).


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By Finger Lakes, February 24, 2010 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

I have a personal experience that relates to this discussion on the legacy of Ronald Reagan.  In 2007, the headliner (ceiling fabric) of my car was coming down.  At Kmart, a young employee in the automotive section recommended a glue, which I purchased. The label only contained minor warnings (risk of headache, eyes watering, sore throat, dizziness) but nothing to indicate how toxic this product truly is to human organ systems. I applied the glue according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

I waited 24 hours after applying the glue to use my car; the product label indicated that is how long the glue takes to set.  Upon entering my car, the glue fumes were very strong. I had to make some important errands – requiring a total of about 30 minutes in the car.  I thought I could tolerate the fumes.  By the time I got home, I was having severe respiratory symptoms.  There were also neurological impacts. The strangest things were happening to my brain. That night I barely slept, only getting a few 15-minute sleep intervals, with bizarre-imaged dreams.  The sleeplessness lasted several days.

I tried to ameliorate the toxic car situation by cutting out most of what I had glued.  I could not tolerate the still-fume-y the car even after I had done this. The glue contains toluene, which is heavier than air, and the stuff was imbedded in my car.  It still smelled after many attempts to clean it, so I had to get rid of my car. 

The glue I used, Automotive Amazing Goop, is comprised of 37% toluene.  This is a very high percentage for a consumer product, and the product label was not adequate in describing risks.

The toluene exposure significantly impacted my respiratory, immune and nervous systems over a long period of time. I had been exposed to other toxins in my life, but this toluene-containing glue was the most toxic thing BY FAR I have ever encountered.  The whole ordeal was hugely expensive, with health care costs, lost time in my graduate program, and finding another decent car.

I filed a formal complaint regarding the glue with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. But the CPSC did not contact me to further investigate, so I phoned their associate compliance director, Mary Toro.  Ms. Toro told me that the Commission only had the resources to investigate ten percent of all complaints (!).  At the time I spoke to her, in 2007, they only had 200 workers.  She told me that the CPSC had had 800 workers in the 1970s. 

So how does this relate to Ronald W. Reagan?  He dismantled the public sector.  He cut staff for the regulatory agencies.  Clinton did not restore them to their former levels, and then we had GW Bush.  GW Bush put Nancy Nord, the former head of the National Association of Manufacturers, in charge of the CPSC.

If I had lived in any of the European Union nations, this would not have happened to me.  Toluene has been banned in consumer adhesives and paints in the EU.  Even Third World nations like Mexico have stronger labeling laws than the U.S.

Our regulatory system has been nonfunctional since the early 1980s.  Reagan knew that fewer regulations would result in people being injured or killed, but he didn’t care.  He was a sadist.

I was an undergraduate at the time Reagan was elected in 1980.  I felt such deep sorrow and dread at his election.  The 80’s were a reactionary time. Reagan squandered our institutional capital, and his movement poisoned goodwill among Americans.  Current right-wing demagoguery got its start then with the removal of the fairness doctrine.

I hope that Obama can restore the public sector.  I am afraid, however, that the damage has already been so deeply inflicted, and Republican resistance to “big government” is so strong that this nation will take a long time to be a good place to live in again.  Perhaps I will make the opposite journey of my great-grandparents and move across the sea for a better life. Europeans seem to “get it” and actually protect their citizens.

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By ardee, October 17, 2009 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Nick Grey, May 11 at 10:31 am

Thanks for the clarification.

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By Nick Grey, May 11, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

To Mr Ardee
Sleepwalking Through History: America in the Reagan Years by Haynes Johnson

From Publishers Weekly
Washington Post columnist Johnson here presents a stunning indictment of the Reagan administration that details its impact on social, economic and political life in America. He reviews abuses in the S&L institutions, in HUD, in the National Security Council, on Wall Street, in religious broadcasting and, most impressively, reveals how the administration renounced responsibility for ameliorating social distress. The book makes clear why the rich got richer and the poor poorer in the last decade. Johnson portrays President Reagan as a kind of Dr. Feelgood who fulfilled a public need for reassurance, and ironically evaded judgment during the Iran- contra affair because of his reputation for not being in charge. Summarizing what he sees as Reagan’s legacy, the “ethical wastland of the eighties,” the author points to growing fractionalization, subversion of the constitutional system, corruption and ineffectiveness of government, and cynicism and inattention of the American people.

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By AFriend, May 11, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

ardee,

I hope you understand my sincerity when I write that I am stymied by how you keep this up.

I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt. With that said; it does appear that you may honestly believe that Jane Hamsher’s opinions of the situation during the Reagan years trumps the hard facts that can be found elsewhere.

I can’t help but notice that you’ve failed to mention what you found within the IRS. It’s either deliberate or, you’re not truly interested in factual information over another’s opinion. An opinion, it should be noted, that agrees entirely with you.

—-

I will be clear here. Citing someone’s opinions does not make your perceptions valid.

Why not simply take the time to do what I suggested? Go to the source and begin from there. You can then use that information to support your opinions. Doing this in reverse is, well, a useless waste of time.

Do the research! It only takes 30 or so minutes.

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By ardee, May 11, 2009 at 3:09 am Link to this comment

Nick Grey, May 10 at 10:34 pm #

Sleep Walking Through History

..............................

So, Mr. Grey, what, I wonder, is the better option, sleepwalking through history
( whatever that is supposed to mean ) or sleepwalking through a cryptic and certainly meaningless post that says absolutely nothing?

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By Nick Grey, May 10, 2009 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

Sleep Walking Through History

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By Inherit The Wind, May 10, 2009 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, I hate Ronald Reagan.  He had NO respect for REAL American institutions and ideas, but only for the corporations, deregulation, fightin’ com-you-nists, and Laffer’s Curve (which he never understood).

Yeah I hate Ronald Reagan. He taught America deficits don’t matter, when clearly they do.  He taught that civil rights are a violation of states’ rights and cut back fighting them, and appointed a USSC justice who is totally against them (Scalia).

Yeah, I hate Ronald Reagan.  I was a graduate student that day he was elected, and I live, as an adult, through his destruction of so much that is American and is vital to America.  I, like so many others, lived through his regime and was there to see it damage and hurt our nation.

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By ardee, May 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

As a California resident I got a double dose of Ronnie’s governance, KDelphi, and it still hurts.

Some go as far as attributing homelessness to then Governor Reagan’s lack of compassion in closing many mental health programs and institutions. I join them and would urge anyone still under the right wing spell of Reagan as a deity to reread history with a less partisan eye.

This was a man convinced that historical fact was found in movie scripts for cripes sake! He sold out his union brothers and sisters to the wackos from HUAC and sold this nation to the bankers.

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By KDelphi, May 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Reagan was the master of paradox…he “freed people from instuittins” amd threw them in the street. He claimed to lower taxes, and, raised them. He claimed to represent the middle class, but, anyone who still thinks he did is either rich or a fool.

It was always an illusion with him, the only time he ever really “acted”, but, some wil never believe it, until they are in the big bar fight in the sky…

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By ardee, May 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Notmuchof a Friend:

I guess reading comprehension can be tied to political partisanship so tightly as to bring on a sort of hysterical blindness in some. You ask repeatedly for facts so I will, once again, repeat those I gave initially, perhaps yet again , you will fail to see them:

http://firedoglake.com/2009/02/01/newsflash-ronald- reagan-raised-taxes-you-idiots/

Newsflash: Ronald Reagan Raised Taxes (You Idiots)


....edited for copyright…........

Let’s make an uncomfortable detour into reality with Joshua Green’s 2003 article from the Washington Monthly:

  It’s conservative lore that Reagan the icon cut taxes, while George H.W. Bush the renegade raised them. As Stockman recalls, “No one was authorized to talk about tax increases on Ronald Reagan’s watch, no matter what kind of tax, no matter how justified it was.” Yet raising taxes is exactly what Reagan did. He did not always instigate those hikes or agree to them willingly—but he signed off on them. One year after his massive tax cut, Reagan agreed to a tax increase to reduce the deficit that restored fully one-third of the previous year’s reduction. ...edit….

  Faced with looming deficits, Reagan raised taxes again in 1983 with a gasoline tax and once more in 1984, this time by $50 billion over three years, mainly through closing tax loopholes for business. Despite the fact that such increases were anathema to conservatives—and probably cost Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush, reelection—Reagan raised taxes a grand total of four times just between 1982-84.

  Reagan continued these “modest rollbacks” in his second term. The historic Tax Reform Act of 1986, though it achieved the supply side goal of lowering individual income tax rates, was a startlingly progressive reform. The plan imposed the largest corporate tax increase in history—an act utterly unimaginable for any conservative to support today. Just two years after declaring, “there is no justification” for taxing corporate income, Reagan raised corporate taxes by $120 billion over five years and closed corporate tax loopholes worth about $300 billion over that same period. In addition to broadening the tax base, the plan increased standard deductions and personal exemptions to the point that no family with an income below the poverty line would have to pay federal income tax. Even at the time, conservatives within Reagan’s administration were aghast. According to Wall Street Journal reporters Jeffrey Birnbaum and Alan Murray, whose book Showdown at Gucci Gulch chronicles the 1986 measure, “the conservative president’s support for an effort once considered the bastion of liberals carried tremendous symbolic significance.” When Reagan’s conservative acting chief economic adviser, William Niskanen, was apprised of the plan he replied, “Walter Mondale would have been proud.”

Despite Peggy Noonan’s wild delusion that Reagan “said he would cut the budget, and he did,” he expanded it significantly.  Neither did he reduce the size of government—- the number of federal workers rose 61,000 under Reagan, as opposed to Clinton who cut 373,000 jobs.  The deficit tripled from the time he took office until the time he left.


.....The figures cited represent factual denial of your position about Reagan and taxes. You support a man who, prior to the presidency of George Walker Bush, represented the worst leadership, the most destruction to our nation, in both the economic sphere as well as to its leadership in education and in the trust of the American people in their govts ability to administer the social safety net that I believe is its primary function.

  Your failures to accept criticism about him is also your own failing.

I know not how long Ronnie was afflicted with the terrible disease that eventually took his life, but his harm lingers on to this very day

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By KDelphi, May 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

AFriend..yes, it is obvious that you cannot be objective. I’m glad that you recognize it. It is a step in the right direction.

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By AFriend, May 10, 2009 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

ardee,

Once again, all you did was change the subject. You refuse to take 30 minutes out of your day to look at the real numbers concerning INCOME TAXES. The subject I was writing about and you felt the desire to comment. If you had nothing to say or add to the subject of INCOME TAXES and INCOME TAX RATES why did you bother to comment?

INCOME TAXES and TAX RATES was the issue.

Do you now understand?

—-

Clearly you hate President Reagan. You have made that obvious. Thus it’s obvious that you’re not the person to turn to for an objective history of Ronald Reagan. It’s impossible with so much emotion involved.

Good luck with that.

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By ardee, May 10, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

By AFriend, May 6 at 5:21 am #

ardee,


Your didn’t take up the challenge at all. You replaced the challenge to look up the hard numbers with partisan perception. Partisanship, in this case, is unhelpful.

“If you take 30 minutes and research the IRS Web site you’ll see that during the Reagan years the Congress lowered the income tax rate, closed hundreds of loop holes, and slashed deductions, which resulted in the highest income earners actually paying a great deal more as a percentage of their income.”

.........................................

I must conclude, from these repetitive comments, that you failed to even read the link which cites SPECIFIC refutations of your claim…Why post if not to debate honestly, why ignore what you cannot refute.

You give your loyalties to a man whose entire political history, beginning with his presidency of the SAG, was one of betrayal, as well as the destruction of our economy. He broke the record for borrowing and his damage to California and the nation as a whole is still reverberating down the corridors of our economy.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 9, 2009 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

was crazier than a shithouse rat.
****************************************

How crazy IS a shithouse rat?  How would you know? And, why would you care?

(of course, if that shithouse rat is as crazy as Reagan was, that’s pretty friggin’ crazy, but nearly sane compared to the hallucinogenic Bush regime!)

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By bell, May 7, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is Cannon smoking? He paints Reagan as a good world-citizen, seeking to rid the planet of the dreaded nuke. Reagan, in fact, rallied support for his “Peacekeeper” ICBM, his pursuit of the Carter approved Ohio-Class nuke subs and a new missile class with which to arm them, along with Reagan’s crazy wet-dream: the Star Wars Program..its intent to bring war to near-earth space. Reagan, and each of his henchmen, was crazier than a shithouse rat.

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By AFriend, May 6, 2009 at 2:21 am Link to this comment

ardee,


Your didn’t take up the challenge at all. You replaced the challenge to look up the hard numbers with partisan perception. Partisanship, in this case, is unhelpful.

“If you take 30 minutes and research the IRS Web site you’ll see that during the Reagan years the Congress lowered the income tax rate, closed hundreds of loop holes, and slashed deductions, which resulted in the highest income earners actually paying a great deal more as a percentage of their income.”

Report this

By KDelphi, May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

ITW—Yes, but they couldve accomplished nothing without the go-along to get along dems…the gOP is worse..but not much. Sometimes, doing the same thig, while saying, “I feel your paihn”, is worse than teling a person to go to hell.

The Dems tell you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip. But youre in hell just the same.

yes, ardee, the GOP tries to make it look like they lower taxes. Paradoxical intention…

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By ardee, May 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

By AFriend, May 3 at 6:59 pm #


“If you take 30 minutes and research the IRS Web site you’ll see that during the Reagan years the Congress lowered the income tax rate, closed hundreds of loop holes, and slashed deductions, which resulted in the highest income earners actually paying a great deal more as a percentage of their income.”


I am not the poster to whom your remarks were aimed however I take up your challenge:

http://firedoglake.com/2009/02/01/
newsflash-ronald-reagan-raised-taxes-you-idiots/

Newsflash: Ronald Reagan Raised Taxes (You Idiots)


....edited for copyright…........

Let’s make an uncomfortable detour into reality with Joshua Green’s 2003 article from the Washington Monthly: 

  It’s conservative lore that Reagan the icon cut taxes, while George H.W. Bush the renegade raised them. As Stockman recalls, “No one was authorized to talk about tax increases on Ronald Reagan’s watch, no matter what kind of tax, no matter how justified it was.” Yet raising taxes is exactly what Reagan did. He did not always instigate those hikes or agree to them willingly—but he signed off on them. One year after his massive tax cut, Reagan agreed to a tax increase to reduce the deficit that restored fully one-third of the previous year’s reduction. ...edit….

  Faced with looming deficits, Reagan raised taxes again in 1983 with a gasoline tax and once more in 1984, this time by $50 billion over three years, mainly through closing tax loopholes for business. Despite the fact that such increases were anathema to conservatives—and probably cost Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush, reelection—Reagan raised taxes a grand total of four times just between 1982-84.

 

  Reagan continued these “modest rollbacks” in his second term. The historic Tax Reform Act of 1986, though it achieved the supply side goal of lowering individual income tax rates, was a startlingly progressive reform. The plan imposed the largest corporate tax increase in history—an act utterly unimaginable for any conservative to support today. Just two years after declaring, “there is no justification” for taxing corporate income, Reagan raised corporate taxes by $120 billion over five years and closed corporate tax loopholes worth about $300 billion over that same period. In addition to broadening the tax base, the plan increased standard deductions and personal exemptions to the point that no family with an income below the poverty line would have to pay federal income tax. Even at the time, conservatives within Reagan’s administration were aghast. According to Wall Street Journal reporters Jeffrey Birnbaum and Alan Murray, whose book Showdown at Gucci Gulch chronicles the 1986 measure, “the conservative president’s support for an effort once considered the bastion of liberals carried tremendous symbolic significance.” When Reagan’s conservative acting chief economic adviser, William Niskanen, was apprised of the plan he replied, “Walter Mondale would have been proud.”

Despite Peggy Noonan’s wild delusion that Reagan “said he would cut the budget, and he did,” he expanded it significantly.  Neither did he reduce the size of government—- the number of federal workers rose 61,000 under Reagan, as opposed to Clinton who cut 373,000 jobs.  The deficit tripled from the time he took office until the time he left.

I understand that Republicans are responsible for the complete and utter failure of supply side economics and the damage that the unfettered implementation of their crackpot theories has wrought, and they’re struggling to rationalize why anyone should listen to them.  But their continuing need to transmogrify Ronald Reagan in order to gin up an excuse only underscores how morally impoverished, intellectually bankrupt and justifiably discredited the conservative movement is right now.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 4, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, May 4 at 7:05 pm #

sorry to post twice.

ITW—I just dont buy that the GOP did it alone..the Dems have been shafting Unions for a long time. (fta, etc.)
***************************

Perhaps, but the lion’s share of the blame, and for the PLAN to destroy unions is all Republican.  Republicans have “branded” unions as evil, socialist and un-American for 28 years.

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By KDelphi, May 4, 2009 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

sorry to post twice.

ITW—I just dont buy that the GOP did it alone..the Dems have been shafting Unions for a long time. (fta, etc.)

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By Inherit The Wind, May 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

Thank you KDelphi.  Nicely done. Nice to be on the same side for once.

Now “AFriend” can explain that Reagan wasn’t really shot, since he thinks Reagan didn’t bust the PATCO union.

Ronald Reagan was the center of the triumvirate that nearly destroyed the United States as a freedom-protecting nation.  The path was broken by Richard Nixon, and Reagan used it to set up major attacks on all we hold dear.  George W. Bush nearly finished the job—had the economy not started collapsing as a result in mid 2006, he would have held both the House and Senate and been able to push through the last step to fascism.

As it was, Nixon, Reagan, Bush AND Bush gave us some of the worst US Supreme Court Justices since Plessy vs Fergusson.  Nixon screwed up and gave us Blackmun (RIP), but also gave us Rehnquist.  Reagan gave us Scalia, but screwed up and gave us O’Conner.  Bush 41 screwed up and gave us Souter but also gave us Thomas.  Bush 43 didn’t screw up and gave us Alito and Roberts—two of the worst justices ever.

The cataclysmic collapse of the economy began in 2006 and was as predictable as sunrise and sunset.  As people lost their jobs, and poor people lost their homes (remember the sub-prime crisis everyone ignored—the SMART analysts said it would next hit the safe mortgages) the economy was spirally down, but the GOP kept increasing the deficit WHEN IT WAS NOT ONLY NOT NECESSARY BUT THE WORST THING TO DO!

40 years of Republicans finding ways to dominate the debate, making sweet-sounding but imbecilic promises laid this giant, stinking series of piles of $#it on Obama’s doorstep.  And you can’t clean it up without making a mess and a stink on the way.

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By KDelphi, May 4, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

CP—That about sums it up, I’d say.

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By KDelphi, May 4, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

CP—That pretty well sums it up.

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By Constitutional Patriot, May 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reagan was a criminal before he ever ran for any office.

Reagan was indebted to Lew Wasserman (at MCA, also known as “Mob Corporation of America”) when he was still in Chicago.  After he moved to LA - and especially after he became President of the SGA, Reagan serviced his debt to Organized Crime by working against the interests of his own union members.

And, yes, Gorbachev had far, far more to do with the end of the Cold War than Reagan.  JPII and Walensa also had far more to do with the downfall of the Soviet empire than Reagan.  Not to mention the USSR’a problems with Chernobyl and in Afghanistan.

And, just as an aside, Andropov told Carter and Reagan that he was having trouble with Muslim extremists on his borders - so we helped arm those extremists and they turned on us.

Way to go GOP and Ronnie RayGun.

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By KDelphi, May 4, 2009 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

AFriend—“According to the Workmen’s Circle Arbeter Ring, “The Air Traffic Controllers’ (ATC) strike of 1981 marked a symbolic turning point in labor management relations (1997).”  On August 3, 1981 almost 13,000 air traffic controllers went on strike after months of negotiations with the federal government.  During these contract talks, Robert Poli, president of PATCO, explained the union’s three major demands as a $10,000 across the board raise, a 32-hour work week (down from 40), and a better retirement package.  While the press mainly concentrated on the demand for a pay raise, other commentators and reporters began to realize that this walkout was not solely, or even primarily, an economic issue.  According to the essay written by Pels, Newsweek noted, “controllers concede their chief complaint was not money, but hours, working conditions, and a lack of recognition for the pressures they face (1995).”  By saying this, PATCO members were hoping to relieve members of the FAA and encourage them to negotiate these issues in order to reach an agreement.  Even with the issue of salary lowered from the top of their list, such views had little impact on the negotiations.  So according to McLaughlin, “One of the most important thing Ronald Reagan did during his presidency was break the 1981 air traffic controllers’ strike, which helped break the hold of organized labor over the U.S. economy (1999).”  Pels states, “48 Hours after the walkout, he proceeded to fire the 11,350 ATC’s (almost 70% of the workforce) who had not returned to work.  In case the message was still unclear, he declared a lifetime ban on the rehiring of the strikers by the FAA (1995).”

http://www.stfrancis.edu/content/
ba/ghkickul/stuwebs/btopics/works/atcstrike.htm

Union-busting was only one aspect of Reagan’s anti-labor policy. He attempted to lower the minimum wage for younger workers, ease the child labor and anti-sweatshop laws, tax fringe benefits, and cut back job training programs for the unemployed. He tried to replace thousands of federal employees with temporary workers who would not have civil service or union protections.

http://www.dickmeister.com/id89.html

New union members in the United States are typically gained through workplace elections. We find that the annual number of union elections fell by 50 per cent in the early 1980s. A formal model indicates that declining union election activity may be due to an unfavourable political climate which raises the costs of unionization, even though the union win–rate remains unaffected. We relate the timing of declining election activity to the air–traffic controllers’ strike of 1981, and the appointment of the Reagan Labor Board in 1983. Empirical analysis shows that the fall in election activity preceded these developments.

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118938860/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

The last one is from the UK…no one is going to be able to “argue” the merits of a strike. It is a matter of opinion. It just depends on which/whose side you are on…

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By don knutsen, May 4, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The republican party looks to Reagan as their most recent “saint” to be worshippd almost like a diety . They credit him with ending the cold war when in reality it seemed at the time he was trying to ratchet it up from a cold war to a full blown war if you listened to his rhetoric. I believe Gorbechov (sp?) deserves the lion’s share of credit, much more so then Reagan , that and the fact that Russia’s economy was in tail spin preventing them from keeping up in the cold war race of dollars spent. Reagan does deserve credit for one thing though, he deserves credit for ushering in a worship of greed as a virtue and a goverment that quit even pretending it cared for what the people needed. There were more blatant crooks in his administration then any other up untill our last administration. He thumbed his nose at our congress in running his wars in South and Central America, he made america something to hate for so many in that region in his lunatic support, with the republican party’s blessing of despots like Pinnochet. He gave power to individuals like D. Rumsfeld and Elliot Abrams, D. Cheney,and idiots like Ollie North etc…none of which gave a damn what the american people thought.. To them we are all just a country of lemmings to be manipulated. He exhiibited a complete lack of empathy as he dumped the people out of mental instituions onto the streets and helped create a generation of young republican conservatives like Abramhof and so many others who took their self centered greed to dizzing heigths working for the Bush administrations and in and out of Wall st. How long will it before this same party remakes history for the Bu$h administration ? Will it be in time to foist brother Jeb out there for one last ressurection of the criminal Bush dynasty ?

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By AFriend, May 4, 2009 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

The firing of Air Traffic Controllers is the singular example some people use as proof that President Reagan was a union buster. Your example here is in dispute.

Air controllers did strike. It WAS illegal for Air controllers to strike. President Reagan did fire the striking air controllers.

There are several “insider” books that cover this and other subjects. There is also Reagan’s diary in which he noted this event in real time.

To say Reagan’s decision was something other than what he himself claims is to suggest you were reading his mind at the time. Can you show exactly how you were able to do this? Could you lend another example of this union busting that would bolster your argument?

Yes Reagan was shot. Your example seems to suggest that because he was once shot he must have made it his habit to get shot. Can you give another example of this habit?

—-

You describe the devastation to American air safety as horrible after Reagan fired the controllers. Can you describe the devastation to American air safety as a result of the air controllers going on strike?

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By Inherit The Wind, May 3, 2009 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

I believe if you read any book on Regan, if you read any of his speeches on the subject, or his diary, you’ll learn that he was never inclined to break unions. That’s a myth that seems to linger on.

If you’d like you can lend an example of such “union busting” by President Reagan.
*************************************

Is this supposed to be a joke?  The response is ONE WORD: “PATCO”.

I worked for a company in the late 80s that now has 500 employees and it got its start training new air traffic controllers to replace the ones fired by Ronald Reagan because their union, PATCO, took them out on strike.  RR claimed that it was illegal for federal employees to strike and fired them all.  So our aviation division had a golden opportunity to train the new controllers.

The devastation to American air safety was horrible. There were more crashes, FAR more close calls, and enormous delays became the norm.

BTW, RR also GAVE the gates at the airports to the airlines as a giant tax-payers gift.  In 1982 dollars each one was worth something like a million dollars.

Saying Ronald Reagan never busted a union is like saying he never got shot.

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By AFriend, May 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

freedom loving american,

If you take 30 minutes and research the IRS Web site you’ll see that during the Reagan years the Congress lowered the income tax rate, closed hundreds of loop holes, and slashed deductions, which resulted in the highest income earners actually paying a great deal more as a percentage of their income.

Your original argument that Reagan slashed the tax burden away from the rich at the expense of the middle and lower socioeconomic Americans is quiet false.

You put a great deal of emotion into your argument, however, all you did was change the subject away from your original point.

—-

I believe if you read any book on Regan, if you read any of his speeches on the subject, or his diary, you’ll learn that he was never inclined to break unions. That’s a myth that seems to linger on.

If you’d like you can lend an example of such “union busting” by President Reagan.

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By samosamo, May 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

By James W. Purrington, May 2 at 6:18 pm
““The first statement was that terrorism was stated as the number one threat to the United States, not the USSR.”“
***********
Of course, when the USSR disintergrated, our mililtary industrial congressional complex had to find something to replace the USSR. Terrorism seems to be the winner, along with anything that perpetuates disaster capitalism and fear mongering.

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By ardee, May 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

Ronald Wilson Reagan, a man who, as President of the Screen Actors Guild, gave up his rank and file to communist witch hunts. A man who, as President of the nation gave up his nation to the corporatists who have been sucking the lifes blood out of our carcasses ever since.

The Cold War was ended because the USSR went broke building up its military at the expense of its citizenry and not because of any specific actions of President Raygun. Reagan looked into Gorbachev’s eyes and Bush looked into Putin’s and both saw something they admired. I looked into Reagan’s and Bush’s eyes and saw an emptiness that scared the crap out of me.

The summary of the man and the President can be stated most succinctly; this guy,thought Hollywood war movies were real life events, he set up the nation for economic ruin and his own party for political irrelevancy.

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By KDelphi, May 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

I keep trying to read this, but, everytime I see ronaldreagan I cant supress my gag reflex..I could become dehydrated!!

Between that and swine flu, I’ll have to pass…

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By mike turner, May 3, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

when I was a boy…Ronald Reagan’s AM radio broadcast was very compelling.

once in the White House Reagan utterly betrayed his small gov, no meddling overseas, conservative finance cover stories….

the vast resources of corporate America has since created the greatest alternative version of events in American history. Reagan got his start as Prez of the SAG, ratting out intellectuals ... the weapons/oil industry bought him the Cal Gov gig.

this model has evolved into the abomination called GW Bush who with no Cold War to spin…was served a Holy War by intell rats who mismanaged a ton of spot on intell reports to get exactly what the Project for a New American Century was putting down in print. Red flag? Fools are defined by belief in lies & false prophets….hence the deification of a second rate B movie man who red baited & dropped dimes on who ever Martin Dies & Joe McCarthy wanted. such effontry must visit heavenly retribution….but fools must rush in.

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By freedom loving american, May 3, 2009 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Afriend, where to start?
Granted since reagannomics began in 1980 the rich have basically transformed this once great nation into a banana republic albeit TV’s, cells phone, and McDonalds.  There are millions of more poor and working poor. Also the disparity in earnings from the rich to poor is greater than any other time since the WWII and the greater than any other industrialized nation in the world. These are verifiable facts.

Reaganomics not only tripled the national debt which by-the-way is only ever an issue when democrats are in office. But by busting the unions has totally eroded our middleclass.  The unions were not perfect but they basically paved the way for our nation’s onetime thriving middleclass. When Reagan took office union jobs paid 2 to 5 times the minimum wage. Today the vast majority of our nonunion jobs are within a few dollars of minimum wage. And minimum wage itself has lagged far behind our inflation index since 1980.  And our inflation index has been reworked many times as republicans are always trying to make it appear as small as possible. Need I say more. 

Your combination of cherry picking facts distorting and fudging statistics over a 30 year period is a typical MSM/republican ploy.

Your basic premise if laughable if the superrich were actually paying 3.5 times the tax rate (4-14) they were paying prior to 1980 why would they have so adamantly supported republicans?  Let me guess because they are so good hearted they just give and give and give till it hurts.  I need a good Sunday morning laugh.

On a serious note since the republicans have so thoroughly destroyed all the good jobs and decimated our economy they may well try to institute a national flat tax of some sort so the working poor pay even a more of their hard earned wages.

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By roger muldavin, May 3, 2009 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Truthdig essay/article on Reagan’s part in negotiating with the former Soviet Union, calls for some poetry:

    FIVE STAR POEM

MAD is SAD requires IAM Glad,
Mutually Assured Destruction,
now Self Assumed Destruction,
which taking life seems required,
others not one’s own, “I AM”, thus,
an Internally Activated Member,
of our remaining human race.

Blame the “systems” not persons,
lessons to which I do often listen,
hard to do with nuclear fission,
or is it nuclear fusion, confusion?
Threes to go seems give more logic,
triparty-ing with many others often,
Seven sentances give odd number.

So John von Neuman, young genius,
postulated that five corporations,
would end in monoply, five players,
so why is it that his book on subject,
is not mentioned as being written?
Two sentences left: answer nuclear,
power to the people, not individuals.

The media may not be the message,
but ad(d) dollars drives the massage,
prop-a-gander, get the goose,
step up to the plate, eat it all,
time’s very late, still more-sells left,
and digested ideas to contemplate.
Seven’s for Heaven, Eight too much.

Only your mind, body, & “sold” remains,
get activated, be constructive, educate.
Poetry shortens the numbers of words,
leaving you to guess, confusion starts,
thoughts may diverge, converge, waves,
good bye boys and gals, up and downs,
Von Neuman’s secret is yet to be found.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 3, 2009 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

Ronald Reagan was a drunken hobo, riding on the roof of the freight train (of the USSR’s demise), pretending and imagining that he was actually the engineer, driving that train.

Naturally, the ditto-head Re-thuglicans believed that too.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, May 3, 2009 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

Was ‘Star Wars’ merely Reagans Hollywood Production stunt??
He may have seen the potential for annilation in Nukes- but he was a Major proponent of Miltiary build up in other areas.
The USSR was on an economic Slippery slope- the only way to survive was to ‘divest’.Reagan did not bring down the Berlin Wall, nor have anything to do with pulling back the Iron Curtain. It was as much a staged Production as any of his B Movies. Reagan merely stepped up to the mark and the scenery moved around him.
Ronny should have won an Academy Award for Playing President of the United States. Unfortunately his second rate Acting ability is exactly what set the stage for the economic and international catastrophes we have been involved with for the last 8 yrs.
Ronny was nothing more than a ‘Master Thesibian’, who frankly began to forget his lines half way through Act 1.

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By AFriend, May 3, 2009 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

freedom loving american,

Reagan did push the Congress to lower the top income tax rate from 70% to 28%, however, leaving it at that does not exactly reflect true history.

1. Taking $.70 out of every $1.00 earned is stealing.

2. The average actual tax rate top earners were paying, after tax law deductions, when Reagan too office was 4% (that’s actual taxes paid).

3. President Reagan pushed the congress to remove tax loopholes which allowed top earners to pay so little tax as a percentage of their income. To say these tax deductions were aimed at the middle class is simply false.

4. After hundreds of tax loopholes were eliminated the actual rate top income earners paid went up to 14%

Conclusion: The richest in America went from paying 4% of their income to paying 14%. Their income tax actually went up 10% in real terms.

—-

Under Reagan the lowest 40% of income earners in America saw their income tax lowered to 0%. They paid no taxes.

Middle income earners saw their tax liabilities go down by 13% (actual taxes).

Conclusion: The poor paid zero tax and the middle class got a real and actual tax cut in the 1980’s.

—-

Since 2000 the top 5% of income earners in America pay 70% of all revenue going into the Treasury. The lowest 50% pay 0% income taxes.

You can verify the above by studying the actual numbers at the IRS Web site.

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By freedom loving american, May 2, 2009 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Reagan raised taxes on the poor and middle class but cut the taxes on the riches Americans from 70% to 28%. The tax increases included social security hikes which are paid on every dollar the poor earn while the rich and their employers do not pay this 15.30% on the vast majority of their wealth. Then he and bush 1 (who actually ran the country while the chimp slept, smiled, and waved) removed most all the tax deduction the middle class could claim. So by shifting the tax burden from the wealthy to the middles class and working poor he became the republican demigod, everything else is just fluff.

Additionally, he gave the republicans the format which they have followed since 1980, that is they always run likeable chimps/chumps for political offices while the backroom boys figure out how to steal and plunder Americans wealth while they destroy the world.  However, as much as I agree with samosamo comments regarding freidman; I believe that it was Jerry Farwell and the republicans realigning Christianity to support their party’s views that has almost destroyed America.

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By James W. Purrington, May 2, 2009 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Before Reagan become president of the US (I believe it was 1977 when Carter was in the White House) I was assigned, as a military officer, to participate in a National CPX (Command Post Exercise)on Terrorism.  The purpose of the CPX was to address our capability to combat foreign terrorism. I was assigned to Fort Huachuca, Arizona. In preparation for the exercise, I was assigned to read several classified (secret) documents. (I assume that they have been declassified by now but am not sure.)  I did not realize the significance of these classified documents relating to the Reagan myth until about twelve years later.

There were two significant statements that I recall which were most interesting to me: 

The first statement was that terrorism was stated as the number one threat to the United States, not the USSR. 

The second statement was that The “Cold War” was essentially over, the USSR was no longer a viable threat.  The reason for this was that although the USSR had nuclear weapons (more than we had stockpiled), their delivery system was far inferior.  Once the missile left the silo, it was on its on way as ballistics only guiding its destination.  They did not know where it would hit, but the odds that it would hit the intended target were small.  The USSR did not have sophisticated guidance systems (sensors and computers - look how long it took them to develop guidance systems to go to the moon). It was very doubtful then that they would ever risk firing a missile in an offensive action.  Their missiles were for defensive responsive action only.  The MAD policy that had been set in place since the Truman Administration was working.  Our military superiority forced the USSR to spend itself into bankruptcy. The classified document stated that the USSR would break-up within eight years.  That was a very accurate prediction. 

Did Reagan have anything to do with ending the Cold War?  No, but he did preside over the formal ending by interfacing with the USSR leaders to officially bring it to a close and accept Russia as a friendly nation and work to restore our relationship with the restored sovereignty of the satellite nations that were part of the USSR.

The credit,if any is to be given, goes to the several administrations that followed the MAD policy until it was obvious that the eastern block would disenfranchise itself. That was obvious in 1977.

So if the Cold War ended in 1977 and terrorism was then our primary threat, why did it take so long for our government and the military industrial complex to respond to the number one threat? Please someone, answer that question for me. Perhaps there would never have been a 911 if we responded to the number one threat back then.

JP

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By BigIslandDave, May 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All Reagan did was spout inane platitudes, grin that avuncular grin and generally act like everybody’s favorite off-kilter uncle. He was the amiable dunce, and he had little to do with the Cold War’s end (except to benefit down the road from it). One of our worst presidents.

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By Louise, May 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

Imagine the outcry if suddenly all the history books were re-written and published the truth.

Imaging trying to explain to our kids and grandkids that the president of the United States does not, by virtue of the office, suddenly change into the best of all the best.

Imagine trying to help them understand the reality of Nixon, Ford, unearned pardons, Carters honesty, Reagan’s fantasy leadership, Bush I’s leadership by divine deserve, Clintons leadership by pure charisma and Bush II’s leadership by moronic indifference. Imagine trying to guide the generationally brainwashed through history un-filtered.

Why are there so few books written on the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower? At what point in time did good leadership become something burried while bad leadership became elevated to the desired goal?

As I recall, a friend in Brooklyn (a refugee from behind the Iron Curtain) told me at least a full year before Reagan grasped it, the Communist Party was going to be done away with. If we could pick the brains of those who actually knew the reality of what was going on behind that curtain, would we be surprised at how little Reagan actually knew? How little he actually understood? While he was P.R. remolded into a level of credit he didn’t deserve, reality across the world was moving beyond his comprehension.

The last thing in the world the wheelers and dealers who pulled Reagans strings wanted, was for the Cold War to end. Caught with their pants down, they had to do a 360 and re-script Reagan and everything he stood for. Had to thrust him into the “me first” position when that curtain opened. And who better to step to the stage when the curtain opened than an old actor? Someone who if given a script, could memorize the lines.

Little wonder today’s Republican Party seems to be lost in the wilderness. How many years has it been since they actually understood the difference between preserving hard fought for freedom and preserving a fantasy created for the privileged few?

Way too many!

Now we see the absurdity of a Newt Gingrich and a John McCain held up as the “great” republican leaders. And a disjointed and out of step handful of egoists like John Boehner and Eric Cantor competing for GOP leadership. They are all doomed, because the single most important quality elevated by the party of Reagan, the ability to give a believable performance, is beyond their grasp. When it comes right down to it, even they have no clue what their party stands for, so they come across as bad comedians rather than reasonably good actors, let alone capable leaders.

Opening the Iron Curtain, bringing down the Berlin Wall, ending the Cold War and putting the brakes on nuclear proliferation are all things the history re-writers like to hang on Reagans legacy. But the fact is, those things happened in spite of Reagan, not because of him. In spite of republican leadership, not because of it.

So here they are. Those republicans trying hard to reconcile the greed and run-away corporate power (that really characterizes the Reagan era) with the pie in the sky perception of a benevolent leader who cared more about the little people. The great majority, the ants at the bottom of the hill. Those who exist by virtue of stubborn, determined hard work, not by virtue of any kind of great republican leadership. The great mass of people who have survived in spite of Reagans legacy. Not because of it!

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By Mary Ann McNeely, May 2, 2009 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How long will this nonsense about Reagan persist?  Everybody and their brothers and sisters is for ridding the world of thermonuclear weapons.  We all also know it will never happen.  So go ahead and be for it.  Reagan’s principle “achievement” was to politically father George W. Bush.

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By von bargen, May 2, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I found Cannon’s comments very enlightening and was surprised to find that the “useful idiot” term was used by a conservative, not a liberal Democrat, as I had always assumed. Maybe I’ll hate Reagan just a little less, now.

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By davr, May 2, 2009 at 2:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ronald Wilson Reagan (666) took it the ass in Hollywood to promote his third rate acting career.

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By Amilius, May 1, 2009 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ronald Reagan could not understand the simplest of CIA analysis.  The CIA had reported that the Soviet Union was spending more of their GDP on weaponry that previously thought, though less than thought in terms of absolute dollars.  In short, the Soviet economy was much smaller than western analysts had thought.  Reagan misunderstood this and embarked on military spending that impaired the economy and further empowered the military industrial complex.  He was already showing signs of Alzheimer’s PRIOR to his election.  Many forget the many clips of Nancy standing behind Reagan feeding him the lines he could not remember that were caught and aired on the HBO program “Not the Network News”.  Reagan frequently chose for others what he would not choose for himself; he also reserved for himself and the few what he would deny others.  This defines an ungracious man.  Apologists have worked hard to hide the truth of an ungracious, addled man who was managed by an oligarchy as president.  This you will not find in his memoirs or Mr. Cannon’s book.  It will, however, be what history remembers of the first presidential war criminal who bungled his way through recessions and Iran-Contra while losing memory of all of it.  They will also see clearly that he had nothing to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union, no matter how much his apologists insist otherwise.  Their accounts will be regarded as disingenuous, inaccurate, and desperately self-serving.  In short, the truth will be known.

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By hippie4ever, May 1, 2009 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

Very karmic, Reagan’s death; after having dismantled the Public Health Service to get even with people with AIDS, he fell ill with a disease that had also had its funding decimated. Reagan had had Alzheimers for years, truth be told, and was only a puppet for the Military-Industrial Complex. No intelligence required, not much there…sound bytes, the awkward wave, the silly grin, secret wars, hidden agendas…simply Republican Disease.

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By P. T., May 1, 2009 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment

Russia’s abandonment of its Communist system brought an end to the Cold War.

However, the imperialism of the American Empire continues without the Cold War.

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By samosamo, May 1, 2009 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

The only other person I detest more from that era was that litte [expletive deleted] milton friedman. Though the ‘unfettered market’ economics were first crushing Argentina and Chile under slick dick nic when it got to reagan, it found a home where there was no hinderance, then to bush sr, clinton and little dwarf boy himself. And everybody went ‘whew’ when obama was elected but I suspect many of those are scratching their heads about what is going on these days as not much has changed.

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By Nick Grey, May 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A more accurate account of the Reagan years can be found in Sleep Walking Through History. 1991. Haynes Johnson

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By Big B, May 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

This book, and many other like it, written by suckfish politicos are the reason that i rarely read political “non-fiction” anymore. The image of old men in cheerleading outfits circle jerking images of their past heros always enters my mind when attempting to read yet another re-hash of the “Reagan lovers” manifesto.

Face it folks, he was the first in a long line of politically connected idiots to somehow rise to oval office. Reagan, and every president since have been america’s never ending reaction to the watergate scandle, and that is, don’t elect anybody smart enough to rip us off. But little did we realize, when you govern yourself by living the “peter principal” you set yourself up for disaster.

Enter the current american/world situation.

Reagan and his cronies set us on the path to oblivion that we are currently skipping down. Want a nicer car? finance it! Like a bigger house? borrow more money. Want prime rib tonite, instead of round steak? charge it! Oh, don’t worry, future prosperity will somehow pay for your drunken spending spree.

That’s VooDoo economics, and that is the Reagan legacy.

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By squeaky jones, May 1, 2009 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reagan first class prick. How about when he was Governor of California, his reaction to the students of UC Berkeley, by bringing in the National Guard to terrorize the community of Berkeley. I still remember Reagon saying in regards to the natural world, in which Reagon did not like,” If you have seen one tree, you have seen them all.” Squeaky.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, May 1, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

You either love Reagan or you hate him. You either believe he was a great president, or believe something else.

You either saw the streets filled with homeles, or had some way of rationalizing their pain.

You either believe the Reagan revolution laid the ground work for America’s revivial, or planted the seeds of the economic destruction we now face.

You will either like this book or loathe it.

You either shed a few tears at Reagan’s passing, or shouted a hell-yeah..

But if you don’t feel that strongly either way, rest assured you have been forgotton.

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By jr., May 1, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Reagan was an ass.  The one thing that made him semi-acceptible at the time was the fact that he could pretend, convincingly.

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By kares jhangiani, May 1, 2009 at 8:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lou Canon has been an ardent Reaganite for many, many years.  I am surprised that Michael Deaver, Reagan’s PR guy, did not put him in his will!  Canon is partially correct that Reagan got involved in arms-talks with the Soviet Union because of his “own instincts.”  But, I doubt that Reagan was truly sincere: he was just going through the motions, and following the Nixonion paradigm of paying lip service to arms-reduction talks that started with Kennedy and continued fitfully under Johnson.  Also, the research results that suggested that even if the United States manages to destroy the Soviet Union through a pre-emptive first strike, The fallout would create a nuclear winter of unfathomable proportions.  That has been the true trigger of any thoughts given to nuclear arms reduction leading to total disarmament.

So, where are the arms talks now?  Dead, like a door knob.

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