Friday, July 28, 2006


On the second anniversary of Ronald Reagan's death

OK, so I'm close to three months too late to really call this the second anniversary. I guess I was busy on June 5, and I didn't think it polite to say anything negative on the day Reagan actully died two years ago, because we liberals have better home-training than that. I didn't have this blog at the time anyway. I certainly couldn't abide the attempts to rewrite history by the right-wingers who worship Reagan - admittedly an unforgettable president but with at best a mixed record - as some sort of god. So now I'm ready to speak up and provide some balance to these right-wing revisionists efforts, often aided and abetted by the alleged liberal media.

A tribute to Ronald Reagan on the second anniversary of his death (plus 2 months, 3 weeks and 2 days)
If you believe it's only just and good that the rich got richer, the poor got poorer, the middle class shrank and adjusted income declined from 1981 to 1989, then I know you're a Reagan fan.

If you believe the average American living in poverty is a Cadillac-driving welfare queen, then please bow down before King Ronnie.

If you believe the poor in America deserve what they get, then you get the essence of the Gipper.

If you believe that ketchup should be served as a school lunch vegetable to children who may get nothing else to eat all day, then I know you hunger for Reagan's leadership.

If you think Iran is a bad, bad country, but support selling them 1,500 missiles, then you're sold on Reagan.

If you believe terrorists are bad, bad people, but support CIA distribution of a terrorist handbook to the Contras in Nicaragua, then Reagan is your man.

If you believe terrorists are bad, bad people but that it's OK to capitulate when they demand arms for hostages, then Neville Chamberlain - oops, I mean, Ronald Reagan is tops.

If you describe a band of thugs who murdered thousands of civilians in Nicaragua as "freedom fighters" believe they deserved our support, then you must support Reagan.

If you hate Saddam Hussein now but thought he was a swell guy and worthy of our support 20 years ago, then you must think Reagan a swell guy himself.

If you thought Manuel Noriega was a standup guy who belonged on Uncle Sam's payroll, then guess what! Your hero felt the same way.

If you're glad we backed right-wing death squads in El Salvador and Honduras and consider Archbishop Oscar Romero a troublemaker who got what he deserved, then you deserve Reagan.

If you're outraged by Jimmy Carter's failed attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran, but believe it no big deal that 241 Marines were blown up by terrorist in an equally insane mission in Lebanon, then Reagan is your kinda guy.

If you saw Jimmy Carter as inept and weak in his efforts to see the hostages released, but see Reagan as strong and competent as American hostages languished for more than six years in Lebanon, then you see Reagan as only a true supporter can.

If you believe MX missiles are "peacekeepers," then you surely long for Pax Reagana.

If you believe facts are stupid things, then I know for a fact, you must love Reagan.

If you believe trees pollute the environment, volcanoes create more pollution than cars and that a tree is a tree ("How many more do you need to see?"), then you must support Reagan's common-sense environmental approach.

If you believe balanced budgets are unnecessary, a 13-figure national debt is no big deal, and don't mind that in four years the U.S. went from status as world's No. 1 creditor to world's No. 1 debtor, then you owe a debt to Reagan.

If you admire the honesty and integrity of Lyn Nofziger, Michael Deaver, Anne Gorsuch Burford, Rita Lavelle, Edwin Meese, Richard Allen, Casper Weinberger, Elliott Abrams, Robert McFarlane, Alan Fiers, Richard Miller, Clair George, Richard Secord, Thomas Clineswaws, Carl Channel, John Poindexter, Oliver North, William Casey, James Watt, Phillip Winn, Thomas Demery, Deborah Gore Dean, Catalina Villaponda, Paul Thayer, and Joseph Strauss, then you must honestly admire Reagan, his integrity and the company he kept.

If you admire that a young actor cooperated fully with the House Un-American Activities Committee and its witchhunt and later sought to recharacterize his complicity as some sort of patriotic stand, then you and Joe McCarthy must surely look up to Ronnie Reagan.

If you believe allegiance to the flag and allegiance to a political party are one and the same, then you are a star-spangled Reaganite.

If you believe a man whose campaign crew that stole Jimmy Carter's briefing book on the eve of the 1980 presidential debates can be considered honest and scrupulous, then you are honestly a Reagan supporter.

If you believe our nation's public education system is an enemy of the American people, then you're a true scholar of the school of Reagan.

If you admire a professed warrior of Christian values who virtually never went to church, you must indeed worship at the altar of St. Ron.

If you admire a warrior of family values who spent little time with his own children and didn't even know his own grandchildren's names, then you surely are a Reagan warrior.

If you believe that domestic and international policy should sometimes by dictated by an astrologer, then it must be written in the stars, you're a Reagan kind of guy.

If you believe that AIDS, which so far has killed about 22 million people worldwide (about a fifth of those people children), is a character issue not deserving of decent people's attention, then just say yes to Reagan.

If you trust a man who slept through cabinet meetings, then you must have trusted Reagan.

If the Marines' defeat of some Cuban construction workers building a British-designed international airport on a tiny patch of Caribbean jungle and the subsequent rescue of a handful of American medical students strikes you as the ultimate American victory, then throw up a big V for the Ronmeister.

If you believe Reagan single-handedly ended communism and that Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II and 40 years of previous anti-communism heroes deserve zero credit, and see the Soviet Union of the '80s as more than just a moribund, pathetic shell, then score one for the Gipper.

If you enjoy our current society in which everything has everything to do with the acquisition of money, and nothing has anything to do with anything else, then thank Ronald Reagan's legacy.

If you see greed as virtue and are glad the likes of Ken Lay and Bernie Ebbers can run amok and aren't stopped until thousands are unemployed, then pay tribute to Reagan's legacy.

If you believe that corporate pensions and healthcare plans are optional obligations and that eight-figure payouts to corporate executive failures are just compensation, then salute Ronald Reagan's legacy.

If you enjoy living in a society in which corporations have no responsibility except to shareholders, and even that's a flexible notion, then hats off to Reagan's legacy.

If you're glad that any ideal of the public good and commonwealth has been traded for the dominance of private interests, then give a high five to Reagan and his legacy.

If you enjoy the prospect of America's deindustrialization by corporations shipping jobs to Mexico and China, all in the name of free trade, then give three cheers to the Reagan legacy.

If you're enjoying the greatest redistribution of income in U.S. history - this time from the bottom up - then give Reagan a big wet kiss for the culmination of his vision.

If you appreciate the current Bush administration and everything it stands for, then wave a big red-white-and-blue banner for the culumination of Reagan's vision.

If facts and truth are irrelevant in the face of warmfuzzies, generalized feelgood images and inspiring anecdotes of dubious origin, then smile! The Reagan message triumphs.

If you believe that images of a cowboy riding into the sunset are more important than sound policy, a command for facts, and a commitment to honest and truthful characterization, and that style should always trump substance, then you are the truest believer in the Reagan vision.

Congratulations! The Reagan Revolution is fulfilled. You must be very proud.

The quotable Reagan Administration
I found many of these quotes on a site called Ronald Reagan: The Bonzo Years. Click here for a long walk through an account of a presidency described by the Right as triumphant and embodying of everything good, but really venal and inept.


"Ebenezer Scrooge suffered from bad press in his time. If you really look at the facts, he didn't exploit Bob Cratchit. Bob Cratchit was paid 10 shillings a week, which was a very good wage at the time... Bob, in fact, had good cause to be happy with his situation. His wife didn't have to work...He was able to afford the traditional Christmas dinner of roast goose and plum pudding...So let's be fair to Scrooge. He had his faults, but he wasn't unfair to anyone."
- Edwin Meese, speaking to the National Press Club, December 1983

"If you tell the same story five times, it's true."
- Reagan spokesman Larry Speakes, responding to criticism concerning a Reagan anecdote of a Congressional Medal of Honor winner that turned out to be a complete fabrication. The anecdote apparently bears a striking resemblance to a scene from the 1944 movie "A Wing and a Prayer" and a 1944 selection from Readers Digest, Reagan's favorite magazine.

"We love your adherence to democratic principle, and to the democratic processes."
- then-Vice President George Bush, addressing Phillipine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, 1981

"(Supply-side economics) was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate."
- Reagan budget director David Stockman, quoted in a 1981 Atlantic Monthly article

"I also happen to be someone who believes in tithing - the giving of a tenth."
- Reagan, although tax returns for that year show he actually gave 1.4 percent of his income.

At his seventh press conference, President Reagan:
· Claims there are "a million more working than there were in 1980," though statistics show that 100,000 fewer people are employed.
· Contends his attempt to grant tax-exempt status to segregated schools was to correct "a procedure that we thought had no basis in law," though the Supreme Court had clearly upheld a ruling barring such exemptions a decade earlier.
· Claims he has received a letter from Pope John Paul II in which he "approves what we've done so far" regarding U.S. Sanctions against the USSR, though the sanctions were not mentioned in the papal message.
· Responds to a question about the 17% black unemployment rate by pointing out that "in this time of great unemployment," Sunday's paper had "24 full pages of ... employers looking for employees," though most of the jobs available - computer operator, or cellular immunologist - require special training, for which his administration has cut funds by over 30%.
· Misstates facts about California's abortion law and an Arizona program to aid the elderly

"She really just got tired of people misinterpreting what she was doing."
- an aide explaining Nancy Reagan's decision to no longer accept gifts of designer clothes "on loan." Americans would learn six years later that Nancy never stopped accepting these gifts and would continue doing so until the end of her husband's White House tenure.

"We've got a $120 billion deficit coming, and the President says, 'You know, a young man went into a grocery store and he had an orange in one hand and a bottle of vodka in the other, and he paid for the orange with food stamps and he took the change and paid for the vodka. That's what's wrong.' And we just shake our heads."
- Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., 1982

"Is it news that some fellow out in South Succotash someplace has just been laid off, that he should be interviewed nationwide?"
- Reagan on the worst unemployment figures in 42 years, 10.4 percent, 1982

"South Succotash, with its population of nearly 11 million, must be a considerable place."
- AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland

"Well, it's a good story, though. It made the point, didn't it?"
-Larry Speakes, on Reagan's citation of a nonexistent British law making the carrying a gun a capital offense. Reagan would make the same claim four years later.

"You know, your nose looks just like Danny Thomas'."
- Reagan to Lebanon's foreign minister in a meeting with Middle Eastern leaders

"Do I think US foreign policy is inept?...At times it is. At times it's not. At times it's even brilliant. At times it's rather stupid. It would be very hard for me to label it."
- Secretary of State Al Haig

"It would be a user fee."
- Reagan describing a proposed 5-cent-per-gallon gas tax

"It's a change in his view. It's not an evil empire. It's a Mickey Mouse system."
- an administration official on Reagan's view of the Soviet Union

"I don't think he's read the report in detail. It's five and a half pages, double-spaced."
- Larry Speakes on Reagan's grasp of facts on a Lebanese truck bombing, 1984

"With regard to the age issue and everything, if I had as much makeup on as he did, I'd have looked younger, too... I never did wear it. I didn't wear it when I was in pictures."
- Reagan in a post-debate swipe at Walter Mondale, quickly refuted by Reagan's former makeup artists on "G.E. Theater" and "Death Valley Days," as well as one of the debate panelists.

"Why aren't we talking about these hostages? Why is it allowed to stand when Ronald Reagan says America won't have hostages again? Are we bored with hostages now?"
- Lucille Levin, wife of an American hostage in Lebanon, comparing his then-1984 stance with his get-tough chest-beating on Iran while Carter was still president

"The moral equival of our Founding Fathers."
- Reagan's description of the Contra's in Nicaragua, terrorists responsible for thousands of civilian deaths

"Just had a verbal message delivered to me from Pope John Paul, urging us to continue our efforts in Central America."
- Reagan in a statement immediately refuted by the Vatican.

"I know all the bad things that happened in that war. I was in uniform for four years myself."
- Reagan responding to criticism after he laid a wreath in a visit to a Nazi cemetery iin Bitburg, West Germany, 1985. While indeed in uniform during World War II, Reagan stayed behind in Hollywood to make training films.

"(Thirteen-year-old Beth Flom) urged me to lay the wreath at Bitburg cemetery in honor of the future of Germany."
- Reagan, apparently misunderstanding Flom's letter urging the president not to go.

"They haven't been there. I have."
- Reagan responding to Europeans heckling his Nicaragua policy. Reagan, in fact, never once set foot in the Central American country.

"They have eliminated the segregation that we once had in our own country, the type of thing where hotels and restaurants and places of entertainment and so forth were segregated - that has all been eliminated."
- Reagan, praising the notoriously racist, apartheidist administration of South Africa's P.W. Botha as "reformist"

"You have to treat him as if you were the director and he was the actor, and you tell him what to say and what not to say, and only then does he say the right thing."
- an unnamed White House aide quoted in the New York Times magazine, 1985

"What do you do when your President ignores all the palpable, relevant facts and wanders in circles?"
- David Stockman in his 1986 memoir

'Hypocrisy is a question of degree."
- Donald Regan asked whether it was hypocritical for the U.S. to demand that other countries not trade with Iran while we secretly sold them weapons.

"If Colonel North ripped off the Ayatollah and took $30 million and gave it to the Contras, then God bless Colonel North!"
- Pat Buchanan, praising the sale of arms to terrorist sponsor Iran and the illegal funding of terrorist thugs in Nicaragua

"I don't think there is another person in America that wants to tell this story as much as I do."
- Oliver North, opting just the same to plead the Fifth Amendment before a House ccommittee. Later he would lie to this same committee and be convicted of perjury.

"On the surface, selling arms to a country that sponsors terrorism, of course, clearly, you'd have to argue it's wrong, but it's the exception sometimes that proves the rule."
- Vice President Bush

"The simple truth is, 'I don't remember - period."'
- Reagan on whether he authorized the arms for hostages deal in a written response to the Tower Commission investigating the scandal

"The record is that he was either absent or silent. I don't know what that does for him."
- Bob Dole on Reagan's poor memory

"I hope I'm finally going to hear some of the things I'm still waiting to learn."
- Reagan on the opening day of the Iran-Contra hearings, 1987

"I can't recall."
- Ed Meese in a statement (or some variation thereof) he would utter 340 times during the Iran-Contra hearings

"I can't recall."
- John Poindexter in a statement (or some variation thereof) he would utter 184 times during the Iran-Contra hearings

"That shows the success of what the Soviets were able to do in this country."
- Reagan citing what he sees as a communist conspiracy to discredit and dishonor Joseph McCarthy

"I knew those quotes were the way he felt."
- Larry Speakes, in his 1987 memoir, on making up quotes he attributed to the president

"Like reinventing the wheel."
- Speakes describing preparations with the persident for a press conference

"You know, if I listened to him long enough, I would be convinced that we're in an economic downturn, and that people are homeless, and people are going without food and medical attention, and that we've got to do something about the unemployed."
- Reagan on Michael Dukakis

"I will never apologize for the United States of America! I don't care what the facts are!"
- Vice President Bush after the U.S.S. Vincennes mistakenly shot down an Iranian airliner, 1988

"This was a PR outfit that became President and took over the country."
- former press aide Leslie Janka in her 1988 tall-all, "On Bended Knee"

How sad that you feel so threatened by the legacy of Ronald Reagan that you are spending your free time attacking the legacy of a dead President.

Reagan was one of America's finest Presidents, and the best President by far in my lifetime. He wasn't a perfect man, nor a perfect President, but no body is saying he was. Apparently, liberals have no ideas and no Presidential candidates that they can speak highly of, so they are forced to spend their time building up straw men and ideas to attack. You know, that is why Reagon was so adored by the American people, and still is - he was a postive, straight speeking American value loving President who sought out the good in people, was compassionate, and moved forward. Conservatives know it, and liberals know it. Your beloved Al Gore tried to immitate him because he knew that Reagan was and is the most popular President in the 20th Century among Americans. I think the effort to cover up and distort Reagan's record far exceeds any attept to puff it up. Liberals started the great attack while Reagan was still President and continue it to this day. Lies, distortion, cover up - tricks of the liberal trade.

For the real Reagon record, in facts and figures, go here:
That is, if you really want the truth, which, if you are a liberal, you probably do not.
I'll regard the National Review as a purveyor of the truth if you'll start regarding the New York Times the same way.

You don't think conservatives are obsessed with Reagan's legacy. Besides Grover Norquist's project to have public facilities and roads in all 50 states named after the man, you can look at the following websites for fawning, obsequious tributes to the man and essentailly attempts to rewrite history:

So what, with all this asskissing and misrepresentation of Reagan's legacy going on, I'm not allowed to provide balance? Only pro-Reagan sentiment is allowed in your world?

I've also noticed you've attacked nothing of substance in my posting. Instead, you've made broad sweeping generalizations. Reagan definitely would have approved.
Yeah, I know. I was tempted to attack each and every one of your arguments (and believe me, I could), but I'm sure you can understand that one reaches a point in political discussion, especially between you and me, that you realize that you can go on forever like this, and spend all of your time arguing back and forth instead of spending time with your family. I can refute your points, and I'm sure you feel you can refute mine.

Btw, did you read any of the FACTS from the National Review site? I didn't send you commentary, but factual data (with some commentary). Your brother has argued against trickle down economics and such for years, and I keep on giving him the factual info, but he never reads it (I guess I can understand - kind of dry stuff).
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