Ronald Reagan, RIP

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Rest in Peace sounds woefully inadequate and greater lights will no doubt improve upon it, but the sentiment is all I am fit to offer a man who changed the world.

That and thanks.

NEXT: Rumsfeld Shuffle

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  1. I second the thanks. A great man, indeed.

    Jeff

  2. Good Bye. God Bless. And God Bless the United States of America.

    Now its Reagan's turn to touch the face of God.

  3. Good Bye. God Bless. And God Bless the United States of America.

    Now its the Gipper's turn to reach out and touch the face of God.

  4. I only wish my youth and ignorance during the 80's hadn't kept me from appreciating the kind of president Reagan was. You don't have to agree with everything about the man or his administration to say that he's one of the great presidents, and one of the few who changed the world for the better, on balance.

    I wonder if it's even possible that we will ever again see a presidential candidate from either major party claim that "government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem."

    I can't help but think it was a blessing that his illness probably kept from him the news of 9/11 and the knowledge that history was not over, and still had a lot of blood to shed.

  5. The American sun and the fortunes of capitalism seemed to be setting, when this "Cowboy" rode into town, an optimist, a believer in economic liberty and a staunch fighter against the evil of communism.

    We owe him so much.

    Ride on, cowboy!

  6. I would like to associate myself with Jarod's post. I didn't appreciate him enough when he was president, even writing op-ed pieces against him for my college paper. Almost everything I thought about him and said about him and assumed about him, I later learned was wrong. He was a great man, with a great vision for not just America, but the world. Most of his critics fail to understand him and get lost on issues secondary his his main focus -- freedom, the defeat of communism, and a better tomorrow for everybody.

  7. I'm another person who didn't appreciate Reagan until much later. Growing up, going to middle and high school during his presidency at a hyper-liberal quaker school, Reagan was considered by all the teachers and pupils the incarnation of all that was ignorant and dangerous about America. We scoffed when he spoke about the "evil empire". We wondered why the "teflon president" kept being supported by so much of the American public and wanted to see him impeached for Iran/Contra.

    But so much that we take for granted today, came about because Reagan and a very few others stood up for lower taxes, fought the cold war against the Soviets and their clients, and insisted that free markets were the path to prosperity.

    One of a very few politicians that I admire.

  8. Seems like those on the other side do not agree...

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102x604956

    As always, the "facts" spouted by thesse people are disingenuous, to say the least.

  9. Prepared to be outraged by Internet-vomit being spewed by many Leftists on the Web. Regan-hatred is even worse than Bush-hatred.

    RIP

  10. Anon and EcoDude-

    Even at Kevin Drum's supposedly "mainstream" lefty blog, the bile is spewing quite freely. To Drum's credit though, he has denounced such comments.

    It's sad, but I suppose that these times are not as extraordinary as we think despite claims that we're as polarized as ever. I wonder if there were blogs in '63 whether you'd get the same thing after the Kennedy assasination.

  11. You people are wasting your time mourning over Reagan.

    This is REAGAN. Yes, he had an economic policy that was all to your delight(s), but maybe you've ...forgot a few things?

    This is the man who helped revitalize the drug war in an extremely ugly way. Now some of you are probably pissed off by now, and saying "Well, I don't CARE about drugs, or the drug war!" Guess what? The drug war stretches -- deeply -- into every area. Nothing affects your life more than drug policy, even if you've never done a drug in your life, and never plan to.

    He, his drug war, and the DEA he funded to fight it, are all equally responsible for countless wrecked families, agonizing deaths, brutal gang wars (both here and internationally), numerous (albeit subtle) violations of the US Constitution, Bill or Rights, and my god, so very much more.

    So, make up your minds, who is more important? A man, his myth/personality cult, or respecting the freedom of the country you live in, which Reagan took a respectable chunk of away from all of us? You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

    Personally, I will NEVER consider him, or anyone else that supports (much less EXPANDS) the drug war, a good human being. Much less a Libertarian.

    Rot in hell, Reagan. Your presidency was two steps forward, and ten steps back. You might as well have been a Soviet turncoat for all I care.

    [arm flameproof shielding]

  12. in true empire fashion
    will the senate
    decree
    that Ronald Reagan
    be made a
    God?

    It was the custom to consecrate popular emperors after their deaths, declaring them a minor god. Vestavia (23 AD) was heard to say as he was about to die, "Oh my, I fear I am about to become a god!"

  13. I see no need to vent disagreements with an honorable and deceased man. The amount of respect that he commanded, including respect from some of his opponents, speaks for itself.

  14. Nixon started the war on drugs, not Reagan. Some of the worst escalations came during the Clinton administration.

    Every president since Nixon has the drug war blood on his hands.

    Reagan, on the other hand, won the cold war which liberated hundreds of millions of people around the world, as well as leading America out of the stagflation of the 70s through lower taxes and reduced regulation.

  15. "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."

    RIP

  16. just had this phone conversation with my friend, whom i shall dub 'robdob' (uncensored):

    me: "hey... d'ya hear? Reagan finally died."
    robdob: "no shit... damn. i thought that mofo was going to go on forever in his dreamworld."
    me: "yeah... apparently just happened a few hours ago. yahoo just reported it."
    robdob: "damn dude. well.. we ain't going to have another prez like him soon. he was a badass."
    me: "yep. he's gone tho. tis a shame."
    robdob: "hey... when we hit the bars tonite... we'll raise one to our fallen homie."

    - this is a friend i've been trying to convert to libertarianism for a while. i'll get him yet.

  17. "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."

    Hah, that was fantastic.

    Yes, as far as the cold war goes, he did a great job, but the Soviet Union was very deeply flawed. It would have died anyone in due time. To say Reagan started it is a little harsh.

    Yes, Nixon is among the most guilty, but so is Reagan. Saying Reagan was a really good president, outside of his drug war policy is like saying Hitler was a really great leader, outside of his Jewish policy. It's that one thing, but it's that one thing that really does the reality of his reputation in.

    I wish I could say only positive things about Reagan, or ANY president for that matter.

    I cannot. Not in good conscience.

  18. Alzheimer's is a terrible thing, but I like to think that maybe, at least, this disease shielded him from the knowledge of what happened to us on 9-11-01 and thereafter. Allow him to go out on a high note, so to speak.

    I didn't agree with all that he did but I respected him nonetheless.

  19. It would have died anyone in due time. To say Reagan started it is a little harsh.

    I apologize. I am so ADD I was thinking about something else while writing this. It should read:

    "It would have died anyway in due time. To say Reagan started it is a bit much."

  20. Jarod, Matthew and Howard: add me to the list of those who failed to appreciate Reagan for who he was, while he was President.

    MNRN, get lost. There is a time and place for everything, and this is neither. No, I take that back, there is no appropriate time or place for idiot posts like yours that compare Reagan to Hitler or encourage him to rot in hell. You just managed to pick the one time and place where it was even more inappropriate than usual.

  21. I had chances to vote for RWR in `76, `80 & `84, and never took them, but I never hated the man. If I had remained a National Review-style conservative, he would have been my hero. As I was turning into a libertarian when he tried to beat Ford for the Republican nomination, he always exerted an incomplete appeal.

    Reagan always got the music of the freedom-movement right, it was the lyrics that gave me a problem. He transformed himself from an anti-communist, FDR-backing union president into a pro-capitalism "conservative." In a way his journey paralleled that of the intellectual neo-conservatives. "Cut taxes, reform regulations, get government off our backs!" It sounded grand. The realities: cut income tax rates, but raise FICA taxes; make "war" on drugs and on "pornography"; spend billions on the military without real cutbacks in other departments; preach freedom of concience for those in the captive nations, while constantly trying to shoehorn "America Is A (Judeo-)Christian Nation" into the Constitution; never lift a finger for school choice, while allowing the Dept. of Education to continue to exist, etc. Reagan also broke his promise to end draft registration.

    Reagan did some good. His unexpected diplomatic success vis a vis the old USSR on nuclear weapons stands out. He was usually good on free trade. But he gave us the feeble Bush 41 for a political heir, even more a sucker for the big spenders than Ron was.

    I do hope the Reagan family doesn't have a hard time dealing with the President's death. They took too much from too many while he was alive.

    Kevin

  22. Wow.

    "He wasn't a cultist-libertarian so fuck em."

    You belong under a rock. Do you take a shit on the frontsteps of someone who just lost their grandpa?

    Your hate is rather sad.

  23. Reagan's crypto-libertarianism was largely bluster. Read the reason interview on the front page; in retrospect, it's actually borderline pandering. His social policies were hardly libertarian in nature (and that's to understate it), and his inaugural promise of shrinking the federal government and bureaucracy never did come to fruition. But apparently many of you are more than willing to ignore the record in favor of his pretty talk?

    That said, as a person Reagan was the last great president of the twentieth century. He was witty, charming, and affable; "The Great Communicator" indeed.

  24. Reagan may have not been much of a libertarian, but he was the only president in six decades - Roosevelt through probably Clinton (and maybe even through the present) to credit "reduce government" as a worthy goal. For that, he deserves our gratitude and respect, if nothing else.

  25. I think it's appropriate to point out criticisms, because at this moment a significant number of people are trying (and have been trying for a while, what with airports and aircraft carriers and such being named for him even before he died) to deify him. Like most presidents, and people, reality is more complex. Yes, he's dead and we should pay our respects. Yes, he was instrumental in the downfall of communism. But he also put the pedal to the metal in the Drug War, even if he did not start it and others continued after him- those facts don't excuse his portion of the guilt. He was basically the prototypical Republican- claim to be for limited government, while being a social conservative and letting the deficit balloon. A legacy is more than just the one big thing that someone did- life is more complicated than that. Maybe some regard these other issues as "secondary," but in my view they are all part of the man's legacy, and cannot be simply discarded. Especially as a libertarian.
    So please, don't deify the guy and please, can we have a rule where a politician has to be dead for 50 years before we start naming things after him?

  26. I also find irony in the notion that Reagan "won" the Cold War (as if every president from since and including Truman had no hand in it), but the fact that he shares guilt in the pernicious "drug war" somehow makes his contribution less significant.

  27. Please, maybe those who were not concious of what was going on in those days ought not to post about it. The man was working against a Democrat Congress the whole 8 years. So, this crap about the "Reagan deficit" is just that, crap.

    Reagan's increase in defense spending is justified by history, as the Reason articles show. He fought and compromised with congress as much as he could, but the big increases in social spending were not his fault. There was only so much he could do with his words, but he was up against people worse than Ted Kennedy (well, maybe that's not possible...)

    Just think how we might actually have a fairly edumacated population right now if Reagan had (note my words) BEEN ABLE TO kill off the Dept. of Education, as he wanted to (I personally remember that from his 1980 campaign literature). He indeed had the big picture of what America should be correct in his head. He was just working against a wall of Statist mofo's the whole time - who was that majority leader who was there his entire administration, anyone, I'm blanking out?

    Compare that to George W. the weanie, who doesn't even publicly say he'll kill the assault weapons ban. Working with a Repub. Congress and Senate - yet he won't do shit. Disgusting... not gonna vote for him ... same as his dad .. wouldn't be prudent.

    Yes, I fault Ronnie for escalating the drug war. His wife Nancy was in charge of this big "just say no" campaign, and some of the unconsititional BS of the War on Drugs did start at that time. That's one bad thing out of a man of great principles, who actually stood up for them.

    All in all, he was a great man, and I wish I could have once shook his hand before he left us.

    Bye Ronnie Ray-gun!

  28. Okay, Ron, I'll tear the damn wall down.

  29. Let us also remember that this was the president who made Ollie North a player in foreign policy...

  30. "So please, don't deify the guy and please, can we have a rule where a politician has to be dead for 50 years before we start naming things after him?"

    Elvis, I think it ought to be opposite from that - 50 years later we see if these people deserve it. For instance yank that idiot Roosevelt off the US dime, and put Ronnie on it. Who's that son-of-a-bitch on the 50-note? Let me see - I'm just gonna look at it! - I'll give it right back. Get him the hell off of it. Who's that Indian broad on the dollar coin? Put Elvis on it - no, not the Reason.com/hitandrun/ poster, I mean the hip-swaying rock and roller.

    James Antley,

    3100 Jim Antley Turnpike

  31. What is all this nonsense? Everyone knows that it was Allah and I that brought down the Soviets. We would have done it even without the Stinger missiles.

  32. Funny how some want to deny credit to him for winning the cold war, and at the same time place all the blame on him for the drug war. Can't have your cake and eat it too.

    Face it, everyone has blind spots in their lives, where their principles are never really brought to bear. On the balance, I think our nation is much better off for Reagan's presidency than not. Are we to tear down the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial because they owned slaves? Destroy the Lincoln Memorial because he suspended habeas corpus?

  33. Ronnie Ray Gun (Zap). I had forgotten about that.

    Reagan wasn't a libertarian but he acknowledged libertarian ideas as legitimate.

    He didn't do so, but in the '60's he talked about abolishing income tax. That put it on the table.

    I never in a million years would have imagined that the Berlin Wall would come down and that the Soviet Union would collapse. Maybe he doesn't deserve all the credit for that but he stood there at the gate and demanded that Gorbachev tear down the wall. Not exactly a PC speech given the weenie state of the American Cold War pysche of the day.

    And you notice that pretty much the day he took office the Iranian hostages were released.

    And you notice that pretty much the day he took office he decontrolled oil prices and instead of gasoline going to three bucks a gallon like all the idiot liberal commentators of the day predicted, the price dropped and the gas lines were history.

  34. I was only in the 7th grade in 1980, but I stumped for Reagan at my school and I went door to door for him in my suburban Washington D.C. neighborhood. My enthusiasm for Reagan led me to read "Free to Choose", and that's how I was introduced to Libertarianism. Reagan once said that he hadn't left the Democratic Party, it was the Democratic Party that left him, and that's the way I feel about the Republican Party. I didn't see any reason why the Libertarian Agenda couldn't have been achieved within the Republican Party; I left the day George "No New Taxes" Bush broke his pledge.

    It's important to put Reagan's domestic achievements in historical context. For instance, when Reagan came into office, a trucker had to have a permit from the ICC for every load he carried, and the permit was specific in regards to pick up city, load contents and delivery city. The ICC had been infiltrated by the Teamsters Union in the same way that the Mafia infiltrated the Teamsters Union--openly, that is. Remember when the Air Traffic Controllers tried to...

    Reagan did away with all that.

    I remember when the federal government decided that the solution to the long lines at the gas station was to make it so that people whose license plate ended in an even number could only buy gasoline on a day with an even number. That sounds like something from the Soviet Union, I know, but that's the way it was in America just before Reagan came into office.

    Reagan did away with all that too.

    Reagan cut taxes in a big way; the top bracket was 70%. He sent Stockman to congress to cut the budget too, but, let's remember, America is a Democracy not a dictatorship; in regards to spending, the President is only capable of doing what the American people and Congress can be persuaded should be done. Reagan also made a value judgment regarding the deficit. He wanted to confront the Soviet Union, he thought he needed more money to do it, and having Volker's foot on the brake made the decision a lot easier. Most people back then would have laughed if you told them that we would have a budget surplus in the '90s.

    And how 'bout those accomplishments in foreign policy? Now, I didn't think highly of bombing Libya, I could have done without the events of Iran-Contra, and Central America didn't go well. But Kirkpatrick was right about South America, and did Reagan have some success with Soviet Union policy or what! I've seen Soviet negotiators say that Star Wars, even if it was all smoke, scared the hell out of 'em! Placing those missiles in Western Europe had the big impact though. The Russians couldn't hit us first which meant they had to negotiate; unfortunately, for the Communists, Reagan didn't think some rather basic principles were negotiable.

    Oh, and when the protestors in Europe showed up 'bout all those missiles, Reagan went over there and told it to 'em like it was. (Captain Kirk says, "Must...resist the temptation...to compare the effectiveness... of Reagan's political strategy in Europe...to...the present...Administration.) "...ash heap of history."; the intellectuals thought he was so stupid.

    In regards to the bile spewed by lefties at Reagan's memory, I can identify a number contributing factors. The first factor was his identification in the '60s as an icon of the culture war. To hippies, Ronald Reagan was hated as much as Spiro Agnew and Hitler. The second factor, which exacerbated the first, is that his ideas about how the economy should be handled and his ideas about how the Communists should be confronted were correct, and their ideas were just flat wrong. How ridiculous it must feel to damn the Laffer Curve in spite of it all, and how painful it must feel to realize that millions of Eastern Europeans, who were once living under Totalitarianism, are now free specifically because the President ignored your strategy of appeasement.

    Reagan wasn't there on The Drug War, that's true. But it was George "Voodoo Economics" Bush who gave us the "Kingpin Law", mandating federal sentences for distributors tougher than what the average murderer actually served at that time. It was Bush who surprised us all in Panama. I long for the days of, "Just Say No"; isn't "Just Say No" what we Libertarians want kids to do after legalization?

    Rest in Peace indeed. After the New Deal and the Great Society, what economic freedom we enjoy is the result of his love of liberty and the strength of his convictions, and, in addition to that, millions of free people all over the world owe him their freedom. If we ever have another President like him, we will be very lucky if luck has anything to do with it. God bless his soul.

  35. Reagan's greatest accomplishment was taking economist, Arthur Laffer, seriously.
    Slashing top tax rates and the resulting boom showed the Laffer Curve works.

    Dubya's daddy still calls it Voodoo economics. Dubya slaps on steel tariffs.
    Yet Dubya, for whatever political calculation of Karl Rove, gave us a decent tax cut which has produced the current boomlet.

    Time and time again, whenever government gets out of the way--lower taxes-- the economy improves, but the hoi polloi who elect Presidents are a long way from being convinced.

    So Voodoo describes better how Presidents get elected than it does economic "laws."

    "Ecomunist," George Soros has invested millions in Dubya dolls and pins.

  36. I believe that Reagan will be the most over-rated President in history for a while. But eventually the historians will recognize the sense of placing him on the same level as James Buchanan and Warren Harding. Please see http://jakking.typepad.com/daily/2004/06/ronald_reagan.html for an explanation of why I believe this is so.

  37. Oh yeah, let me add:

    Firing of the Federal Air Traffic Controllers, who were fixin to strike, though they had no right to as US gov't employees.

    I was very proud of the man that day! Yes, I can remember, twas summer of 1981, the same year that Ronnie made some comment about the Beach Boys being a bunch of druggies (OK, gotta take some of the bad with the good).

    Thanks TWC and Ken for bringing that stuff up. It's all coming back to me. Another thought comes back to me - of wearing my "Re-Elect Reagan" button around the UC Berzerkly campus in 1984. What memories!

  38. Thanks for bringing up the Beach Boys thing Jimmy. But, I was a local kid in D.C. at the time, and I think you remember it a little differently.

    The Beach Boys used to play the Capitol Mall every Fourth of July just before the fireworks show. The Capitol Mall is run by the Park Service, I think, and It was Watt, Reagan's Secretary of Interior, as I remember, who said that the Beach Boys attracted the "wrong element" and cancelled their annual appearance. Ronald Reagan stepped in, overrode Watt saying that Watt had no idea what he was talking about, and the Beach Boys played as usual.

    (Captain Kirk says, "Must...resist the temptation...to compare Reagan's ability...to override his advisors...to...the present...Administration.")

  39. The last stage of Alzheimer's disease, when the patient is so hopelessly confused that he becomes completely passive, is the most frightening existence I can imagine. When I hear that someone with Alzheimer's has died, my first thought is "thank goodness."

    and Jak King, you can haul your ignorant, lying ass back to Trollsville. Were you doing anything when Reagan was president other than sucking your thumb?

  40. Jak King,

    Maybe, if you work really hard at it for like 400 years, you will someday measure up to me and good ol' Warren. Till then, keep your ****ing mouth shut, unless it's to **** my ****ing ****.

    Regards,

    Mr. President

  41. Yeah Jak,

    I'll never get the six seconds I spent reading your post back. To go to all the trouble of creating a blog, just to fill it with inane rants? If I were you, I wouldn't move to a subscription model anytime soon.

  42. Ken, thanks for the correction. I may have a touch of that old-timers disease myself, huh? If it was Watt, then that makes sense, as he was a bit over the top.

    I wonder if we don't have enough real Americans left to vote in a guy like that today. That too, is kind of sad.

  43. I wonder how long some of these articles just posted on NRO and such places have been collecting dust waiting around for Ronnie to die.

    Growing up he and much of what he stood for was what I defined myself against. At the same time, I have always known that if it wasn't for some of what he did, I *might* still be in Poland standing 5 hours in a line to get into an empty store like my parents did.

    A toast to you Ronnie. Even if, as president, you were all lip service on the libertarian front. That's more than we can say now.

  44. Ken Schultz,

    "This completely ignores the fact that the reason why Reagan was so concerned with nuclear war was his thoughts on it bringing on the apocalypse as written in Revelations; this well-documented concern often seized his mind and was a major factor in his thoughts concerning US-Soviet relations."

    Well, at least you had the honesty to qoute me in full this time, as opposed to parsing my statement.

    "Where's the answer to the question that even if Reagan was afraid of the apocalypse, why should his achievements be discredited on that basis?"

    Well, first of all, you would have to demonstrate that I was discrediting his "achievements." You're making a boatload of assumptions here, and have as yet to establish the merits of any of them.

  45. Ken Schultz,

    Anyway, its been nice sparring with you, but I've got to finish mowing the lawn and then clean the carpet tonight (a must after mud season). Enjoy the rest of your day. πŸ™‚

  46. "as far as the cold war goes, he did a great job, but the Soviet Union was very deeply flawed. It would have died anyway in due time. To say Reagan started it is a bit much."

    Reason: https://reason.com/0311/cr.gg.the.shtml
    Read it, then if you haven't yet, read the book.

    The Gipper and the Hedgehog
    How an "amiable dunce" outsmarted the world.

    Glenn Garvin

    ..... "Yet if there was an eggplant where Reagan?s brain should have been, how did he manage to win the Cold War? ....

    The general response among America?s chattering classes has been that Reagan was the political equivalent of the millionth customer at Bloomingdale?s. He was the guy lucky enough to walk through the door as the prize was handed out, as if everything was pre-ordained and would have happened the same way no matter whether the White House had been occupied by Michael Dukakis or George McGovern or Susan Sarandon. An alternative theory posits that Gorbachev was some sort of Jeffersonian kamikaze pilot, taking his whole nation over the cliff for the thrill of being proclaimed Time?s Man of the Decade.

    Oddly, that?s not the way the Russians see it. Says Genrikh Grofimenko, a former adviser to Leonid Brezhnev, "Ninety-nine percent of the Russian people believe that you won the Cold War because of your president?s insistence on SDI," the Strategic Defense Initiative, as Star Wars was formally called. Grofimenko marvels that the Nobel Peace Prize went to "the greatest flimflam man of all time," Mikhail Gorbachev, while Western intellectuals ignore Reagan -- who, he says, "was tackling world gangsters of the first order of magnitude."

    ... Schweizer is not so unkind as to say so, but when it came to foreign policy, Jimmy Carter was the archetypal fox. Pulling the rug out from under right-wing regimes in Nicaragua and Guatemala, then arming theocratic fascist guerrillas in Afghanistan, he could never translate his supposedly superior intellect into coherent policy. .....

    Unlike Carter, Reagan was never invited to contribute to foreign policy journals. But he knew one big thing: that freedom is the defining value of mankind, and communism was its antithesis. It was that, and not the arcana of missile throw weights or U.N. treaties, that defined Reagan?s policy toward the Soviet Union. "Details that animate so many in the world of politics, academe, and journalism did not interest him so much as the ?metaphysics? of the Cold War," observes Schweizer. ....

    ....Working with White House documents (some declassified, some still secret), Reagan?s own correspondence, and a wealth of material released from Soviet bloc archives, Schweizer argues persuasively that the collapse of the Soviet Union was no accident; it was the result of a strategy that Reagan had been advocating for nearly 20 years...

    .... The arms buildup (and a little-appreciated corollary, Reagan?s jawboning of the Saudis to open their oil spigots and depress the value of Soviet petroleum exports) quickly took its toll. The Soviet economy began shrinking in 1982 and never recovered. By Schweizer?s accounting, the various Reagan initiatives were costing Moscow as much as $45 billion a year, a devastating sum for a nation with only $32 billion a year in hard-currency earnings. .....

    .......
    Schweizer?s narrative, nonetheless, is important -- and not just to settle historical scores with the Schlesingers of the world. The flipside of his argument about Reagan?s role in the fall of the Soviet Union is that detente was a dismal failure: that the Soviets responded to U.S. restraint with increased troublemaking in the Third World; that arms-control agreements actually destabilized the world by allowing Moscow to catch up with us; that, had we taken a firmer hand, the Cold War could have ended a decade or more earlier, at the cost of much less blood and money.

    Those are sobering thoughts as we confront a new enemy that is as antithetical to freedom as was Soviet communism but much less predictable: Islamist terrorism. We once measured the threat to our security in easily quantifiable terms: the number and location of the enemy?s soldiers and tanks, the aim of his missiles. As we learned on September 11, 2001, that way of reckoning has joined blimps and the Maginot Line on the scrap heap of military history. Reasonable persons may differ over whether George Bush chose the right target when he invaded Iraq. But it seems clear that Bill Clinton?s tentative response to earlier Al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and U.S. embassies in Africa only served to embolden Osama bin Laden. The 9/11 attacks taught us that if we wait around until the first punch is thrown, we?re going to get a bloody nose and worse.

    If only we could bring Ronald Reagan back from the fog into which he?s vanished, I?d love to hear what he?d have to say on the subject.

  47. The hagiography and hatred in the posts above made for an amusing read. Reagan was neither a god nor a devil; I wouldn't have voted for him, but then again, I don't vote for religious conservatives.

  48. I remember the two Reagan terms, and to this day have strongly mixed feelings on the man. For all his "libertarian" rhetoric, he was, remember, the man who appointed Ed Meese Attorney General. As governor he ruined the state school system by putting it in the hands of the revolting Max Rafferty. And then there was Robert Bork.

    Reagan's legacy? On the plus side, he put libertarianism on the map. On the negative, he did much to discredit the movement in the eyes of mainstream America.

  49. I'm writing my own eulogy about him now, but there is a devastating line from Peggy Noonan's book "When Character Was King" that sums up just how different he was from everything we've now come to expect from our politicians:

    "Imagine Ronald Reagan listening to a poll to tell him what to think."

    Godspeed, Mr. President.

  50. "I can't believe you guys are having a hard time getting this point, but maybe I haven't spelled it all out well enough."

    Who is having a hard time? I'm not.

    Here, I'll qoute you:

    "I said that no president since Reagan has won the popular vote in two consecutive elections."

    Nixon won the popular vote in 1968 and 1972; and of course Clinton did in 1992 and 1996. Now, Nixon did not win an absolute majority of the popular vote in 1968, nor did Clinton it in 1992 or 1996; however, your statement did make such a qualification"

    "I said that no president since Reagan has won the popular vote in two consecutive elections.", doesn't contain, "such a qualification"?

    Ha!

    "Nixon won the popular vote in 1968 and 1972;..."

    No he didn't. Nixon won 43.42% of the popular vote in 1968, and he won 55.95% of the Electoral vote 1968. Clinton never won a majority of the popular vote. Are you trying to mince words here? Are you suggesting that popular vote means Electoral vote, even after I spelled it out?

    Not having a hard time? Ha!

    I've made mistakes in the past, and I admit them when I do. It's much easier than making a ridiculous argument like you just did. But I'm standing by this statement. Ronald Reagan was the last President to win the popular vote twice. Before Reagan, the last President to win the popular vote twice was Eisenhower.

  51. BTW, I do think Reagan was courageous for negotiating with the Soviets; especially in light of all the heat conservatives gave him for it - George Will calling him a "dupe" for going forward with the talks (Pat Buchanan said nastier things about him).

    "But it seems clear that Bill Clinton?s tentative response to earlier Al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center..."

    It ought to be noted that al Qaeda wasn't founded until 1996; the first WTC attack was in 1993.

    "...that the Soviets responded to U.S. restraint with increased troublemaking in the Third World; that arms-control agreements actually destabilized the world by allowing Moscow to catch up with us; that, had we taken a firmer hand, the Cold War could have ended a decade or more earlier, at the cost of much less blood and money."

    It should also be noted that detente was largely a Nixonite program, and that it ended in 1973; furthermore, it was undertook when Nixon was quite aggressive in his actions towards the USSR.

    "The Soviet economy began shrinking in 1982 and never recovered."

    It had been shrinking since the 1960s.

    "But he knew one big thing: that freedom is the defining value of mankind, and communism was its antithesis. It was that, and not the arcana of missile throw weights or U.N. treaties, that defined Reagan?s policy toward the Soviet Union."

    This completely ignores the fact that the reason why Reagan was so concerned with nuclear war was his thoughts on it bringing on the apocalypse as written in Revelations; this well-documented concern often seized his mind and was a major factor in his thoughts concerning US-Soviet relations.

  52. Chez,

    Reagan's handlers were savvy poll-watchers; indeed, one of the most devastating critiques of Reagan is that he was often rather out of touch.

  53. Jean/Gary whichever you prefer:
    You are right about the Former President. He did some good things, had some bad ideas. He had a strong Message of smaller Government, but Government grew. He knew the USSR was about to fall, and he helped that along. Was Lockerbie blowback from the 1986 Bombings in Tripoli? Or did the bombing keep the Colonel in check? It is sad to lose a loved one to Alzheimers. Thoughts to his Family.
    KK

  54. Ken Schultz,

    Let me qoute you again:

    Posted by Ken Shultz at June 6, 2004 11:51 AM

    "I said that no president since Reagan has won the popular vote in two consecutive elections."

    Both Clinton and Nixon won the popular vote; they did not, however, win an absolute majority of it. Again, your statement does not make any qualifications about absolute majority or plurality (do I need to explain these concepts to you, or can you look them up yourself?); if you had qualified your statement as to only include a win by absolute majority, well, then that would be a different matter entirely. However, you did not do this, therefore, your statement remains in error. Furthermore, as I've yet to even mention the electoral vote, I'm not quite sure why you keep on rambling on about it.

    "Ronald Reagan was the last President to win the popular vote twice. Before Reagan, the last President to win the popular vote twice was Eisenhower."

    No, he was the last President to win the popular vote by absolute majority twice; and Ike was the last to do so before him. Though both Nixon (1968) and Clinton (1992 and 1996) won the popular vote of their elections by a plurality, they nevertheless won the popular vote in those elections because they got the most votes of those running.

  55. Jean - almost had forgotten: This would be a good time to be at Normandy. Have you ever been to the Celebrations?

  56. "Sure he was the enemy of the Democratic Congress. But he was no friend of liberty."

    At Reagan's behest; congress cut tax rates and federal regulations, (the Federal Registry, the list of all Fed. regulations actually shrank under Reagan's watch!), and slowed the rate of growth of total federal spending. During the Reagan years discretionary spending fell two or three percent!

    (see:The Seven Fat Years: And How to Do It Again by Robert L. Bartley)

  57. You tell 'em Beth.

    I added something about domestic policy, and a bit about missiles in Western Europe, but that's the stuff!

    Regarding Reagan's nuclear war concerns being driven by his belief in the apocalypse, someone could easily charge you with regurgitating propaganda. He wasn't concerned with nuclear war on it's own merits at all? Is it possible to be both concerned with nuclear war on its own merits and believe in the apocalypse? It's much easier to judge people by what they do rather that what you see in their heart, and what Reagan did ultimately brought about the fall of one the biggest threats the United States has ever known. Even if what you say is true, are we supposed to discredit his achievement because he didn't save us for the right reasons?

    Reagan was out of touch with popular opinion? When? Didn't he win every state in his last campaign except for Minnesota? Do you realize that before Reagan, the Democratic Party was the party of the south? Does the term Reagan Coalition mean anything to you? No President has won a majority of the vote in two consecutive elections since Reagan. What poll are you citing? What issue was he out of touch with? You think that people wanted higher taxes? Maybe you think that people wanted him to appease the Soviet Union? Are you talking about David Stockman? If you're talking about Stockman, you can't accuse the Reagan Administration of being both out of touch with the polls and poll watchers.

  58. Dan I suspect you mean well, but has it occurred to you that suggesting that Reagan was influenced by something as irrational as astrology might be even more disturbing than suggesting that Reagan's foreign policy was predicated on Revelation prophecy?

    No, it hasn't occurred to to me, for two reasons: one, astrology is no more irrational than Christianity, and two, I prefer a President who dabbles in astrology to one who dabbles is eschatology.

    That Reagan dabbled in astrology is well-documented. But I promise to devote several minutes this afternoon to pretending to give a rat's ass if you believe it or not.

  59. (I posted this on the thread above as well... don't no where it's most appropriate so I'm putting it in both.)

    Reagan had ideas and ideals of less government and more freedom for America, and he also saw the Soviet Union for the evil empire that it was, but counseled against giving up our civil liberties in the struggle to overcome it. At the behest of his leadership, many of Reagan's ideas came to fruition, and the people of America and much of the rest of the world are hugely better for it. (I'll list specifics in a subsequent post.)

    That Reagan was indeed an "idea guy" is for sure. One time John Hospers, the first LP candidate for president and USC philosophy prof. was on a radio talk show in Cal. and a call came in from the governors mansion; it was Reagan jumping into the conversation.

    In 1976 when he was trying to wrest the GOP nomination from Ford he came to Colorado to give a speech in Ft. Collins. I drove up from Denver to hear him and after the speech when he and Nancy got to me in the receiving line, they found a wide eyed kid who was jazzed that he cited The Road to Serfdom by Hayek in his talk. He told me he also really liked Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty. This, of course, put me in orbit.

    I then mentioned that I enjoyed the points he made in an interview with Reason ( July 1975.) https://reason.com/7507/int_reagan.shtml (it was in this interview where he made the, "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism" quote.) I remember he then said, I swear, "Well, I'll have to look at that again". (remember when the "Well" was the stock in trade of a Reagan imitation?) As I shook their hands in an enthusiastic "fare well", Nancy assured me that; "Ronnie loves that little magazine".

    The best way I can think of to thank President Reagan is to say that; I would never want to risk rerunning history with out him. Beyond that, I can find no words that adequately express my gratitude to him.

  60. (please see note at top of last post)

    At Reagan's behest; congress cut tax rates and federal regulations, (the Federal Registry, the list of all Fed. regulations actually shrunk under Reagan's watch!) and slowed the rate of growth of total federal spending. During the Reagan years, discretionary spending fell two or three percent!

    These actions produced an unprecedented economic boom. (see: Seven Fat Years: And How to Do It Again by Robert L. Bartley) Remember at the end of the Carter regime, things were very bad, and the American people had been told that they needed to lower their expectations.

    But, Reagan's vision of how dynamic capitalism can be if we can make progress at getting the government out of the way came to fruition.

    Reagan confronted the monstrosity of Soviet communism and its missiles aimed at America. He insisted on the moral superiority of capitalism and warned against giving up any of our civil liberties in this fight.

    Reagan conspired with the Pope to jettison Soviet control of Poland and the rest of the occupied nations. (for a fascinating account of the story of his forty year struggle and final triumph over communism, including his reasons for stressing why we should not compromise our own liberty see: Reagan's War by Peter Schweizer)

  61. Make that..."don't know where..."

    Sorry; I better crash.

  62. "...if you had qualified your statement as to only include a win by absolute majority, well, then that would be a different matter entirely. However, you did not do this, therefore, your statement remains in error. Furthermore, as I've yet to even mention the electoral vote, I'm not quite sure why you keep on rambling on about it."

    Remember that epsiode from "I Love Lucy" when Lucy and Ethel are working at the candy factory? When their supervisor turns the conveyor up to full speed, they both go frantic. I swear I still laugh every time I see that episode. Well, that's the reason I keep rambling on about this point. Yeah, I know you've given up the suggestion that Reagan or his staff were out of touch with the electorate, but watching you scramble around to find something inaccurate about the statement, "Ronald Reagan was the last President to win the popular vote twice. Before Reagan, the last President to win the popular vote twice was Eisenhower." is so funny! Every time you do it, it's funny all over again.

  63. "Where's the answer to the question that even if Reagan was afraid of the apocalypse, why should his achievements be discredited on that basis?"

    Well, first of all, you would have to demonstrate that I was discrediting his "achievements." You're making a boatload of assumptions here, and have as yet to establish the merits of any of them.

    When you made that statement about the apocalypse, it was in response to a post by Beth extolling President Reagan's achievements. If you didn't bring up the apocalypse for that purpose, then why did you bring it up? Oh, and when you respond, please, let's try to avoid religious bigotry.

  64. As a teenager in the '80s, I was my family's Alex P. Keaton. (For the pop-culture impaired, see "Family Ties.") Reagan's presence in my world at a young age set the foundation for the love of liberty I maintain to this day.

    Reagan may not have reversed 50 years of New Dealism, he may not have "singlehandedly" ended Communism, he may indeed have promoted the drug war. But he's the closest we've come in a century to having a president who truly understood what freedom is, and who at least knew how to talk its talk. America should be grateful and proud that she preserved herself, at least for a little while longer, by elevating him to the nation's highest office.

  65. That Reagan dabbled in astrology is well-documented. But I promise to devote several minutes this afternoon to pretending to give a rat's ass if you believe it or not.

    I'm glad wrote that it's well documented. Unfortunately it's not documented well enough that I can find any reference to Ronald Reagan himself dabbling in astrology anywhere. Maybe you can help me find a link somewhere? Show me a reference to some credible source saying that Ronald Reagan himself "dabbled" in astrology.

  66. Funny Gunnels I went back to my orginal statement just now, and look how it reads!

    "No President has won a majority of the vote in two consecutive elections since Reagan."

  67. No, I don't think that. But then, I'm sane.

    Or delusional...

    Whatever. I'm not the one who has somehow managed to hallucinate that Reagan has been "shielded from criticism" for over a decade.

    You whiny bitches never seemed to shut up about him, actually.

  68. I'm somewhat skeptical of the "Reagan brought down communism" bit. Based upon what I've read, it had much more to do with the near-total collapse of the Soviet economy. Planned economies are very inefficient, and if not checked with market influences will eventually collapse under their own weight. Reagan believed this, as have most (all?) libertarian economists. To credit one man with bringing down communism in the USSR seems to me both factually unjustified and disrespectful to the power of the market and to the actions of brave individuals in the USSR who did the real work in making a peaceful transition.

    Reagan did massively increase defense spending, and cut taxes. While the latter part is generally a good thing, it is better in the long run to tax-and-spend than to borrow-and-spend, since the credit spending today will have to be repaid in higher taxes later. And then there is his morally abhorrent and illegal involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal. Or even his morally abhorrent step-up of the drug war, including the beginning of the current ecstacy war. I don't have a problem with "Just say no," but I do have a problem with enforcing that choice on millions of Americans with brutal force.

    So yes, he deregulated some industries, ended price controls, and brought some of the rhetoric of the free market to the fore in American politics. Unfortunately, few substantial and structural changes actually came out of his presidency. We still have an NEA, FCC, CPSB, a nationalized train system, etc., and his presidency ended with the same system of tariffs that it started with. So on the policy points where I agree with Reagan, he was somewhat ineffective, though still a force for good. For this, I commend him. However, on other policy points, he did terrible and irresponsible things. Overall, I think he had a negative impact on the country and the world.

    And for all you people out there who are poo-pooing the people who dislike Reagan, when Clinton dies how many of you will say "Yes, Clinton did some bad things, but he reformed welfare, and signed and supported NAFTA."? Overall, most of you think that Clinton had a negative impact on the country, so you won't memorialize him. When he dies, should this forum still exist, the same people will be posting about what a horrible person he was, and that's fine.

  69. I wouldn't have voted for him, but then again, I don't vote for religious conservatives.

    That's a non-seqitur; Ronald Reagan wasn't a religious conservative.

    The man seldom attended church and dabbled in astrology. These should be two important clues that he wasn't a bible-thumper. πŸ™‚

  70. "I'm somewhat skeptical of the "Reagan brought down communism" bit. Based upon what I've read, it had much more to do with the near-total collapse of the Soviet economy."-asd

    Yes, there is a lot of truth in that, and in 2004 it seems rather obvious that the communist experiment was doomed to failure eventually. In 1980, however, the conventional wisdom was more toward the notion that communism was in eternal expansion and at best it could only be contained. Reagan went against this pessimistic grain of thought. He believed then what we know now and acted accordingly, when others did not and would not. That is the credit that Reagan deserves in the fall of the Soviet empire.

    Thank you, Mr. President, and Godspeed.

  71. Yeah, Clinton did some bad things, but the Republican Congress passed welfare reform three times, and Billy Jeff finally signed it on the third pass, because Dick Morris convinced him that he would be electoral toast if he didn't, and he did support NAFTA.

    How's that?

    As for Gary v. Ken: stop talking past each other. Clinton won the popular vote by plurality, twice. Nixon won the popular vote by plurality the first time, and by majority the second time. Reagan, like Ike, won popular vote majorities both times. His first majority was 50.75%, compared to Carter's 1976 mark of 50.08%. RR was credited with a landslide in 1980, because he beat Carter by 10 points, while Carter squeaked past Ford (48.02%) in 1976.

    In all the elections where the popular vote winner only had a plurality, and in 2000's loss by the popular vote leader, independent or third party candidates accounted for the lack of a majority result.

    Kevin

  72. I wonder if all you people so outraged by the Reagan bashing among the anti-Reagan crowd, would be so outraged by a similar reaction among Freepers to, say, Clinton's death from syphilis. I'd bet a month's pay the right-wing reaction would be exactly the same, and the liberals would be expressing the same outrage over filial impiety that you folks are today. Of course, unlike H&R, Rim Job at Free Republic would just censor out the criticism.

  73. He wasn't 100% libertarian, so fuck him. I am glad he is dead. Anyone who disagrees is a Freeper and a hypocrite since I know for a fact they wished clinton dead. If you say otherwise, you are just a neocon liar (like Bush).

  74. Being born in 1971, I experienced my adolescence during the Reagan years, and I consider myself fortunate that I did. My memories of the late 1980s are fond--a time of peace and prosperity.

  75. Being born in 1971, I experienced my adolescence during the Reagan years, and I consider myself fortunate that I did. My memories of the late 1980s are fond--a time of peace and prosperity.

  76. "I wonder if all you people so outraged by the Reagan bashing among the anti-Reagan crowd, would be so outraged by a similar reaction among Freepers to, say, Clinton's death from syphilis."

    Syphilis? Why did you throw that in?

    Surely you don't equate death from syphilis (which is acquired by deliberate actions...and would never be acquired if both marriage partners were faithful) with death from Alzheimer's!

  77. "I wonder if all you people so outraged by the Reagan bashing among the anti-Reagan crowd, would be so outraged by a similar reaction among Freepers to, say, Clinton's death from syphilis."

    Syphilis? Why did you throw that in?

    Surely you don't equate death from syphilis (which is acquired by deliberate actions...and would never be acquired if both marriage partners were faithful) with death from Alzheimer's!

  78. "I wonder if all you people so outraged by the Reagan bashing among the anti-Reagan crowd, would be so outraged by a similar reaction among Freepers to, say, Clinton's death from syphilis."

    Syphilis? Why did you throw that in?

    Surely you don't equate death from syphilis (which is acquired by deliberate actions...and would never be acquired if both marriage partners were faithful) with death from Alzheimer's!

  79. Someday Reason will fix the frickin software/server/whatever issues around here and threads will stop being clogged with duplicate posts -- not to mention we can all stop sitting for five minutes waiting to see if a post goes through.

    Certainly would be a nice nod to the folks out here who have made Hit & Run one of the best blogs on the Web.

  80. Kevrob,

    I'm done with that argument, but please note that Reagan having won the popular majority twice was a topic because it had been suggested (before being rewritten) that Reagan was in some way out touch with voters.

  81. To those of you who are dubious of Reagan being given credit for winning the Cold War,

    I don't think that Reagan deserves all the credit for winning the Cold War; the Communist System was fundamentally flawed. But for someone who lived and breathed these arguments for eight years, who watched Reagan fight for everything he got every step of the way, it's hard to dismiss the power of Reagan's intention and imagine that things would have gone the way they did if Carter or Mondale had been President. Reagan managed to convince both European leaders and their electorates that they should install gobs of missiles in their countries and point them straight at the USSR, for instance.

    Imagine what the War on Terror would look like if George "WMD" Bush could manage to accomplish the same feat. I suspect that the Cold War might have looked like the War on Terror does now if Reagan hadn't been in office and done what he did. It was an heroic task persuading all those Europeans to do what they did. I suppose it's speculation, but I just don't think that Carter or Mondale could have managed it, and I think that Reagan doing that, and a few other things, made all the difference.

    The other thing I think should be considered is in line with the sentiments Beth posted above. I've listened to the Soviets talk about what happened from their perspective. I've seen numerous generals and negotiators, and I've heard Gorbachev himself give huge amounts of credit to Ronald Reagan and the strategies for which I watched Reagan fight. I've listened to the Iron Lady, a sister in arms, give him high praise and all due credit. Those kinds of accolades coming from those kinds fo people shouldn't be completely disregarded.

  82. "Being born in 1971, I experienced my adolescence during the Reagan years, and I consider myself fortunate that I did. My memories of the late 1980s are fond--a time of peace and prosperity."

    Well, I was born in 1958, and I was an adolescent in the early 70's. Tricky Dick was king. We were at war (but none of my friends were in it), and any prosperity around wasn't coming down to a kid cutting lawns for money. But skirts were short, and we hadn't yet entered the disco era, so I thought things were pretty solid. (To quote the man formerly known as Linc Hayes--now going by the boring name of Clarence Williams III--the coolest dude in the world at the time.)

    So I don't think your fond memories are necessarily directly the result of Ronald Reagan's policies. πŸ˜‰

  83. Mark writes: "But skirts were short, and we hadn't yet entered the disco era, so I thought things were pretty solid."

    Amen.

  84. Oh, and some more things: Right at the very beginning, the Beatles were still together (and doing some of their best work, e.g. Let It Be, Here Comes the Sun). At the very same time, Eric Clapton was laying down some really heavy licks ("Layla!")...

    ...and in the immortal words of Homer Simpson, Michael Jackson still was black. πŸ™‚

  85. Kudos to Reason for their moving and appropriate tributes to Reagan. Any mainstream libertarian will find a lot to fault in Reagan. Any president must be evaluated according to the standards of his time, according to the possibilities actually laid out before him, and according to the totality of his record.

    Reagan greatly hastened the demise of the most dehumanizing, destructive, and evil empire history has ever known. He is not saint. But for his achievements in defeating communist totalitarianism, he was truly a great man, a great president. I feel blessed to having lived in an era blessed with greatness and a president, despite my disagreements with him, that I could feel proud of.

  86. Ken Schultz,

    "He wasn't concerned with nuclear war on it's own merits at all? Is it possible to be both concerned with nuclear war on its own merits and believe in the apocalypse?"

    Well, you are attacking me for something I never stated.

    "It's much easier to judge people by what they do rather that what you see in their heart, and what Reagan did ultimately brought about the fall of one the biggest threats the United States has ever known."

    Sorry, I don't think the historical record merits such a statement; the USSR fell of its own accord; Reagan's policies helped nudge that along - in other words, with or without Reagan's policies, the USSR would have collapsed - this is demonstrated by the long economic decline the USSR had been in since the 1960s.

    "Reagan was out of touch with popular opinion?"

    When did I write that he was out of touch with popular opinion? My comment was in reference to his "handlers," not popular opinion.

    "Do you realize that before Reagan, the Democratic Party was the party of the south?"

    Actually, the Republicans had been gaining momentum in the South from the 1960s; indeed, that's the reason why Nixon did so well there in there in the 1968 and 1972 Presidential campaigns. Furthermore, I have no sympathy for the Republican southern strategy; indeed, I well remember Reagan's 1980 speech on "states' rights" in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

    "What poll are you citing?"

    Since I have not mentioned a poll, how could I cite one?

    The rest of your comments on predicated on a false inference.

    Dan,

    "The man seldom attended church and dabbled in astrology. These should be two important clues that he wasn't a bible-thumper."

    So what? The man still opposed abortion, wanted prayer in schools, etc.; these are all the hallmarks of a religious conservative. Hell, even if he himself wasn't a religious conservative, he hired so many to run the government as to make the point moot - especially in light of his lax style of oversight.

  87. Gary Gunnels,

    You are dead wrong about the idea that the Soviet Union would have folded without Reagan. The fact is that the Soviet Union only collapsed after Reagan was willing to commit to outspending them on defense at any cost. Only then did the Soviets realize that they could not compete militarily and had to reform their economic system. Even then the Soviet Union was not ready to give up. People forget that Gorbechev was a communist committed to saving communism and winning the cold war. It was only when his reforms got out of control and events passed him by that he gave up on the cold war. Had Reagan not embarked on the Arms buildup of the 1980s, the Soviets would not have been forced to enact these reforms and could have stayed in power. If Communism was destined to fall on its own, why is it still in power in North Korea and Cuba? The answer is that those countries have never given and inch on reform and never had to seriously compete with the US militarily. Had Reagan not been elected and rebuilt the military much to the chagrin of peaceniks such as yourself, there is no telling how long the Soviets could have held onto power.

  88. What's always interested me about Reagan and the GOP is the way that very disparate factions will cite him as an exemplar of their values.

    The theocrats revere him as a President who cared about traditional values. The libertarian Republicans revere him as a President who believed that people should be left alone by Republicans. The free-traders revere him as a President who understood the importance of free markets. Pat Buchanan has claimed that Ronald Reagan was a great protectionist. And so forth.

    Now, one side or the other may very well be right on those issues, and correct in claiming Reagan as one of their own. But when you look at the GOP's internal divisions both sides claim Reagan as one of their own. This has always fascinated me.

  89. No President has won a majority of the vote in two consecutive elections since Reagan.

    Actually, the last candidate to win a majority of the popular vote in a presidential election was Bush the Elder in 1988. Think about it -- it's been almost 16 years. I wonder if that's the longest stretch in US history.

  90. Those of you who would attack Reagan's memory, please...allow me...

    Dan I suspect you mean well, but has it occurred to you that suggesting that Reagan was influenced by something as irrational as astrology might be even more disturbing than suggesting that Reagan's foreign policy was predicated on Revelation prophecy? Having written that, there is no indication that Ronald Reagan, "dabbled" in astrology, and I?ve never heard a credible source claim otherwise. It is apparent, however, that Nancy Reagan was into astrology, and after Reagan was shot, she used to insert herself into his travel plans. Shifting your travel plans around out of deference to your wife isn't an indication of dabbling in anything. Please promise you'll never defend me from anything, Dan.

    Unfortunately, Dan's ridiculous assertion makes me qualify one of the bigger questions I asked Gunnels above, and I would still like to get a response to those questions. But if Ronald Reagan made a single policy decision based on astrology, then any achievement based on that decision should be entirely discredited. Having written that, there is no indication that such a decision was ever made. I believe that Reagan?s sense of good and evil informed his views of the USSR, and I have no problem with that. The series of strategy decisions Reagan made on foreign policy effectively brought an end to one of the greatest threats the United States has ever known. Judging his legacy by his actions, are we to dismiss Reagan?s achievement simply because he was concerned about the apocalypse?

  91. "Reagan's handlers were savvy poll-watchers; indeed, one of the most devastating critiques of Reagan is that he was often rather out of touch."

    You can only think that critique is devastating if you, or the voters at large, thought it was true that Reagan was, "...often rather out of touch." with the polls.

  92. For what it is worth I was very young during his administration. My predominant memories of that time were the "just say no" stuff that we watched in school and occasionally came on tv. I find that colors much of what the man did in my eyes having had to sit through nonsense propaganda.

    I don't say this because I disagree that he made major economic and strategic accomplishments, just that when I was in elementary school it was fairly pervasive and offensive.

  93. John Kluge,

    "The fact is that the Soviet Union only collapsed after Reagan was willing to commit to outspending them on defense at any cost."

    This is called nudging; it was going that way anyway.

    "Only then did the Soviets realize that they could not compete militarily and had to reform their economic system."

    Actually, this is historically innaccurate; from the 1960s onward there were numerous failed attempts made to "reform" the Soviet economy because it was so anemic as compared to the U.S. Gorbachev was one of a long-line of "reformers." Indeed, if U.S. military spending alone was what really buried the Soviets, then that would have been as likely to occur under LBJ or Nixon when such spending was very high. No, the Soviet system was doomed to failure whether Reagan was President or not; your alternative grants merit to the Soviet system that it doesn't deserve.

    "People forget that Gorbechev was a communist committed to saving communism and winning the cold war."

    I haven't forgot that Gorbachev was a communist, nor that he was committed to saving communism, etc.. Indeed, he matured as a leader during the 1960s when such impulses were common in the USSR following the dark winter of Stalinism.

    "It was only when his reforms got out of control and events passed him by that he gave up on the cold war."

    These reforms were part a long line "reforms" again going back to the 1960s; for almost thirty years the Soviets attempted to find a method by which to compete with the West; this hardly argues for the sort of quick collapse only at the hands of Reagan that is your thesis. Indeed, it points to a deep anxiety about the future of the USSR, and about its workability born out of the knowledge that the USSR was not working out well.

    "If Communism was destined to fall on its own, why is it still in power in North Korea and Cuba?"

    Because not every communist state follows the same time-table quite obviously.

    "The answer is that those countries have never given and inch on reform and never had to seriously compete with the US militarily."

    Umm, the North Koreans seriously compete with the U.S. and South Korea; which is why North Korea keeps such a large military force in comparison to the size of its population, and why so much of its national economy is funneled into military spending. Indeed, North Korea spends huge sums of national wealth on military spending. As to Cuba, well, we've already seen that its had embarked since the 1990s on economic reforms; which is why there are so many resorts in Cuba now.

  94. Ken Schultz,

    "You can only think that critique is devastating if you, or the voters at large, thought it was true that Reagan was, '...often rather out of touch.' with the polls."

    My comments dealt specifically with how he was out of touch with his handlers; if I worded my comments in a confusing way, well, I apologize. However, I never stated that he was "out of touch" with the polls.

    Let me phrase my statement differently:

    Reagan's handlers were savvy poll watchers; however, its clear that Reagan himself was often out of touch with his handlers.

  95. Actually, the last candidate to win a majority of the popular vote in a presidential election was Bush the Elder in 1988. Think about it -- it's been almost 16 years. I wonder if that's the longest stretch in US history.

    That's a fascinating statistic; unfortunately, it doesn't have anything to do with the quote you copied. I said that no president since Reagan has won the popular vote in two consecutive elections. The last President to do that was Eisenhower.

  96. Don't any of yall think that Reagan's been dying for like a dozen years now and he (or rather the GOP) has been using his illness as a shield against criticism?

    I'm glad he's gone - hopefully now some of the truth of his rotten administration can come out.

  97. "Destroy the Lincoln Memorial because he suspended habeas corpus?"

    Yes.

  98. He wasn't concerned with nuclear war on it's own merits at all? Is it possible to be both concerned with nuclear war on its own merits and believe in the apocalypse?"

    Well, you are attacking me for something I never stated.

    My questions were a response to the following post:

    This completely ignores the fact that the reason why Reagan was so concerned with nuclear war was his thoughts on it bringing on the apocalypse as written in Revelations; this well-documented concern often seized his mind and was a major factor in his thoughts concerning US-Soviet relations.

    If you put the questions I asked back into the context I asked them in, and I'm repeating myself like broken record, the issues is how can you write that " ...bringing on the apocalypse as written in Revelations...often seized his mind..." unless you were there or you're quoting some source or you have a secret window into his heart? Once again, even if he was deeply fearful of "bringing on the apocalypse" you don't know that this overrode his fear of nuclear war on its own merits. And, even in spite of such fear, why does that mean his actions don't deserve the credit they're due?

  99. Ken Schultz,

    Nixon won the popular vote in two consecutive elections; by a nose in 1968, and by a land-slide in 1972.

    Two-Term Presidents (meaning elected to such - even if they did not fully served out their second term): Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland (terms of office were not consecutive), McKinley, Wilson, Roosevelt (elected to four terms; died in beginnings of the fourh term), Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush (?).

    One-Term Presidents: Adams, Adams, Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler (not elected), Polk, Taylor, Fillmore (not elected), Pierce, Buchanan, Johnson (not elected), Hayes, Garfield, Arthur (not elected), Harrison (in between Cleveland), Roosevelt (not elected first term; elected to second term), Taft, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Truman (not elected first term; elected to second term), Kennedy, Johnson (not elected to first term; elected to second), Ford (not elected - not even to Veep spot), Carter, Bush, Bush (?).

  100. Ken Schultz,

    "If you put the questions I asked back into the context I asked them in, and I'm repeating myself like broken record, the issues is how can you write that '...bringing on the apocalypse as written in Revelations...often seized his mind...' unless you were there or you're quoting some source or you have a secret window into his heart?"

    The numerous biographies of Reagan make this point better than I can.

    "Once again, even if he was deeply fearful of 'bringing on the apocalypse' you don't know that this overrode his fear of nuclear war on its own merits."

    Well, I never made the claim that it did, ergo, your statement is pointless. Indeed, I made it fairly obvious that it was one factor among many; what you are trying to do is dishonestly box me into a corner. Sorry, I'm not biting.

  101. Don't any of yall think that Reagan's been dying for like a dozen years now and he (or rather the GOP) has been using his illness as a shield against criticism?

    No, I don't think that. But then, I'm sane.

  102. I can't believe you guys are having a hard time getting this point, but maybe I haven't spelled it all out well enough.

    There is a difference between popular vote and Electoral College vote. It is possible to win an election in the Electoral College but not win more than fifty percent of the popular vote. Indeed it happens quite frequently. Bill Clinton, for example, if memory serves me right, is the only President in the history of the United States to have won the Presidency twice but never to have won a majority of the popular vote.

    So you get it now? Ronald Reagan was the last President to win the popular vote twice. Before Reagan, the last President to win the popular vote twice was Eisenhower. Why is that interesting? Because it directly contradicts your apparent claim that Reagan, or his advisors, were in some way out of touch with the Electorate.

    Here's a link. Look it up.

    http://www.uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/

  103. $0.02
    Reagan had better rhetoric than most pols. but he was a hypocrite, same as the rest. During his reign, the deficit and the drug war exploded. His administration ignored Constitutional limits on executive power. Sure he was the enemy of the Democratic Congress. But he was no friend of liberty.

  104. No, I don't think that. But then, I'm sane.

    Or delusional...

  105. "This completely ignores the fact that the reason why Reagan was so concerned with nuclear war was his thoughts on it bringing on the apocalypse as written in Revelations; this well-documented concern often seized his mind and was a major factor in his thoughts concerning US-Soviet relations."

    Posted by Gary Gunnels at June 6, 2004 01:55 AM

    In response to my post, "Once again, even if he was deeply fearful of 'bringing on the apocalypse' you don't know that this overrode his fear of nuclear war on its own merits."

    Well, I never made the claim that it did, ergo, your statement is pointless. Indeed, I made it fairly obvious that it was one factor among many; what you are trying to do is dishonestly box me into a corner. Sorry, I'm not biting.

    Posted by Gary Gunnels at June 6, 2004 12:22 PM

    Obvious? Dishonestly? Where's the answer to the question that even if Reagan was afraid of the apocalypse, why should his achievements be discredited on that basis? How many times have I asked that question now?

  106. Honestly, I think more Democrats hate Reagan more than they hated the USSR, and hate Bush more than Al-Qaida. If I was alive and politcally conscious in the early 40's, I'd have been more concerned about Hitler than FDR.

  107. Ken Schultz,

    "I can't believe you guys are having a hard time getting this point, but maybe I haven't spelled it all out well enough."

    Who is having a hard time? I'm not.

    Here, I'll qoute you:

    "I said that no president since Reagan has won the popular vote in two consecutive elections."

    Nixon won the popular vote in 1968 and 1972; and of course Clinton did in 1992 and 1996. Now, Nixon did not win an absolute majority of the popular vote in 1968, nor did Clinton it in 1992 or 1996; however, your statement did make such a qualification.

    "Because it directly contradicts your apparent claim that Reagan, or his advisors, were in some way out of touch with the Electorate."

    Well, as no one has made that claim, I'm not quite sure why your arguing against it. Indeed, my claim was that he was out of touch with his advisors, handlers, etc.; I poorly worded said claim, however, you should no longer be confused about that.

  108. Ken Schultz: I very much appreciated your comments above -- thank you.

    And ditto.

  109. Too many posts to read. From north of the border, please allow this Canadian to express his gratitude to a man who, more than any other president of my lifetime ( 40 years ), showed the world the American ideal. That freedom and liberty were not things to be scorned or subjugated, but celebrated, nurtured, and yes, proseletyzed. Simply put, the man was a GIANT. He may very well come to be thought of as the greatest American statesman of the 20th century. Oh, to have his kind in the White House today . . .

    God's blessings upon him, and His comfort for those left behind.

  110. NJRob, you are seriously wrong, from a libertarian point of view, about what response "the drug problem" should elicit from society. I realize that abusing drugs - legal ones such as alcohol, drugs restricted to prescription by a doctor, or ones that are totally banned - is a problem. Making the leap to the conviction that prohibition will solve such a problem is not supportable by history, logic, or belief in individual human rights. We tried and failed to solve "the alcohol problem" by means of prohibition, and bought ourselves organized crime and a culture of drinking that emphasizes an unrealistic expectation of abstention by minors and young adults, leading to sophomoric excess by those "too young to drink" that often lasts long into our extended adolescence. How much smarter would we be if we adopted the moderate ways of Mediterranean countries, enjoying alcoholic beverages with our meals, in some countries not even bothering with minimum ages for drinking? Every 16-year-old in the U.S. looking to get a buzz on is an apprentice criminal, and that's no way to develop a respect for the rule of law.

    Fighting addiction and abuse has to be done on an individual level. If 10% of the population are doomed to alcoholism, should they drink, or some other percentage is bound to waste their lives if they smoke weed, is it worth throwing away the freedom of the 90% who can be responsible about using their recreational drug of choice? One can't even guarantee that a significant portion of that 10% can be persuaded to save themselves, whatever resources the state or private groups dedicate to that purpose.

    This is where the internal contradictions of American conservatism, of which Reagan was long the avatar, crop up. There is no consistency of principle that allows for "Booze=legal, other drugs=banned." Authentic liberals of the prohibitionist era, such as Mencken, warned the saloon-closers that they were walking into folly, and were proved right. Traditionalist conservatives scorned the loss of potables that mankind had used to ease care for thousands of years. The Bible-thumpers among the teatotalers even ignored the blessings placed upon wine in their own scriptures. The WCTU-types had to learn from bitter experience that their plan would fail. At least we had the good sense to give it up as a bad job.

    We are in the middle of the long process of learning that drug prohibition will also fail. Libertarians see that it would be better to end the futile attempt to stamp out drugs, and let the medical profession, twelve-steppers, churches and bother private groups fight the bad effects of abuse person-by-person. That way we can get our Consitution back, instead of the tattered version we are using, peppered with DEA buckshot.

    And, no, I don't use "illegal drugs", myself.

    Kevin

  111. I always liked Reagan even during my otherwise leftish days. Which brings up an achievement of the man that no one seems to have mentioned - all the great punk rock music that he inspired between 1980 and 1986 or so.
    Tonight I drank the beer for his memory while listening to the Pop-O-Pies "Anti-Reagan and stuff, man!"

  112. Old Mother Reagan
    and her crew
    took away
    from me and you
    She better go far away
    She better go far away

  113. Godspeed to The Gipper. Judged by some sort of utopian libertarian benchmark, which seems to be the requirement of some of the more idiotic comments on this thread, Reagan was an imperfect occupant of the Oval Office. Judged by more realistic criteria, he did a fantastic job.

    Ronald Reagan, rest in peace.

  114. "Judged by some sort of utopian libertarian benchmark, which seems to be the requirement of some of the more idiotic comments on this thread, Reagan was an imperfect occupant of the Oval Office. Judged by more realistic criteria, he did a fantastic job."

    I don't think that objecting to his policy on drugs is judging him by a "utopian libertarian benchmark." Most people who subscribe to a political philosophy believe the whole package (possibly wih some qualifications), but there are usually a relatively small number of issues of overriding importance. For me, this issue is drugs. I don't see this as some fringe issue, but one of the most important public policy issues which has faced the U.S. since the drug war started. It has condemned literally tens of millions of people to a diminished standard of living or jail, reinforced both perceptions of racism among cops and racism among cops, cost enormous amounts of money, and is THE greatest slap in the face of fundamental human liberty that our govenment imposes on us. The scale of the human tragedy is staggering, as is the fundamental unfairness of the policy.

    It is disingenuous to call everyone who believes this a utopianist. Imagine that you believe that abortion is murder (or if you already do, then the example works better), and that a president achieved a number of important policy goals which you strongly believe in, but supported increases in the manners and timeframes that abortions are allowed, and even went so far as to spearhead government funding of abortion, resulting in a massive increase in the number of abortions. Would it be wrong or "utopian" to object to his presidency in the strongest terms? Could you seriously say to yourself "yes, he was directly responsible for 10,000,000 murders, but hey, he cut taxes, so he's not all bad"? The answer is no--certain issues trump others. When someone is seeking to reform laws, incremental change is for the most part unavoidable due to entrenched political pressure. So I understand that one shouldn't necessarily complain that Reagan didn't fix all problems. But when someone actively seeks a policy you vehemently disagree with and think is tremendously damaging, then that's a different ballpark entirely.

    As I said, I see a lot to admire about Reagan, but I think there were more negatives to him as a president than positives (on a lot more issues than just drugs--not least of which is the Iran-Contra scandal). Was he better than Carter and later Mondale? Probably. But I refuse to lionize someone for being the lesser of two evils. I see no reason to change my opinion because Reagan died, any more than I would change my opinion of Jerry Falwell simply because he died.

  115. Mark Bahner,

    I chose syphilis for Clinton because, like Alzheimer's with Reagan, it's ironically fitting given his public persona.

  116. asd,

    Up until your comments regarding the war on drugs, I would've bashed the majority here for their disparaging remarks towards Reagan's war on drugs. I'm a staunch pro-lifer and would never forgive a president for advocating abortion. Your insightful comparison causes me to pause and think before I phrase these words...
    Still, I believe that the war on drugs is an important war we must win. Reagan was right for increasing the stakes in that war. I've seen too many people ruin their lives due to drugs, and I don't mean by getting arrested and going to prison. They wasted their lives on drugs and you may argue that is their choice, but I will never accept that libertarian viewpoint on this issue. Drugs are a way to force your body into euphoria in order to avoid the real world which would dictate a larger problem within the individual taking them. We can argue that point if you'd like, but I think our minds would be put to better use trying to come together than petty bickering over this point.
    Reagan to me is one of the greatest Presidents of all time, and I know that his presence and strength of will are things that I've tried to incorporate into my own life. I'm humbled to think that such a giant of our time has died, and I know his accomplishments will be judged kindly in the annals of history. The man made people proud to be an American after a President that felt we would have to resign ourselves to being a second-rate country to the Soviet Union, made Republicans realize that they didn't have to raise taxes to pay for Democrats irresponsible spending programs (as firm a libertarian view as any), pushing through tax cuts as drastic as we have seen, and showing many Americans that the only way to succeed in life is through your own hard work and merit. He ravaged the USSR. People who feel that the Soviet Union was on the way to its demise can continue to feel that way, pretend that Reagan was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, ignore that Reagan wouldn't appease the Soviets, that he was willing to risk war to attain peace.
    The choice is yours on how you will view Reagan, I for one will speak fondly of this man that I consider a true giant of our time.

  117. Reagan was not a libertarian, but for years he gave popular voice to the ideas of cutting back government, starting in a time when those ideas were less than popular.

    Sure there were disappointments with him as president. Such as, the failure to abolish the Dept. of Education and the Dept. of Energy. But at least with Reagan, those things were actually on the table.

    There was also real progress. At Reagan's behest; congress cut tax rates and federal regulations, (the Federal Registry, the list of all Fed. regulations actually shrank under Reagan's watch!) and slowed the rate of growth of total federal spending. During the Reagan years, discretionary spending fell two or three percent!

    The fall in discretionary spending took its toll on all sorts of waste, including corporate welfare.

  118. What was the name of the song and performer that had the line "Ronald Reagan Zap"?

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