Monday, June 07, 2004

Reagan

1980 was the first year that I was eligible to vote for President. I proudly cast my vote for Jimmy Carter, warts and all, because I knew what a Reagan presidency was capable of. Somewhere in my files I still have an article from the Washington Post with a list of a number of Heritage Foundation aims that the Reagan campaign appeared to be adopting, many of which are only now coming to fruition in the current regime. Whatever Carter's faults were as president (and I believe there were fewer than the sort of snap judgements that one gets of him today would have you think), I'd be hardpressed to find a better man that has held that office, while being willing to concede that he may not have been particularly well-suited for the job.

On the other hand, it astounds me that so many people appear to regard Reagan as one of the great presidents. Iran-Contra should have been enough to keep anyone from suggesting naming any damn thing after him (other than maybe a Federal penitentiary), regardless of whatever good happened in his administration. Couple that with his denial of the existence of AIDS for many years as many thousands of people died, growing deficits, policies that turned thousands of sick people out of mental hospitals, disastrous environmental policies, the list goes on and on. That's not to say that I think that the administration was a TOTAL disaster (unlike the current one) - I just think there are plenty of strong enough negatives that any discussion of him as a great President is ridiculous.

I've seen a lot of stuff the last couple of days around the political blogosphere about how this affects the current campaign. Anybody who thinks it'll have any lasting effect at all has yet to give me any good reason why. Dubya looks so puny and scattered in comparison to Reagan that I really can't see him getting anything positive out of coverage of Reagan - on the other hand, the wingnut policies that first received discussion in the Reagan administration will be aired as coming from someone other than Bush, so maybe that strengthens Republicans that are wary of Bush's nuttiness. But it'll all be non-news within a week.

Finally, nobody but nobody deserves Alzheimer's - I'm sure the last ten years were a nightmare for him and for his family. For their sake, I'm glad it's over.

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