Smearing Ronald Reagan

I apologize for being a little late with this diary. As all of us know, this past weekend was the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birthday. For some time, I have had mixed feelings about this President. While I do consider him among America’s three greatest Presidents (along with Washington and Coolidge), I do worry that reflexive praise for the Gipper has replaced thoughtful analysis. But this weekend was too much. Between disgracefully biased MSNBC and CNN, and faux-balanced, wishy-washy FOX, I couldn’t stand the deliberate smear campaign for another second. So I thought I would offer my own take on the five most mean spirited and deceitful lies about Ronald Reagan that I heard this weekend.

i) Reagan was a pragmatist who raised taxes. George Washington retreated from New York City and Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. So he must have hated America? Nonsense. Reagan made some tactical retreats on taxes during his tenure, but he made no strategic retreats. When he entered office, we had socialistic rates of 70%. By the time he left, we were freed from socialism (until now), with rates under 30%.

ii) Lincoln, not Reagan, was America’s greatest Republican President. Lincoln was an average, perhaps even slightly above average, President. Obviously, his efforts against slavery merit praise. But any lover of freedom must recoil at many of Abe’s actions against the Constitution. Suspending habeas corpus, denying the lawful rights of states to leave a voluntary union? These are surely black marks.

iii) Reagan didn’t end the Cold War, Gorbechev did. What people forget is that Gorbechev didn’t fade from the scene in 1991 when the USSR fell apart. He ran for the Russian Presidency. Remember what happened? He had about as much support as Ron Paul in the 2008 primary season. If Gorbechev won the Cold War, why would he have fallen on his face? He would not have. Reagan singlehandedly won the Cold War.

iv) Reagan traded arms for hostages. Unless of course, Reagan had Alzheimers and could not have known what was going on. That is cognitive dissonance and it shows that anyone making either claim is just out to smear Reagan and not interested in actual facts.

v.) Reagan did not impact the Supreme Court. I concede that Reagan’s first appointment, the politically correct choice of Sandra Day O’Connor , was a rare, very rare, lapse of judgment. But on the second pass, he made among the greatest selections in history, Robert Bork. Who can blame Reagan for the Congress’s hateful and indefensible rejection of such a qualified nominee? It was Congress, not Reagan, who bears the blame for the dreadful Anthony Kennedy. Had Reagan had his way, he would have batted .500, not bad.