Monday, March 27, 2006

Misconceptions about Reagan

Over at, I read a post from Malia that completely stunned me with her ignorance regarding Ronald Reagan's presidency. How can someone claim to be a Republican first and still be so completely misinformed about the single greatest Republican president of our time?

Allow me to set the record straight. The following quotes are from her post. This is taken from what I posted over at

"First, please do your research Ed. I mean really do your research...not just read the hype of a has been speech writer."

Malia, I LIVED through the Reagan administration. Does experience count for anything?

"Reagan increased defense spending, not to fight the fact, Reagan was dog meat to the Hard Right because despite his rhetoric about the "evil empire" he befriended the Soviets...why? To bring the world together to fight...Space Invaders. That's right...he was certain that the Earth was going to be invaded any day."

One quote makes government policy? Let's take a look at the Reagan quote:

"With our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. I occasionally think how quickly our differences, worldwide, would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world."

Sounds like a reasonable speculation, not a call to arm our planet against space invaders.

As for Reagan's relationship with the Soviets, the only reason he got them to come to the table is because he confronted them directly. Remember his "evil empire" comment? Or how about the "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" comment? Reagan didn't pussyfoot around the Soviets.

You claim to be a political realist. How realistic is it to think a president as much beloved as Reagan was, increased defense spending in order to fight aliens from outer space?

"You talked about GW going after two banana republics? (earlier thread) Ever heard of Grenada? Yep that 2 month grand war with an off shoot colony aligned with Cuba. How about Somalia? Talk about "cut and run"... That was YOUR Reagan there, backing up Carter's "hit us hard enough and we're gone" plan to the pre-descendants of the terrorists we are fighting NOW."

Hmm...We were in Somalia in 1993. Last time I checked, Bill Clinton was the president then, NOT Reagan.

I know what happened: You were a liberal in 1993! You had that wonderfully selective memory thing that liberals seem to enjoy. Now that you are over on the Republican side, you may want to start remembering things as they actually were, instead of how you would have liked them to be.

"Oh and about Reagan's tax cuts...he came in with all these bright ideas and before the end of his regime, ended up having to reverse these cuts AND bail out some social programs, most notibly the Social Security program. GW, on the other hand kept his tax cuts despite the call from Democrats in Congress for reversing the "Tax Cuts for the Rich" to fund the war on Terrorism. Reagan never proved tax cuts worked; in fact he set up the first Bush with a deficient that doomed Bush Sr's presidency, DESPITE Bush's leadership in keeping Saddam from taking over Kuwait's oil and taking away the "pain" of Vietnam. I fail to comprehend why you excuse Reagan's reversal of his tax cuts (from an earlier thread) because of Congress' refusal to curb spending, but blame GW for not bringing smaller government in time of war...doesn't GW also have a Congress to deal with?"

You make a lot of bad points in a small amount of space, so let's take them one at a time.

First, when Reagan left office, taxes were still lower than when he came into office. I know the liberals love to point out his tax increases while conveniently ignoring this fact.

Second, Reagan bailed out Social Security. And Bush did what with Social Security? That's right: NOTHING!

Third, Reagan had to raise taxes because he could not get the Democratic Congress to cut spending. Bush kept the tax cuts while the Republican Congress kept raising spending to unheard-of levels.

Fourth, Reagan never proved tax cuts worked? Do you even have a remote clue about the state of the economy during the 80's? Or the 70's?

During the 70's, we had a bad problem with inflation. You might not be familiar with it, probably because it has never been a problem in your lifetime, thanks to Reagan's nomination of Alan Greenspan to the Federal Reserve in 1987. Fortunately, Paul Volcker (Greenspan's predecessor) got inflation under control, although it was as high as 13% in 1981. It was down to about 3% in 1983.

I guess you are probably not familiar with the stock market boom of the 80's? A lot of it was due to Reagan's tax cuts.

Fifth, the deficit doomed Bush Sr's presidency? No, a campaign lie doomed Bush Sr's presidency ("read my lips..."). When you raise taxes and the economy tanks, the public holds you accountable, especially when you promised NOT to raise taxes.

Sixth, you give Bush Sr. credit for taking away the "pain of Vietnam"? That little Grenada incident you mocked did more to heal the pain of Vietnam. What you fail to realize is that the U.S. was militarily impotent prior to Grenada. Remember Carter's failed attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages? We had absolutely no faith whatsoever in our military.

Granted, Grenada was a baby step. But it was a sorely needed one. Without Grenada, there would NOT have been a Kuwait, because the American public would have had no appetite for such a large military action. By the way, don't think Bush Sr. would have succeeded if Reagan's presidency had been a failure: Bush Sr. rode Reagan's coattails into the White House.

Seventh, one more time: Bush has a Republican Congress, Reagan had a Democratic Congress. The deficit was significantly lower under Reagan, even though Reagan had to deal with an unfriendly Congress. How can you justify the obscene amounts of pork under Bush, when he allegedly has a friendly congress?

"Ed, do you have any idea what Reagan's "big idea" for illegal immigration reform? It's that little piece of paper employees have to sign that promises that they are legally entitled to work in America. That's it. And well, you can see how great that has worked right?"

Illegal immigration was not the problem back then that it is today. We didn't have to worry about terrorists sneaking in with the illegal immigrants. We also didn't have the Mexican government openly encouraging it's citizens to cross the border illegally.

"Respect? Ed, please, please do your research. Go beyond the rewrite of history according to Peggy Noonan. The man talked about trees taking up all the invaders...he was known as the actor playing his greatest role. No one took him seriously until he was safely out of office and no longer able to scare the world with the knowledge that this man had his finger on the world's nukes."

That certainly explains why Reagan won a landslide re-election victory in '84. The only ones scared by Reagan were your liberal friends. The overwhelming majority of Americans loved Reagan.

The problem here is your vision of Reagan clearly was formed during your liberal years. The liberals despised him almost as much as they despise Bush now.

If it weren't for Reagan, we would probably be like France now, floundering from one failed socialist program to another, with no direction and no real hope.

"I truly did not want to go after this man. I honestly believe that the one great--and yes, I do believe it was great--thing this man did was give Americans the ability to dream again. He brought back the romance of America...where nothing was impossible for people who believed and who had the will. He was that generation's JFK.

And like JFK, it may take another 30 years before we strip all the hype and get back to reality. Only I do not think we can afford it. We ARE fighting real enemies here and an ideology that is trying to take out God out of our national conscience.

We don't need idols, we need leaders that will roll up their sleeves and do the real work.

Unlike JFK, Reagan was a man of great integrity. They both talked the talk, but only Reagan walked the walk.

You forget why Reagan was able to bring "back the romance of America". If his policies had failed, there would be NOTHING he could have said to make things better. He would have been kicked out of office in '84.

In our current situation, if you don't think Reagan would have confronted our enemies abroad and at home, then you don't know Reagan.

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