• Thanks for the link- can always use some fuel for my eye rolling as I pass by the coverage.

    I’m still trying to figure out how much of this mildly infuriating sanctification has to do with the man himself as opposed to our incessant need for leaders to function primarily as figureheads.

    I’m also trying to figure out if the approval rating upon his departure (something like 65, 68 percent) was a result of Americans believing his two-faced rhetoric or, most troubling, recognizing their own passive hatred of the poor and applauding, say, the Iran-Contra affair for its “good intentions”. I was quite young when he left office- it is hard for me to piece together the puzzle when I have so few tangible memories of the Nation’s attitude and level of dissent.

    This excerpt from BBC gives me some hope that some of us have simply been performing an act of bullshit romantic posturing this week:

    “….Economist Mark Weisbrot says the adulation in the wake of Reagan’s death is natural.

    “Past presidents look a lot better when compared to the present,” he told BBC News Online.

    Even Richard Nixon – forced to resign in disgrace – was remembered as a great statesman when he died, rather than as the architect of Watergate”

    The article also holds out hope that history, at least in the case of the Reagan administration, is not as mutable and as subjective as this funeral nonsense would suggest.

    I hold less hope. I can only guess that your level of optimism is a few slivers thinner than mine.

    June 11, 2004
  • Re: We’ll see when Carter dies

    The acid test will be whether Jimmy Carter will be lionized as a smart and decent human being, or whether there’ll be jokes about killer rabbits and unfair mischaracterizations of the “malaise” speech.

    June 12, 2004
  • Re: We’ll see when Carter dies

    Yes, I hadn’t thought of that, but you are right. It seems quite tough to measure the declining slope of public opinion in the wake of a death.

    June 13, 2004
  • I think the Reagan love fest is a consequence of at least two things: people’s natural reluctance to speak ill of the dead, especially after a protracted illness; and, the right-wing propaganda machine cranked up at full volume. If you repeat a lie often enough, people start to believe it. If you can infect the mainstream media with it, so much the better.

    has a good post about the Reagan legacy in his blog.

    June 14, 2004
  • I don’t think you can say that Reagan, despite his many flaws, was a figurehead. He may not have known the ship of state’s exact position on the chart, but he decisively steered it to starboard for eight years. I think the most recent president you could call a figurehead would be Gerald Ford.

    As the Weisbrot told the BBC, even conservatives find Dubya deeply lacking compared to Reagan.

    June 14, 2004
  • Re: We’ll see when Carter dies

    I think that history will treat Carter much better than his contemporaries did, and Reagan much worse.

    June 14, 2004
  • And this very good letter in this morning’s Washington Post:

    Enough, Already, on Renaming
    Monday, June 14, 2004; Page A16

    In light of the suggestion of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) to rename the Pentagon the Ronald Reagan National Defense Building [news story, June 10], I’d like to propose the following: Remove the head from Thomas Jefferson at his memorial and replace it with a replica of Ronald Reagan’s head.

    Likewise with the Lincoln Me- morial. Just shorten Abe’s coat a bit, replace his head with Mr. Reagan’s, and, presto, you have two new memorials.

    Since it isn’t enough to have named a major airport and a huge federal building after the late president, we also could have Ronald Reagan shopping malls, bus terminals, Amtrak stations, etc.

    Mr. Reagan was a decent man. But let’s not get carried away with romanticizing the 1980s.


    June 14, 2004

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