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R.I.P. R.W.R.
June 5, 2004 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Breaking History: Ronald Reagan dead at 93.
Will today be marked as the culmination of his achievements or the "end of the Reagan Era"?
MeFites are advised to please avoid piling onto the subject or the messenger
posted by wendell (415 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Regardless of what I thought of Reagan the man, or his politics, it's obvious that Alzheimers is a pretty sad way to go, especially when you've had a life as unique a Reagan's. And in a way it's the end of a time, since I was 10 when he took office and he was there for eight years, he was "the president" to me, for better or worse. RIP. Condolences to his family.
posted by jonmc at 2:07 PM on June 5, 2004


the culmination of his achievements
Are you seriously suggesting that his achievements culminate in his death? I mean, that has a nice Solonian ring to it, but the idea of Reagan the sage studying his whole life "learning to die" is a bit much for me.
posted by Zurishaddai at 2:08 PM on June 5, 2004 [1 favorite]


Sad news. I lost a grandfather years ago to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and he wasn't able to hang on for as long as Reagan did.

I'm predicting there will be calls for GWB to "Win one for the Gipper" at the Republican National Convention.
posted by emelenjr at 2:10 PM on June 5, 2004


the culmination of his achievements
Point taken, Zurishaddai, probably not the best wording... should've been less flowery with something like "the high point of his influence" or such...
posted by wendell at 2:10 PM on June 5, 2004


A fond farewell to a great man, and one of the greatest presidents.
posted by hama7 at 2:10 PM on June 5, 2004


Today will be marked as the day that wingnut conservatives make an even stronger push to name absolutely every single thing possible after Ronald Reagan.

The Ronald Regan Legacy Project is a good example of this behaviour.

I'm pretty sure we'll also see the "Ronald Reagan Memorial GOP Convention" this year, too.

I, for one, won't mourn the bastard's passing. Hell, I think I'll take a trip to his grave just to piss on it.
posted by cmonkey at 2:11 PM on June 5, 2004 [1 favorite]


Alzheimer's is a nasty, slow way to go, no matter how you slice it.
Grave-pissing in 5...4...3...2... Ah. It's started.
posted by darukaru at 2:11 PM on June 5, 2004


cmonkey, hama7, go play under a bridge. We come to bury Reagan, not to praise or piss on him.
posted by jonmc at 2:13 PM on June 5, 2004


Especially when you've had a life as unique as Reagan's? Especially? Hmmm. Can't say as I see how it gives him special suffering.

What's with this "great man" stuff? Wasn't Reagan the guy who consulted astrologers as he tried to tip-toe around imminent nuclear disaster? Isn't he the guy who was about as bright as a 40W bulb, especially once his health started to decline? Didn't he have some sort of massive, illegal, mid-East dealings involving weapons of mass destruction taking place under his administration?

Here I thought the best that could be said of him is that he didn't actually start a nuclear war against Russia.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:15 PM on June 5, 2004


Never a fan of his politics, I can't help but respect the man. His charisma, his gentle affect, and his boldness was admirable. The tragedy of Alzheimer's took my grandfather, and if Reagan's death brings an increased awareness of this disease, it could be the one offering from the Gipper's legacy that we could all agree could make the world a better place.
posted by moonbird at 2:16 PM on June 5, 2004


Not the worst president ever (that's the best i can do)
posted by amberglow at 2:16 PM on June 5, 2004


My fellow Americans:

God has just signed legislation outlawing Ronald Reagan forever. We begin embalming in five minutes.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:16 PM on June 5, 2004 [2 favorites]


One of the greatest Presidents ever? Just Say No.

His death is no more or less sad than any other death of a person I had no relationship with.

But reading detailed obituaries is always morbidly interesting.
posted by falconred at 2:17 PM on June 5, 2004


Even if you think he's a bastard, he was clearly one of the most successful and influential Presidents in this nation's history.

Altzheimer's is a sad end for anybody, no matter how good or bad. And both he and his family should be at peace now.

But I'm sure there are mega-cynical advisors to the current President who are right now saying "Dammit, couldn't he have held on until closer to Election Day?!?"
posted by wendell at 2:18 PM on June 5, 2004


Especially when you've had a life as unique as Reagan's? Especially? Hmmm. Can't say as I see how it gives him special suffering.

I didn't say that it made his suffering worse or better, fff, just that it's undeniable that Reagan's life was pretty unique, and the obvious fact that alzheimers robs you of your ability to look back on your life as an old man, which we all should have.
posted by jonmc at 2:19 PM on June 5, 2004


Ronald Reagan dead at 93.

I'm sure we'll all miss him, even if you weren't a fan of his work there's no denying his contribution to popular culture. Truly an American icon.
posted by reklaw at 2:20 PM on June 5, 2004


Breaking History? What is that supposed to mean, exactly?
posted by ascullion at 2:20 PM on June 5, 2004


We come to bury Reagan, not to praise or piss on him.

Yeah, he's dead, the fact that he was a crazy front man for one of the most corrupt administrations in history is irrelevant now that he's dead. Don't you know anything about death and America?

Not the worst president ever (that's the best i can do)

.
posted by The God Complex at 2:21 PM on June 5, 2004 [2 favorites]


Good thing the Russkies had Gorby in there. Speaking of peace.
posted by crasspastor at 2:21 PM on June 5, 2004


To anyone who has or will get nasty in this thread, I ask you this: someday Bill Clinton will die and there'll be a million freepers getting ugly. Let's not be like the Freepers, we've got more class.
posted by jonmc at 2:23 PM on June 5, 2004


i'm trying real hard to feel something at this man's passing, and i just can't.

no one would argue that alzheimer's is a horrible ravager of a disease, but there are people who die in far meaner circumstances than he did -- people who were far more loving toward their fellow humans than he was.

i know he supposedly gets credit for "winning the cold war," but i personally feel he benefits from post hoc reasoning when it comes to that. i don't understand why so many people feel he deserves deification. i'm a hard-core liberal, and i have infinitely more respect for richard nixon than i do for reagan. i think nixon was our last complicated president, reagan the 1st of the modern telegenic window-dressing presidents -- he goes on tv, smiles confidently, and utters some toughguyisms while shadow men in his administration decide the fate of the world.

i'm going to have to continue to do some thinking on this. i'm bothered by my lack of sorrow. it's not quite antipathy that i'm feeling, but it's close enough to bother me. i hope there are some posts in this thread that help me to exam my thoughts and feelings about the man and his legacy.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:24 PM on June 5, 2004 [1 favorite]


ascullion, I used the term "Breaking History" to differenciate it from "Breaking News" because of its long-term influence.

I don't know why I felt driven to post this obvious NewsFilter, except that I will always remember the day he was re-elected in 1984 was the day my mother (a dozen years younger than him) passed away. Circle of life, hakunamatata, whatever.
posted by wendell at 2:25 PM on June 5, 2004


ascullion, I used the term "Breaking History" to differenciate it from "Breaking News" because of its long-term influence.

I'm not sure the expected death of a president does have any long term impact, unless you publish almanacs.
posted by ascullion at 2:26 PM on June 5, 2004


lord_wolf, I never cared for the man or his politics either, just figured that we could show some class here, that's all.
posted by jonmc at 2:26 PM on June 5, 2004


Oh good, he's dead. Now they can name stuff after him. Wait, they already have.
posted by Busithoth at 2:28 PM on June 5, 2004


Alzheimer's is a horrible way to die. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, and I'm glad he's out of his misery.

But I admit I have little positive to say about the man or his "legacy."
posted by chicobangs at 2:28 PM on June 5, 2004


Oh good, he's dead. Now they can name stuff after him. Wait, they already have.
That's something I don't get...the airport, and federal office building, etc--they couldn't have waited?
posted by amberglow at 2:29 PM on June 5, 2004


I don't know. I have a grandmother going through Alzheimer's right now. She gets disoriented and confused and sometimes she can't recognize family members, or thinks of us as belonging to different time - as in, she thinks I'm still in high school sometimes. On the other hand, she isn't bitter or, apparently, depressed. I don't know. Alzheimer's is a great strain on families, but sometimes I think a long fight with cancer or a series of strokes would be worse.

I'll give Reagan his props for being a masterful communicator and politician. I don't really feel anything either, but that's not just because I didn't agree with his politics, it's a product of his irreversible decline over the past fifteen years or so.
posted by furiousthought at 2:30 PM on June 5, 2004


I vote for one the greatest, because the negative aspects of his career did not follow him. People remember the achievements, the good side of his philosophy. There are few modern presidents who you can say that about.

Great doesn't mean I agreed with many of the things he did, said, or supported. But it does mean something.
posted by cell divide at 2:31 PM on June 5, 2004


I'm so glad I come to MetaFilter or I would never have known about this.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:33 PM on June 5, 2004


Nancy recently came out strongly in favor of stem cell research. Hopefully this event will push that issue back into the spotlight.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:34 PM on June 5, 2004


Alzheimers is an easy way to go. You're the last one to figure it out.
Its especially tough on those around you though.
posted by Fupped Duck at 2:34 PM on June 5, 2004


CNN just said that he's going to lie in state in the Senate building--how weird (and Lenin-esque). They didn't do that for Nixon.
posted by amberglow at 2:35 PM on June 5, 2004


From this liberal atheist welfare-statist perspective, I will miss him. He's the president I grew up with, and his image is a crucial part of my history. I was in preschool when he was sworn in and in middle school when he left. As someone who watched way too much TV in formative years, he was a very powerful figure in my life.

I disagree with almost every domestic and foreign policy he or his staff promulgated. But I always liked him personally, and won't be grave-pissing anytime soon.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:36 PM on June 5, 2004


Looks like Scripps can finally use this special feature...
posted by andrewraff at 2:37 PM on June 5, 2004


On preview: Put a sock in it, Etherial. This one is important. There's much to talk about. Let it slide.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:38 PM on June 5, 2004


Alzheimer's is horrifying, as much for the family as for the immediate victim. I found Nancy's recent statement that the disease had "taken him to a distant place where I can no longer reach him" very sad. I hope at least that this will give a boost to the stem cell research for a cure, which Nancy supports.
posted by homunculus at 2:39 PM on June 5, 2004


I was 8 years old when he left office, and I don't remember much of him.

Apperantly, he was quite the tool
posted by delmoi at 2:43 PM on June 5, 2004


ascullion, I used the term "Breaking History" to differenciate it from "Breaking News" because of its long-term influence.

The only real influence will be short term, in that twenty-four hours a day we'll be subjected to his deification on news television for the next week or two. They're already talking about how this will overshadow the 60th anniversary of D-Day tomorrow.

I never cared for the man or his politics either, just figured that we could show some class here, that's all.

Fair enough, but it's hard to keep quiet when you have people piping up about how we'll all miss him because he, if nothing else, contributed to pop culture. But you are right, on some level, in that I should probably shut up. So I will. My apologies if I offended any Reagan fans.
posted by The God Complex at 2:43 PM on June 5, 2004


well, it's friendlier in here than when Phish announced retirement, that's for sure

"If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all." -- Ronald Reagan.
posted by muckster at 2:44 PM on June 5, 2004


long wolf -

Im with you. I did not like the man. I was trying to think of a way to put some sort of decency to his death; maybe a donation to an AIDS charity would be an appropriate way, since we all know his history concerning that.
posted by fillsthepews at 2:44 PM on June 5, 2004


I was 8 years old when he left office, and I don't remember much of him.

Thank you, I'm gonna go watch Matlock with Abe Simpson, now, if you don't mind.
posted by jonmc at 2:46 PM on June 5, 2004


His passing does make me sentimental on one level. I grew up in Korea during the late '70s and early '80s, and while I was vaguely aware of Carter (I was too young), Reagan was THE President of "meegook".

So I associate Reagan with the time when I thought there wasn't a single thing wrong with the USA - when, to a nine-year old Korean boy, it was a huge, strong, righteous country that once fought for us and would do so again if need be.

Also, it's where all the good candy came from. Not the best toys - those came from Japan.
posted by shortfuse at 2:47 PM on June 5, 2004


They're already talking about how this will overshadow the 60th anniversary of D-Day tomorrow.

Oh, ick -- it probably will as well. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers dying in World War II are way more important than some old 'merkin president kicking the bucket... I hope news outlets realise that.
posted by reklaw at 2:48 PM on June 5, 2004


God Bless his soul.

I always respected the way he helped bring America out of its 70's doldrums. The country was down on itself, practically wallowing in self pity, and Ronald Reagan played the ultimate cheerleader helping to pull us up out of our funk. He said America is great, can be great again and people believed him. He connected with people, even those with different political philosophies. His political positions were mostly opposite of mine, but I still think of him as a successful president. I do not want a robot with my same political leaning, I want a leader with my same political leaning, failing that I will take a leader with an alternative political leaning. That was Ronald Reagan to me.
posted by caddis at 2:48 PM on June 5, 2004


Here I thought the best that could be said of him

Well he was the best Republican to hold the high office in the last 30-40 years. I guess that's not saying too much, but I think that's why the Right holds him in such high esteem -- they have had so little to choose from in recent memory. We could have done worse with someone else during his tenure.

Goodbye Mr. President. You will undoubtedly be remembered (and remembered, and remembered, and remembered, etc, etc, ad infinitum).
posted by moonbiter at 2:50 PM on June 5, 2004


I'm predicting there will be calls for GWB to "Win one for the Gipper" at the Republican National Convention.

Tragically, there were rarely any calls from his most devout to "sponsor stem cell research for the Gipper." Something that, unlike all the naming and proposals for new coins, his family actually wanted.

I was nine when Reagan stopped being president, so I'm the last to weigh in on how his policies affected me personally and directly. And clearly, I know nothing of the actual person to judge on character. He seemed always like a guy who was inherrently decent despite having a set of values that I vehemently opposed.

The irony I have always found with Reagan was that in that sense, I don't think I would have really hated the man himself, but I have developed an abject hatred of what I can only describe as his "followers."

Reagan stopped being a person and became an ideology twenty years ago. Looking back on how hard-right Reaganites refused to listen to Nancy's calls for stem cell support, I think it's clear a lot of the tears for Reagan are meaningless... they could care less about the man, and they still have his gospel to, like all religions, delve further and further from what its founder was really like as the years go by.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:50 PM on June 5, 2004


maybe a donation to an AIDS charity would be an appropriate way, since we all know his history concerning that.

Excellent idea!
posted by amberglow at 2:51 PM on June 5, 2004


Oh, ick -- it probably will as well. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers dying in World War II are way more important than some old 'merkin president kicking the bucket... I hope news outlets realise that.

Bush II won't. CBS had some reporter doing a bit and he was going on about how Bush was out there to do something with the French tomorrow at Normandy and how it'll still go through but will be overshadowed by this. This was, I believe, after he talked to staff of Bush's team, but I can't remember exactly. Anyway, I swear I'm finished now. I'm washing my hands of this thread and going to eat dinner.

PS - I think I was six going on seven, jon ;)

posted by The God Complex at 2:51 PM on June 5, 2004


Reagan and the 80s and AIDS are inseparable to me. The optimism he brought to a country disillusioned made me feel very hopeful as a young teenager when he first took office.

By the time he left said office I had changed, as had the gay world around me that I so had recently entered. After being forsaken by family and childhood friends, I had already lost about 25 close, new, friends to diseases far worse and far stranger than Alzheimer's, and would lose close to 100 more by 1994. No one cared. The optimism was still there in the general public; it wasn't meant for people like me. All we could see was horrible deaths and irrational fear, and worse, utter apathy from many of the people we looked up to in our youth.

That's Reagan's legacy, to me. His inaction and silence, his failure as a leader, led to great suffering, great death. I yet cannot imagine anyone gleefully celebrating the man's own suffering in the last ten years of his life. To do so is to forget--or possibly to have never learned--the consequences of the decisions made during Reagan's time.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:51 PM on June 5, 2004


CNN just said that he's going to lie in state in the Senate building--how weird (and Lenin-esque).

They should totally do the whole Lenin thing with him. Or go on tour, like Eva Peron!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:51 PM on June 5, 2004


Well he was the best Republican to hold the high office in the last 30-40 years.

Well, that's mainly because he was basically a charming front man for a corrupt administration. And look at his competition: Nixon (most corrupt, malevolent president of the century); Ford (the lost sixth stooge); Bush 1 and Bush 2.

The last halfway-decent Republican president would have to be Eisenhower, I guess.
posted by jonmc at 2:53 PM on June 5, 2004


Hmm. It'll give the U.S. press the chance to finally print their pre-written obits and coo about this man's magnificence (and I do feel for Nancy, having lost my grandfather to Alzheimer's).

This should completely eclipse D-day, which will serve as a good example of why we might have a problem with international opinion elsewhere on the planet. Self-absorbed? Moi?
posted by Busithoth at 2:54 PM on June 5, 2004


I knew I should have looked that up: Eva's posthumous travels were not a publicity tour.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:55 PM on June 5, 2004


I was trying to think of a way to put some sort of decency to his death; maybe a donation to an AIDS charity would be an appropriate way, since we all know his history concerning that.

Definitely. I did, in fact, come here to piss on the bastard's grave... thanks for making me channel that rage into something more productive.

Oops, I guess a little bit of gravepiss did leak out after all.
posted by stonerose at 2:57 PM on June 5, 2004


I feel the same way, Wolf, and will always treasure the memories of all the friends I buried back then...Reagan's death is absolutely meaningless compared to theirs.
posted by amberglow at 2:57 PM on June 5, 2004


It's far too early still to really evaluate his legacy. Especially when we are in times that emphasize partisanship.

For example, I hated the guy. But the leftist me of 100 years from now might not know or particularly care about him any more than I care about Taft or Coolidge.

I'm sure they were right bastards too, though.

(being philisophical partially because I lost a cat today and all death is very very sad)
posted by hackly_fracture at 3:02 PM on June 5, 2004


I have to say I'm really surprised by the reactions to this. I cna't help suspecting that if Margaret Thatcher died there would be a large number of British people actually celebrating - possibly in the streets. That might be a rather tasteless reaction, but less surprising to me than a uniform respectfulness even from those who disagreed strongly with his politics.
posted by barbelith at 3:03 PM on June 5, 2004


That old SNL skit with Phil Hartman as Reagan just popped into my head--where he was all genial and dopey and nodding when visitors came into the oval office to take pics or whatever, and transformed into a smart, tough leader as soon as they left the room. and what a field day we would have had with him if this had existed back then
posted by amberglow at 3:03 PM on June 5, 2004


Ironic that the google ads in this thread relate to gay marriage.
posted by Wet Spot at 3:04 PM on June 5, 2004


also, amberglow, I think being quick to name stuff for him is precisely because those who really loved him know, in their heart of hearts, that history might not care.
posted by hackly_fracture at 3:07 PM on June 5, 2004


As a liberal socialist agnostic with vivid teenage memories of his charisma and destructive arrogance in matters of AIDS and homelessness (and with a likelihood to get Alzheimer's in about four decades), I'm torn between the good riddance and the RIP.

It would be totally awesome if Nancy now devoted more of her time publicly campaigning for stem-cell research, in opposition to the Bush administration's policies.

I also have somehow gotten the video for Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Two Tribes" playing around in my head.
posted by lisa g at 3:07 PM on June 5, 2004


"AH-HAHA! He's Dead! It's Dead! The Republican Beast is fucking dead! ... that rampaging Republican fucking elephant beast: finally brought to it's knees! ... Yes, you're dead, you fucker, you fuck! You fuck! You're dead! Dead! Dead! ... Now do you feel it? ... Back to your hole, you demon fuck! ... FINALLY!" [mp3]
posted by scarabic at 3:07 PM on June 5, 2004


I was struck by this letter Ronald Reagan sent his son Michael on the eve of Michael's wedding in 1971. (This is excerpted from the recent book "Reagan: A Life in Letters."

Whatever your take on his politics, his words here do say a lot about him as a husband, father and man.
posted by Fofer at 3:08 PM on June 5, 2004


Perhaps if Reagan were still in office, or hadn't had his brain wiped clean by disease, barbelith. As it is, it seems awfully petty for this queen not to be respectful to a foe vanquished, as all foes are, by time and change and death.

lisa g, the video in my head is "Land of Confusion" by Genesis. With all those freaky puppets.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:09 PM on June 5, 2004


Wet spot, my Google ad offers to discover the underlying cause of yeast infections.
posted by pmurray63 at 3:11 PM on June 5, 2004


(oops, link to the book here.)
posted by Fofer at 3:12 PM on June 5, 2004


Saint Ronald:
Why must we pretend the 40th president was alert and engaged?
(a Slate thing from last year re: that miniseries)
posted by amberglow at 3:13 PM on June 5, 2004


Are Americans ready to handle such news? Perhaps it should only be broadcast on Cinemax.
posted by skallas at 3:13 PM on June 5, 2004


That's Reagan's legacy, to me. His inaction and silence, his failure as a leader, led to great suffering, great death.

I completely agree and am rather shocked at the praise he's getting in the thread. As a Canadian, my opinion might mean squat, but his inaction on AIDS is the defining thing about Reagan in my book.
posted by dobbs at 3:16 PM on June 5, 2004 [1 favorite]


Okay. We'll talk about it.

Good riddance.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:16 PM on June 5, 2004


For me he was always the GE Theater guy ("progress is our most important product" or something like that) By the time he got to be president the general disillusionment with politics was such that his being elected caused a number of people to just give up on the political process because it was seen as completely out of control. While this legacy of out of control is even stronger now at least some of us are now coming back to the process and hopefully will help saner elements take control of the government away from the Reagan legacy and their increasingly radical spawn.
posted by mss at 3:17 PM on June 5, 2004


And look at his competition: ...

That was precisely my point. The Right have almost no Oval Office paragons to look up to in recent memory, so many grasp onto Reagan like a life preserver. [The same could be said of Clinton and certain members of the Left, although it seems less noticable given all the heat and noise the Right make trying to tear him down. I'm sure were President Clinton to die tomorrow, there would be no end of celebration in some circles. The tepid put-downs of Reagan we have seen in this thread are mild.]
posted by moonbiter at 3:19 PM on June 5, 2004


Goodnight Mr. President.
posted by clavdivs at 3:20 PM on June 5, 2004


In the four years that I served as Secretary of the Treasury I never saw President Reagan alone and never discussed economic philosophy or fiscal and monetary policy with him one-on-one. From first day to last at Treasury, I was flying by the seat of my pants. The President never told me what he believed or what he wanted to accomplish in the field of economics. - Donald Regan

Therein lays the central problem of the Reagan presidency. Reagan's charisma got him elected, especially after the beat down we had experienced in the late 70's under Carter whom I (and believe it or not several Republicans I've met) would consider the best human being to hold the office in the past 50 years, bust who was incredibly unlucky and not the worlds greatest leader. The people who backed him knew that his charisma would win the election, but that there was a shortage of ideas, and his cabinet who if you can say nothing else about them were savvy political pros who went about filling their own rather malevelont agendas. Like I said before I was no fan of Reagan's policies, but I have more anger at Haig, Meese, Weinberger, Poindexter, Schultz etc. than Reagan himself.
posted by jonmc at 3:21 PM on June 5, 2004


I was 11 when he was elected, and I cried myself to sleep because I was convinced he was going to start WWIII that night. I felt silly the next morning, but in retrospect, that might have been better than what he did to the economy. Nonetheless, he was a charismatic leader. RIP.
posted by grateful at 3:21 PM on June 5, 2004


like the excerpt from the letter "There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps." and having dinner ready and having done the laundry and having nothing to do with the CDN or the homo neighbors. can't feel anything, frankly. He's about as much of a mofo as Thatcher.

wolfdaddy, my Land is a Ball of Confusion.
posted by grimley at 3:23 PM on June 5, 2004


Oops, I guess a little bit of gravepiss did leak out after all.

Oh my God, that killed me! Gravepiss . . . I'm certainly that'll end up in the OED someday. For me, that term will forever be linked with Ronald Reagan. Thanks stonerose!

Anyway, when I heard the news, I was pissed. The guy has essentially been dead for the last 15 years or so. That he's actually died right now doesn't bode well for those of us looking to oust the current administration. I can see them now: Valerie Plame? Iraq? Prisoner Abuse? Sealed energy task force records?

Hey - look over there! Reagan's dead. Let us all take a few months of silence and not answer these questions.
posted by aladfar at 3:24 PM on June 5, 2004


CNN's obit doens't seem to have changed in three years: CNN vs TSG.
posted by originalname37 at 3:35 PM on June 5, 2004


66 Things to Think About When Flying Into Reagan National Airport by David Corn

The firing of the air traffic controllers, winnable nuclear war, recallable nuclear missiles, trees that cause pollution, Elliott Abrams lying to Congress, ketchup as a vegetable, colluding with Guatemalan thugs, pardons for F.B.I. lawbreakers, voodoo economics, budget deficits, toasts to Ferdinand Marcos, public housing cutbacks, redbaiting the nuclear freeze movement, James Watt.

Getting cozy with Argentine fascist generals, tax credits for segregated schools, disinformation campaigns, "homeless by choice," Manuel Noriega, falling wages, the HUD scandal, air raids on Libya, "constructive engagement" with apartheid South Africa, United States Information Agency blacklists of liberal speakers, attacks on OSHA and workplace safety, the invasion of Grenada, assassination manuals, Nancy's astrologer.

Drug tests, lie detector tests, Fawn Hall, female appointees (8 percent), mining harbors, the S&L scandal, 239 dead U.S. troops in Beirut, Al Haig "in control," silence on AIDS, food-stamp reductions, Debategate, White House shredding, Jonas Savimbi, tax cuts for the rich, "mistakes were made."

Michael Deaver's conviction for influence peddling, Lyn Nofziger's conviction for influence peddling, Caspar Weinberger's five-count indictment, Ed Meese ("You don't have many suspects who are innocent of a crime"), Donald Regan (women don't "understand throw-weights"), education cuts, massacres in El Salvador.

"The bombing begins in five minutes," $640 Pentagon toilet seats, African- American judicial appointees (1.9 percent), Reader's Digest, C.I.A.-sponsored car-bombing in Lebanon (more than eighty civilians killed), 200 officials accused of wrongdoing, William Casey, Iran/contra.

"Facts are stupid things," three-by-five cards, the MX missile, Bitburg, S.D.I., Robert Bork, naps, Teflon.
posted by skallas at 3:36 PM on June 5, 2004


hackly_fracture, I'm sorry to hear about your cat.
posted by chicobangs at 3:36 PM on June 5, 2004


I'm sure we'll all miss him

Oh for chrissake. No we won't, and it's pretty presumptuous to say so. And wendell, it's even more presumptuous to post this blatant newsfilter (for whatever personal reasons) and then have the nerve to say "MeFites are advised to please avoid piling onto the subject or the messenger." If you didn't want to see bad things said about one of the worst presidents of modern times, you shouldn't have posted it.

I have to say I'm really surprised by the reactions to this. I cna't help suspecting that if Margaret Thatcher died there would be a large number of British people actually celebrating - possibly in the streets. That might be a rather tasteless reaction, but less surprising to me than a uniform respectfulness even from those who disagreed strongly with his politics.

Me too, barbelith. I knew the '60s were really, truly, definitively over when the Hinckley news came over the radio and my pal and I hooted and high-fived... and everyone else in the bookstore we were working in looked at us as though we were emissaries of Satan (just as many of you are looking at this comment at this very moment -- I can feel your appalled glares singing my typing fingers). Uh-oh. America had gone back to politician-worship. Vietnam: forgotten. Watergate: over. It's morning in America! That was more than twenty years ago, and we're still suckers for fake-avuncular front men for the most regressive, corrupt, authoritarian forces in the country -- the very ones who have now taken off the gloves, dropped the uncle mask, and are beating the bejeezus out of us. But don't let that bother you: weep for poor old Uncle Ronnie!

I'm sorry, but asking for sympathy for Ronald Reagan from somebody who remembers his assault on California before he ever got the chance to do the same to the whole country is a bridge too far. You want sad commentary from me, post an obit for Steve Lacy, the great saxophonist who died yesterday at 69 (69!). He gave the world wonderful music for half a century and never put anyone in jail or invaded another country. Politicians don't deserve it.
posted by languagehat at 3:37 PM on June 5, 2004


Reagan was remarkably charismatic, and was awfully great at the ceremonial duties - Clinton comes close in that department among more recent presidents, mind you, but he clearly took his cues from Ronnie. His dying is clearly a big story, and should receive big coverage. I think he clearly played a more than slightly significant role in putting us on the path to the fairly nasty place we're at today, though. He did much to bring the nation more optimism and all that, but he simultaneously did plenty of damage, damage of the sort it's going to take us a lot time to overcome.
posted by raysmj at 3:42 PM on June 5, 2004


CNN's obit doens't seem to have changed in three years

It's not like he's done much recently.
posted by tapeguy at 3:42 PM on June 5, 2004


Refusing to give in to hero worship and giving someone a high-five over a person's shooting are two very different things.
posted by raysmj at 3:46 PM on June 5, 2004


Good point tapeguy, but I thought maybe they'd update the design or something.
posted by originalname37 at 3:47 PM on June 5, 2004


that list is missing: "welfare queens in cadillacs", quoting WW2 movie lines and thinking that they were actually spoken in real life...
posted by amberglow at 3:48 PM on June 5, 2004


Thatcher will be soon.

2004 Gravepiss World Tour
posted by fullerine at 3:48 PM on June 5, 2004


That might be a rather tasteless reaction, but less surprising to me than a uniform respectfulness even from those who disagreed strongly with his politics.

That's because there is mostly lefties here. I'm sure if Clinton died tomorrow all Republicans would be dancing in the streets. Respect is something the depends on adherence to dogma for Republicans.

The world would have been a better place if Reagan had never been president and that's all I'm going to say about his life or his death.
posted by Bag Man at 3:50 PM on June 5, 2004


amberglow: "welfare queens in cadillacs"

Thanks for reminding me. As a once southside Chicagoan that was just plain race and class baiting. Ah, the mentality of the conservative.
posted by skallas at 3:51 PM on June 5, 2004


I, for one, will not miss Reagan. He set back some social programs that have never recovered. He was surpassed in his incompetence and scandal only by GW.
posted by docjohn at 3:51 PM on June 5, 2004


i could care less if clinton died tomorrow, and don't equate him with "lefties," bagman.
posted by grimley at 3:52 PM on June 5, 2004


He was surpassed in his incompetence and scandal only by GW.

That's just it--compared to what we have now, he doesn't look as bad.
posted by amberglow at 3:54 PM on June 5, 2004


I would like to emulate the Gipper's compassion, but I find I can't.

I would like to greet the news of his death with the same compassion he greeted the death of AIDS victims and innocent Latin Americans gunned down by paramilary death squads: cold indifference followed by a jovial laugh at some anti-Semitic, or anti-Catholic Irish joke.

But try as I might, I just can't great the death of another human being with indifference.

Ronald Reagan was a cold-hearted ideologue given to fits of magnanimous sentimentality. If kitsch could be applied to people, it would suit Reagan well.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:54 PM on June 5, 2004


I knew the '60s were really, truly, definitively over when the Hinckley news came over the radio and my pal and I hooted and high-fived... and everyone else in the bookstore we were working in looked at us as though we were emissaries of Satan (just as many of you are looking at this comment at this very moment -- I can feel your appalled glares singing my typing fingers)

What Ray said on that score, languagehat. And the sixties were over long before that: Altamont, Manson, Patty Hearst, Jonestown, crime at it's all time peak in 1974, Hostages in Iran, etc. The forces that put Reagan into office had been brewing for awhile. The right saw problems and malaise and rode simplistic answers to them right into the white house. And the Democrats need to share some blame, if only for dropping the ball.

Of course I say this in retrospect since I was way big into action figures and cartoons in 1980. When Reagan first got elected all us kids noticed was that the peanut jokes had changed to jelly bean jokes out on the playground.
posted by jonmc at 3:55 PM on June 5, 2004


Languagehat, some humor if only to lighten your spirits the fuck up. I guess the fifties and forties don't count huh. Communism and our reaction to it almost destroyed this planet about 6 times (that i can recall) and good old T-10 broke the back of the communists. Now lets here some sob stories for those poor russians and are you still interested in the Anthrax killer?, still think that we have turned "totalitarian"?
You live in America, start your own investigation instead of whining. But I suspect you were just trolling, how human of you. jesbus and why even mention Lacy in a political obit page, for effect? to juxtapose the impact of the work done. if you knew anything, you would know that some russians could not get western music and one of the best russian spies we had requested music in his goodie bag. Led Zeppelin, Beatles, some jazz. Why? because these people wanted it and could not get it.
posted by clavdivs at 3:55 PM on June 5, 2004


Opps-- 'greet the death.' Damn Republican keyboard....
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:56 PM on June 5, 2004


My favourite Regean moment is from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. He and Bobby Shaftoe. Classic. Fiction, but classic.
posted by juiceCake at 3:58 PM on June 5, 2004


totalworkofart (gesamtkunstwerk, to our german impaired friends), you must have a hard time considering that 6342 US of A citizens die each day.
posted by grimley at 4:00 PM on June 5, 2004


I too am saddened to hear of the death of hackly_fracture's cat.
posted by nicwolff at 4:04 PM on June 5, 2004


I hated the man in the 1980's - protested against him in every way I knew how. That being said, he was an iconic, larger than life figure. Neither of the current political candidates have an ounce of his charisma or ability to just talk. Yes, he might have been the original "Great Satan," but thinking about him makes Bush and Kerry look so very small, mundane and awful.

"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:05 PM on June 5, 2004


oh, "just say no" is missing from that list too.
posted by amberglow at 4:05 PM on June 5, 2004


Now that we have excellent hindsight, honed over 24 years, it's terrific that we can all see how bad the Reagan admin's AIDS policy was.
posted by shoos at 4:06 PM on June 5, 2004


We knew it at the time, shoos, and marched on the FDA and White House. It's accepted truth that his inaction and dismissal of the growing epidemic cost many many lives.
posted by amberglow at 4:07 PM on June 5, 2004


one of the best russian spies we had requested music in his goodie bag. Led Zeppelin, Beatles

They were British by the way, don't think an American president, not even one as heroic as your dear old Ronnie, can take the credit for those two mate.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled denial
posted by fullerine at 4:08 PM on June 5, 2004


1984, Regan: 525, Mondale: 13
posted by tomplus2 at 4:10 PM on June 5, 2004


...at the time...

Please be more vague.
posted by shoos at 4:12 PM on June 5, 2004


scarabic: should have left that one for Bush :)
posted by kaemaril at 4:13 PM on June 5, 2004


shoos: read any account of AIDS in the 80s, or this, for just a small start. Listen to those of us that were adults "at the time," losing whole crowds of friends.
posted by amberglow at 4:19 PM on June 5, 2004


Looks like Regan can now take his place as our longest living dead president.
posted by piskycritter at 4:19 PM on June 5, 2004


"trying to scale back government "

wwwwwhat?
posted by aiq at 4:21 PM on June 5, 2004


Old Mother Reagan went to heaven
But at the pearly gates
She was stopped!
posted by Jimbob at 4:24 PM on June 5, 2004


shoos, how can I put this delicately? You have precious little knowledge of history, and should probably take the advice of others to educate yourself before commenting again. If you need your history on DVD, try a little Tony Kushner.

That's it for me. I'm all misty just thinking of Kissinger, standing over Reagan's grave, pouring a 40oz'er of Colt '45 in honor of his fallen homie.
posted by stonerose at 4:27 PM on June 5, 2004


Dim spirit chased down
A long, slanting corridor
Bedtime for Bonzo
posted by Hildago at 4:31 PM on June 5, 2004


I'll always remember him as the smarmy Navy lieutenant in Cryptonomicon. Either that or SAG president/eager and willing witness during the McCarthy era.
posted by tetsuo at 4:32 PM on June 5, 2004


I always liked Regan when he was President back in the 80s. Sure I now know that I disagree with what he was doing, but in many ways he was a cool guy for President, someone who people could like.

Now that he is gone I am filled with dread as to how the Republican's are going to trump up Regan as a great hero. Regan didn't make me proud to be an American (i was too worried that we'd all die in WWIII). What made me proud to be an American was Bill Clinton's presidency. He worked hard for peace in the Middle East and in North Ireland. He used the power of the USA to try to bring people together to understand each other and that is what the power of the USA should be used for.

Bill Clinton also helped me find a job just a few months after I was married. I sent Clinton an email saying that I could not find a job and two weeks later I had a phone call from an agency saying that they would be able to help. Within four days I was working. I'd like to see Dubya put that kind of care into the American People instead of shipping our jobs overseas and shipping our children off to Iraq to die.

I'll remember Regan as a pretty cool guy, and the man that taught me that actions speak louder than words. If anything, he taught me to watch the nice guys because they tend to be the biggest assholes.
posted by DragonBoy at 4:33 PM on June 5, 2004


...going to lie in state in the Senate building

This isn't serious, is it? Because that's waaaaay too much like making a godhead out of the guy.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:35 PM on June 5, 2004


Ronald Reagan was far, far from our greatest president. In fact, it's a really astonishing insult to put him in the same company as T.R., F.D.R., Jefferson, Wilson, Lincoln -- even Hoover.

And the "great things happened in his presidency" argument is just a load of crap. By that measure, Taft, Johnson (Andrew or Lyndon) and Hoover, off the top of my head, are more deserving.

Ronald Reagan was an empty suit under a bad haircut. He was barely there when he was there. Let's bid him good riddance and be done with it.

Think about this, folks: He spectacularly failed to accomplish most of the things he's honored for, and yet, people lionize him as the Great Man. Government ballooned in size on his watch; our educational system began its long, slow slide into mediocrity; we set forth on the path to a culture of greedism that's progressively turning America into a nation of patsies.

And the whole "won the cold war" can of crap? Folks, everyone knows what won the cold war: Levis. Coca Cola. Madonna. That's what won the Cold War (along with a little -- OK, a lot of -- help from good old fashioned Soviet Incompetence.)

Yeh, I'm sorry he had to suffer from Alzheimers, yada yada, but why the hell should we care more about him than all the many thousands of other people who have lost the ability to rely on their memories? At least they weren't losing it while they had their finger on the button and the bill-signing pen in their hand.
posted by lodurr at 4:37 PM on June 5, 2004


Good Riddance. They'll still be fixing his "legacy" when I die.
posted by jmgorman at 4:37 PM on June 5, 2004


One lies in state, another lies in his statements.

The circle of political life goes on.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:39 PM on June 5, 2004


stonerose, welcome to the 20/20 club.
posted by shoos at 4:40 PM on June 5, 2004


ARRRRGH! His name is Reagan.

For the gravepissers, consider: The Reagan years featured a corrupt and greedy administration headed by a genuinely nice and probably personally innocent man.

The Bush years feature a corrupt and greedy administration headed by a shallow asshole who not only is ignorant, but praises ignorance.

jonmc is right; the neocons who worked for Reagan deserve the blame for the 80s, not Reagan himself. Seeing Bob Novak wax poetic on CNN tonight made me wretch.
posted by PrinceValium at 4:41 PM on June 5, 2004


I can't believe anyone hasn't said it yet... Castro outlives another American president.

As far what may be approriate to say or write in marking Reagan's death, all I have to add is that I hated him when he was alive, and I'm not going to lie and say that I'll mourn for him now, or even that I'll feel the slightest twinge of emotion for the usual reminders of my own and everyone else's mortality. I won't be a hypocrite. Reagan was 93. His death is no tragedy. His life, on the other hand, and his hand in the political history of the 80s (El Salvador, Iran/Contra, AIDS, etc., etc.)-- well, history will judge him.

I'd like to add my sympathies to those expressing their condolences over the death of hackly_fracture's cat. A friend of mine also found one of her fish, named Zimmy, belly up in his tank this morning.
posted by jokeefe at 4:43 PM on June 5, 2004


I want to see the photo of all the living U.S. Presidents when they attend his funeral.

Ford / Carter / Bush I / Clinton / Bush II

Can you imagine how uncomfortable they must all be together like that?
posted by stevis at 4:54 PM on June 5, 2004


Anything that moves Thatcher up the list is ok by me.

Sorry to hear about the cat and the fish.
posted by squealy at 4:54 PM on June 5, 2004


Codolences, hackley_fracture.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:54 PM on June 5, 2004


stevis, here's the scene at Nixon's funeral.
posted by PrinceValium at 5:00 PM on June 5, 2004


I'm disgusted and wholly unsurprised by the Metafilter Left's reaction.

If Reagan hadn't had the courage to stand behind Paul Volcker (while the American Left pissed and moaned that Volcker's rate hikes were killing the economy), we'd all be fucked.

It was known and published that AIDS was sexually transmitted as early as 1982, before even 1,000 people had died from the disease. Reagan didn't give AIDS to the gay community. They gave it to one another. What did you want from the guy?

The notion that FDR was a greater president than Reagan is absolutely preposterous, by the way. Reagan fixed the economy. FDR prolonged the Great Depression.
posted by trharlan at 5:00 PM on June 5, 2004


I was 13 when he was first elected and can recall the buzz about him. Everyone was so glad to get rid of Carter and the 70's in general it seemed.

Yet I barely recall or more specifically, FEEL, anything about Reagan the day to day president or man... except for all the soundbitey things/events/history the media is now repeating. Some of the people's names I have read in MeFi posts ( James Watt, Ollie North ) brought back memories of long ago sound bites.

I can't bear to go near the televisions screen, for the media cretins are all over this now, in 2nd gear, calling him the great comforter and lord knows may I have the luck to not have to hear anything spoken by Peggy Noonan -- for the next two weeks!

Of course - I immediately wonder - is it Alzheimer's or dementia?
posted by RubberHen at 5:05 PM on June 5, 2004


your own timeline link has "Ronald Reagan apologizes for his neglect of the epidemic while he was president (US)" under 1990.
posted by amberglow at 5:09 PM on June 5, 2004


Reagan didn't give AIDS to the gay community. They gave it to one another. What did you want from the guy?

What we wanted... what we needed... what we were entitled to was some of Reagan's much touted "humanity." We wanted a robust, rational, public health-oriented reaction from the person who is charged with looking after the best interests of his people... all of his people.

You, trharlan, are a pathetic wretch.
posted by stonerose at 5:12 PM on June 5, 2004


Why is that germane, amberglow?
posted by trharlan at 5:13 PM on June 5, 2004


Oh, look, trharlan's full of shit:

The etiology of the underlying immune deficiencies seen in AIDS cases is unknown. One hypothesis consistent with current observations is that a transmissible agent may be involved. If so, transmission of the agent would appear most commonly to require intimate, direct contact involving mucosal surfaces, such as sexual contact among homosexual males... - the first sentences(!) of trharlan's first link

Yes, trharlan, people give each other diseases; they are not infected by the President. If he gives a shit, though, he can bring attention to a growing epidemic, and help slow or halt it. So, what did we want? How about for him to mention AIDS in public, which only took five more years - as trharlan's second link points out.
posted by nicwolff at 5:14 PM on June 5, 2004


Yo: "Por cierto, Ronald Reagan se murió hoy"

Mujer: ¿Cómo? Bueno, un cabrón menos en el mundo.

Yo: Ya.... ¿Qué quieres cenar?


Translation:

Me: "By the way, Ronald Reagan died today"

Wife: "Huh? Oh. Well, one less bastard in the world."

Me: "Yeah....What do you want for dinner?"


Tonight I raise a glass in homage to the 1 million plus Iranian, Iraqi and Nicaraguense dead. or rather, killed during the 1980s thanks to the Reagan administrations.

Off to hell with you, Mister President.
posted by sic at 5:15 PM on June 5, 2004


I'm disgusted and wholly unsurprised by the Metafilter Left's reaction.

And I'm disgusted and wholly unsurprised by the Right's.

The only way it makes sense to call Reagan a "great president" is by the measure of great changes happening on his watch. By that measure, he's one lonely camper in a big crowd -- that includes a lot of men with more charisma and real leadership ability than he could have mustered with the best screenwriter and director in hollywood.

I was two years too young to vote for Reagan in '80, but I probably would have if I'd been old enough. It didn't take long to dawn on me that he was a dangerously vacuous man -- a front -- a teflon-shield for a crew of flacks and movers. Let's remember him for the empty suit that he was.
posted by lodurr at 5:15 PM on June 5, 2004


Of course - I immediately wonder - is it Alzheimer's or dementia?

Or deafness, RubberHen - if anyone quotes Peggy Noonan at you, point them at her description of her first encounter with President Reagan in the White House in What I Saw at the Revolution:

I was surprised how big his hearing aid is, or rather how aware of it you are when you're with him. There was a quizzical look on his face as he listened to what was going on around him, and I thought, He doesn't really hear very much, and his appearance of constant good humor is connected to his deafness. He misses much of what is not said directly to him, but he assumes it is good.
 
posted by nicwolff at 5:22 PM on June 5, 2004


Epitaph:

"Where's the rest of me?"
posted by dash_slot- at 5:23 PM on June 5, 2004


Is there anything even remotely political that can be brought up here, and that doesn't bring out the worst in everyone?

I'm definitely not on Reagan's end of the political spectrum, but I still don't get the whole "steely-eyed liberal" stance, where empathy is all of a sudden a weakness. Makes no sense at all--why pick the passing of your "greatest enemy" to adopt all the cold-hearted, cynical qualities you apparently despise him for?
posted by LairBob at 5:27 PM on June 5, 2004


One small point - Reagan died at 1 p.m. PDT of pneumonia complicated by Alzheimer's disease, said Joanne Drake, who represents the family. Alz ain't fatal.

I was in a Youth hostel in Am'dam, doing my european tour, when our group heard that RR had been elected President. The fear was palpable, and the yanks in the building were the most scared, I seem to recall.

Soundtrack to this thread: Frankie, 2 Tribes. That made me pay close attention to what was going on, fer sure.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:38 PM on June 5, 2004


His dying is clearly a big story, and should receive big coverage

Yes, because God knows the most important thing to air in an election season is a long chain of obituaries that have been sitting, already-written, for several years already.
posted by scarabic at 5:40 PM on June 5, 2004


Reagan didn't give AIDS to the gay community. They gave it to one another. What did you want from the guy?

Leadership. Duh.

The president needs to be wayyy ahead of all of us when it comes to dealing with a public health crisis like this one, not wayyy behind, ignoring the situation and evading personal culpability. Our standards for leadership are so incredibly low in this country that it makes me ill. And apologists for poor leaders are lower than the shitstains on those leaders' shoes.

You can sit and exonerate him all you want because he didn't invent and propagate the virus, but let's be realistic. Hsi job isn't to *not* invent public health crises. His job is to lead the country, and manage disasters. When you become the president of the United States, you no longer have the luxury of escaping responsibility for what goes down on your watch. Only radical psychos accuse Reagan of inventing the virus, but very rational people on both sides have very legitimate criticisms of his *leadership* in public health policy at that time.

So STFU stop fucking apologizing for him.
posted by scarabic at 5:48 PM on June 5, 2004


The notion that FDR was a greater president than Reagan is absolutely preposterous, by the way. Reagan fixed the economy. FDR prolonged the Great Depression.

Thank you for outing yourself as a complete moron, tharlan. I used to spend time reading your comments. Goodbye!
posted by scarabic at 5:56 PM on June 5, 2004


I'm thrilled Reagan is dead. I'm not thrilled that I'll have to hear about it incessantly for the next week. While the fucker was alive the right-wing managed to get monuments made and stuff named after him, including the DC airport. I fear for the deification that must surely happen now. And so, in defense of it, I say, fuck you Reagan and the horse you rode in on. I have at least the satisfaction that he has probably been shitting his pants like a baby for years and the people closest to him are thrilled that he's died. Welcome to the club.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:16 PM on June 5, 2004


Thank you for outing yourself as a complete moron, tharlan. I used to spend time reading your comments. Goodbye!

If you think my assertion that FDR prolonged the depression makes me a moron, I'd suggest writing the Nobel Committee, and asking them to rescind the awards that they presented to James Buchanan and Milton Friedman. It wouldn't surprise me if F.A. Hayek felt the same way.

Further, you'd be tarring Hoover's Thomas Sowell with the same brush. You may disagree with my position (does it go against what your seventh-grade Civics teacher taught you?), but it's hardly "moron(ic)".

Whether you choose to read my posts is your decision entirely-- I'm sure neither of us will be losing sleep over it.
posted by trharlan at 6:30 PM on June 5, 2004


Friedman didn't get his Nobel for that. There's lots of Nobel prize winners who have idiotic ideas. I get so tired of hearing Friedman defended on this basis. When you namedrop Friedman and Hayek indiscriminately, you've pretty much outed yourself as someone not to be taken seriously on economics. You're a political ideologue, not an economics literate. Go back to reading Jude Wanniski's silliness whence you came.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:40 PM on June 5, 2004


Vietnam and OPEC broke the economy; Carter appointed Volcker; Volcker fixed it; Reagan just renominated him. Here's how Volcker described Reagan's "courage" in a 2000 interview:

INTERVIEWER: What was President Reagan's stance toward what you were doing?

PAUL VOLCKER: I saw him from time to time, but I was not a close intimate of President Reagan's. His entourage in the White House, or certainly in the Treasury, were very critical at times. They were... kind of a funny mixture. They had monetarist doctrine, supply-side doctrine, libertarian doctrine all mixed together, so some of it wasn't terribly coherent, which helped me a bit. There was unhappiness because there was a big recession early in his term, and things were not really stable. But he himself never criticized me directly in public, certainly. I always had the feeling that he was urged to do so. [It seemed] that every time he had a press conference somebody was urging him to take a slap at the Federal Reserve, but he never did, and I don't know why. I speculate that he was not a highly sophisticated economist. I'm sure he didn't understand all the arguments his own people were giving him. He did understand that he didn't like inflation, and I think he had some kind of a feeling that the Federal Reserve was trying to deal with inflation.

 
posted by nicwolff at 6:47 PM on June 5, 2004


Reagan pressured Volcker to lower rates. This is well known. He was unhappy with him and his renomination was uncertain. It was only Wall Street's enthusiasm for Volcker that kept the Reagan admin at bay.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:54 PM on June 5, 2004


The office door was closed. Sitting in his chair, Mannie scoured the smoke filled room as his manicured fingertips unmasked a zippo from his left pocket. The man in the black suit was watching.

Mannie was one of the old republican spooks, the ones that never get mentioned, even in a Tom Clancy novel. His once long beautiful black hair now rested on his head like a dying flower, its buds too far gone to be of any appreciation. Mannie was self conscious of this, and when the thoughts of the last time he met the man in the black suit passed his mind, like a side tracked locomotive burning through the passages of his psyche, we winced.

Mannie lit a camel.

The man in the suit approached Mannie from behind. Mannies sixth sense caused him to freeze. Slowly, he turned around to meet his old partner. "Lebowski." whispered Mannie through the thick smoke of the dark room at the Windy Lanes Motel. "I know the score. Did Team 183 know the news yet?" The black figure in the room stood silently for a moment, then slowly walked to the other side of the mohogany desk.

"Mannie, I thought you knew better. Team 183 knew all along." "What the fuck do you mean, all along? This is a spook job, not a tear down!" Mannie slammed his fist against the desk. "Patience, my old friend. There are reasons the operators did what they did, of course. You have to keep an open mind about it. See, when Project Reaganite came into focus, we knew the big bucks were coming from the neocons, and fast. We knew because that was what they were paying us to do." Mannie took a long drag, glancing to the desk drawer holding his snub nosed .38 special. After a painful ten seconds of deliberation, Mannie regained composure. "Did you kill him?" The suit leaned closer. "Kill who?" "You know what I mean. Didn't you read the papers today? Ronald Reagan is dead." "No, hes not." Mannie formed a scowl. "Yes, hes dead." The man in the black suit leaned still closer to Mannie, his face showing in the the stray light coming in through the window from a streetlamp on the other side of the dirt road. "Why don't we find out for ourselves?"

"What...?" Questioned Mannie as he got up and instinctively kept his left hand close to the drawer. The man in the black suit reached into his pocket and furnished a slender metallic rod in his left hand. The suit flipped the top switch from the device over and spoke into it. "You can come in now, Ronald."


Ronald Reagan walked in through the front door wearing a presidential blue suit and sporting a cane. Mannie stared for what seemed like and eternity. Ron switched on the light. "Hello. I am Ronald Reagan." Ronald began walking slowly towards the two. "Very good ron, now tell Mannie here what your going to do." As ronald walked forward, something was not natural about the way he moved. He seemed to way much more than any man, and his body was stiff, even his smile seemed fake. Mannie knew something was up. "Hello Mannie. I am here to save the conservatives and show the followers the true way. I am here to rebuild America. Are you with me or not?"

"Im going to say no." Ronald reagan took another step closer, and he could see that this was not Reagan at all, but a machine. The robot touched his left temple, and a laser beam cut through mannies stomach instantly. Mannie collpased onto the ground. "Finish the job, Ron." said the suit. "Yes, God." Mannie was blind with pain. The laser cut through his body, leaving a burn going through his large intestine, piercing his rib. He felt the floor shake as Ronald the Robot walked towards him. Mannie methodically reached for the drawer, pulling it out all the way until it fell on the floor, throwing paper feet in all directions. Mannie wrapped his hand around the snub nosed revolver. "Come and get me" whispered Mannie in extreme pain. The robot threw the desk through the wall and onto the street. Wind began to blow into the room, making the stray light bulb sway to and fro. Mannie looked up to see Ronald Reagans burning red eyes looking him in the face. "And get you, I will." Ronald slowly moved its left hand to the same position as before.

Just then, Mannie lifted his revolver and shot the metal remote out of the suits hand, the bullet following its course through his neck.
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2004


I wasn't name dropping them "indiscriminately". Here's a syllogism for you:

PI: People who believe that FDR prolonged the Depression are morons.
PII:trharlan believes that FDR prolonged the Depression.
C: trharlan is a moron.

I believe that scarabic implied the above syllogism. I then suggested that he plug Friedman and Hayek into the same syllogism. Is this argument wrong? Am I a logical dillettante, not to be taken seriously?

Criminy, Bligh. The entire Austrian School and 99% of the Chicago School feel that the following are bad things:

Price controls
Wage controls
Central planning
Destroying six million pigs to drive up food prices as a nation starves

Everyone who's not a fascist feels that the following are bad things:

Stripping FCC licenses from ideological opponents
Ordering FBI investigations of ideological opponents
Attempting to pack the Supreme Court to advance an agenda

And let's not forget Yalta. FDR, you hero, you.

For the record, since you lumped me in with Wanniski, I do not believe the strong form of supply-side economics (revenues will increase as tax rates decrease), but I do believe the weak form (the "cost" of a tax cut is overstated by static computations). If this makes me an ideologue or an illiterate, I'll wear the label proudly. I believe in the Laffer curve. Don't you?

Reagan pressured Volcker to lower rates. This is well known. He was unhappy with him and his renomination was uncertain. It was only Wall Street's enthusiasm for Volcker that kept the Reagan admin at bay.

Was George Schultz lying here ? Probably was, huh? Just another illiterate Chicago School ideologue, not to be taken seriously.
posted by trharlan at 7:28 PM on June 5, 2004


I believe that scarabic implied the above syllogism.

No, what I based my (admittedly pointed and personal, not to mention rude) comment on was the fact that you would compare the two at all (for one thing) and moreover, your characterization of both. Reagan's administration presided over a number of years of growth, but left a legacy of debt and corruption in the financial sector that we're still paying for. I have two letters and one word for you. They're "S" & "L" and "deficit." Bush's squandering of the surplus, raiding of the Social Security lockbox, and tax breaks for the wealthy are the policy end of this disgusting legacy. I can't imagine how you can imagine that Reagan's economic achievements are still defensible, but apparently I need to have an MA in Economics to understand it, so I'' have to leave it at that.

Anyway, to take this highly controversial bit of history and comare it to FDR's handling of the GD is the fast track to stupidity (via hyperbole). The set of challenges that FDR inherited are, frankly, incomparable to the slump that followed the 70s, hence what I considered a moronic comparison. FDR's focus was dragging the very poor off their asses and onto their knees. Reagan's was catapulting the already fabulously well-to-do further toward obscene wealth.

Why truck drivers vote for these rich Republican fucks is beyond me.
posted by scarabic at 8:01 PM on June 5, 2004


I've never understood this 'speak no ill' of the dead, particularly when the dead happen to be world-class evildoers. They're dead>/i>, for christ's sakes!

You'll see no such niceties when they finally bring Osama's head before the Prince.

I'll shed no tears for Reagan. Much of the evil that is America these days can be traced straight back to him and his criminal cohort. Better for him that he's dead -- it's too late for the rest of us.

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:39 PM on June 5, 2004


Whoops.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:40 PM on June 5, 2004


I misspelled so much writing that.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:25 PM on June 5, 2004


Reagan, Hoover and the UC Red Scare
posted by homunculus at 9:46 PM on June 5, 2004


trharlan - to say that you believe in the Laffer Curve is to say, in a sense, that you believe in the assertion of modern physics about the interconnection of all phenomeon.

But, was that the "strong" or the "weak" Laffer Curve ?

Sure, tax policy effects tax revenue. The devil lies in the details.

Meanwhile - I'm deeply thankful to Nancy Reagan for hel ping to end the Cold war.

.
posted by troutfishing at 9:57 PM on June 5, 2004


I am very sorry to hear about your cat, hackly.
posted by yhbc at 10:05 PM on June 5, 2004


They should stick his fucking criminal shitbag corpse in jail, just because they finally can.

Watching the news, how can anyone still claim that there's a liberal media bias? It's like a 24-hour Reagan cocksuck right now.

And the commentary: everyone they get to talk about him is a pardoned felon. Makes me wish there were a hell, because it'd be comforting to imagine the asshole there, right now. Good riddance.
posted by interrobang at 10:24 PM on June 5, 2004


why pick the passing of your "greatest enemy" to adopt all the cold-hearted, cynical qualities you apparently despise him for?

Imitation is the sincerest form of eulogy.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:26 PM on June 5, 2004


"Watching the news, how can anyone still claim that there's a liberal media bias? It's like a 24-hour Reagan cocksuck right now."—interrobang
It's times like these that make me especially glad that I don't watch TV1. I didn't watch a single newscast on either the Afghanistan or Iraq wars. But I remained very informed nevertheless.

1 I do watch some tv shows by way of downloading them.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:38 PM on June 5, 2004


What LairBob said.

Compassion for the living is undoubtdable more important than respect for the dead. But I find myself deeply suspicious of people who can't seem to experience a bit of solemnity on compassion for the common lots we share -- even with our "enemies."

In short, the grave pissing is a symptom of the same kind of thinking/feeling that gives us Israel/Palestine, Catholic/Protestant, etc.

Good on jonmc, PrinceValium, and the like for a moment of class. Most of the rest of you... sheesh.
posted by namespan at 10:40 PM on June 5, 2004


I think that the worst part of Reagan's legacy is that he started the 20+ year tradition of the President not as the leader of the executive who bears ultimate responsibility for what that branch of government does under his watch, but simply one cog in a machine that may run amok out from under him.

His illness and death is certainly a human tragedy. But at the same time, I can't say that I admire his role as president.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:41 PM on June 5, 2004


P.S. seriously. The venom is as pitiful as the righties who still love to rant and rave about Bill Clinton.
posted by namespan at 10:43 PM on June 5, 2004


BTW, I am taking more satisfaction from Reagan's death than I expected I would; but I'm not celebrating. When the day comes that GWB kicks the bucket (hopefully far sooner than expected) I'll be throwing a fucking party. Or Cheney. Woohoo! Maybe Cheney will die shortly. His heart's in bad shape. (Well, whatever it is that he uses as a "heart" that is.) That'd be cool.

I am perfectly capable of feeling empathy for the individual person that was Ronald Reagan. Given the last years of his life, frankly I think his death is worth celebrating in that context, as well. When my grandmother died two years ago after several years of a rapidly devouring Alzheimer's, it was a relief to see her go. The person I knew her as would have been horrified to think she would live even a day in the the state she spent her last years. I bet Reagan would have felt the same way.

So I can't feel sorry for the man for dying; nor can I feel sorry for Nancy. It's best that he's finally dead.

As a historical figure, as a former president, I'm thrilled at his leaving this world, and a pious reverence for his greatness makes me want to puke.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:48 PM on June 5, 2004


Venom is Paul Krassner writing a piece about Lyndon Johnson having sex with Kennedy's neck wound. "Good riddance" is an honest opinion on the worth of one man and the meaning of his death to the world at large.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:52 PM on June 5, 2004


When the day comes that GWB kicks the bucket (hopefully far sooner than expected) I'll be throwing a fucking party.

When that day comes I'm showing up a case of the delicious BEER he claims to have forsaken. I may even do a line in honor of the occasion.
posted by scarabic at 10:54 PM on June 5, 2004


I'm not at all celebrating; I've been anticipating this day for years with trepidation. This is only going to mean more calls to create airports and trainstations I'm going to have to plan around in order not to have to use them.

It's going to mean that people are going to amp up their cries to get this criminal onto Mount Rushmore. It's going to mean denominations of money I'm going to have to not use. It means at least a week of weeping over the body of a man who funneled money to terrorists and only cared about the very rich. What a pain in the ass.

The only positive I can see from this is that I hope some Republicans will take a moment to compare Reagan to Bush Jr. I think a couple of them might see that Bush Jr. is not really a Republican like Reagan, the kind that wants to bring us back to 1950; Bush wants to take us all the way back to the robber-barons of 1890 more than anything else. Boss Tweed.
posted by interrobang at 10:55 PM on June 5, 2004


An interesting take on Reagan.
posted by moonbiter at 10:56 PM on June 5, 2004


Homer: "Don't worry, I brought my Rappin' Ronnie Reagan tape. It always makes the trip go faster."
[pops the tape in]
[all it features is Reagan rapping along the lines of "well, well, well, w-w-well, well, well..."]
Homer: [chuckles] "You know something? He *did* say 'well' a lot."
posted by Down10 at 11:04 PM on June 5, 2004


take a moment to compare Reagan to Bush Jr.

Ron Reagan Jr. is not impressed.
posted by homunculus at 11:09 PM on June 5, 2004


it's a sad day when only one conservative has died
posted by poopy at 11:20 PM on June 5, 2004


Again, for the last time, I'm not defending Reagan and his policies. I took shit in high school for publicly being against the man, OK?

Stav, you refer to the man as an evildoer, yet condemn (correctly) Bush for referring to Al Qaeda as evildoers, do you not see the hypocrisy there? Here's our chance to rise above, but it seems like we can't or find momentary schadenfreude more appealing. This may be the failure of contemporary leftism.

The failure of contemporary conservatism is something like this: somebody once said of Gerald Ford, "If Jerry saw a hungry kid he'd buy him lunch, but he can't seem to grasp that cancelling a free lunch program is depriving thousands of hungry kids of lunch." Likewise, I know plenty of conservatives who, on a personal level are good generous people, but who cannot translate that into public policy.

But, you know what, as much as I hated what Reagan's policies begat, I'm not gonna celebrate the death of a sad old man from a wasting disease, if for no other reason than to try to rise above pettiness and show the compassion we liberals are supposed to be famous for. if I'm sentimental, you'll have to forgive me, I'm a little drunk(not mourning Ronnie, went to see a band).
posted by jonmc at 11:25 PM on June 5, 2004


Plus, tearing apart a dead man, or one wasting away of Alzheimers is picking on the defenseless which is wrong, period. When Reagen was alive and in power, I was happy to tear him apart, but that's how I see it.
posted by jonmc at 11:30 PM on June 5, 2004


Is someone attacking you, jonmc?
posted by interrobang at 11:30 PM on June 5, 2004


No, just stating my piece on the topic, interrobang.
posted by jonmc at 11:31 PM on June 5, 2004


I'm not gonna celebrate the death of a sad old man from a wasting disease.

I'm gonna celebrate the death of a man who might as well have been evil incarnate. Just like with Nixon, I can't understand why we're willing to forgive a man for all of his terrible actions, or even to take a respectful time to look past them, simply because it was his time to kick the bucket. I call bullshit on that.

I'm tired of reading and hearing pre-canned celebrations of Reagan's legacy. What we need now is something more along these lines.
posted by dogmatic at 11:33 PM on June 5, 2004


I'm gonna celebrate the death of a man who might as well have been evil incarnate.

That's the exact kind of rhetoric we hate from the right because it's counter-productive. Is it somehow diffrent when we do it, for any other reason than it makes us feel good?

Just answer that question, anyone.
posted by jonmc at 11:36 PM on June 5, 2004


but jon, it's not the death that counts at all--it's the life. We can only go by his actions, and words. Just because someone dies is not a reason to suspend thought and judgement. It's what people do when they're alive and active and aware.
posted by amberglow at 11:38 PM on June 5, 2004


jonmc, when you start a sentence with the words "Again, for the last time, I'm not defending Reagan and his policies. I took shit in high school for publicly being against the man, OK?" it sounds like you think you're being attacked. I was just wondering where the defensiveness is coming from. I wasn't aware that anyone had disagreed with or questioned your words for quite some time.
posted by interrobang at 11:41 PM on June 5, 2004


We can only go by his actions, and words. Just because someone dies is not a reason to suspend thought and judgement.

Fair enough, for his political life. But, come on, do you wanna sink to that level and keep this stupid "right vs. left" pseudo-culture-war going or rise above and show some humanity?

jonmc, when you start a sentence with the words "Again, for the last time, I'm not defending Reagan and his policies. I took shit in high school for publicly being against the man, OK?" it sounds like you think you're being attacked.

Well, the general tone of the thread seems to be that if you're not dancing a happy jig, you're either a fool or a neo-con. Just offering a different perspective.
posted by jonmc at 11:43 PM on June 5, 2004


Reagan? Isn't he the guy that was supposed to talk up the shuttle launch in the State of the Union speech, and that was why they had to launch Challenger after it had frozen all night? And then got big PR points for his speech at their memorial service?

Yeah, 19 years old and thought I was cynical, but after watching that cluster-fuck I couldn't believe I had ever been so naive about the media.

Thanks, Ron, you did teach me something.

Also, thanks for the $3 Trillion dollars of debt that has cost the federal budget around $200 Billion every year since about 1985. Thanks a lot.

Oh yeah, that part where we ally ourselves with Hussein? That picture with Rumsfeld and that psychopathic dictator is amusing, but when you ignored Hussein gassing his own people, well, I guess it gave Bush something to hang his hat on, but it also kind of hinted how Tiaennenmen Square was going to go, didn't it?

And I know you remember the dead Marines in Beirut, but what I always remember was the soldiers that had to haul their buddies out of that bombed wreckage in that hellhole, and then died in the transport plane in Gander. Yeah, it was only a couple hundred of them, but I remember that was when we started privatizing transport of our troops, so they died because of the mismanagement of a private contractor.

Of course your legacy will live on, in the "Reagan Defense". That's where you claim to not have known, to avoid looking either guilty or stupid. It's become quite popular among the guilty and stupid.

But I'm not going to piss on his grave, because unlike most people that use the Reagan Defense good ol' Ron always had one thing going for him that most people don't. Most of the time he really had no idea what was really going on. See, I'm old enough to remember seeing the videotape of reporters questioning Reagan and Nancy prompting Ronnie(caught clear as a bell by those gun mikes) "Tell them we're doing our best", and good old Ron repeating "Well, we're doing our best".
posted by dglynn at 11:46 PM on June 5, 2004


look jon, what you're asking us to do is to basically ignore the horrific side of one person's public life in what I can only assume is some maladjusted idea of respect for the dead.

which might be fine, if his public actions didn't affect every single person living in America at the time of his Presidency, and even since that time -- not to mention all the poor souls who were touched by any number of illegal military acts throughout latin america and elsewhere. oh, and let's not forget his keen sense of diplomacy in the middle east, which is not surprisingly just a generation removed from the current stagmire we now find ourselves in.

there are very real reasons to hate the man, very real reasons to think that he and his policies were evil, and many of them have been listed above. and for fucksakes, i refuse to ignore them simply because these memories happen to remain at an inconvenient point in the man's natural lifecycle. fuck respect for the dead -- if we're going to talk about the man's legacy, let's talk about the good and the bad together.
posted by dogmatic at 11:51 PM on June 5, 2004


I had a bumpersticker on my car in high school that read "Hinckley had a dream" and have been saving a bottle of champagne for several years to open on this day. Reagan was an evil and dangerous bastard. Between him and Thatcher, I went to bed every single night of my teenage years assuming it could very well be our last day on earth, assuming it was only a matter of time until the nuclear missiles started flying. I truly believed I would never have to live under such a scary administration again. . . little did I realise in my mid-30's we'd have one even more frightening.
That said, even those of us who hated old Ronnie kind of liked something about him. It was that old, friendly grandfatherly persona - no way to deny that. Plus, as misguided as he was, one had the impression Reagan really believed in his vision, something we've seen in no President since.
posted by sixdifferentways at 11:52 PM on June 5, 2004


look jon, what you're asking us to do is to basically ignore the horrific side of one person's public life in what I can only assume is some maladjusted idea of respect for the dead.

No, I'm not. There''s a difference between condemning someone's actions and policies and cracking open champagne bottles and cheering on assassins and referring to people as evil incarnate, and if you can't see that difference then I don't know what to tell you.

I though that the difeerence between us and the right was respect for human life.

I guess I was wrong.
posted by jonmc at 12:00 AM on June 6, 2004


I "defeer" on a daily basis. It's a good way to live.
posted by interrobang at 12:05 AM on June 6, 2004


Reagan's administration presided over a number of years of growth, but left a legacy of debt and corruption in the financial sector that we're still paying for. I have two letters and one word for you. They're "S" & "L" and "deficit." Bush's squandering of the surplus, raiding of the Social Security lockbox, and tax breaks for the wealthy are the policy end of this disgusting legacy.

The only sane argument for running deficits (barring emergencies-- and "emergencies" are rarely that) is that the growth rate of the economy will exceed the real (inflation-adjusted) rate of interest paid on the accumulated debts. This eventually happened, or approximately happened; that's why W had a surplus to squander in the first place!

Though I don't really support running deficits (and I'd support cutting spending way before raising taxes, of course), I think your claim-- that the Reagan deficits were a (substantially harmful and unnecessary) part of his "disgusting legacy"-- leaves you with a tough burden of proof to meet.

The "lockbox" concept is preposterous, and shows that neither party has a monopoly on demagoguery.

I'm completely behind you on the S&L issue. In retrospect, the writing was on the wall; I wonder, though, if anyone with Lexis-Nexis access can find the phrases "moral hazard" and "thrift deregulation" in the same article, prior to the bailout. Nonetheless, as an article I linked upthread shows, Reagan cut in half the regulatory burden on the economy. If he dropped the ball on part of it, I can forgive him for that.


Anyway, to take this highly controversial bit of history and compare it to FDR's handling of the GD is the fast track to stupidity (via hyperbole). The set of challenges that FDR inherited are, frankly, incomparable to the slump that followed the 70s, hence what I considered a moronic comparison. FDR's focus was dragging the very poor off their asses and onto their knees. Reagan's was catapulting the already fabulously well-to-do further toward obscene wealth.

But they're not incomparable! While the economy of the late 20s/ early 30s was terrible, the late 70s/early 80s weren't orders of magnitude better. Reagan inherited the second- sickest economy of the Twentieth Century. And though I don't support his deification, he deserves some credit for the remarkable turnaround. Last, letting Volcker create short-term pain for long-term gain via a wildly unpopular rate hike was courageous.

This is the most concise link I can find on Roosevelt's "results". Forgive its source-- and look at the facts presented. Faced with a shortage of jobs, Roosevelt both discouraged investment made it more expensive to hire people. It's completely preposterous to credit the meager pre-war recovery to his counterproductive policies. I don't criticize his intentions, but his policies and his execution were terrible.


I can't imagine how you can imagine that Reagan's economic achievements are still defensible, but apparently I need to have an MA in Economics to understand it, so I'' have to leave it at that.


I think I laid it out pretty clearly-- he cut taxes, deregulated, and let Volcker break the back of inflation. Sure, he spent too much, and the S&L crisis was quite a clusterfuck, but on balance, he left the place much better than he found it, and laid some of the groundwork for the prosperity of the 1990s. To be honest with you, scarabic, I have but one lowly credential on my dossier-- nearly everything I know about Economics I learned from books, not professors, and I read everyone-- From Delong and Krugman, to Luskin and Kudlow , to Roach, to Nolan (who scares the piss out of me sometimes) and Rockwell. To be called an "idiot" by you and "not... literate" by Bligh stings a bit. Yours stung a bit more, because you're not a sanctimonius asshole. Anyway, I'm a bright guy who consumes a lot of policy economics. I reached a reasonable conclusion about FDR's economic record and Reagan's economic record. I spent the first twenty years of my life hearing only the "FDR saved America" side of the story before I came across the (fast growing and credible) body of work that takes the opposite position. Since I doubt that you were an adult in the 1930's, I ask you to consider the possibility that maybe everything you've been taught isn't exactly right. I wish you'd have given more credence to my side of the debate before kneejerking away and calling me names.
posted by trharlan at 12:07 AM on June 6, 2004


I tend not to like Presidents very much, and the most popular are usually the ones I dislike the most. Reagan is no exception. Reading what people think Presidents and America should do and stand for is what is most enlightening for me here. I find something to agree on with nearly all of you, just as I have found something dead wrong in every diatribe posted. I would love to know why people feel entitled to the various things they claim are owed to them. Reagan was the bogeyman who kept some of you awake at night, not me cause the problem was too big for me to deal with, and always will be. Reagan was not the problem, the gigantic government powers at his disposal were. There are at least 2 kinds of political people out there and there always will be. Anything you grant our former servants, now our ruling class will be pointed at you eventually, and prolly soon. Reagan is Bush is Kerry. Reagan is dead, and tomorrow looks exactly like yesterday.
posted by thirteen at 12:08 AM on June 6, 2004


I though that the difeerence between us and the right was respect for human life.

That depends on which human life we're talking about respecting. All things are relative.

Just as a theoretical example: Would you object if a loony assassin had taken Hitler out in 1933? Wouldn't the world have been a better place?

That's kinda how some people felt about Reagan, and how some still do. Not that his actions somehow compare with old Adolf's, but yeah, the world would have been a much better place without him.
posted by dogmatic at 12:10 AM on June 6, 2004


Yes! The Hitler reference finally came!

RIP, Ronald Reagan, you made the world a better place. Thank you.

"Now cracks a noble heart."
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 12:27 AM on June 6, 2004


Reagan is dead, and tomorrow looks exactly like yesterday.

Yup. But that won't stop me from dancing on graves. More out of an urge to dance, perhaps, than anything else.

But by making me think about how it's useless and simpleminded heroic thinking to blame Presidents for the evil done during their tenure, just as it's useless to praise them for things like 'turning around the economy' or 'vanquishing enemies,' when in fact they are as much prisoner of the tides of history and the corruption of the system as are we, you've rained on my parade.

So fie on you, Mr Thirteen! Fie!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:51 AM on June 6, 2004


to say that you believe in the Laffer Curve is to say, in a sense, that you believe in the assertion of modern physics about the interconnection of all phenomeon.

But, was that the "strong" or the "weak" Laffer Curve ?

Sure, tax policy effects tax revenue. The devil lies in the details.


Troutfishing, my comments about the Laffer Curve and Supply-side Economics were in response to Ethereal_Bligh's contention that I've been reading Jude Wanniski's "silliness."

His assertion is particularly laughable because he states that I'm a Wanniski-follower and "someone not to be taken seriously on economics" (he, ostensibly, is), despite knowing that I advocate Austrian Economics. Any serious armchair economist (even wikipedia!) knows that Supply-side Economics and Austrian Economics (or any other gold-standard based Economics) are largely incompatible.

Let me articulate more clearly (though I think you know exactly what I meant):

"Supply-side Economic" policy, to its most hardcore followers, holds dearly the belief that tax cuts will always pay for themselves-- this I described as the "strong" version of Supply-side economics.

While the "strong" version may prove "true" in isolated incidents-- such as the repeal of the yacht tax, or extremely high across-the-board rates-- as a general rule tax cuts are not self-financing.

The "weak" version (again, my parlance) simply acknowledges that tax cuts usually produce some economic growth (at least in the manner that most modern economists measure "growth"), making their "cost" to the treasury smaller than would be predicted by a naive or static model.

When a politican or talking head says a ten-percent cut will result in a ten-percent drop in revenue, s/he either disbelieves or ignores the presence of the Laffer Curve.

It was my point that I am in neither the camp of Wanniski nor the naive modeller.

So my statements, which you (gently) mock, may indeed have been statements of fact or even near- tautologies, but they weren't meaningless, as I infer you to have written.
posted by trharlan at 12:54 AM on June 6, 2004


Okay, tharlan, well argued. You have my attention again. I don't have to agree with you, I hope, but I take back the "moron" comment, and applaud you for making such a well-considered effort to walk me back from it. I'm clearly in no condition to argue Economics with you, but I consider it a pseudo-science at best, and more ethereal than any of its teachings are our lame efforts to assign credit or blame to a particular president for gains / losses recorded during or at any time up to 20 years after their administration. Comparing the economic "achievements" of two presidents, 5 decades apart, seems asinine, at best
posted by scarabic at 12:58 AM on June 6, 2004


i won't join in the procession that's speaking their peace. using five dollar words while praising his integrity. and just cause he's gone it doesn't change the fact: he was a bastard in life thus a bastard in death.

-"styrofoam plates," death cab for cutie
posted by eyeballkid at 1:00 AM on June 6, 2004


Ye Pathetic Pussy Liberals who are sitting in this room wondering whether it's ethical to piss on Ronald Goddamn Reagan's fresh grave had better get your asses in gear or get used to enjoying 8 inches of Reagan-spawn like GWB *in* the ass for the rest of your lives. Backbone! Hello! For fuck's sake, people, compassion is not about approaching wealthy, immoral power figures with gentle grace. There's a time to meet strength with strength, even if strength is not your ideal tool for dealing with your ideal world. All this crap about how we'd better be nice now so the conservatives don't say mean things about Clinton when *he* dies... puh-lease. Do you really think we have that kind of understanding with them? Ha!
posted by scarabic at 1:08 AM on June 6, 2004


Have you nothing for me, trharlan? I've broken off your arguments deep in your ass twice in this thread, and you pretend I'm not here. It's kind of insulting!
posted by nicwolff at 2:08 AM on June 6, 2004


"Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do." - Reagan '81

"A tree is a tree. How many more do you have to look at?" - Reagan '66, opposing expansion of Redwood National Park

"I have flown twice over Mt St Helens out on our west coast. I'm not a scientist and I don't know the figures, but I have a suspicion that that one little mountain has probably released more sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere of the world than has been released in the last ten years of automobile driving or things of that kind that people are so concerned about." -- Reagan, '80. At its peak, Mt. St. Helens released 1/40th as much sulfur dioxide as cars do every day.

"Facts are stupid things.." -- Reagan, '88

"We think there is a parallel between federal involvement in education and the decline in profit over recent years.." -- Reagan, '83

"Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal.." -- Reagan, '76

"80 percent of air pollution comes not from chimneys and auto exhaust pipes, but from plants and trees." -- Reagan, '79

"My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." -- Reagan, '84

"I cannot recall anything whatsoever about whether I approved an Israeli sale in advance or whether I approved replenishment of Israeli stocks around August of 1985. My answer therefore and the simple truth is, 'I don't remember, period'" -- Reagan, Feb. '87

"Mr. President, why don't we openly support those 7,000 guerillas that are in rebellion rather than giving aid through covert activity?"
"Well, because we want to keep on obeying the laws of our country, which we are now obeying."
"Doesn't the United States want that government replaced?"
"No, because that would be a violation of the law."
- Reagan, ''87. At the time of the press conference, the U.S. was giving the indiscriminately murderous Contra guerillas covert aid, in direct violation of the law. Reagan's lie was so obvious that members of the press corps laughed loudly and openly at his statements.

"A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not." -- Reagan, Mar. '87

"If the question comes up at the Tower Board meeting, you might want to say that you were surprised." -- Reagan, '87, accidentally reading the notes for his stage directions aloud which told him to act surprised should the issue of arms-for-hostages come up.

"You sonofabitch, you broke my rib." - Reagan, '81 to the Secret Service agent who pushed him into his car. Reagan later realized that he was shot and that the agent had possibly saved his life.

"These are the moral equivalent of America's founding fathers." -- Reagan, '85, talking about the Afghan Mujahaddin. These great moral leaders included prominent leaders of Al Qaeda, such as Osama Bin Laden, as well as many of the leaders for the Taliban.

"Hollywood has no blacklist." -- Reagan, '60. FBI records have since shown that this was a lie, and that Reagan personally informed on several actors, later shown to be innocent, destroying their careers in the process.

"I would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964." -- Reagan, '66

"Jefferson Davis is a hero of mine." -- Reagan, in a speech he gave to a crowd in Atlanta, GA.

"...humiliating to the South..." -- Reagan, '80, describing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, arguably the primary legislative victory for blacks during the Civil Rights movement.

"I believe in states' rights..." --Reagan, '80, in a speech in Philadelphia, MS, a town famous for the murder of three civil rights workers in '64. "States rights" is used in the South as a code word indicating support of Jim Crow laws.

"A small minority of beatniks, radicals, and filthy speech advocates ... brought such shame to a great university." -- Reagan, '66, complaining about student protests against Vietnam on the Berkeley campus.

"If there has to be a bloodbath, then let's get it over with." -- Reagan, '69, prior to having national guard soldiers break up a peaceful protest on the UC Berkeley campus. The protesters were teargassed and fired upon with buckshot, killing one protester and wounding at least 128 others.

"... a tragic illness." -- Reagan, '67, desribing homosexuality. When two of his aides were found to be gay that year, he asked for their resignations.

"Maybe the Lord brought down this plague [because] illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments." - Reagan, '89. Reagan didn't even mention AIDS until 1987, by which time it had spread into the heterosexual population and over 25,000 Americans had died.

"What we have found in this country, and maybe we're more aware of it now, is one problem that we've had, even in the best of times, and that is the people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice" - Reagan, '84.

"For the first time ever, everything is in place for the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. It can't be too long now. Ezekiel says that fire and brimstone will be rained upon the enemies of God's people. That must mean that they will be destroyed by nuclear weapons." -- Reagan, '71

"We're not building missiles to fight a war We're building missiles to preserve the peace." -- Reagan, '84

"There have been times in the past when people thought the end of the world was coming, and so forth, but never anything like this." -- Reagan, '83

"We may be the generation that sees Armageddon." -- Reagan, '85

"It's silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking strips on it, and be home by Christmas" -- Reagan, '65
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:20 AM on June 6, 2004


I have never been so ashamed to be a Mefite.

The only thing that saved me from totally going ballistic on this thread yesterday is the fact that the site went down just as I was trying to preview my comments. Divine providence, probably.

I was an adult throughout the Reagan presidency which meant I am aware of how his administration rescued us from runaway inflation-most of you don't remember going to the grocery store every week to find that every week that can of tuna went up in price...most of you weren't aware of how little respect people had for the presidency after Nixon and then Carter got through with it-Reagan really did get us out of a national funk.

The man was not perfect but he was not Evil Incarnate either. All this grave pissing is crass, more so since this thread has a worldwide readership. A person can have a political enemy yet still treat that enemy with class.

But we live in a crass age. More's the pity.
posted by konolia at 3:29 AM on June 6, 2004


I'm sorry - to all of you.

I can't understand the hype - nor the derision.

He was a President. He died.

It's happened to at least 38 other Presidents before him. What's the big deal?

Whether or not any of us believe in his administration is irrelevant. He was a President of our Country and now he's gone. The consternation is worthy of the situation.

Two things:

1. He's been out of politics for a long time - if there was anyting about his administration with wich you didn't agree... you've had a LONG time to get over it or rally against it.

2. He was a President. Respect that.

Anywhoo... he was a man who affected the world. At this point, he's really nothing more in the context of all these arguments. If you agree or disagree from this point on... all things considered it should only be an impetus of your desire to become more involved in YOUR political arena.

Matty D.
posted by matty at 3:44 AM on June 6, 2004


So, we should line up lockstep to honor Reagan, even though many of us think he's a worse, more corrupt president than Nixon ever was?

I will honor him in his own words, thanks.

"I know all the bad things that happened in that war. I was in uniform for four years myself." -- Reagan, '85, justifying laying a wreath at a nazi cemetary in Bitburg. Reagan spent WWII in Hollywood, making films.

"It would be a user fee..." -- Reagan, '82, explaining how a five cent a gallon tax on gasoline isn't actually a tax.

"I have a smiling fellow at the end of the table who tells me we do." -- Reagan, '81, on how budget decisions are made.

"I never knew anything above Cs." -- Reagan, '81, describing his academic record.

"They haven't been there. I have." Reagan, '85, justifying his policies on Nicaragua. Ronald Reagan had never visited Nicaragua.

"In England, if a criminal carried a gun, even though he didn't use it, he was not tried for burglary or theft or whatever he was doing. He was tried for first degree murder and hung if he was found guilty" -- Reagan, '82. Later admitted by White House Spokesman Larry Speakes to be untrue.

""I never wear (makeup). I didn't wear it when I was in pictures." -- Reagan, '84. This statement is promptly disputed the next day by G.E. Theater makeup man Howard Smith, Death Valley Days makeup man Del Acevedo, and debate panelist James Weighart, as well as Mayor Edward Bergin, recalling a recent presidential visit to Connecticut.

"They have eliminated the segregation that we once had in our own country..." Reagan, '85, praising the government of P.W. Botha in South Africa, during the height of Apartheid.

"They've done away with those committees. That shows the success of what the Soviets were able to do in this country." -- Reagan, '87, defending McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

"...an example to the world of the ideals we hold most dear, the ideals of freedom and independence." -- Reagan, '85, praising the Afghan Mujahaddin. These "freedom fighters" included prominent leaders of Al Qaeda, such as Osama Bin Laden, as well as many of the leaders for the Taliban.

To be fair, I should also correct one of the previous quotes, which I found was inaccurate as mentioned after research.

"They are the moral equivalent of America's founding fathers." -- Reagan, '85, referred not to the Mujahadeen, but to the brutal Contra rebels in Nicaragua, who, on numerous occasions, indiscriminately attacked civilians.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:52 AM on June 6, 2004


But we live in a crass age. More's the pity.

I am singularly amazed at the polarization on MeFi these days. Things used to be much more even keeled -- at least, more polite. Apparently no more. The epidemic ignorance of what is known as the Right Wing has truly destroyed most all political civility. From here on out you reap what you have sown. It's a shame the wingers are being sucked into the undertow of their very own self created whirlpool that some of us have been courteously wading and paddling about in, giving them every benefit of the doubt for years. Until now.

The polarizing legacy of Ronald Reagan and his cult followers shall live on. But from here on out, it will not go unchallenged.

Wanna disagree with me?

Great! Be a great big Reagan/Dubya cultist for all anybody cares. You will be needed, as your days are numbered. The rest of the world is growing up around you.
posted by crasspastor at 5:07 AM on June 6, 2004


Good work insomnia_lj
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:09 AM on June 6, 2004


Farewell to a great public servent.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:11 AM on June 6, 2004


I am singularly amazed at the polarization on MeFi these days. Things used to be much more even keeled -- at least, more polite. Apparently no more. The epidemic ignorance of what is known as the Right Wing has truly destroyed most all political civility.

This is just about the most bizzare comment I've seen vhere in quite some time. There are vvery few right wingers left here ... in part because of the virtully daily, bitter slams pn anything that is remotely conservative ... and the few conservatives that do comment now and then in posts are almost immediately gang-tackled ... generally with very personal attacks. This is defended by the lefties on MetaTalk whenever it is brought up ... but the end of "political civility here is certainly not the work of right-wingers .... the blame is squarely, and overwhelmingly, on a few radical lefties.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:17 AM on June 6, 2004


A person can have a political enemy yet still treat that enemy with class.

Yes, we saw how that worked during the Clinton administration.
You reap what you sow, so feel free to suck it up.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:54 AM on June 6, 2004


I kind of like how the same set of people have come into this thread to make their weekly claim that this is the lowest thread ever and they're ashamed to be part of MetaFilter. It's cute.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:56 AM on June 6, 2004


I love it when souless ideologues cry VICTIM!
posted by sic at 5:58 AM on June 6, 2004


RIP, Ronald Reagan, you made the world a better place. Thank you.

For you, maybe.
posted by fullerine at 5:58 AM on June 6, 2004


for few.
posted by jpoulos at 6:20 AM on June 6, 2004


Everything you said, skallas. I loathed him then, and I loathe him now. I'm just sorry that his family had to take care of him for so long. Alzheimer's is not fun. My grandmother died from it as well. It's really best that he's dead.

"There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps."

Isn't that why we have pets???

Didn't GWB work for Reagan during one of his terms? If so, it explains a lot.
posted by Beansidhe at 6:41 AM on June 6, 2004


Actually, Reagan can be compared with Hitler in one way... Hitler hated the Jews, and Reagan hated the gays. Hitler killed actively with his deathcamps, and Reagan killed inactively by refusing money for medical research on AIDS.

Reagan believed that gays got what they deserved...punishment from God for their lifestyle. I think Hitler had a Christian religious component in there, too. I know he had some pagan ones.

I'd better clarify something here (my husband, bless his black flabby little heart, didn't understand it). The comparison is between Hitler and Reagan going after targeted groups of people, not whether it was done actively or passively.
posted by Beansidhe at 6:49 AM on June 6, 2004


So fie on you, Mr Thirteen! Fie!

Can we leave Millard Fillmore out of this?
posted by PrinceValium at 6:50 AM on June 6, 2004


Let's not ignore Ronnie's greatest achievement: no other person seemed to inspire so many punk rock lyrics.
posted by adampsyche at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2004


The comparison is between Hitler and Reagan going after targeted groups of people, not whether it was done actively or passively.

This is just absurd. You can't "go after" people passively.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:58 AM on June 6, 2004


Alzheimers is an easy way to go. You're the last one to figure it out.


Tell that to people in the early stages, who vacillate between lucidity and uncharted cerebral travels. It would be scary as hell, especially the realization in the lucid state that things only get worse, not better. it's not like they've never heard of it before.

For that kind of suffering, I feel as sad for him as any other Alzheimer victim. Politician good or bad, he's still a person. After all, isn't the president just a hood ornament for some hidden agenda machine anyway?
posted by yoga at 7:05 AM on June 6, 2004


Reagan and the Middle East:

Israel and Lebanon, 1982-1983--nothing accomplished. Israel gets to do whatever it wants, the U.S. takes the blame by association. Sending Marines to Lebanon ends disastrously, no benefit. (Hey, but look over here in Grenada!!....)

Lebanon hostages: probably unwinnable situation regardless.

The previous Enemy #1, Iran: left alone. Nothing improved, but nothing worsened either. Underlings involved in some shady dealings.

The next Enemy #1, Iraq: completely off the radar screen.

He did lob a bomb or two at Qaddafi, and may have successfully cut him down to size. Libya could have been a bigger problem in 1991, for example, if Qaddafi had still been afflicted with inflated self-worth at that time.

Reagan and the Soviet Bloc: they were likely going to collapse anyway. Credit goes to Gorbachev for keeping the transition from being too bloody. Reagan held his own, but was mostly a bystander.
I have this weird feeling that history will judge Reagan to be "just average". Neither a great shining hero nor a great satan.
posted by gimonca at 7:37 AM on June 6, 2004


Anybody remember David Stockman?
posted by gimonca at 7:38 AM on June 6, 2004


As a moderate leftie, I don't greatly mourn the passage of Reagan as a political figure. I also believe yoga's assessment that he was "...just a hood ornament for some hidden agenda machine...", and he willingly served that agenda to the ultimate detriment of the country.

As a human being, I mourn the passage of Reagan as a very visible human being who suffered from a debilitating disease. If you think this is hard on the sufferer, try being Nancy Reagan.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:40 AM on June 6, 2004


I wonder why this vitriol is coming out now, when it's too late to do any good. Where were most of you compassionate types in '82, when healthcare professionals--from all wings of life--were leaving gay men to starve in piles of their own shit?

Your venom now would sting a lot more if I weren't forced to wonder whether or not you were too busy drinking beer and trying to lay the cheerleader (or quarterback)...or, worse, fantasizing about same rather than actually trying to do it...instead of caring about the deaths of some dirty faggots. Since I am forced to wonder, given that I faced cold-dead apathy from right and left twenty years ago, your venom now is ineffectual and petty. But, hey, spew away if it makes you feel better.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:43 AM on June 6, 2004


The epidemic ignorance of what is known as the Right Wing has truly destroyed most all political civility.

And we on the left are utterly blameless, for the loss of political civility? Come on, assholedom occurs independent of political affiliation.

That depends on which human life we're talking about respecting. All things are relative.

Meaning, it's us doing it so it's somehow different.

All this crap about how we'd better be nice now so the conservatives don't say mean things about Clinton when *he* dies... puh-lease.

That's not what I said and you know it, scarabic. I'm fully aware that when Clinton (or Carter, for that matter dies) I fully expect the Freeper types of the world to be gleefully vicious about it. And we'd be (correctly) disgusted by them. Quite simply we've abdicated the moral high ground.
posted by jonmc at 7:59 AM on June 6, 2004


Good work insomnia_lj

Amen. And I appreciate scarabic's unrepentant rage too: "For fuck's sake, people, compassion is not about approaching wealthy, immoral power figures with gentle grace." Words to live by. Christ, it's amazing how many people you can fool with a sweet, grandfatherly persona. I'm an anarchist, but I brought myself to cast a vote in 1980 (last one ever) because I hated Reagan so much. Of course, I realize those of you who are too young to remember the man's rise think of him as a kindly old figure and can't understand the bile of us old farts (jonmc: "Of course I say this in retrospect since I was way big into action figures and cartoons in 1980"), and I don't ask you to. But don't ask me to share your views either.

As for the high-fiving: I was in my twenties, people, and grew up in the '60s, an era when this automatic respect for authority figures was recently dead (and we killed it, and enjoyed dancing on its grave) and it seemed it was only the good guys who got assassinated. (No, I don't think Kennedy was a particularly good president any more, but nobody who was twelve in '63 could take a distant, balanced view of him for a long time.) I'm not saying my pal and I were heroes or that our reaction was praiseworthy, just pointing out that times have changed. As I said in another context:
Furthermore, having been a college student in the late '60s-early '70s, I often feel like a superannuated Regency buck, peering around at all the prim young Victorians and trying to remember not to say "leg."
posted by languagehat at 8:02 AM on June 6, 2004


Christ, it's amazing how many people you can fool with a sweet, grandfatherly persona.

Hey, I never cared for the man either, but I don't see how refusing to celebrate makes me some kind of dupe.

Hell, there was a kid in 7th grade who used to pick onme mercilesly and beat me up and others, too. I lost touch with him, but recently, I found out that he died of cancer before age thirty. I said the same thing to the person who told me, that I couldn't stand the guy, but that I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

automatic respect for authority figures was recently dead

You get a certain amount of respect just for being human, right?
posted by jonmc at 8:11 AM on June 6, 2004


"Your venom now would sting a lot more if I weren't forced to wonder whether or not you were too busy drinking beer and trying to lay the cheerleader (or quarterback)...or, worse, fantasizing about same rather than actually trying to do it...instead of caring about the deaths of some dirty faggots. Since I am forced to wonder, given that I faced cold-dead apathy from right and left twenty years ago, your venom now is ineffectual and petty. But, hey, spew away if it makes you feel better."—WolfDaddy
This comment really pisses me off, but I'll try to respond more civilly.

You have no idea what I was doing in 1982. In fact, I probably was trying to screw the cheerleader. I was also (within a couple of years) considered a lay authority on AIDS and the newly discovered HIV. Furthermore, while in 1982, at 18, I was best described as a "moderate conservative", I shortly became, in fact, very critical of Regan's response to AIDS and not long after I moved sharply to the left.

As someone involved in gay rights activism, and someone whose best friend, for example, is a gay man, I do understand why you might be frustrated by your assumption that the vitriol you're seeing here wasn't expressed in 1982. However, I was an adult during Reagan's presidency and I can assure you that there was quite a bit of vitriol expressed.

Incidentally, it's worth noting the AIDS activism in some cases became counter-productive, like the debacle that was the end-run around AZT approval.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:19 AM on June 6, 2004


languagehat, honestly, people who grew up in the 60s didn't want to deal with the consequences of their sexual revolution, now did they? Nor did they. And yet you wonder about the "Victorian" attitudes of the people who followed you and who had to clean up your mess? Take off your kaledioscope colored glasses for just 10 minutes and realize that the generation gap between yours and mine is every bit as vast as the one you railed against back in the 60s. The kids of hippies and of the "Me" generation, while their parents were divorcing and going off looking for Mr. Goodbar, learned to fear and distrust their selfish, self-centered attitudes, and AIDS taught them (the gay ones, at least) to fear free love.

None of this is Reagan's fault. The older I get, I find myself wondering if it's yours. (collective 60s-70s generation "you")
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:20 AM on June 6, 2004


Where were most of you compassionate types in '82, when healthcare professionals--from all wings of life--were leaving gay men to starve in piles of their own shit?

I was a little Canadian kid who had never heard of AIDS. I was barely developing any kind of worldview, much less the conviction to lobby my healthcare professional.

But my vitriol (which I've avoided expressing in this thread, but make no mistake is there in spades) is no less genuine now than it would have been if I was old enough to witness what Reagan, and the Reagan machine, was doing firsthand 20 years ago.

(My heartfelt feelings do go out to anyone who had to take care of him in the last decade, including Nancy.)
posted by chicobangs at 8:26 AM on June 6, 2004


Quite simply we've abdicated the moral high ground.

Not true. Speaking of what Reagan did and didn't do, and the far-reaching effects of his (very long) presidency, is no more or less inappropriate now than it was the day before he died. The Reagan-Bush years lasted from Jan. of 81 until Jan. of 93--that's quite a chunk of time. If you were a high-schooler or older when he was first elected, you experienced those years very differently.

(A long time ago, we used to speak of how people that were children during Reagan--Reagan Youth--grew up more conservative and obedient to those in power--a result of "just say no" or the increased focus on morality and discipline during that time?)

on preview: Wolf, those older guys lost far more than we did because of AIDS--it decimated their ranks even worse than ours. We were blessed to have had even a taste of the sexual and cultural freedoms they fought for, something younger people didn't get to experience.
posted by amberglow at 8:28 AM on June 6, 2004


Jonmc, normally I'd be aggreeing with you here (as elsewhere). I think partisan demonization has deeply poisoned the American political process and I constantly worry that I might become a left, Bush-hating version of the right, Clinton-hating crazies of a few years back.

But in this case I have a hard time backing down from my vitriol. Look, we're going to be, and already are, assaulted with non-stop hagiographic portayals of Reagan. He's already practically deified by many and this has been a sore spot for me for years, now. I'm also mightily annoyed by this NewsFilter post and I'm far less inclined in its context to be a good MeFi citizen. The pool's already been pissed in.

I have to admit that I don't really "get" the required solemnity that follows a celebrity/public personage's death. I understand feeling empathy for the person's close family and friends. But, in this case, I'm absolutely sure that the death is more of a relief than something sorrowful.

Finally, if Reagan had died in 1998, I doubt that some of us would be quite so hateful. In the context of this horror of a presidency, which inspires deep loathing and anger in many of us, it's clear that whatever Reagan's virtues (and, yes, he seemed like a personable man and I'd greatly prefer him to GWB), his administration set the stage for the debacle that is the current one. I'm not saying that GWB's is historically worse or more damaging (well, I think it has been, but it would require a lot of dispassionate analysis to verify that conclusion, I think), but that Reagan begat GWB, not literally but figuratively. (Oddly, I now recall Bush 41 with a peculiar fondness only in contrast to his son.) And, frankly, at this point I'm thrilled when any one of these sons of bitches dies.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:30 AM on June 6, 2004


The older I get, I find myself wondering if it's yours. (collective 60s-70s generation "you")

True. The legacy of the 60's and 70's isn't the societal breakdown that the right claimed it was, but it isn't pure sunshine and roses, either.

The kids of hippies and of the "Me" generation, while their parents were divorcing and going off looking for Mr. Goodbar, learned to fear and distrust their selfish, self-centered attitudes

Hell, I'm the child of baby boomers who missed the "social upheavals" of those times completely. The revolution of those years (aside from the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement) never really touched the lives of the majority of Americans. What happened was that a few Ivy Leaguers smoked a little dope and got laid and some debutantes decided to throw out their hairspray and show their boobies a little. It wasn't till the 70's that these things filtered down to Joe and Jane Sixpack and to quote Candi Strecker: "There's a nasty tinge of elitism in the claim that the 60's was the true locus of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. In the 60's nice, white, well-off college students played with free love & LSD, when the common people got their hands on sex, drugs, and rock and roll, the magic seemed to wear off them. The seventies fullfilment of the 60's revolution was unattractive blue-collar teenagers puking Quaaludes at the Grand Funk Railroad concert. The Woodstockers who made that scene possible would really rather dissassociate themselves from it."


Look, we're going to be, and already are, assaulted with non-stop hagiographic portayals of Reagan.


As we'd say to people who complain about sex on TV, your TV has an "off" button.
posted by jonmc at 8:33 AM on June 6, 2004


You get a certain amount of respect just for being human, right?

No, you don't. Respect is earned, not given.
posted by aramaic at 8:39 AM on June 6, 2004


Slate on Reagan: The man who taught Republicans to be irresponsible.
posted by raysmj at 8:45 AM on June 6, 2004


I mourn the fact that several other damned important news items will now be pushed to the periphery of the radar.
posted by adampsyche at 8:46 AM on June 6, 2004


I mourn the fact that several other damned important news items will now be pushed to the periphery of the radar.

Normally, I'd agree. But when I think about this in the context of the cold, hard realities of electoral politics, I'm glad this got out of the way now, rather than becoming an "October Surprise".
posted by gimonca at 9:08 AM on June 6, 2004


True enough. There'd be hardly enough room in the headlines for both Reagan's death and the surprise captrue of Osama. ;)
posted by adampsyche at 9:12 AM on June 6, 2004


It's one thing to be struck down with Alzheimer's, a truly awful thing for the victim and his/her loved ones. It's another thing to have collective amnesia in sympathy.

Once the ceremonies are over, there'll be enough of Reagan's career back in public memory to allow a more honest assessment of its legacy. I'm happy giving the week to those who want to bury him with honour and whitewash, as long as they cede the coming months and years to the historians.
posted by riviera at 9:20 AM on June 6, 2004


"For fuck's sake, people, compassion is not about approaching wealthy, immoral power figures with gentle grace."

bullshit. this is like saying "c'mon, respect for others is not about individual property rights, it's about establishing a society where all have enough!" Trying to establish a society with a great safety net is a good thing. Creating a false dichotomy between the two is a very bad thing. You can do both.

I don't mind hue and cry over the policy of anyone in office, but seriously, the day he and his administration left the white house was the time for the dancing. I said it before and I'll say it again: keeping this much venom around for what, 16 years now, is as pitiful as the righties who still love to blame Clinton and talk about what a bad, bad man he was.

hell, I don't even mind stuff like "his policies had these negative impacts" but most of this thread reeks of simple rancid enmity. You can criticize someone without crucifying them.

or maybe you guys can't.
posted by namespan at 9:23 AM on June 6, 2004


riviera, thank you for saying what I was trying to say, only better.
posted by jonmc at 9:28 AM on June 6, 2004


Reagan was a great President and a great man. Which doesn't mean both his administration and person were flawed, but so what? Why the fuck must so many of you dwell on the negative; see a glass 3/4s full as 4/4th empty? Oh, I know--but since I'm not a licensed psychotherapist, I will withhold my opinion.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2004


Won't somebody please think about the goddam STEM CELLS now?
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2004


Goodness.

I didn't realize the hatred for Ronnie was so intense.

I mean intense to the point of celebrating his death. That just seems a little... excessive. The man is dead. What more can you want?

I'm also dumbfounded that there could be any support for him whatsoever. Maybe I've a distorted non-American view on it all.

I seem to recall him being the president during such debacles as driving US debt into a deathspiral that still isn't being dealt with; invading, as seems to be typical of Republican presidencies, any number of third-world countries; dancing on the razors edge of nuclear armageddon; and consulting astrologers when making big decisions.

In short, I recall him being a disaster of a president in every manner.

But I don't recall him doing anything quite so evil as to deserve celebration of his death.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 AM on June 6, 2004


I don't recall him doing anything quite so evil as to deserve celebration of his death.

Well, one problem was that even when in office, he couldn't recall much of it either.

But that's probably because a lot of it happened outside the borders of the US, and outside of public view. I don't think there are going to be many tribute programmes in various parts of Latin America. But as I said, that reckoning comes later.
posted by riviera at 9:45 AM on June 6, 2004


I'm happy giving the week to those who want to bury him with honour and whitewash, as long as they cede the coming months and years to the historians.

Yeah, I figured I'd save the venom for those coming months and years, when they don't cede them to the historians. For now, I don't mind, at least so long as I stay off cable TV, which is already unbearable.
posted by furiousthought at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2004


Reagan was a great President and a great man.

I guess history really is broken.
posted by interrobang at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2004


Ronald Regan was
a great movie star, and a
great Californian.
posted by xowie at 9:58 AM on June 6, 2004


But I don't recall him doing anything quite so evil as to deserve celebration of his death.

How about selling chemical and nuclear technology to make weapons to Saddam Hussein?

How about illegally selling weapons of mass destruction to Iraq and Iran at the same time during their brutal war that cost the lives of around 1 million people?

How about illegally funding the murderous thugs that were called the Contras who slaughtered innocent civilians in Nicaragua?

How about funding and training the Taleban and the incipient Al-Qaeda (Osama Bin-Laden) in Afghanistan?

How about repeatedly lying to Congress and the American People about these things?


Stop me when one of these seems less than virtuous to you.
posted by sic at 10:01 AM on June 6, 2004


The same assholes who thought he was mad re the Soviets, the same Nuclear Freeze assholes, are those against the war in Iraq. The more things change...
posted by ParisParamus at 10:01 AM on June 6, 2004


Yeah, us assholes hate war. What assholes we are!
posted by interrobang at 10:04 AM on June 6, 2004


Cable TV news has been unbearable for a long time now. If it weren't all Reagan now, with little side items about Iraq on the side, it would be Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson with little side items about trouble in Iraq. Cable puts news makes what would usually grow tiresome in a week become the same in less than 12 hours. That's why I hardly ever watch it anymore.

Meanwhile, I do think it's important to be respectful here, but part of reporting the news is to lend some perspective on the news. It's not only possible but right to do both in response to what is, in this case, a genuinely major public event.
posted by raysmj at 10:05 AM on June 6, 2004


Paris Paramus: The same assholes who thought he was mad re the Soviets, the same Nuclear Freeze assholes, are those against the war in Iraq. The more things change...

interrobang: Yeah, us assholes hate war. What assholes we are!

Sweet lord, what is this, this simplemindedness world series?
posted by jonmc at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2004


I had the full page photo of Reagan from Time Magazine in my locker when I was in high school.

I'm sorry I couldn't get in here before it dissolved into petty partisan bickering. This is about the loss of one of the greatest world leaders of the 20th century. You should be ashamed.

RIP, Mr. President.
posted by geekyguy at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2004


If you hate war to the degree of surrendering when threatened, yes, YOU are an asshole.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:12 AM on June 6, 2004


patriotboy comes thru again

and Paris, it was folks like Cheney who thought he was mad re the Soviets, and didn't want him or Daddy Bush getting friendly with Gorbachev. Like many hard-liners, Cheney thought he saw through these atmospherics and publicly intimated his skepticism of perestroika. Appearing on CNN in April 1989--only one month into his term as Defense secretary--he glumly announced that Gorbachev would "ultimately fail" and a leader "far more hostile" to the West would follow. Such dourness put Cheney well outside the administration mainstream.

The more things change?
posted by amberglow at 10:14 AM on June 6, 2004


I'm sorry I couldn't get in here before it dissolved into petty partisan bickering. This is about the loss of one of the greatest world leaders of the 20th century. You should be ashamed.

You know, you're right. This isn't about partisan politics; it's about everyone shutting up and agreeing he's "one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century," which is decidedly non-partisan.

For that reason, I am ashamed.

*ashamed*

I know. I know. I wasn't going to post to this thread again, but... it's just that... argh.
posted by The God Complex at 10:17 AM on June 6, 2004


Jesus wept.
posted by jonmc at 10:21 AM on June 6, 2004


geekyguy, while late to the petty partisan bickering, it's great to have you contributing to it.
posted by chicobangs at 10:22 AM on June 6, 2004


I was in college during the first Reagan term, and snuck into a Reagan rally in Boston, to protest Reagan. Then, gradually, I noticed how moronic it was for my co-protesters to be against tieing draft registration to federal student aid; how stupid it was to support the nuclear freeze in Europe; how stupid it was to be against building up the military; and how stupid it was to be against tax cuts, when they had been proven to actually increase tax revenue (which, by the way, is precisely what is happening right now).

And I realized how stupid I had been. I voted for Mondale, and never voted for Reagan. Or President Bush. But by the time the Berlin Wall fell, by the time I had absorbed how scary France was, both politically and economically, I was well on my way tochanging my political outlook. I now consider myself an independent.

Yes, some portion of those who voted for Reagan were/are unsophisticaled, uneducated, but that's always true of candidates.

If I can be a former political fool, you can make the move too!
posted by ParisParamus at 10:23 AM on June 6, 2004


Paris, Reagan actually raised taxes (and also increased the size of the government)--things he always spoke against, and hallmarks of the myths about him. And taxes? Federal tax collections rose about a fifth in real terms under Reagan. As a share of GDP, they declined from 19.6 percent to 18.3 percent. After Clinton, they are up to 20 percent. It's hard to think of variations in this narrow range as revolutionary one way or the other. For most working Americans, the share of income going to taxes (including FICA) went up even under Reagan.
posted by amberglow at 10:30 AM on June 6, 2004


Paris, Midas, konolia: I seem to have broken trharlan. Can one of you wind him up again, please? He's fun.
posted by nicwolff at 10:44 AM on June 6, 2004


"You sonofabitch, you broke my rib."

anyone who would call his secret service agent a son of a bitch is no one I want for president
posted by mr.marx at 10:58 AM on June 6, 2004


Well, at least this thread is exemplary of trickle-down economics...or trickle-down something.
posted by adampsyche at 10:58 AM on June 6, 2004


The Bible says that you will be judged by the judgement you mete out. I sure hope this thread is just chock full of angels from heaven.


As a matter of fact, I would not be leaping up and down if it were Saddam or Osama who died. Death-facing eternity-is a solemn thing. One hundred years from now, assuming historians don't turn into fiction writers, there will be a true assessment of the Reagan legacy. Can you at least wait till Nancy puts him in the ground before you spew all this hatred?

Back when Nixon's funeral was televised, I shed a few tears for him. I thought he was a bad President, but I respected his position and the fact he had passed. The death of respect for authority that this nation suffered in the sixties-and yes, I was around for it-has ramifications that you younger ones do not see. Your children will get to reap that fruit.
posted by konolia at 11:02 AM on June 6, 2004


If I can be a former political fool, you can make the move too!

How many petals around the rose, PP?
posted by riviera at 11:18 AM on June 6, 2004


Being in a position of power shouldn't automatically make anyone worthy of respect--they acquire respect from their actions--not the position they hold. Reagan wasn't the head of the USSR (even tho his corpse will be lying in state in DC), or a dictator like Saddam.
posted by amberglow at 11:24 AM on June 6, 2004


I'm happy giving the week to those who want to bury him with honour and whitewash, as long as they cede the coming months and years to the historians.


Too bad this won't happen; the right wing ideological machine is already primed -- via the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project -- to whitewash the image of a dismal president. Right-wing hack ideologues will be mixing their mawkish manufactured nostalgia with distortions and lies about Reagan's achievements to manufacture a stinking paste of treacly false nobility for a president whose real accomplishments place him somewhere in the range of Franklin Pierce and Ulysses Grant. The right seems fixated on preserving the cherished myth of Reagan's excellence, even in the face of direct evidence of his incompetence.

I guess every empty dogma needs a hook to hang from.
posted by monkey.pie.baker at 11:25 AM on June 6, 2004


The Bible says that you will be judged by the judgement you mete out.

So you are saying Regan is in hell?
posted by bargle at 11:25 AM on June 6, 2004


REAGAN

Or maybe I am secretly wishing Regis was in hell. Hm.
posted by bargle at 11:26 AM on June 6, 2004


So you are saying Reagan is in hell?

No. I'm not really even referring to eternal judgement.
posted by konolia at 11:30 AM on June 6, 2004



anyone who would call his secret service agent a son of a bitch is no one I want for president


Is that a dig against Kerry re: the ski incident?
posted by thirteen at 11:31 AM on June 6, 2004


I wonder why this vitriol is coming out now, when it's too late to do any good. Where were most of you compassionate types in '82

Well, I was in the 3rd grade, so don't blame me, I voted for the Snake Eyes / Lady Jaye ticket twice.

I agree that there's something ugly about celebrating now, when the only news item on the horizon is his long-coming death.

But it's no stupider to piss on his grave than it is to honor him now that he's gone. One's death is an occasion to evaluate one's life, and it is the milestone at which the historical "legacy" of the person gets its tone established. Lest Reagan completely lock in some heroic status for all eternity, I think now is actually one of the last chances anyone will ever get to complain, to protest, to speak out against a making of history that will open the door to more corruption in the White House.

Oh, and for the record, I did celebrate when his administration finally packed it in, and I have enjoyed some satisfaction, privately, in all these years that his health has declined.

Have I abdicated the moral high ground? You bet. In case you don't see this yet: no one seems to want it. It's the strategic high ground that counts. Your moral high ground is, geographically, located in a foxhole in the middle of a firing range. There's nothing noble about getting killed. We are lower on the hierarhy of need than you think, and I wish you'd start thinking about survival, not having more "class" than the bandits who are running this country.
posted by scarabic at 11:34 AM on June 6, 2004


The seventies fullfilment of the 60's revolution was unattractive blue-collar teenagers puking Quaaludes at the Grand Funk Railroad concert.

I saw such also at a Stones concert in 1981 when I walked into a Kingdome men's room--a dozen teen age zombies were there walking into walls and bouncing off. It was like Dawn Of The Brain Dead.

As to Reagan, I'll add that he certainly inspired some atrocious xerox folk art in his time.
posted by y2karl at 11:36 AM on June 6, 2004


And by the way, my sympathies go out to anyone suffering from Alzheimer's, or caring for someone who is, as this news item winds its rhetorical path through our media and culture. I expect some people's vitriol about Reagan will border on bigotry toward all Alzheimer's sufferers, which is regrettable and not fair to you. On the bright side, he brings a lot of publicity to the disease and any publicity is good publicity. It's a disease that's as short on understanding as it is on cures. I hope some additional media attention will change that for the better.
posted by scarabic at 11:39 AM on June 6, 2004


anyone who would call his secret service agent a son of a bitch is no one I want for president

Is that a dig against Kerry re: the ski incident?


I think it's a dig against Konolia for this comment
posted by fullerine at 11:45 AM on June 6, 2004


by the time I had absorbed how scary France was

Yes, ParisParamus, I agree. France's status as the world's sole superpower has allowed it to dominate the geopolitical scene. France has largely eschewed traditional diplomacy in favor of the thinly-veiled power politics of "might makes right." France's disdain for the world community, whether it takes the form of ignored environmental treaties or stark contempt for international diplomatic bodies such as the UN, is a clear threat to the "community of nations." France's utter disregard for the traditions of diplomatic conduct, when coupled with a proven willingness to attack sovereign nations "preemptively," does indeed give us much to fear.

France-baiting is intellectually bankrupt. Even if I accept the most comically outrageous of stereotypes of French beliefs and behaviors as true, France's foibles in no way detract from the serious and growing problems in the US. We should not stop treating a serious case of gangrene at home to make jokes about our neighbor's really bad acne.
posted by monkey.pie.baker at 11:49 AM on June 6, 2004


Add me to the (small) list of people here who have some beef with some of Reagan's policies/politics, but think that the venom here is downright pathological.

To the grave dancers, here's a relevant John Greenleaf Whittier poem:

My heart was heavy, for its trust had been
Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong;
So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men,
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among
The green mounds of the village burial-place;
Where, pondering how all human love and hate
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late,
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face,
And cold hands folded over a still heart,
Pass the green threshold of our common grave,
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart,
Awed for myself, and pitying my race,
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave,
Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!
posted by weston at 11:52 AM on June 6, 2004


I don't see how refusing to celebrate makes me some kind of dupe.

jonmc, I'm sorry you got that out of what I said; I certainly don't consider you a dupe, and I respect your position (as I generally do). What I said was: "I realize those of you who are too young to remember the man's rise think of him as a kindly old figure and can't understand the bile of us old farts..., and I don't ask you to. But don't ask me to share your views either." (Emphasis added.) I can put myself in your place and see why you wouldn't feel the way I do; all I ask is that you do the same for me.

WolfDaddy: WTF? I understand that you're pissed off, and god knows you have a right to be, but will you please aim your guns toward the enemy trenches? So far you've hit me and Ethereal Bligh, both of whom are on your side. My brother is gay, I have gay friends, I was cursing Reagan specifically for his indifference to AIDS back when it was still called GRID. OK? Jeez.

I actually have no problem with the conservatives who voted for Reagan, loved him, and are now mourning him. He was their guy, and they're doing what they should be doing. I do have a problem with the idea that people who hated him and everything he stood for should stand around with their hand over their heart looking solemn because he was, you know, a president. A celebrity. Somebody whose full-page photo from Time was in people's lockers. Really, this culture has gotten very childish. But thus speaketh the old fart.

On preview: what scarabic said.
posted by languagehat at 11:55 AM on June 6, 2004



I think it's a dig against Konolia for this comment


Ah, thank you. Being as I currently have 2 cracked ribs, I would also like to say that I also feel that secret service agents are the children of bitches.
^_^
posted by thirteen at 11:56 AM on June 6, 2004


The author of Reagan on Leadership was on KGO last night talking about his leadership style. It was said that he focused on the topics that were most important to him, like winning the Cold War and cutting taxes, but left other issues to the background and to his subordinates. He also genuinely felt that he was doing the right thing, and that everyone would be lifted by his policies, even though that wasn't the case.

I do think we need to thank him for at least contributing to winning the Cold War. Otherwise, this farcical TV pilot would be reality.
posted by calwatch at 12:12 PM on June 6, 2004


weston: screw the quakers. That Whittier guy was probably some kind of neocon hood ornament.
posted by namespan at 12:27 PM on June 6, 2004


Jebus. Stalk much, nicwolff? I have a life outside of MetaFilter, believe it or not. And nice work asking ParisParamus where I am, since he and I share a brain and all. Classy.

I've read your comments:

If he gives a shit, though, he can bring attention to a growing epidemic, and help slow or halt it. So, what did we want? How about for him to mention AIDS in public, which only took five more years - as trharlan's second link points out.


I guess my ideology must be blinding me again-- I don't understand why:
1. It's his responsibility to say anything about it,
2. What good public mention of AIDS would have done,
3. How he could possibly have "halt"ed the epidemic.

Don't get me wrong-- I'd rather he and Nancy would have said "don't engage in risky sexual behavior" than "Just say no". But I don't think nannying, scaremongering or launching admonitions are (or ought to be) in the job description of any public servant, save, maybe, the Surgeon General.

Vietnam and OPEC broke the economy; Carter appointed Volcker; Volcker fixed it; Reagan just renominated him. Here's how Volcker described Reagan's "courage" in a 2000 interview:


Did you read the text you pasted? Here you go:

There was unhappiness because there was a big recession early in his term, and things were not really stable. But he himself never criticized me directly in public, certainly. I always had the feeling that he was urged to do so. [It seemed] that every time he had a press conference somebody was urging him to take a slap at the Federal Reserve, but he never did, and I don't know why. I speculate that he was not a highly sophisticated economist. I'm sure he didn't understand all the arguments his own people were giving him. He did understand that he didn't like inflation, and I think he had some kind of a feeling that the Federal Reserve was trying to deal with inflation.

So do you think that all of Reagan's staff was criticizing Volcker, Reagan knew nothing about economics, and he chose not only to retain Volcker, but to avoid issuing any public criticism of the man? That doesn't pass the smell test, and you know it.

In your own link, Volcker more or less admits that he hurt Carter's re-election bid. Reagan retained him nonetheless!

Need I link to the George Schultz interview again?

I've broken off your arguments deep in your ass twice.


I don't appreciate the imagery, and you've hardly mustered a refutation.
posted by trharlan at 1:13 PM on June 6, 2004


Reagan's Liberal Legacy
posted by calwatch at 1:18 PM on June 6, 2004


languagehat: being on the same side doesn't mean either of us is free from criticism, and I've certainly received that here today. I don't know what else to say other than, personally, I had the hope you would have said something to the effect that you spent your time fighting Reagan rather than cursing him. Many people think, now as then, that the two words are one and the same, and I would hope you aren't one of them, but that's not the feeling I've had reading your comments here. If I've misapprehended your meaning, then I truly apologize.

Ethereal: to take my heavily-qualified musings as a personal attack upon you seems to me that you apparently realize that you weren't the audience to whom I was addressing those words. If you were in the trenches back then, certainly you must know that there wasn't nearly enough being done on all sides of the problem, and to solely curse the people in power at the time is to be forgetful and simplistic. If I can't wonder as I have been here in this thread now, twenty and more years laters, without those wonderings being viewed as unwarranted assumptions, then it seems likely that we'll never truly learn from the mistakes made back then. On all sides.

I didn't come here to sing hosannas to Reagan; I've damned the man for helping contribute to great death and great suffering. But his administration did teach me more about personal responsibility and how to get involved than any before or since. It's something my parents were too self-involved to teach. Something my peers were too afraid and/or paranoid to grasp. Something my elders were too ashamed to advocate when it came to coming out of the closet and fighting...many of whom died in secret for their shame. For those reasons, and those reasons only, do I refuse to join in all the grave pissing.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:21 PM on June 6, 2004


This is only going to mean more calls to create airports and trainstations I'm going to have to plan around in order not to have to use them.
That's a level of impotent rage and loathing most mortals can only dream of.
posted by darukaru at 1:23 PM on June 6, 2004


The death of respect for authority that this nation suffered...

...is the direct result of our authorities behaving disrespectfully and disgracefully. Period.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:27 PM on June 6, 2004


calwatch: Excellent link! The Gorby-Reagan relationship is especially interesting to read about. Ronnie managed to empathize with the enemy, to even become friends with the enemy's public face, its leader. What a novel idea that was, no?
posted by raysmj at 1:37 PM on June 6, 2004


Isn't that more thanks to Gorbachev than to Reagan? Reagan had been calling it the "Evil Empire" for years before Gorbachev came to power, with his agenda of Glasnost and Perestroika
posted by amberglow at 1:51 PM on June 6, 2004


Well, Ronnie had free will there, amberglow. It takes two to tango, all the usual cliches. The article makes the point that current hagiography overlooks this relationship and the role it played in closing out (I'd never say "win," for ending Soviet communism had been the goal of the U.S. govt. since Truman) the Cold War, because it doesn't fit their model. It may have been Gorby who reached out, but could you imagine Bush responding to similar overtures, or any of his cult followers giving that a thumb's up to such? The underlying lesson, for the Reagan myth-makers, is that might and an unwavering stance won out over all; diplomacy played no role.
posted by raysmj at 2:17 PM on June 6, 2004


This afternoon the BBC Radio 4 rebroadcast a radio programme called "The Optimist President" (can't find a listen again on their site) which contained interviews from 1995. It made for quite an interesting listen.

Some people in this thread seem to have overlooked the valuable contribution that Ronald Reagan made to the hardcore punk scene. You've got Reagan Youth, Reagan S.S., The Crucifucks "Hinkley Had A Vision", NOFX "Reagan Sucks", The Dead Kennedy's "We've Got A Bigger Problem Now", Wasted Youth's "Reagan's In", D.R.I.'s "Reaganomics", Suicidal Tendencies's "I Shot Reagan" and Sick Of It All's "Just Look Around". Never before has a political leader given angry young men so much to sing about.

Whilst I don't advocate grave-pissing (my family cremates), The Coup penned a little ditty you might use as a soundtrack -- Piss On Your Grave).
posted by xpermanentx at 2:30 PM on June 6, 2004


Today, a customer at the bookstore I work for pointed at Ronnie's mug printed on the cover of the NY Times he was purchasing and murmured, "If you ask me, he's been dead for 10 years, but only yesterday did he reach hell..."
posted by Pinwheel at 3:01 PM on June 6, 2004


Oh, I think he's probably been in Hell for a number of years, Pinwheel. Anyone who's dealt with an Alzheimer's patient can tell you that.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:25 PM on June 6, 2004


xpermanentx: Good point, but how could you leave out the Ramones' "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg)"? You don't diss the Ramones when jonmc's around...
posted by languagehat at 3:48 PM on June 6, 2004


did the good done by reagan outweigh the evil? i would guess many in the world are as concerned about his passing as he was about the lives the el salvadoran innocents lost during his tenure in charge.
posted by specialk420 at 3:48 PM on June 6, 2004


So we're going to be seeing hours and hours of tv coverage of Reagan's coffin at the state funeral, but we still can't see our soldier's coffins.
posted by amberglow at 4:08 PM on June 6, 2004


It may have been Gorby who reached out, but could you imagine Bush responding to similar overtures, or any of his cult followers giving that a thumb's up to such?

But it's not bush that we should be talking about. Let's look at this in the context of American political actors of the day, and ask how they would have responded.

Carter? That's easy. He'd have danced. Even though he'd have to beg Rosalynn and God for forgiveness, afterward.

Kissinger? He'd have wanted to dance, but he'd have wanted to keep it on the sly for a while.

GHW Bush? Hmmm... Hard to say. Being the good multi-lateralist that he was, yeh, probably, but he never looked that light on his feet.

Ford? Never that graceful; I'd feel sorry for Gorby's toes.

Jack Kemp? Dance with a Man? And a Russkie to boot? No way!

Fritz the Mon? Oh, sure, come on in -- have some lutefisk. I'll put on some Tommy Dorsey.

Pat Buchanan? See Jack Kemp....

Dick Cheney? See Pat Buchanan... (... and where did the love go, Pat and Dick? Where did it go?)

Point of all this mediocre levity being, Reagan's only achievement was in surprising Americans with his willingness to dance with the Bear. The Bear (and particular the Moldovan mafia bosses who had Gorby in their pockets) was so ready to dance....
posted by lodurr at 4:09 PM on June 6, 2004


Maybe now that he's dead people will shut up about him being the Beast of Revelation... Unless he comes back as Zombie Beast of Revelation!!
posted by wfrgms at 4:17 PM on June 6, 2004


Where were most of you compassionate types in '82

On the streets, protesting. After which I was indeed enjoying beer, yes. Problem?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:33 PM on June 6, 2004


Jack Kemp may very well have danced if Gorby wooed him with talk of home ownership and enterprise zones and blah blah.

And yeah, Reagan's embrace of Gorby was surprising in that it was Reagan, for gosh sakes, but Americans weren't the only ones surprised. He had a right-wing rep internationally, one that was of course very well deserved. Meanwhile, the only part of the Washington Monthly article linked earlier that I find less than convincing is the part about getting close to getting rid of all nuclear weapons at the summit in Iceland. That the president linked this matter to Star Wars struck me, when I heard about what happened there, as somewhat less than entirely serious.

To my knowledge, however, you have no leader of any major developed nation calling for complete nuclear disarmament, and I don't expect one to surface very soon, sorry to say.
posted by raysmj at 4:42 PM on June 6, 2004


Where were most of you compassionate types in '82

I was yet another 10 year-old Canadian queer-boy in a small, conservative, Catholic town. Suffering, already, from the social climate that Reagan (and later, GWB) helped to create.

For many of us younger folks, this is the first chance we've had to acknowledge Reagan for his "efforts." I work in the field of global HIV policy, and every day, I take strength from the rage I feel at Reagan and his ilk. It feels good to counterbalance the hagiography by pointing out Reagan's faults. And on Monday, I'll go back to trying to make a difference in my own small way. WolfDaddy, some of us "kids" are on your side, and we promise - on the graves of those who went before us - there will never be such silence again.
posted by stonerose at 5:59 PM on June 6, 2004


294 comments, is that a record? I guess that's why I couldn't connect last night.

I am sad another human being is dead, and even more saddened that he had to go addled by dementia.

I am also sad that this virtually cements a GW Bush win in November.

I have said to everyone I know that Reagan will be enshrined in history... as the worst president in America's modern era. I do not care to debate either side of it, we will wait 20 or 30 years and see what history has to say. New information surfaces perennially about Nixon all these years hence, and yet he still has defenders.

Ronnie Reagan may have been a fantastic person, a great husband and father, and a remarkable horseriding companion. But he was a terrible president, and we are still recovering, and suffering, from what he did in the 80's. Jimmy Carter was also a wonderful person and terrible president, but at least he didn't irreparably harm the nation during his stint.

Reagan should have been executed for treason during Iran-Contra. And looking at his last 20 years of existence, it might have been a favor. I do not mean that flippantly. From what I know of AD, those final years would quite literally be hell on earth, for him and his family.

I have often wondered what would have transpired during the Clinton years if Reagan still had his faculties.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:17 PM on June 6, 2004


jesus christ, I go out of town for the weekend and look what happened when I'm away: 244 comments, all without me

anyway, for what it's worth, what riviera said. granting a Whitewash Week to the various Reagan fans here on MeFi seems only fair. we'll have time later to discuss the man's record and his political legacy (insomnia_lj and others have already scored very valid points, but it doesn't matter now)

me, I simply think that nobody should die of Alzheimer's -- nobody can possibly deserve that. I also don't take my politics very personally -- I don't care whether politicians I don't like are actually nice guys, they very well could be but this has never been the point.

anyway, Alzheimer's is so cruel and hellish that nobody -- not even very bad people -- deserves it. these last 10 years, I was sorry to see Reagan fade away like that -- I have a pretty good idea, sadly, of the nightmare his family has had to endure. so, I feel sorry for him, and his family. that doesn't change my opinion on RR's career and political legacy, but still.
posted by matteo at 6:20 PM on June 6, 2004


Choppers have buzzed overhead my apartment for the past day and a half. His body is being prepared at a funeral home about seven blocks from home. I find it funny that there's a vigil for Ronald Reagan on the streets of Santa Monica. The police have blocked off 20th Street, and I feel bad for anyone who lives in that neighborhood; they're gonna have a jillion people on their doorstep until tomorrow.

I was six when he was elected, and I bought into the grandfatherly image when I was a kid. Now I'm with stonerose: rather than spend energy praising or putting him down, I'd rather channel my efforts into putting his ideological descendents out of a job. Ten bucks for John Kerry in Reagan's honor and another ten for a friend doing the AIDS LifeCycle. And I'd like my tens to remain Hamiltons, thenkyuveddymuch.
posted by RakDaddy at 6:22 PM on June 6, 2004


294 comments, sorry
posted by matteo at 6:23 PM on June 6, 2004


"I am also sad that this virtually cements a GW Bush win in November."—Ynoxas
Ynoxas, you need to start paying closer attention to these sorts of things if you're going to prognosticate on them.

Pretty much every indication is that Bush will lose in November. This isn't just based upon his current popularity, it's based upon his current popularity put into the perpective of historical trends. It's too late for him to pull this one out—and it looks like the news is going to continue to get worse for him.

Tenet's going to screw him, badly, for example. The American people want and expect to get out of Iraq and it's highly unlikely that it will happen to the degree they expect. The economy is improving, but perception lags considerably behind the numbers and at any rate Bush will end this term with fewer jobs than existed when he started. It was expected by some that the gay marriage issue would catalyze voters for Bush, but the GOP strategists and even the anti-gay marriage activists acknowledge that response has been tepid and far less than they expected.

No incumbent has had this low of an approval rating at this point in a campaign and been reelected. Independents are unusually disapproving of Bush relative to other incumbents. No incumbant has been trending downward at this point in his campaign and has been reelected. The Plame grand jury investigation is continuing, Bush has consulted his private attorney about it. Various agencies are searching for the person that told Chalabi about the Iranian codebreaking—that person is likely one of Wolfowitz's or Cheney's key people, and this is one of the worst possible security breaches there could be.

Evidence has appeared that proves that Cheney used his office to secure favorable treatment for his old company, Haliburton. There is the Senate Repubs hacking into the Dems computer system investigation ongoing. The 9/11 commission's report will not be favorable to Bush. Most of Bush's foreign policy team has announced they will not serve another term: Powell, Rice, others. Rumsfeld's job is on the line regarding Abu Grhaib, the investigation is continuing; and there are more photos and videos to be released.

Saddam's capture is a model for what the public reaction to a bin Laden capure will be: a modest spike in approval for Bush, followed by a quick return to its previous levels. And that's if he's caught alive, which he won't be (and it may be difficult to prove that he's dead). Many seem to think that another 9/11-like incident in the US would rally support around Bush; however, I personally think that it could go one way or another. People will be upset that it happened again, especially if bin Laden hasn't been caught yet and given the context that the danger of Iraq has both been proven to have been overstated, as well as the fact that, hey, another Al Qaeda attack wouldn't really support the Iraq war rationale, would it? Right now, Bush has the lowest approval numbers—lower than 50%—of his administration on the war on terror, which has been his one bastion. If people are skeptical that Bush can keep them safe, how will they feel given the proof of an attack? So, no kind of an "October Suprrise" is likely to have nearly as much of positive effect on Bush's campaign as most people think.

In short, Bush is toast. He's outta here. He's a one-termer, like his dad. Count on it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:48 PM on June 6, 2004


What we wanted... what we needed... what we were entitled to

was an egregiously disproportional amount of research funding which wouldn't change over the subsequent several Presidential terms? Well, That happened.
posted by shoos at 6:51 PM on June 6, 2004


wait a minute, you're canadian anyways
posted by shoos at 6:52 PM on June 6, 2004


Oh, now I'm chuckling, shoos. Thanks.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:01 PM on June 6, 2004


rather than spend energy praising or putting him down, I'd rather channel my efforts into putting his ideological descendents out of a job.

don't sweat it, palast takes out the trash and turns out the lights.
posted by specialk420 at 7:06 PM on June 6, 2004


In short, Bush is toast. He's outta here. He's a one-termer, like his dad. Count on it.

Agreed. And for the same reasons. Everyone thought it was a shoo-in back then, but they were wrong and we got 8 years of Clinton, who while a long way from perfect was better what we'd had for awhile.

And Bush Sr. was at least somewhat competent at the business of government, whereas I can't say that about his son.
posted by jonmc at 7:09 PM on June 6, 2004


languagehat: I do have a problem with the idea that people who hated him and everything he stood for should stand around with their hand over their heart looking solemn because he was, you know, a president.

No, the issue is not because he was a president but because he was a human being. No matter what his faults were as a president, I can't bring myself to crow over the death of a human being. But then again, I've been there and done that. I've held so much hatred in me that I took great joy over every bad thing that happened to the people who harmed me, and I've learned that wallowing in schadenfreude becomes toxic after a while.

tharland: I guess my ideology must be blinding me again-- I don't understand why:
1. It's his responsibility to say anything about it,
2. What good public mention of AIDS would have done,
3. How he could possibly have "halt"ed the epidemic.


AIDS was a public health crisis that killed more people than any other facet of his presidency. AIDS is still a massive global killer in the U.S. and beyond. AIDS killed more people during Reagan's term of office than the death of Americans during the last 10 years. In contrast Bush responded to SARS fairly quickly before the death toll had risen above 100. It is not unheard of for presidents to comment and take leadership on health issues. Nixon declared war on cancer in '71. Eisenhower threw the executive's weight (multiple PDF docucments) behind the Salk vaccine for polio, which during the 1952 outbreak killed an estimated 3,000 people. (AIDS killed double that ammount in 1985.)

What could the president have done in regards to AIDS? His public acknowledgement would have gone a long way as an endorsement of the multitude of volunteer efforts who were engaging in education and prevention. He could have made research into identifying the causative agent of the disease, and the probable modes of transmission the number one priority for the NIH, CDC, and military labs equipped to identify unkown agents. He could have dared to express human sympathy for the thousands who died, and acknowledged that HIV was going to be a public health concern affecting future generations.

As for why should he? Well, one would think that an emegent disease killing thousands is the kind of crisis that demands some kind of comment, and some kind of commitment. Early action would have possibly caused the disease to peak earlier and with less loss of life.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:12 PM on June 6, 2004


All of the invective against Reagan illustrates the breakdown of political discourse in our country this day ( and worse on MeFi). The lefties just run their hatred for RWR through their robotic filters and spew their bile. The rightys provide knee-jerk reactions. The reasoned discussion which distinguished this place several years ago seems to have disappeared.

For liberals, there is much to dislike about Ronald "Raygun." He was the classical McCarthiest, somewhat of a simple thinker, not to mention his stands against the environment, gays, etc. Nevertheless, he entered national politics when America sorely needed a leader. He provided that leadership like no other candidate of the day could. That is why he was elected, and more importantly re-elected. He connected with the people in an intimate way, much in the same way (not politically) as Bill Clinton. He also presided over some of the greatest changes in American history, most noticeably the fall of the USSR and the beginning of the strongest period of the US economy.

I find it hard sometimes to look beyond his conservative sins. Yet, he changed America, in many ways for the better, and perhaps despite himself sometimes. GW will likely go down in history as one of our worst with the likes of Harding. Reagan was no Washington or Lincoln, but he will likely be remembered well, with a caveat for his indifference to the little guy and the oppressed. You can rail against his politics, but at least respect the man.
posted by caddis at 7:13 PM on June 6, 2004


In short, Bush is toast. He's outta here. He's a one-termer, like his dad. Count on it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:48 PM CST on June 6


EB, you have no idea how badly I want you to be right.

But, you somehow believe some conservatives might be moved by the information that you post. You give them too much credit. The conservative's faith in GWB is just that, faith. They do not care about what is, they only care about what may be, and that GWB is the man to take them to where they want to go.

Pick any issue a conservative cares about. Most of them make a conservative INCAPABLE of voting for Kerry. All the things you mention are incredibly persuasive to anyone EXCEPT a modern conservative. They do not care about such issues, as long as a tax cut is at stake.

GWB will deliver every single vote he got in 2000, plus an unknown Reagan sympathy vote.

Ask yourself if you know anyone who voted for Bush in 2000 that will vote for Kerry in 2004?

The only, and I do mean only hope, of Bush not winning in November is a large turnout of voters that did not vote in 2000.

P.S. I have never wanted to be wrong so badly in my entire life. By all means on the day after the election please drop by to tell me what an idiot I am/was. I will be too busy celebrating till dawn to read it.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:46 PM on June 6, 2004


Ynoxas: Ask yourself if you know anyone who voted for Bush in 2000 that will vote for Kerry in 2004?

I know a couple of republicans who have recently left the party over civil liberties and gay rights issues. Whether they will vote for Kerry, I don't know, but I don't think of it as given that everyone who voted for GWB will get a repeat vote this year.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:52 PM on June 6, 2004


Pick any issue a conservative cares about. Most of them make a conservative INCAPABLE of voting for Kerry.

Actually, I think I've heard a couple of self-described Republicans declare here on MeFi that they'll be voting against Bush this November. "Conservative" covers a lot of territory, just like liberal, and Bush's biggest mistake has been to kowtow to it's more extreme factions.
posted by jonmc at 7:53 PM on June 6, 2004


Ohh, and BTW although frequently we have heard the "worst president since Nixon" line here in regards to GWB. I would argue that Nixon's presidency is perhaps unfairly colored by the single stupid glaring error in judgement that led to his resignation. In looking back at Nixon, there are a number of high points to his presidency including the softening of hostilities with China, the EPA, expanded cancer research and an early drive for a more conservation-oriented energy policy.

With Reagan, I think it would be very difficult to assess how much impact he had given how he managed to insulate himself behind his Chief of Staff. (A barrier so thick, that his cabinent at one time was worried about his mental well-being, having minimal contact with him.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:02 PM on June 6, 2004


AIDS -> Alzheimers

In 1000 years, Reagan will be a parable.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:02 PM on June 6, 2004


BOSTON (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Sunday that he was suspending "overtly political" campaigning in the coming days in observance of former President Reagan's death.

"Ronald Reagan and many of us disagreed on one issue or another, but he always disagreed with a smile, without partisanship," Kerry told reporters after attending church.

"I think he had a sense of idealism and a sense of optimism of the possibilities about our country that define leadership," Kerry said. "We will miss him, no matter what party, no matter what our beliefs. He was a leader, and we'll miss him."

Kerry was flying to Toledo, Ohio, Sunday to speak at the graduation ceremony for Bedford Senior High School. Although the school is in Temperance, Mich., the commencement is across the nearby state line in Ohio. Kerry's aides said he would make a tribute to Reagan in the speech.

Kerry was returning to Washington after the graduation, canceling a trip to Denver where he was to have delivered a speech Monday morning.

"We're going to suspend any sort of overtly political rallies, events like that," Kerry said. He added that he would probably still have private meetings with advisers.


If KERRY can be courteous regarding Reagan's passing, so can the denizens of Metafilter.
posted by konolia at 8:12 PM on June 6, 2004


If Ronald Reagan can call a Secret Service agent a son of a bitch, so can John Kerry, konolia.
posted by RakDaddy at 8:23 PM on June 6, 2004


I find it ironic that Reagan enacted the ban (that lasted 12 years!) on the very field of research that had the best chance of yielding a treatment for the disease from which he died.
posted by Cerebus at 8:50 PM on June 6, 2004


The same assholes who thought he was mad re the Soviets, the same Nuclear Freeze assholes, are those against the war in Iraq. The more things change...

Bullshit. You know who thought he was mad re: the Soviets? Richard Perle and Richard Cheney and friends, who favored a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Where did they stand on Iraq again?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:06 PM on June 6, 2004


Ignatius, as much as I agree that ParisParasmus is being idiotic, I'd be sorely interested in seeing proof that "Perle and Cheney and friends" favored a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Methinks you may be overstating your case a tad.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:19 PM on June 6, 2004


Ynoxas: it's not the Repub base that will decide this election. They don't decide elections, the independents do. Even if they manage to mobilize their base to the polls, all indications are that the Dem base is highly motivated and this election will have an unusually high turnout. Partisan feeling is strongest about this President than any in modern times—more than Clinton. Among Dems, GWB has nearly a 70% disapproval rating; and his disapproval rating among independents is also unusually high. Bush had a high turnout from his base in 2000 and he didn't win the popular vote. As everyone should know by now, what really matters is the few swing states which will decide the crucial electoral college votes. There is no way that Bush will win all the states in 2004 that he won in 2000—all the polling, all the trends show that this won't happen. Hell, if you don't believe me, look at where Bush is campaigning. He's spending time in states that he (relatively) comfortably won in 2000. He might not get Arizona (but probably will—the point is that Arizona is not a swing state, but is becoming one).

What you're hearing from the hard-core right, the gung-ho Repub base, matters no more than what you heard from Dean's folks or Naderites. All these groups think that with enough fervor, their view of reality can be imposed upon everyone else (and I mean epistomologically, like clapping for Tinkerbell). They're wrong. They all live in echo-chambers that insulate them from political reality. Political reality is that Bush is terribly weak among the voters that will decide this election. The end.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:31 PM on June 6, 2004


Hey, check it out, it's the Reagan/Lenin world tour!

Okay, that's a cheap shot. Multiple funerals are to be expected when heads of state are concerned. But this next one isn't a cheap shot, this is eight ball in the fucking corner pocket shit. Check this out. From the article:

President Bush ordered flags lowered to half-staff for 30 days Sunday and called a national day of mourning for Friday, when a state funeral for Reagan is scheduled in Washington.

Damn! That's a pretty long time, I thought. I wonder what other event would cause the nation to fly its flags at half-staff for such a long time. I know, what about 9/11? The flags must have been down for a while, but I don't remember how long exactly. Hmm, let's look this up:

I hereby order, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and navalstations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, Sunday, September 16, 2001.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: the Total Perspective Vortex.
posted by furiousthought at 10:07 PM on June 6, 2004


All these groups think that with enough fervor, their view of reality can be imposed upon everyone else

EB -- this phrase struck me and I wonder if this might not be the underlying problem with a lot of politics. Not thinking about how to coexist peacefully (and maybe even happily) with people who don't share the same views as you do, but rather, as you described....
posted by weston at 10:35 PM on June 6, 2004


Reagan deserves credit for ultimately defeating Communism. His strategy of tough talk and an arms race was by no means universally accepted at the time, but he did it, and it worked. Whatever he may have done wrong pales before the crimes of totalitarian Communism.
posted by maciej at 12:10 AM on June 7, 2004


See my comment above, maciej, re: simpleminded heroic thinking.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:00 AM on June 7, 2004


Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: the Total Perspective Vortex.

The period of mourning that traditionally have been observed during which flags are flown at half-mast for any President or former President is 30 days from day of death. A Vice President or Chief Justice, retired is 10 days from day of death. A Chief Justice, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Associate Supreme Court Justice, or member of Cabinet is until Interment.

This thread is quite the eye opener.
posted by David Dark at 2:42 AM on June 7, 2004


stavrosthewonderchicken, I don't think Reagan was totally the beneficiary of inevitable historic forces. I think his policies tipped the balance. And I specified which ones, though I did not spell out in detail why.

Your comments above don't explain why this is "simpleminded heroic thinking", they just assert this. Sorry if I don't find this much of a rebuttal.

I agree that sometimes (indeed, often) what happens during a president's term has little to do with them or their policies, but I don't think this is one of those cases.
posted by maciej at 2:58 AM on June 7, 2004


I thought his funeral was Thursday.
posted by konolia at 4:07 AM on June 7, 2004


Kerry is taking a campaign holiday not so much out of respect as out of the reality that to campaign in the wake of President Reagan's death would be counter productive; it would underline what a mean-spirited, principle-less politician Kerry is.

Problem is: I suspect the aforementioned wake will last beyond the November election.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:24 AM on June 7, 2004


Reagan didn't "defeat communism;" he got lucky. He talked tough, he made everyone nervous, but the Soviet system (which was about as Communist as my cat is like a dog) had already eaten itself alive by 1980. By then the Party could no longer pretend that as bad as it was at home that it was worse in the West. The information revolution had ended that lie.

Reagan's true insight was to trust his instinct that Gorbachev was a man he could trust, who was different that all the Party hacks who had come before-- over the objections of Pearle, Cheney, et.al.
posted by Cerebus at 4:40 AM on June 7, 2004


So who did he testify against during the blacklist days?
posted by amberglow at 5:10 AM on June 7, 2004


and the NYT weighs in on Bush using Reagan in the campaign: Advisers to Mr. Bush said they had not determined how prominently Mr. Bush should identify his presidency with Mr. Reagan, whether Mr. Reagan's image should be incorporated in Mr. Bush's advertisements and whether Nancy Reagan might appear on Mr. Bush's behalf in the fall.
Some Republicans said the images of a forceful Mr. Reagan giving dramatic speeches on television provided a less-than-welcome contrast with Mr. Bush's own appearances these days, and that it was not in Mr. Bush's interest to encourage such comparisons. That concern was illustrated on Sunday, one Republican said, by televised images of Mr. Reagan's riveting speech in Normandy commemorating D-Day in 1984, followed by Mr. Bush's address at a similar ceremony on Sunday.
"Reagan showed what high stature that a president can have — and my fear is that Bush will look diminished by comparison," said one Republican sympathetic to Mr. Bush, who did not want to be quoted by name criticizing the president.

posted by amberglow at 5:43 AM on June 7, 2004


I love it when the Ken Starr Republicans attempt to lecture decent people about manners

coming soon: Ron Jeremy lecture re monogamy
posted by matteo at 6:29 AM on June 7, 2004


USC Title IV, Section 7, Paragraph m: procedures for displaying the flag at half-staff.
posted by armage at 6:50 AM on June 7, 2004


The period of mourning that traditionally have been observed during which flags are flown at half-mast for any President or former President is 30 days from day of death.

Dammit, I woke up this morning and thought I should have checked that. Mea culpa.
posted by furiousthought at 6:54 AM on June 7, 2004


GWB will deliver every single vote he got in 2000, plus an unknown Reagan sympathy vote.

I find this hard to credit. Do you really think people are going to go to the polls in November (five months away, remember) and say "You know, I was going to vote for Kerry, but dammit, Uncle Ronnie would have wanted me to vote for Bush, and he died, so I have to make him happy"? I don't think so.

Plus what amberglow's quote said in regard to Reagan making Bush look bad.
posted by languagehat at 7:34 AM on June 7, 2004


We come to bury Reagan, not to praise or piss on him.

*turns away dejectedly, zipping up fly*
posted by quonsar at 7:54 AM on June 7, 2004


Three hunder and thirty three posts so far. Wow. Most.tedious.thread.ever.

Ok, despite jonmc's very appropriate call neither to praise nor disparage Reagan's legacy, I will toss in my 2 cents as well, because it truly does pain me to see such a mediocre and corrupt figure so mythologized. In my own view, here are Dutch Reagan's enduring legacies:
posted by psmealey at 8:34 AM on June 7, 2004


In short, I recall him being a disaster of a president in every manner.

But I don't recall him doing anything quite so evil as to deserve celebration of his death.


I think part of the vitriol is a response to the incredible levels of deification his followers grant him. I was just a kid during the reagan presidency, but I grew up in downtown new york, where the AIDS crisis was a central issue and my memories of him are mostly just about his fakeness - about his plastic smile and constant claims that everything was great, when everything was so clearly and obviously not great at all.

I once wrote on my website that the 80s has a particular flavor but with two sides - the pop/reagan/fake everything & and the punk/goth/nuclear fear. I think the second was largely in response to the first (as others have lightly suggested by referring to the lyrics ronnie inspired). I know as a kid I had very real fear of nuclear holocaust, and that was largely due to whose finger was on the button. I didn't understand air traffic controllers, iran-contra, or grenada at the time, but I understood fake smiles and empty claims.

as for whether to speak ill of the dead, it seems to me this thread has been somewhat balanced, and that since the topic of ronald reagan is inescapable for the moment, people should feel free to say what they want to say about him, without having to adhere to arbitrary standards of respect - if you can't speak ill of the dead, isn't it even worse to speak ill of the living? By this logic, shouldn't we always respect politicians "as human beings" and not say anything bad about their activities? I agree it's disappointing when liberals use words like "evildoer" etc., but to suggest it's inappropriate to make a case against reagan's place in history as his followers see it, seems to me utterly misguided. As someone above said, now is exactly the time - well, maybe next week, really - to make a case against his being memorialized this way.

If people are just ranting or if they make unsupportable claims, then that's problematic, but that's the case whether the subject is living or not. The thing about politics - one of the reasons it's traditionally not a subject for polite (huh, funny, that's probably an etymological sister...) conversation - is that it pretty much by definition creates rifts. An entire nation will not agree on every issue, so we create alliances in order to achieve the issues we feel most strongly about, and then we argue and fight until one or the other group convinces the majority of the citizens who still give a shit that their set of issues is the one to address. So anytime someone is elected, someone else, and his (usually) followers are defeated, which commonly means they have trouble supporting the other guy, which ultimately is probably not a bad thing, since it keeps the other guy in a little bit of check - he may not get much done, but on the other hand, at least he won't get much done, kinda thing.

Of course, with reagan, it was all about - still is all about - image. I remember hating reagan not for his policy but for what I perceived as his arrogant, polemical, christian fakeness. He seemed inauthentic to the bone from where I stood, and I was horrified by my country's inability to see this, by their celebration of him. This was all through high school as I was listening to the cure, of course. And I felt exactly the same hatred for madonna and tiffany, so I can't say it was really deserved. I just could not relate at all to people who bought it, basically.

Now, it all seems like ancient history. I don't hate reagan anymore. I'm sorry the end of his life was difficult. I don't feel particularly sorry for him either, though - he lived a long and healthy life up through his - mid-eighties, anyway. He died a slow death, in that he probably lost his "self" before he actually died, which is sad, but not at all uncommon (same happened to my grandmother, and to some extent to my other dead grandparent - I don't know where the line between "senility" and "alzheimer's" is drawn, if it is at all), and in my estimation, not the worst death imaginable, unless it set in early, like in your 50s, so that half your life is meaningless... I don't feel anything in particular about his death, but I think part of that is that I haven't been watching tv or listening to the radio about it at all - I was away camping this weekend so didn't find out until last night, and haven't turned on any media outlets besides the internet yet, so it's all rather abstract to me.
posted by mdn at 9:25 AM on June 7, 2004


Do you really think people are going to go to the polls in November (five months away, remember) and say "You know, I was going to vote for Kerry, but dammit, Uncle Ronnie would have wanted me to vote for Bush, and he died, so I have to make him happy"?

I don't expect the internal conversation to happen, no, but I do expect the result to happen.

All I know is that many "democrats" voted for Reagan in 1984. There are people in this very thread who claim to be liberal to the core, yet are basically saying "he wasn't that bad, in fact, he had some good qualities".

Reagan had the real, tangible ability to reach people, for good or ill. To deny this is to deny the most powerful and most universally accepted of his skills, communication.

The tearjerking commercials before the election will remind everyone of the great loss of the Party of Lincoln, and that wouldn't it be nice to return to those days? Those days where Uncle Ron took care of everything, and you just sat back and enjoyed the never-ending gravy train of existence in the good ol' U S of A?

Expect to see footage of Reagan standing in front of flags talking about how it's time for America to be great again. The whole "Morning in America" thing that's been referenced above. Maybe even some tough talk about American not bowing down to "madmen" overseas.

I expect there will be commercials doing nothing but showing issues in Reagan's 2nd term where Kerry voted against what Ronnie wanted (assuming, of course, that occurred).

Again, I don't know how to say more clearly that Reagan is more than a hero to conservatives. He is a demigod, truly sitting beside the Messiah himself in Heaven as we speak. Conservatives "love" Bush, but they WORSHIP Reagan.

Do you believe that a true conservative would vote to elect an abortion favoring, tax-and-spend, anti-war, anti-american, environment-friendly, take-away-my-guns, big government, welfare state Massachusetts liberal for any reason, at all, whatsoever?

I don't know what passes for "conservative" in other parts of the country, but here in the Bible belt, Bush is still praised and generally considered to be doing an excellent job. The only reason we're being held back from greatness is because of bleeding heart liberals, such as John Kerry, meddling in our affairs and not letting us "take care of business". Bush is a good man, a godly man, and he will truly deliver us unto the promised land.

Although I realize the anecdotal nature, I have yet to meet a conservative in person who is not more or less thrilled with Bush's performance thus far, and waiting for 4-more with baited breath.

Again, you have no idea how much I hope I am completely mistaken. But, I *STILL* believe many of you give conservatives far, far too much credit and imbue them with the ability to vote some other way than GWB... which frankly, I do not believe.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:55 AM on June 7, 2004


Kerry is taking a campaign holiday not so much out of respect as out of the reality that to campaign in the wake of President Reagan's death would be counter productive; it would underline what a mean-spirited, principle-less politician Kerry is.

So mean-spirited and principleless that, indeed, he's not capitalizing on Reagan's death. What a right royal bastard!

Meanwhile, Bush's team is deciding how much they need to use Reagan's image in their election materials. Classy!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 AM on June 7, 2004


Ynoxas, it's not the conservatives--it's the independents and "Reagan Democrats" that moved to Clinton in the 90s (as well as the Rockefeller Republicans who feel they have no place in the party anymore).

If they use Ronnie in campaign ads, expect to see many opposing ads comparing Iran/Contra to the Plame thing and the Chalabi thing and the Halliburton thing, etc...as well as pics of the Reagan officials standing with Saddam (many of whom are working in the current administration).
posted by amberglow at 10:12 AM on June 7, 2004


Meanwhile, Bush's team is deciding how much they need to use Reagan's image in their election materials. Classy!

They have already begun.
posted by mr.marx at 10:14 AM on June 7, 2004


If KERRY can be courteous regarding Reagan's passing, so can the denizens of Metafilter.

Yes, I was fully expecting Kerry would issue a statement that would villify Reagan as worse than Hitler and stating a strong urge to dance on "the old fool's" grave.

Kerry is a good man and a consummate professional who understands the reality of politics. We are a bunch of rubes in our underwear who are free to spout off and not worry about the long term consequences of our statements (right or wrong).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:32 AM on June 7, 2004


We are a bunch of rubes in our underwear
*looks down in sudden worry, remembering a long-ago bad dream; sees pants, relaxes*

Ynoxas: You're talking about hard-core conservatives; they would have voted for Bush whether Reagan had died or not (in fact, whether Bush died or not). The effect you're talking about would be relevant only for swing voters, and as I said, I can't imagine someone who might have voted for Kerry changing his mind because Ronnie shuffled off.

The thing about politics - one of the reasons it's traditionally not a subject for polite (huh, funny, that's probably an etymological sister...) conversation

Nope, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to talk about something besides partisanship. "Politics" is from Greek politika 'things pertaining to citizens,' "citizens" here meaning 'inhabitants of a polis or 'city-state' (like Athens, Thebes, Sparta, &c). "Polite," on the other hand, is etymologically 'polished'; it's from Latin politus, past participle of polire 'to polish.'
posted by languagehat at 12:18 PM on June 7, 2004


They are actually closing the exchanges on friday in remembrance.

Maybe they should give all the air traffic controllers the day off too.
posted by psmealey at 12:27 PM on June 7, 2004


So who did he testify against during the blacklist days?
Pretty sure Nancy Davis, which basically is how they met.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:35 PM on June 7, 2004


errr.. read the question as for, not sure against
posted by thomcatspike at 1:58 PM on June 7, 2004


i know that's how they met--she was targetted or something, and he saved her ass. I've heard he testified against a bunch of people, but i've never seen who it was. (Lucy did too, unfortunately)

They're risking a backlash with these closings--especially from all the people that were too young or hated him. His death doesn't equal a national holiday--at least, not yet.
posted by amberglow at 2:52 PM on June 7, 2004


His death doesn't equal a national holiday--at least, not yet.

Attention all planets of the Solar Federation,

We have assumed control,

We have assumed control.

(The proposal of such an arguable and devisive shindig might be your October surprise ...)
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:23 PM on June 7, 2004


(The proposal of such an arguable and devisive shindig might be your October surprise ...)

Hmm...so many fabulous dates to choose from for Reagan Day (where we all celebrate by dyeing our hair black, and putting on too much rouge)

any ideas?
posted by amberglow at 4:37 PM on June 7, 2004


9/11 deserves a national holiday, not Reagan.
posted by fenriq at 4:56 PM on June 7, 2004


fenriq, tell that to the people planning this week of events, and shutting Wall St., and the Federal Govt offices on Friday. Could it be that they're all Republicans?

editor and publisher has a good piece on the overblown and misleading coverage
posted by amberglow at 5:00 PM on June 7, 2004


i cannot comment on reagan's fiscal policies as i haven't lived (through) them.
but in terms of international politics, there is no man who can be credited with more to do with the fall of the communist dictatorships (the big one where i was born, and smaller ones as a result) than him (gorby and thatcher notwithstanding).
and for that i will always hold him in high esteem.
and on a personal note, i will always remember the gatherings of adults in our kitchen in moscow, who would listen to the (forbidden) Radio Liberty and say "may he be the most uncompromising man ever and win over the criminals that run our half of the world"
posted by bokononito at 5:08 PM on June 7, 2004


Thank you Matt for putting this up on the sidebar to reduce the FPPs. Giving the group a place to vent without polluting the blue is a good thing with these big contentious issues.

I think the issue not really being addressed is the issue of leadership. Americans (well any voters) want a leader more than a political ideologue. You want to know why the term "Reagan Democrats" even exits, its leadership. He had it. Even those who despised his politics respected his leadership. Think of the winners and losers in recent Presidential races. More often than not, leaders beat wimps (OK, bad word).

GW v. Gore - no leadership, thrown to the Supreme Court
Clinton v. Dole - Clinton the leader kicks Dole's whiny butt
Clinton v. Bush - Bush tired and concedes in August to Clinton the leader
Bush Sr. v. Dukakis - Bush beats the wimp
Reagan v. Mondale - Reagan already the established leader kicks Mondale's a**
Reagan v. Carter - Need I say more (Carter is probably the best human being to hold the presidency in recent memory, but had almost no leadership skills whatsoever)
Carter v. Ford - Carter is actually the leader here - two nice guys, no leadership
Nixon v. McGovern - McGovern had great ideas, but seemed so wishy, washy on so many things
(OK we are starting to get earlier than my personal experience here, but the trend continues:
Johnson - leader, but Goldwater scary
Kennedy - uber leader
DDE - kicked some German ass
Truman - the buck stops here
Roosevelt - probably the strongest leader the world saw during the twentieth century.

What does this mean for today? GW can not really lead. After 9-11 he took the mantle of leadership without really leading. Rudy outshone GW here, and Rudy is a paranoid power hungry nut case (he did, however, like Reagan, connect with the people, at least on this issue). Kerry strikes me as capable of leading well, and more importantly, convincing the public this Fall of that. Godspeed John Kerry. We need you to save our country.
posted by caddis at 5:21 PM on June 7, 2004


Anyone with access to the Hitchhiker's Omnibus needs to read the final bits of Young Zaphod Plays It Safe now. Perhaps we can still avoid vaporization.
posted by casarkos at 7:29 PM on June 7, 2004


He heard the man babbling gently about a shining
city on a hill.


Very, very good. : >
posted by amberglow at 7:54 PM on June 7, 2004


The Empire Strikes Out: Why Star Wars Did Not End the Cold War

Apart from its renewed policy relevance, the debate over sdi matters because of the historical question of what role (if any) it played in ending the Cold War. According to the conservative view, which seems to have acceded to the status of conventional wisdom, Reagan's refusal to barter away his cherished program at the 1986 summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, was the straw that broke the Soviet camel's back. Facing a cripplingly expensive arms race not only in offensive armaments but also in space-based defensive weapons, Gorbachev realized his country could not compete and folded.

There are several problems with this "vague and unexamined" thesis, as FitzGerald calls it, and the best part of her book is her thorough debunking of it. Most important, it attributes Gorbachev's revolutionary changes to American behavior. In fact, well before Reykjavik, many in the Soviet Union knew that their system needed a radical overhaul. Even Reagan, for all his early bellicosity, said in June 1982 that Soviet economic growth had been declining since the 1950s and might soon spell crisis. With the death of the hawkish Leonid Brezhnev in November 1982 came an opportunity for reform -- one seized upon only after two more senescent Soviet leaders came and went.

Gorbachev -- "a man in a hurry," as FitzGerald calls him -- took power in March 1985 and got right to work. A month later, he unilaterally suspended the deployment of Soviet intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe, offering to make the cessation permanent if the United States did likewise. He began shifting government rubles away from the military, publicly assailed the failures of the socialist economy, and promised economic and political reform. The next year, at the Communist Party Congress, he renounced the doctrine of fundamental conflict between socialism and capitalism, calling for global cooperation to avoid nuclear and ecological disaster. For the rest of his tenure, he made news practically every few months with another bold reform in the areas of perestroika, glasnost, and arms control. He made it clear he wanted out of Afghanistan, his country's Vietnam-like quagmire. Based on even the incomplete knowledge we now possess about what was going on inside the Soviet Union, it is clear that in the history of the Cold War's end, the Soviet role was far more critical than the American.

Even on the American side, though, FitzGerald provides ample evidence to distrust the thesis that Star Wars and the early 1980s arms buildup (actually begun by President Carter in his post-Afghanistan anger) toppled the Soviet Union. Reagan campaigned in 1980 and began his presidency as the most hawkish of Cold Warriors, prompting the chilliest U.S.-Soviet relations in almost 20 years. Within the administration, hard-liners such as Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger held sway, passing mammoth defense budgets and spewing martial rhetoric. But as early as 1982, when Shultz replaced Haig as secretary of state, that began to change. At that point, Shultz wrote, "Relations between the two superpowers were not simply bad; they were virtually non-existent." Shultz immediately pressed to make arms control a priority. As Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign approached, Shultz's conciliatory agenda won support from the White House image custodians, who worried about Reagan's reputation as a warmonger. As recently as 1983, after all, he had called the Soviet Union "the evil empire." But the new "Morning in America" Reagan happily revamped his oratory: "1984 is the year of opportunities for peace," he now promised, calling for "constructive cooperation" between the superpowers and "credible deterrence and peaceful competition" instead of menacing bluster.

After Reagan's reelection, Shultz, supported by National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane and the arms-control wise man Paul Nitze, revived the summitry that American and Soviet leaders had successfully practiced from the 1963 nuclear test-ban treaty through the 1970s strategic arms limitation talks. On the whole, the Americans found the new Kremlin surprisingly forthcoming. Geneva accelerated the progress. Then the 1986 Reykjavik summit produced an apparent setback. U.S. negotiator Max Kampelman fought back tears as a shaken Shultz revealed that a comprehensive agreement had foundered when Gorbachev insisted that Reagan abandon Star Wars and Reagan refused. But in retrospect, the talks were an important step -- not because Reagan drove a hard bargain on sdi but, to the contrary, because he proved willing to compromise on so much else. The real news of Reykjavik, buried under the headline of the last-minute collapse, was that the two nations were not so far apart.

The next key step came, FitzGerald recounts, when Gorbachev met in December 1986 with the dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov, whom he had recently released from exile. Sakharov told the Soviet leader not to worry about Star Wars, predicting that the impracticable technology would eventually "die on its own." Persuaded, Gorbachev offered in February 1987 to separate the Star Wars negotiations from arms-control talks. The 1987 INF treaty and continued improvement in U.S.-Soviet relations followed apace. Thus, it is fair to note that the United States made a contribution to the Cold War's end -- but in the area of arms control, that contribution was the revival of summitry, not the threat of Star Wars.

If Star Wars deserves scant credit for ending the Cold War, how about Reagan? FitzGerald, for whom Reagan's successes are always accidental and illegitimate, is stingy with her praise. Inveterate Reagan foes who dismiss him as a lightweight or a fantasist will remain baffled by his accomplishments. But for all his militancy, Reagan did come to recognize -- belatedly, yet sooner than most members of his administration -- that Gorbachev was for real, that negotiations could ease tensions, and that by the 1980s the United States had little reason to fear Soviet expansion. Whether it was perspicacity or dumb luck, Reagan appreciated that there was a new world dynamic and managed to break from the dogmas he had long propagated. On that score, he was acting not fancifully but with the utmost realism.


Frances Fitzgerald on SDI and the Fall of the Soviet Union

At the beginning of Reagan's first term, some conservative enthusiasts in the administration might have believed that the U.S. could spend the Soviets under the table in an all-out strategic arms race. But the Joint Chiefs of Staff never thought this, nor did the CIA, for the simple reason that Soviet spending on strategic weapons was a very small fraction of the overall Soviet military budget. According to one MIT expert, Soviet spending for the procurement, operations, and maintenance of its strategic offensive forces amounted to only 8 percent of its entire defense budget. In other words, had Gorbachev achieved the 50 percent reductions he was seeking at Reykjavik, he woul not have made savings of any significance in terms of the Soviet economy.

What happened during the 1980s was that the Soviet economy continued to deteriorate as it had during the 1970s. The economic decline, of course, resulted from the failures of the system created by Lenin and Stalin--not from any effort on the part of the Reagan administration. Without Gorbachev, however, the Soviet Union might have survived for many more years, for the system, thought on the decline, was nowhere near collapse. It was Gorbachev's efforts to reverse the decline and to modernize his country that knocked the props out from under the system. The revolution was in essence a series of decisions made by one man, and it came as a surprise precisely because it did not follow from a systemic breakdown.

At the time the American public understood this better than most in Washington--and thanks in large part to Ronald Reagan. Reagan had no idea what Gorbachev was up to, but he always described the world in terms of individuals rather than institutions and portrayed U.S.-Soviet realtions as the personal relationship between two heads of state. His own officials considered this naive. But it was Gorbachev who changed the Soviet Union, and Reagan's 'embrace' of him as an individual was surely the most important contribution the United States made to the Soviet revolution..."


Fire From Above

SDI supporters assert that their program forced the Soviet Union into defense spending it could not afford, thus hastening its demise, but Gorbachev spent little in response, did not consider a defense of his own and, by the Washington summit of December 1987, told Reagan, "If in the end you have a system you want to deploy, go ahead and deploy it." The two presidents signed a treaty abolishing U.S. and Soviet land-based ballistic and cruise missiles of intermediate range (the INF Treaty) worldwide-- on Dec. 8, 1987 at 1:45 p.m., the awkward hour prescribed by Nancy Reagan's astrologer.
posted by y2karl at 8:09 PM on June 7, 2004


At my house every day is Reagan day. ;-)
posted by konolia at 8:09 PM on June 7, 2004


Ynoxas: You're talking about hard-core conservatives; they would have voted for Bush whether Reagan had died or not (in fact, whether Bush died or not). The effect you're talking about would be relevant only for swing voters, and as I said, I can't imagine someone who might have voted for Kerry changing his mind because Ronnie shuffled off.

LH: I'm talking about the same people who had never considered voting Republican until 1984. Most of those people I would hazard are still alive and carry their voter registration cards.

I do not accept that 0% of them will be unmoved by Reagan's passing and that 0% of them will be unaffected by the coming avalanche (remember the size of the GOP war chest?) of sentimentality that will come roaring down the political mountain in September or so. That's all I'm trying to say.

For God's sake, they're already shutting down the exchanges and the entire government and his body isn't even cold yet. And yet you expect it will have no effect?

I simply don't see it that way.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:30 PM on June 7, 2004


The effect it's already having is to point out a stature gap. More clips of Reagan on TV everyday will just reinforce that.
posted by amberglow at 8:34 PM on June 7, 2004


Still here?

OK. The most excellent Fafblog nails it :
On Saturday afternoon, Ronald Wilson Reagan ascended bodily into heaven. Long may he be remembered, for single-handedly destroying the Soviet Union as it was poised to conquer the free world; for rising up in the form of a winged dragon and breathing the pestilence of AIDS forth upon the American continent; for his courage in providing arms to the people of Iraq, Iran, and Central America to defend themselves against the dark threats lurking in Iraq, Iran, and Central America; for his stunning tax reforms, which made jewel-bedecked sultans of the poorest paupers in the land; for his recklessly and disastrously bringing the world to the brink of global nuclear annihilation while following the dark whims of Biblical prophecy and astrological portents; and most of all, for coming to represent all our preconceptions of what America should and shouldn't be.

Was Ronald Reagan the best president? No, nor was he the worst. But the important thing is that now, long after his passing, he can be idealized, transformed and transfigured by time and ideology into a symbol of everything we desire or loathe in America, so that Ronald Reagan the man is utterly erased and replaced with Ronald Reagan the Icon, a convenient projection of our most feverish motivations in animatronic Hall-of-Presidents form.

When we keep our leaders larger than life, they become larger than our ability to rationally discuss them. We apply wondrous sobriquets, classifying the giants of the Oval Office with Catholic precision, making saints and Mysteries of men. Who can question the fighting spirit of the Happy Warrior, or the resilience of the Comeback Kid? The very invocation of their names becomes a sacrament or blasphemy, and as long as we keep their memories blown wildly out of proportion, we'll never have to confront them.

And how much more comfortable that is for us. The danger of Reagan the man, after all, is that we might learn from him. The man was real - a flesh and blood president whose triumphs and failings might lead us to question our own preconceptions. Reagan the Icon exists only in our mind, a creature of our prejudices and ideologies - a figure from unhistory who threatens to teach us nothing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:20 PM on June 7, 2004


even Morrissey's chiming in: "He commented about the death of Ronald Reagan and when he wished that it was George W instead the crowd went wild."

posted by amberglow at 9:52 PM on June 7, 2004


At my house every day is Reagan day. ;-)

But, obviously, you wouldn't want him as a president ;)

Now the dust has settled and I've zipped up my trousers I can't help wondering if the deification and airbrushing of Reagan's legacy was helped by the two term limit. When Thatcher left office, crying and disgraced it meant that her shortcomings were examined and exposed. Reagan never went through this process, he never failed in as public a way as Thatcher.

I guess we'll see if there's a similar Thatcher deification in the UK when she shuffles off.
posted by fullerine at 1:48 AM on June 8, 2004


Thatcher was crying and disgraced? Link please, I missed that.

BTW, the reason every day is Reagan day is that Reagan is my last name. I have fond and not so fond memories of getting phone calls from drunks in the middle of the night during the Reagan administration years.

Look, if Kerry had gotten some broken ribs I might have given him a pass on the sob thing, but falling off your skis is a little different FROM GETTING SHOT AND ALMOST ASSASSINATED.
posted by konolia at 7:16 AM on June 8, 2004


Good Lord, konolia. With regard to the SOB remark from Kerry, will you please let it go? Unless you were there, you don't know the context of it, whether it was said in vain or in humor, or even the chain of events that led up to it. This sort of nonsense drives me bonkers. The people fixate on these petty, irrelevant, style-based points and completely lose sight of the bigger picture.

Clinton was a good to excellent president who handled the economy well, impelement fiscal policies to stem and reverse the reduction in size of the middle class through responsible and well thought out tax cuts, and brought India/Pakistan and Palestine/Israel closer to peace than they've ever been, yet, he will always be remembered more for Monica than anything else (doesn't help the Bush II undid most of his legacy but disengaging from the peace processes).

On the other hand, Reagan turned us into a debtor nation, appeased Iranian terrorists with underhanded arms deals and assisted bloodthirsty dictators in central america resulting in the deaths of thousands, but he'll always be remembered for "morning in america", the restoration of optimism.

We are truly a nation of children.
posted by psmealey at 8:49 AM on June 8, 2004


what psmealey said.

insanity Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, offered amendments on Monday to a defense bill to rename the Pentagon as well as the U.S. Missile Defense Agency after the former president.
Reagan is credited with helping win the Cold War with a massive defense build-up, including a space-based missile-defense program, that also contributed to record federal budget deficits.
Several Republicans, joined by a couple of Democrats, offered an amendment the same day to rename the pending defense measure the "Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005."
A Republican aide predicted the amendment to rename the authorization act would be overwhelmingly approved, but said it was unclear if Frist would push for a vote on his amendments.
On another front, Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican, introduced legislation on Tuesday to have Reagan bump former Democratic President John F. Kennedy off the 50-cent piece.
Reagan would replace another Democrat, former President Andrew Jackson, on the $20 bill under a proposal by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican.
Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, suggested Reagan appear on the $10 bill, now graced with a likeness of Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first U.S. treasury secretary.

posted by amberglow at 8:32 PM on June 8, 2004


I think Kerry looked sad because he realizes that Reagan's death was the final nail in his own Presidential aspirations. I don't think he really wanted to be President, anyway.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:24 AM on June 9, 2004


I'm thrilled Reagan is dead. I'm not thrilled that I'll have to hear about it incessantly for the next week. While the fucker was alive the right-wing managed to get monuments made and stuff named after him, including the DC airport. I fear for the deification that must surely happen now. And so, in defense of it, I say, fuck you Reagan and the horse you rode in on. I have at least the satisfaction that he has probably been shitting his pants like a baby for years and the people closest to him are thrilled that he's died. Welcome to the club.

Pure class.

When anyone is curious as to the level of discourse metafilter has sunken to linking to this insightful comment (one of many, but the most hateful) would be appropriate.

Further proof mefi does the best of the web far better than the 'news'.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:31 AM on June 9, 2004


I walked around the Capitol at lunch, around 1:30. There were 30 or so folks in line for the coffin-viewing, and a hundred or so grabbing shady spots for the procession. I'll be back this evening; more pictures to follow.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:47 AM on June 9, 2004


The apologists for Reagan keep saying the same thing -- that love him or hate him you have to admit he was a leader when we needed one. This is belied by one simple fact: Iran / Contra. His defense is and has always been that he knew nothing about it. If you beleive this, you simply cannot call him a leader: this one thing alone, by far the most significant Executive Branch operation of his presidency, completely trashes that claim, and reduces him to a befuddled idiotic figurehead by your own admission. If, on the other hand, you don't believe he knew nothing about it, then you admit he's a criminal, a liar, and the lowest sort of appeaser ever to hold the office. There's simply no squirming out of it. There's plenty more in his career to damn him in the eyes of anyone with a shred of honesty and belief in American principles, but this alone does it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:15 PM on June 9, 2004


"This breaking news just in—Generalissimo Ronald Reagan is still dead!"

And, Dennis Murphy, thanks. If you want, I can mention skull-fucking, too. There's never too much hate against Ronald Reagan, that's my motto. "There's never too much hate against Ronald Reagan" See? It's my motto.

In the context of this absurd and oppressive national mourning, there's nothing I can say that's beyond the pale. Nothing. It's merely pissing in the ocean. But it provides some small satisfaction.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:16 PM on June 9, 2004


I'm loving how Bush looks like a mildly retarded boy playing at being president compared to Reagan, who was always acting anyway.
posted by amberglow at 2:04 PM on June 9, 2004


Republican politicians are tripping over themselves coming up with ways to honor Reagan. A slew of ludicrous, expensive ideas are in the works...

But what what about honoring Nancy Reagan's wishes for her husband?

"When Ronnie wrote his letter to the people telling them that he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I didn't really know or understand what that meant. I really didn't. But-I found out. Those with AD are on a rocky path that only goes downhill. Ronnie's long journey has finally taken him to a distant place where I can no longer reach him. We can't share the wonderful memories of our 52 years together, and I think that is the hardest part. And because of this I'm determined to do whatever I can to save other families from this pain.

"And now science has presented us with a hope called stem cell research, which may provide our scientists with answers that have so long been beyond our grasps. I just don't see how we can turn our backs on this--there are so many diseases that can be cured, or at least helped. We have lost so much time already, and I just really can't bear to lose anymore.

"All of you are here tonight because you believe not just in science but in hope. By supporting stem cell research, everyone here is a caregiver."

Want to honor Reagan? Be a caregiver. Vote Kerry.

posted by insomnia_lj at 5:44 PM on June 9, 2004


George_Spiggott: I've tried to explain that to conservative friends of mine for going on 20 years now. He's either an idiot, or a traitor (or possibly both).

Paris: the fact that you and I are sharing the same thought vector makes me wary. But apparently we are not alone.


Metafilter: See? Its my motto.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:16 PM on June 9, 2004 [1 favorite]


HANNITY: Are you happy he's dead?

RALL: I don't care that he's dead. I think -- right now, the press is on both sides is examining the man's legacy, and we're not going to have this discussion in two weeks or two weeks ago. It's now.

posted by moonbiter at 8:31 AM on June 10, 2004


I guess we'll see if there's a similar Thatcher deification in the UK when she shuffles off.

I'll bet you'll be hard pushed to find a British MeFite who has anything nice to say about her when she finally goes.
posted by biffa at 9:53 AM on June 10, 2004


Can I just check; seeing the pictures today it appears that Reagan got on his horse backwards, fell off and died. Very appropriate.
posted by biffa at 9:59 AM on June 10, 2004


This doesn't impact November, except that it will be the most cited reason as to why Kerry's campaign fell apart. After the champagne hangovers go away and the dancing gets tiresome, around mid-November, these same skull fuckers who are celebrating now will look back on this moment with regret, and lay the blame for the failure of their party on the corpse of an ex-President. "If only Reagan hadn't died. . . "

Welcome to the latest excuse for why Kerry will lose in November.
posted by David Dark at 10:35 AM on June 10, 2004


you wish--it's far more likely that the stature gap this imposes on Bush will impact him.
posted by amberglow at 10:46 AM on June 10, 2004


I just got back from my Republican Women's meeting and the consensus I heard was that Ronald Reagan reminded us that graciousness could exist in politics. A lesson sorely needed. Ronald Reagan was more than the sum of his parts.

Meanwhile, jackasses across the nation kick down hundreds of barns, while voters search vainly for carpenters.
posted by konolia at 12:00 PM on June 10, 2004


Imagine that, Republican Women like Reagan. Who would have thought it?
posted by Red58 at 12:23 PM on June 10, 2004



....lay the blame for the failure of their party on the corpse of an ex-President. "If only Reagan hadn't died. . . "

~chuckle~

Reagan dies June 5.

A Los Angeles Times poll taken in the days after Reagan's death shows Kerry pulling even farther ahead of Bush.

The only "skull" that appears to be getting "fucked" in the midst of all this is Bush's....no doubt accompanied by David Dark's. Must be a real "skull fucker" to watch as the American people continue to awaken and turn on Bush, eh Dark?

Yeah, must just be real "torture"....and Bush sure ain't no stranger to that concept, now is he?

I just got back from my Republican Women's meeting and the consensus I heard was that Ronald Reagan reminded us that graciousness could exist in politics. A lesson sorely needed. Ronald Reagan was more than the sum of his parts.

No kidding? You heard that at a Republican meeting?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:35 PM on June 10, 2004


This thread, perhaps more than any other, proves how depraved the Left is. What a bunch of fucking asshole liars you are.

During the Reagan administration, nearly 6 billion dollars was invested in AIDs research, more than for any other disease--too much, if you ask me.

Iran Contra: selling old weapons to fund communist opposition: maybe not the cleanest of exchanges, but nothing major.

Oh, how I look forward to your misery the day after election day. May you all stew in your unhappiness, and eventually, rot in hell for the lies you speak.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:49 PM on June 10, 2004


Oh, Paris, your rays of rhetorical sunshine brighten my day like none other.
posted by chicobangs at 1:05 PM on June 10, 2004


Herr Paris, no one asked you.
posted by moonbiter at 5:47 PM on June 10, 2004


Um, konolia, was Carter so ungracious that we needed a lesson in graciousness from Reagan? Carter's been called a lot of things, but he's hardly someone who'd leave us needing a reminder of graciousness. A comparison of the post-presidential conduct of the two; from the Memphis Flyer article linked earlier. You tell me who is more gracious here:

"In 1989 (I believe it was), shortly after he left office, Ronald Reagan came to Memphis to deliver a speech to a group of businessmen. He read the speech, collected a reported $100,000 speaking fee, and immediately left town. That same week, Jimmy Carter came to Memphis. During his stay, Carter picked up a hammer and helped build houses for the poor as part of Habitat for Humanity. Carter received no money. That½s the difference, to my mind, between a pitchman and a statesman."

But I will allow that the current occupant of the White House leaves a great want of grace, between mock-whimpering "Please don't kill me" in reference to a clemency plea from a death row inmate, or sneering "bring it on" in the context of civilian and military American deaths.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:50 PM on June 10, 2004


Reagan's Osama Connection: How he turned a jihadist into a terrorist kingpin.
posted by homunculus at 6:19 PM on June 10, 2004


This thread deserves this picture, too!

This doesn't impact November, except that it will be the most cited reason as to why Kerry's campaign fell apart...

Actually, the evidence, like the picture above, suggests otherwise:

L.A. Times Poll Shows Voters Favor Kerry

Democratic candidate John Kerry leads President Bush 51 percent to 44 percent among American voters in a two-way race for president, according to a Los Angeles Times poll published Thursday.

Kerry's margin of 7 percentage points shrinks only slightly to 6 percentage points, 48-42, in a three-way race with independent candidate Ralph Nader getting 4 percentage points, poll results show...

The telephone poll surveyed 1,230 registered voters nationwide from Saturday to Tuesday. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Plus this:

"If the November 2004 general election for Congress were being held today, which party would you like to see win in your congressional district: the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?"

Republican 35% / Democrat 54%


That poll was conducted from Saturday, June 5th, the day Reagan's death was announced, to this past Tuesday, June 8th.

Short version: Bush is Toast.

After the champagne hangovers go away and the dancing gets tiresome, around mid-November, these same skull fuckers who are celebrating now will look back on this moment with regret, and lay the blame for the failure of their party on the corpse of an ex-President. "If only Reagan hadn't died. . . "



Ha-Ha! /Nelson Muntz
posted by y2karl at 8:05 PM on June 10, 2004


Reagan porn
posted by homunculus at 8:29 PM on June 10, 2004


Mark Morford: Enough With Reagan Already
posted by homunculus at 10:52 AM on June 16, 2004


Bush rejects calls from Nancy Reagan, John Kerry to relax stem-cell policy
posted by homunculus at 10:55 AM on June 16, 2004


Ditto what ParisParamus has said throughout this thread.
posted by davidmsc at 8:41 PM on June 19, 2004


Er, which is what, precisely? I just did a search through the page and found little to nothing of substance from him. The bit about how he became a post-Reagan reaganite was interesting. The rest was unnotable.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:50 PM on June 19, 2004


Ha-Ha! Smoke up, karl. Here's some more of those poll results you like so much.
posted by David Dark at 1:50 AM on June 20, 2004


What O. J. Passed to the Gipper

I'll current cover you! /Homer Simpson

*throttles The Stranger*


Upon review:

When that entombment finally arrived, national mourning was giving way to national boredom. Except at Fox News Channel, ratings did not spike on either network or cable. "It was not a massively watched event," one CNN producer said to The Times's Bill Carter. "It was a largely watched event." Translation: Is it too late to grab a piece of the new J. Lo nuptials? Eventually, even Fox was elbowing Reagan into the wings for its O. J. retrospectives. On the Friday morning of Reagan's National Cathedral funeral, Matt Lauer tried to hold the "Today" show audience by promising a medley of mediathon standards: "A lot of news coming out of Washington, Katie, but there's other news to talk about as well, including major developments in the Kobe Bryant, Martha Stewart and Scott Peterson cases."

Only three days later, Bill Clinton, the star of the longest-running news miniseries of them all, "Impeachment of the President," was back in the White House, as a preview of coming attractions for the televised book tour he kicks off tonight on "60 Minutes." Even President Bush was glad to see him. Once people line up to buy the book, there will be no shortage of talking heads remarking on "the surprise outpouring" for the man they declared dead just a few years ago. At least Ronald Reagan, who understood nothing if not the cruel and fickle vagaries of show business, might find it funny. You can almost hear him saying, "There you go again."


Ha-Ha. Whine on, Pollyanna. Kerry's Clinton Book Tour bounce coming up. Now there's a President who was actually popular. How many flag covered coffins came home from the former Yugoslavia again? All people have to do is remember.

More reason he's toast: Mistakes Loom Large as Handover Nears

The American occupation of Iraq will formally end this month having failed to fulfill many of its goals and stated promises intended to transform the country into a stable democracy, according to a detailed examination drawing upon interviews with senior U.S. and Iraqi officials and internal documents of the occupation authority. The ambitious, 15-month undertaking stumbled because of a series of mistakes that began with an inadequate commitment of resources and was aggravated by a misunderstanding of Iraqi politics, religion and society in occupied Iraq, these participants said.

"We blatantly failed to get it right," said Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution who served as an adviser to the occupation authority. "When you look at the record, it's impossible to escape the conclusion that we squandered an unprecedented opportunity."


Viewed from Baghdad since April 2003, the occupation has evolved from an optimistic partnership between Americans and Iraqis into a relationship riven by frustration and resentment. U.S. reconstruction specialists commonly complain of ungrateful Iraqis. Residents of a tough Baghdad neighborhood who welcomed U.S. forces with cold cans of orange soda last spring now jeer as military vehicles roll past. A few weeks ago, young men from the area danced atop a Humvee disabled by a roadside bomb, eventually torching it.

In many ways, the occupation appears to have transformed the occupier more than the occupied. Iraqis continue to endure blackouts, lengthy gas lines, rampant unemployment and the uncertain political future that began when U.S. tanks rolled into Baghdad. But American officials who once roamed the country to share their sense of mission with Iraqis now face such mortal danger that they are largely confined to compounds surrounded by concrete walls topped with razor wire. Iraqis who come to meet them must show two forms of identification and be searched three times.

The Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S. entity that has administered Iraq, cites many successes of its tenure. Nearly 2,500 schools have been repaired, 3 million children have been immunized, $5 million in loans has been distributed to small businesses and 8 million textbooks have been printed, according to the CPA. New banknotes have replaced currency with ousted president Saddam Hussein's picture. Local councils have been formed in every city and province. An interim national government promises to hold general elections next January.

But in many key quantifiable areas, the occupation has fallen far short of its goals.

The Iraqi army is one-third the size U.S. officials promised it would be by now. Seventy percent of police officers have not received training. When violence flared across the country this spring, many soldiers and policemen refused to perform their duties because U.S. forces had failed to equip them, designate competent leaders and win trust among the ranks.

About 15,000 Iraqis have been hired to work on projects funded by $18.6 billion in U.S. aid, despite promises to use the money to employ at least 250,000 Iraqis by this month. At of the beginning of June, 80 percent of the aid package, approved by Congress last fall, remained unspent.

Electricity generation remains stuck at around 4,000 megawatts, resulting in less than nine hours of power a day to most Baghdad homes, despite pledges from U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer to increase production to 6,000 megawatts by June 1.

Iraq's emerging political system is also at odds with original U.S. goals. American officials scuttled plans to remain as the occupying power until Iraqis wrote a permanent constitution and held democratic elections. Instead, Bremer will leave the Iraqis with a temporary constitution, something he repeatedly promised not to do, and an interim government with a president who was not the Bush administration's preferred choice.


squandered an unprecedented opportunity... 41's star is going to shine far brighter in the history books. GW is toast.
posted by y2karl at 9:21 AM on June 20, 2004


Public Support for War Resilient
Bush's Standing Improves

Released: June 17, 2004

Keep wishing on that star, karl. Maybe Clinton can save your boy, but don't count your chickens when you're holding rotten eggs. Kerry is still a shadow, he hasn't even taken tangible shape in voters' minds. And it's only going to get worse. When has he ever opened his mouth without putting his foot in it?

I've got a friend who hates Bush and really wanted to get involved in this campaign. She went to all the democratic primaries in her state, looking for someone to support and campaign for. After Kerry's local press conference, she told me, "I didn't understand how full of shit he is until I heard him speak." I had to laugh. Now that he's the candidate, she says she'll only vote for Nader.

Here's the Iraq numbers you're looking for, pal:



57% think Iraq is going very well or fairly well; 55% say war in Iraq was the right decision. Those numbers are trending upward. Ah, the pain of reality.
posted by David Dark at 12:21 PM on June 20, 2004


The pain of reality is that the American public is embarassingly ill-informed, if not outright ignorant. When a majority of the citizenry believes Hussein is responsible for 9/11, you've just got to give up hope for any sort of intelligent voting.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:19 PM on June 20, 2004


The pain of reality is that the American public is embarassingly ill-informed, if not outright ignorant.


Case in point:

Kerry is still a shadow, he hasn't even taken tangible shape in voters' minds. And it's only going to get worse. When has he ever opened his mouth without putting his foot in it?
posted by jpoulos at 7:55 AM on June 21, 2004


Parsing at straws, are we ? Boy, some of those straws have stickers. Hmm. look at these: Keep the troops in--trending downward. Bring the troops home--trending upward.

And from your source--administration credibility on Iraq war rationale caving in:

Regarding one important consequence of the war, however, the public has become considerably more negative. Just 43% of Americans say the Iraq war has helped the war on terrorism while about as many (44%) believe it has hurt the war on terrorism. About a year ago, 65% felt the war had helped the war on terrorism and as recently as March, 50% expressed that view. Women, especially white women, have become particularly skeptical that the war is helping the war on terrorism. In March, a solid majority of white women (54%) said the war in Iraq helped the war on terrorism; that number has dropped to 43%.

That's some solid support, alright, no public ambivalence there. I wish I were in Kansas !
posted by y2karl at 8:45 AM on June 21, 2004


I wish I were in Kansas !

First you have to find a brain, a heart, and some courage.
posted by David Dark at 9:46 AM on June 21, 2004


Iraq and the Election: Poll Shows Bush Losing Ground on Anti-terror Policy

In head-to-head matchups among registered voters, Kerry has a slight four-point lead over Bush when independent candidate Ralph Nader is included, and a larger eight-point lead with Nader out of the contest.

For the first time in ABC News/Washington Post polls, more than half of Americans, 52 percent, say the Iraq war was not worth fighting. Seven in 10 call U.S. casualties there "unacceptable," a new high. And there's been a steady slide in belief that the war has enhanced long-term U.S. security; 51 percent now say so, down 11 points this year.

Bush, moreover, has weakened in his once-strongest area. Approval of his handling of the U.S. campaign against terrorism has fallen to 50 percent, its lowest yet — down eight points in the last month and 29 points below its immediate postwar peak. In a hazardous turn of fortune for Bush, Democrat John Kerry now runs evenly with him in trust to handle terrorism; Bush had led by 13 points on this issue a month ago, and by 21 points the month before.


Hmm, that's in line with what the Pew poll says, and as for Bush's chances, well, he's slipping among women and independents:

...Those divisions are almost precisely the same as they were in the last ABC/Post poll, in late May (among registered voters, 37 percent-29 percent-28 percent). In that poll, Bush and Kerry were even in the three-way race (46 percent-46 percent-4 percent, compared with 44 percent-48 percent-6 percent here); and it was 47 percent-49 percent Bush-Kerry in the two-way race, compared with 45 percent-53 percent here.

And the kicker:

These slight shifts in preference have occurred, not in the overall partisan makeup of the sample, but among groups. Women, in particular, have moved toward Kerry, as have, perhaps most crucially, independents — the true swing voters in election politics.

There's movement for the administration alright--it's moving on down!
Keep clicking those red shoes and wishing, Dorothy!
posted by y2karl at 6:51 PM on June 21, 2004


This page is not available in a printer-friendly format, sorry (0).

Try again, jackass.
posted by David Dark at 7:12 PM on June 21, 2004


Ease up, Dark. So the link is broken -- that's no reason to be a jerk.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:32 PM on June 21, 2004


karl's been hounding me with strange Wizard of Oz references the last couple days. Start with him or mind your own business.
posted by David Dark at 8:02 PM on June 21, 2004


So be the bigger man.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:21 PM on June 21, 2004


Yeah, all right. But I really want to read the article, so karl, fix your fucking link, please.
posted by David Dark at 10:21 PM on June 21, 2004


Gee, I was under the impression that the guy was dead. You guys are still talking about this?
posted by interrobang at 1:02 AM on June 22, 2004


The horse continues to twitch.
posted by chicobangs at 1:11 AM on June 22, 2004


This breaking news just in—Generalissimo Ronald Reagan is still dead!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:13 AM on June 22, 2004


But I really want to read the article, so karl, fix your fucking link, please.

Ha ha. Tantrums are funny. Just don't cry, david.

Google is your friend:

Poll Shows Bush Losing Ground on Anti-terror Policy
posted by y2karl at 6:41 AM on June 22, 2004


I just wanted to see if you'd do it. I gots to keep my bitches in line. *cracks whip*
posted by David Dark at 4:18 PM on June 22, 2004


Oooh, yah, MeFi Orgy Tonight!

I'll bring the elephant and donkey branding irons. David's got the whip. y2karl, you bring the AssReamer2000.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:48 PM on June 22, 2004


Interview with Ron Reagan.
posted by homunculus at 8:50 PM on June 26, 2004


Steve Bell cartoons are worth a look

Buh-bye
posted by theora55 at 6:22 AM on June 29, 2004


Don't really remember his jaunt as prez, but me dad tells me he was an arsehole, so that is good enough for me.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:25 AM on June 30, 2004


Summertime / And the livin' is easy / Fish are jumpin' / And the cotton is high... Here's that kitty again!
posted by y2karl at 9:25 AM on June 30, 2004


Don't really remember his jaunt as prez, but me dad tells me he was an arsehole, so that is good enough for me.

It was good enough for me, too, until I grew up and tried thinking independently. Good luck to ya, johnnyboy.
posted by David Dark at 9:52 AM on June 30, 2004


So you've known johnnyboy's dad since you were a kid and now you come on Metafilter saying he's full of shit? That's just rude. Kick his spuds johnnyboy.
posted by biffa at 10:22 AM on June 30, 2004


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