Thursday, March 4, 2010
I don't understand Reagan worship
I grew up during Reagan's presidency. Our house wasn't especially political, so I didn't really have any opinion about him one way or another.
Today, increasingly, there is a growing movement to basically deify Reagan. I find this mystifying, since for the most part he seemed to be just a president like any other. Certainly more likeable than Bush I, but certainly he didn't have the same cache as Roosevelt or Eisenhower, right? Right?
Well, an article about efforts to put Reagan on the $50 bill got the comment threads cooking on Fark.com, and I got to see him through liberal and conservative eyes. Here are some pro-Reagan excerpts (most of which were new to me):
He: cut income taxes, rehabilitated the military, the economy was finally corrected under his watch, talked shiat to russia.
He told it like it was.
He called the USSR an evil empire. It was.
Dems, lefties and even his own advisers told him not to say things like that. We can talk to them, etc... do not 'provoke' them.
He called a spade a spade. The "tear down this wall" was not even in the real speech. They told him not to say it.
He KNEW "star wars" was not attainable in his lifetime. That did not matter. He knew if the USSR BELIEVED we could do it, they would have to try and beat us... he slowly... slowly.. bankrupted the USSR and proved that Communism was a bankrupt system that cannot last.
The lefties? Said Star Wars would not work. Said he was lying and wasting $. Etc... Thankfully, the USSR listened and believed Ronnie. They spent BILLIONS trying to keep up with something even Ronnie knew could not be attained. All to bankrupt them... and the lefties had no clue. They called him stupid, insane, etc... He knew what he was doing, and in the end proved them wrong, again.
People will tell you he had nothing to do with the fall of the USSR. sorry, I was there. The USSR might have collapsed eventually, but it was hastened. Imagine if Obama was Pres then, he'd want to talk, they'd talk and stall and the USSR would have been around for another 10 years.
We spent $$ to bankrupt the USSR. We got our money back with the "peace dividend". Kaching!
And here's a point-by-point disputing of the comic at right (click to enlarge it):
1. Tripled the national debt? He did. The military buildup was needed after the post-Vietnam decline. Also, there were tax cuts without spending cuts. However, the charisma helps. W had none and did the same things. Point to the cartoon, though.
2. Supported apartheid? He supported the white government of South Africa not because they hated blacks but because it was better them than the communists in neighboring countries getting a hold of the natural resources there and passing them to our real enemy, the USSR. Sometimes you have to go with the lesser of two evils in forgien policy.
3. He backed Saddam? We all did because Iraq was not Iran. The hostage crisis was too fresh in our minds then.
4. Crushed worker's rights? He fired air traffic controllers who broke the law. The manufacturing base could not support the work force anyway as the country could not be in a post WWII boom forever. This was the era where lots of union excesses were curtailed like featherbedding. We should be thankful he didn't Kowtow like the political parties did to the unions in the UK.
5.Star Wars was expensive and didn't work? It was a great bluff though. It fooled the USSR. They knew we could do it if we put our mind to it and they never could.
6. Backed death squads? See the point about the lesser of two evils. It is easy in hindsight to realize that the USSR was not as bad as we thought, but we didn't know that then. Therefore, we backed some nasty characters so the USSR couldn't get a beachead in Central America.
7. Raping nuns? See point 6. I do doubt that he was personally in favor of nun rape, even off-the-record.
8. Confused old movies with forigen policy? I have not heard any examples of this.
9. Arms for hostages and dealing w/ drug runners? See point 6. The arms for hostages was an honest attempt to free captured Americans and it backfired. He tried and failed, although not as bad as Carter and Desert One, IMHO.