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Speaking Ill Of The Dead

It's remarkable. Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson are openly trying to cast themselves as "the new Ronald Reagan." The other Republican candidates are also trying to pick up a bit of the Gipper's appeal, but not so obviously. Even Democrats are saying good things about Reagan and his era and accomplishments.

This election will feature many first-time voters, and these young people are the ones who weren't even born when Reagan left office (and the public eye, as presidents used to do -- take notes, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton). And the re-writing of history is getting me thoroughly and utterly disgusted.

I never voted for Ronald Reagan. I never had the chance -- he crushed Walter Mondale less than two weeks after my 17th birthday. I was barely a year too young to cast my very first vote for him (and I would have). But even at those tender years, I followed politics -- and I remember a whole lot of things said about Ronald Reagan by the predecessors of today's Democrats and liberals and progressives. I'll admit some of them were even true -- particularly the ones about church and family, and the cabinet secretary one.

Since these all predate the internet, I can't readily provide links to any of them (and don't particularly feel like trying), but I'm sure they will bring back memories from some of my fellow old-timers.

"Ronnie Ray-gun."

His willingness to confront the Soviet Union was going to trigger the end of the world.

He spoke about how important religion was, but never attended church. He preached family values, but had been divorced and was estranged from his children.

He was lazy -- he took naps almost every day.

He once mistook one of his own cabinet secretaries for a mayor at a conference of mayors.

"Amiable dunce."

"An actor playing the role of a lifetime."

"My favorite thing about Reagan is the bullet hole." (Said to me by a friend who I promptly educated the hell out of on matters of taste, propriety, and political reality.)

Supporter of thugs, tyrants, and right-wing dictators who only had to be sufficiently anti-Communist in order to court Reagan's favor.

Constantly confused reality with movie fantasies.

Once referred to military uniforms as "costumes."

Utterly under the sway of Nancy, whom he called "Mommy," and who in turn was controlled by her astrologer.

Anti-intellectual.

Heartless.

Racist.

Cold-hearted conservative.

"Cowboy." That one got a TON of mileage, almost always derogatory. (Some day I ought to do a whole posting on "cowboy as insult," what "cowboy" really means, and what its usage as an insult implies about the insulter...)

Senile.

Doddering.

Dotty.

Stupid.

Naive.

Unreasonably idealistic and utterly unpragmatic.

Budget-buster.

Union president turned anti-union president. (Considering the circumstances, I kinda liked that one.)

Puppet.

Ghoul.

War-monger.

I could go on (and on and on and on), but I think I've said enough. Those who disagree and also remember the 80's are free to contribute their own examples of Reagan hatred in the comments below.

The hatred of Ronald Reagan was almost as great as that of George W. Bush. The major difference was that Reagan was also dearly loved by a lot of people.

And a lot of us who did love Ronald Reagan at the time remember a lot more clearly the truth of his administration -- and how a lot of people felt about it -- and him -- at the time.

Update: I just discovered that Will Franklin has once again stolen my whole idea --- but this time, he was so dastardly as to do it before I even published it!

To rub even more salt in the wound, I believe Will was just entering kindergarten or so when Reagan left office, so virtually none of his knowledge is from actual memories...

Kids these days. No respect at all for their elders.


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Comments (15)

There was a land of Cavalie... (Below threshold)
Title Cards (TM):

There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Reagan Years . . . Here in this pretty world Gallantry took its last bow . . . Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave . . . Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered.

A Civilization gone with the wind . . .

Reagan came to Bowling Gree... (Below threshold)

Reagan came to Bowling Green Ohio(near where I grew up) and I loved the visit. I even got a t-shirt with the event for being there.

I grew up in Northwest Ohio and the unions and the community was All Carter. My 7th grade mock election had only one who voted for Reagan...ME!!

I agree how spin had its moment before the internet and now with those who do not remember...

I loved the line to Gorbachev...will always be with me.

Here's a funny story.... (Below threshold)
Gringo:

Here's a funny story.
When I was a kid, I bought the whole kit and kaboodly liberal spin on Reagan. Any time an airplane flew overhead, I was terrified it was a nuke (shades of what my nieces and nephews cope with now on global warming... why do libs hate kids?).

So I drew a cartoon in sixth grade. We were supposed to draw a political cartoon. I drew Ronald Reagan machine gunning Gorbachev, and screaming "you gimme back my jelly beans!" The caption was "How WW3 started."

Okay, stupid cartoon, even by sixth grade standards... but... but... but it was on-message! It went on to get published in the fairly large local newspaper, and I won an award for it.

When I grew up and learned a bit about Reagan, I was flabbergasted. The man was probably the best president of this century. This country was going the way of Europe before he came along. I will always feel guilty about that cartoon, even though I was just a stupid kid.

I was stationed in Germany ... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:

I was stationed in Germany when the Pershing Missiles were deployed. Many there went ape shit over that. I even found myself in the middle of a big protest in Stuggart one weekend.

Within a couple years those same protesters shrugged their shoulders and collectively said: "never mind".

Note to Jennifer: I also grew up in northern Ohio. Norwalk to be precise, but I left for boot camp in 1979 back in the day when the ice age was approaching.

I was in 3rd grade, actuall... (Below threshold)

I was in 3rd grade, actually. Not Kindergarten.

I remember that two conflic... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I remember that two conflicting vilifications of Reagan kind of canceled each other out to a degree.

In short, one was that he was a dolt and the other was that he was a manipulative mastermind.

In fact, SNL did a skit on this very thing.

Bush has the same thing, but Cheney is used to reconcile the two memes. There was no equivalent for Reagan.

Reagan also knew when he had to rebutt media attacks on his actions and he had the speaking skills for most of his Presidency to do it. Bush has neither of those abilities it seems.

"It's morning in America." ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

"It's morning in America." How the media hated Ronald and Nancy. How absolutely positive he was about this nation and its people. How much he believed in the human spirit and what we are capable of if left alone.
Another quote from the left: Reagan thinks ketchup is a vegetable. I was very active in politics then. A state delegate and such, but I am having a hard time seeing even a smidge of Ronald Reagan in any of the candidates today. ww

Before there was BDS there ... (Below threshold)
Don:

Before there was BDS there was RDS, as noted above. Twenty years from now your children will be compairing the candidates for POTUS to both Reagan and G W Bush. I will not be around to see it, but most of you will. (Take my word for it, it will happen) Reagan put American back into America. G W Bush put the balls (that the Clintons had cut off) back into the Americans.
It is a shame that people never learn that your vote does count. Because 19% of the people voted for Ross Perot they gave the office to Bill Clinton. I have lived through 12 POTUS, and old Bill is right down there near the bottom. Remember that when it comes time to vote.

I brought this up just the ... (Below threshold)

I brought this up just the other day. There are plenty of people who vilified Reagan then and now speak as if they were always his #1 fan. To us, who remember first hand, they're laughable.

I, too, laugh when I hear D... (Below threshold)

I, too, laugh when I hear Democrats attempting to cloak themselves in the Reagan legacy, because I was there, and heard them at the time.

Now, there are even revisionists who claim the Soviet collapse was "inevitable," and not due to Reagan. Hogwash, from people who were saying something quite different at the time (or from the young minds they have corrupted with their garbage at the academy).

Does anyone remember how the whole "ketchup as a vegetable" thing came about? It was hardly Reagan's idea, although it did come from his Administration. The law required every school lunch to be served with TWO vegetables in order to qualify for federal subsidies. Now, school districts had complained about this for years, because it was a forced waste of money - all those tasteless portions of succotash, carrots, corn, peas, and lima beans went straight to the garbage can. Even kids who LOVED veggies wouldn't touch that bland, tough, tasteless crap.

One of the frequent oddities forced by the law was that even a burger 'n' fries lunch had to be accompanied by a portion of one of those crappy sides (they did count fries as a vegetable). Someone figured out that schools would save millions nationally if they didn't have to slop some succotash down on a tray for the kid to slop into the garbage, but the only way they could do that was by classifying ketchup to count as a vegetable.

Of course, the idea was ridiculed and rejected, so I think we're still forcing kids to dump those crappy veggies in the garbage every day so we can say we subsidized a "balanced meal." Which pretty much illustrates what happens when government tries to "help" in any area . . .

My father was in the U.S. S... (Below threshold)
Eric:

My father was in the U.S. Secret Service and when Reagan became President he was in charge of all White House security. My father once told me an interesting story about Reagan.

He had first met Reagan in 1970 when Reagan was Governor of California and my father was a mid-level Secret Service agent on Nixon's security detail.

After the '80 election, on the day Reagan met the White House staff for the first time he remembered my father's name and the occasion when they first met. Keep in mind a decade has passed and Reagan will have met many thousands of people in that time. My father told me he was shocked at how good his memory was.

"and I remember a whole... (Below threshold)
rickinstl:

"and I remember a whole lot of things said about Ronald Reagan by the predecessors of today's Democrats and liberals and progressives."
Many of the same slugs in dem politics and the media who trashed RR are still around, (I'm looking at you Kennedy,) and saying the same things about Bush. Seems like scumbag liars live longer.

RR was my first vote for Pres, and my second. I'll never walk away from the polls feeling better if I live to be 150.

The man who labeled RR an a... (Below threshold)
chuckR:

The man who labeled RR an amiable dunce was Democrat Clark Clifford. Clifford was later sued by the heirs of Averell Harriman over the mismanagement of the estate. He was also investigated for his role in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International fraud. Amiable dunce? I don't know if Mr Clifford was amiable.

Jim: "Does anyone remember ... (Below threshold)
Drago:

Jim: "Does anyone remember how the whole "ketchup as a vegetable" thing came about?"

I remember it well.

What I remember best was how it was a ruling made by a Carter Administration holdover and lifelong Dem.

I recall wondering why this guy waited until Reagan became President before making this ruling and seeing how fast and how broadly it was reported in the media as an example of "conservative callousness" and lack of caring.

Anyone want to bet it was another inside the beltway hit job?

"Does anyone remember ho... (Below threshold)
Proof:

"Does anyone remember how the whole "ketchup as a vegetable" thing came about?"
Does anyone remember how Billy Jeff Clinton's administration declared salsa a vegetable, as far as the school lunch program was concerned, and the silence from the MSM was deafening!




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