Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So which GOP candidate pimped the memory of Ronald Reagan the most? Do you really even have to ask?

Ronald Reagan rises from the dead to ask the GOP candidates to stop hiding behind his name.
Courtesy of FiveThirtyEight:

In Monday night’s debate in Tampa, Fla., Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, mentioned Ronald Reagan just four words into his first answer of the night. It was the first of five times that Mr. Gingrich would mention Reagan; no other candidate did so even once. 

This was not, it turns out, an isolated example. Mr. Gingrich uses Reagan’s name early and often, and in almost every debate.

Gingrich is lucky that Palin is not in this race, as she seems to mention Reagan after almost every other breath.

It is no wonder that the Republicans keep bringing up Reagan, because they certainly CAN'T bring up George W. Bush, and many people are too young or too forgetful to remember the truth about Ronald Reagan's presidency.

But not everybody has forgotten.

Some of us on the left had also been very glad indeed to see the end of the Russian empire and the Cold War. But nothing could make me forget what the Reagan years had actually been like. Ronald Reagan claimed that the Russian language had no word for "freedom." (The word is "svoboda"; it's quite well attested in Russian literature.) 

Ronald Reagan said that intercontinental ballistic missiles (not that there are any non-ballistic missiles—a corruption of language that isn't his fault) could be recalled once launched. Ronald Reagan said that he sought a "Star Wars" defense only in order to share the technology with the tyrants of the U.S.S.R. Ronald Reagan professed to be annoyed when people called it "Star Wars," even though he had ended his speech on the subject with the lame quip, "May the force be with you." Ronald Reagan used to alarm his Soviet counterparts by saying that surely they'd both unite against an invasion from Mars. Ronald Reagan used to alarm other constituencies by speaking freely about the "End Times" foreshadowed in the Bible. In the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan told Yitzhak Shamir and Simon Wiesenthal, on two separate occasions, that he himself had assisted personally at the liberation of the Nazi death camps. 

There was more to Ronald Reagan than that. Reagan announced that apartheid South Africa had "stood beside us in every war we've ever fought," when the South African leadership had been on the other side in the most recent world war. Reagan allowed Alexander Haig to greenlight the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, fired him when that went too far and led to mayhem in Beirut, then ran away from Lebanon altogether when the Marine barracks were bombed, and then unbelievably accused Tip O'Neill and the Democrats of "scuttling." Reagan sold heavy weapons to the Iranian mullahs and lied about it, saying that all the weapons he hadn't sold them (and hadn't traded for hostages in any case) would, all the same, have fit on a small truck. Reagan then diverted the profits of this criminal trade to an illegal war in Nicaragua and lied unceasingly about that, too. Reagan then modestly let his underlings maintain that he was too dense to understand the connection between the two impeachable crimes. He then switched without any apparent strain to a policy of backing Saddam Hussein against Iran. (If Margaret Thatcher's intelligence services had not bugged Oliver North in London and become infuriated because all European nations were boycotting Iran at Reagan's request, we might still not know about this.)

There were many other examples of his ineptitude as well, including his failure to address AIDS until it became an epidemic (Because he, like many on the conservative side, believed it was a "gay plague"), that he was the President MOST responsible for the economic decline in this country, and that, though he takes the lion's share of the credit for it, the end of the Cold War was really due far more to the bravery of Mikhail Gorbachev than Reagan.

So the GOP can genuflect in Ronnie's direction all they want, and sing his praises from the highest rafters that Gingrich can hoist his fat ass onto, the truth is that Reagan was just as crappy of a President as the Republican candidates vying for the job today would almost certainly turn out to be.


  1. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Great post, Gryphon! I am so sick of the sainthood of an incompetent fool. I think Obama and Democrats should hold up the Clinton years as the last time we had jobs, peace, and a surplus.

  2. Anonymous5:01 PM

    Ronald Reagan was the 2nd worst president in US history beaten only by GW Bush in the hall of shame.Reagan was totally senile throughout his whole second term.Cabinet meetings were nap time for the doddering old fool and this is what the present day republicans aspire to.Surely the American people deserve better then this.

  3. Anonymous5:03 PM

    :::: APPLAUDING ::::

  4. Loose Era5:18 PM

    OT but I have been waiting patiently for news about Willow and her engagement (or Bristol's, if she was using their apparently shared twit account) ...But Dirk has gone silent, now won't even accept new comments on any of his posts...do you know anything, G?

  5. Olivia5:24 PM

    Reagan was senile before he was elected the first time. I always was convinced there was a seam down his back for his puppeteers to manipulate that wrinkly old latex body. I never could understand why people thought he was a great man. He was a fucking actor and a lousy one at that but he should have gotten an Oscar for that 8 year performance.

  6. Anita Winecooler5:25 PM

    Excellent Post (and St. Ronnie's looking pretty spiffy, there!)

    If the Reagan Worshippers saw half of what he stood for and accomplished, they'd probably blame the media, President Obama, or both.

    OT Just saw the beginning of the State of the Union, Gabby's husband's eyes lit up the moment he saw her, and later, when President Obama embraced and rocked her in his arms shortly after his entrance, she looks absolutely radiant!

  7. Ronny Raygun almost sank the US..literally. He tripped our national indebtedness and sold trillions of dollars of weapons to anyone and everyonethat would pay... Fiend or foe... Most of his top staff either went to prison or had to be pardoned to keep them out of the electric chair.

    By ANY MEASURE the second-worse leader last century... Only to be surpassed by his complete inept VP and his retarded son. Nightmare after nightmare... Want something positive from Raygun's organization - build dart boards..

  8. Anonymous5:40 PM

    OT I don't think Palin will support the POTUS's call about not dropping out of HS.

  9. hedgewytch6:23 PM

    Just watched the SOTU - WOOOT! Wooot! Mr. President!

    I think he might just win some progressive's back by the time Nov. rolls around.

  10. Hoken7:08 PM

    Reagan is the hero of the right b/c he opened the door to the fundies. Nothing else in his "legacy" even holds water. Most of his false legacy was fabricated by people like James Dobson while Reagan was dying and no one would stand up for the record.
    More actual Reagan legacy, as compiled in my own memory:
    -Undoing as much of the work as possible done during the Carter years to formulate a forward-looking energy policy that would have kept us from ever reaching the dependency we have on foreign oil.
    -Letting Big Oil rewrite Energy policy.
    -Mandatory prison sentences (w/ A/G Meese) which have cost the U.S. and indiv states $T.
    -Spent $MM on anti-drug propaganda to gen support for The War On Drugs (declared by Nixon, but languished under Carter) which has spawned the militarization of police depts. throughout the country, undermined Civil Rights, and is the principle benefactor of the Private Prison Industry. More $T.
    -While running up record Fed debt, cut off Fed Revenue Sharing to the States, forcing States to raise taxes to cover Fed mandated programs, such as Medicaid.
    -Launched the Repub war on labor unions, both to serve his corporate whoremongers and to undermine Democratic fundraising base.
    -Began the internal gov't war to undermine the EPA (remember Int. Sec. James G Watt, who even tried to open up Nat'l Parks to Big Oil?).
    -Killed alternative energy development. Cancellation of Fed subsidies to those building gasohol plants ended the program and bankrupted thousands.
    -Paid growers directly not to grow wheat (which could have been sold to gasohol plants, had they been built), a move that took so much money out of the agricultural economy that it bankrupted many in the supply/support chain. One of the solar heaters he had removed form the WH is prominently displayed in the biggest solar cell factory on the planet - in China.
    -Declared homelessness a "lifestyle choice."
    -Closed hundreds of mental health facilities w/ no provision for further care of those being treated there.
    -And we still live w/ his crown jewel, of course, Dementianomics, which has completely changed the structure of the US economy, and eliminated tax rates that used to serve as a de facto mandate for businesses to reinvest. W/out the mandate to reinvest, there is a negative incentive for businesses to own capital equip and infrastructure (and to employ American workers), and a pos incentive to exploit cheap, unprotected offshore labor markets. We keep saing, 'Reaganonomics isn't working,' and I've finally come to accept that the Repubs are right. It is working - and doing exactly what was intended.

  11. Loose Era7:56 PM

    Hoken don't forget about AIDS - he did NOTHING, on purpose...cuz, you know, it's just God's way of saying "I hate F**s"

  12. An European viewpoint10:49 PM

    I'm amazed at ay Reagan references too.

    I would have thought just speaking his name would result in loosing elections - "behold, I'm gonna follow in the steps of the most famous senile-while-in-office leader" : not quite a selling point, you'd think.

    In my childhood memories, Reagan was the monster on the West who would land us into WWIII because of his unending assaults on the monster of the East. I distinctly remember nightmares of atomic bombs on orbit - what else could his Stars War mean ?

    Then came Gorbatchev, and nobody here dared hope that stupid war-mongering, poverty-loving Reagan would take his offered hand, but he did ! Quite a miracle - until we later learned that Nancy Reagan's astrologer had been the one deciding in the White House : by a stroke of luck, she had told robotic Ronnie that Gorbatchev was a decent chap.

    How could anybody revel in the memory of a man so utterly devoid of anything statesman-like, that he made his plane circle for hours above airports, in order to wait for the landing hour deemed safe by his wife's astrologer ?

    Reagan the man was a joke, the Rick Perry of his time - including the desastrous economic and poverty record, pimped as successes. Only difference is that he had the excuse of being senile.

  13. Gasman11:28 PM

    Gingrich invoked Reagan more than the other nine candidates combined. He is a fat assed, wife hopping, groveling horn dog. Why anyone would do so is beyond me. Reagan lied his ass off to both the Congress and the American people. He is also responsible for enabling the Iranian government by paying arms for hostages. The classless fuck also had to piss on Jimmy Carter by getting the Iranians to release the hostages during his inauguration speech. He was the most reckless spender in our country's history, and he was senile by his second term. He sucked. However, Newt seems to think he can channel some of Reagan's apocryphal greatness by invoking his name repeatedly. He can't.

    The WORST thing that could possibly happen to the GOP at this point is that they would nominate Gingrich and the GOP establishment knows it. That's why so many big guns in the party have started lining up against him.

    I fully expect ALL of the sordid details to emerge about everyone or everything that Newt has humped over the last 32 years or so. Shiny helmet haired Callista will be painted as a slut - not much of a task - and Newt will be shown to be all too eager to whip out his diminutive schlong for ANYBODY who's willing to spread their legs. As the GOP has consistently ingratiated Newt by treating him as if he were some sort of party ├╝bergenius - long after he was unceremoniously tossed out on his ass for being unethical and incompetent, the party richly deserves to chow down on this giant shit sandwich of their own making. More turds anyone?

    The GOP is but reaping what it has sown.


  14. imnofred8:39 AM

    I laugh every time that I hear one of these morons bring up Reagan. He would not be welcomed in today's Republican party. Besides that, he raised taxes numerous times and we all know how the Republicans think about that.

  15. I moved to Canada when Reagan was in the White House. I felt that he was leading the US into the abyss. I even stopped voting.

    Then Clinton came along and did much to return my faith in America and I started voting again by absentee ballot.

    Then came Dubya and everything good that Clinton accomplished was ruined and the country went into further decline.

    Than came Obama and there really is hope - and proof that the US is back on track to be the world leader it once was.

    Thank you, President Obama. You have restored my faith in the country of my birth.

    (I'll stay here in Canada though, for the free health care, thank-you-very-much.)


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