Reagan’s legacy

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 am, February 8th, 2011 - 23 comments
Categories: us politics - Tags: ,

It’s 100 years since the Gipper was born. That’s right, 100 years since the ball started rolling on a project of smiley-faced neoliberalism that we’re still suffering under.

I was going to write a tribute but John Dolan does it so much better than I ever could:

I’ve had Reagan all my life. In 1967, 13 years before the rest of you got President Reagan, he became governor of California. It was the terrarium in which Reagan’s tinkerers figured out how to stimulate the beasts in the tract houses to hatred and bathos, the tools with which they ruled and destroyed the nation. Read more at exiledonline…

23 comments on “Reagan’s legacy”

  1. prism 1

    That was amazing to read. It speaks of certainty, believableness about Reagan’s rise backed up with historic press cuttings. And Nixon was Governor of California too? Now there is Arnie, no wonder he is talked of as a possible President.

    Dolan’s thumbnails of the working class neighbourhood were instructive. And reading of the attitudes and treatment of the children remind me of the harsh, impoverished life of the young in the very poor areas of Naples I think in The Broken Fountain by Thomas Belmonte.

    The inheritance of poverty of ideas, unwillingness to learn, think positively of others, and use education to expand horizons of the mind and travel and do different jobs crushes the human spirit. A mentally wizened community, strong in conformity, ardently followed Reagan who promoted and confirmed their hate against the different, the not accepted.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Arnie can’t be prez coz he wasn’t born a USA citizen. This requirement also drove part of the “Obama isn’t American” meme.

    • lprent 1.2

      Now there is Arnie, no wonder he is talked of as a possible President.

      That would require a constitutional change as he was not born in the US.

    • James MacKay 1.3

      Nixon was never the Governor of California, he was a congressman and senator for California but never Governor. When he stood in 1962 I believe he lost to Pat Brown (father of current governor Jerry Brown) by a reasonable margin.

  2. prism 2

    CV Surely Arnie could do the citizen thing and pass the test? I understand they ask historical things a lot like who Abraham Lincoln was and how many Presidents there have been. California is the powerhouse of the USA so he’s halfway there if he wanted to be. Perhaps not for that reason.

    No wonder that Bruce Springsteen got famous for his song Born in the USA. Never heard it myself, only of it.

    • Jeremy Harris 2.1

      Arnie cannot be President without a Constitutional amendment – it’s that simple… It’s not a question of citizenship…

      Best US President for two generations…

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Best US President for two generations…

        Yeah I know what you mean, Reagan cemented the effective wage freeze on working Americans while overseeing a massive redistribution of financial wealth to the top 1% of the population.

        Clinton/Bush/Obama have worked pretty consistently in that regard as well.

        • Jeremy Harris

          He did that single handedly with Democratic Party houses of Congress..?

          Don’t let the reality of a complex period of inherited economic stagnation (largely from leftie policies in the preceeding decades and economic jihad from the Middel East), reform from local, state and federal governments (much of it Democratic Party held) get in the way of irrationality CV…

          • Pascal's bookie

            Well if it’s all so complex, how can you credit him with whatever it is you credit him with?

            Iran /contra is a pretty big stain however you cut it.

            As are the South American death squads, the support for apartheid, and the ignoring of AIDS.

            So what do you ballance those with to get him to such a high rating?

            • Jeremy Harris

              No President is or can be perfect, especially in the murky world of foreign relations with extremists and dictators…

              From a right wing angle I’d also add to your list his assistance to Thatcher to end Freddie Laker’s US claims against BA, blatant anti-property actions…

              But I balance these things against what he achieved – helping to ramp up defense spending to end the cold war and free hundreds of millions of Eastern Europeans and the principles he articulated and attempted to put into action…

              • Pascal's bookie

                So the negatives in the US economy are all very complicated, but the fall of the USSR is a comparatively simple?

                The jury is pretty much out on how much of a role Reagan’s defence spending played compared with grain and energy prices, and the USSR/Afghan war which Pres. Carter saw as a Vietnam moment for the USSR.

                When talking about legacy though, there are other things. The crimes that he got away with in South America led rather directly to some of the things we saw in Iraq, through Rumsfield, Cheney, Negroponte and the like.

                Also, in Bush’s economic policy, Cheney is quoted as saying that Reagan proved deficits don’t matter, which as legacy moments go, could use some work….

                • Colonial Viper

                  Jeremy’s picked his hero and of course its better to look at your hero’s good points as being clean cut and personally attributable, whereas his failings are complicated and more to do with multiple different outside factors than anything personally attributable.

                  He did that single handedly with Democratic Party houses of Congress..?

                  Don’t let the reality of a complex period of inherited economic stagnation (largely from leftie policies in the preceeding decades and economic jihad from the Middel East), reform from local, state and federal governments (much of it Democratic Party held) get in the way of irrationality CV…

                  Mate, don’t let calling me irrational get in the way of using actual rational arguments yourself will you (e.g. what the hell is an “Economic Jihad” lol).

                  More seriously, corporate money has co-opted Democrats as much as Republicans, they both work for their big money campaign backers.

                  So when you say Reagan could not suppress wages single handedly without Democratic help – I am not going to argue with you. You make a fair point.

              • happynz

                I reckon it was the VCR which had more influence than a half-dozen aircraft carriers. People in the Soviet sphere of influence found out the bullshit about the West that the Communists were peddling wasn’t what they were seeing on their TV. They had enough and wanted the crap that we have. I think that is what brought down the Soviet bloc.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Five myths about Reagan

                Long before he was elected president, Reagan predicted that the Soviet Union would collapse because of communism’s inherent corruption and inefficiency. His forecast proved accurate, but it is not clear that his military buildup moved the process forward.

              • Bob

                The cold war , now that was really a good excuse to provide some country/state with some VERY handy munitions .
                And all along its the way USA.corp work .cos they like the big bang .
                Step in pick up the resources . I dont think people come into it . its about control of the essentials . Look at Iraq .

      • prism 2.1.2

        You mean do you by staying out of the office!

  3. prism 3

    Incidentally there is some good discussion on Ronald Reagan and links at the end of Open Mike for 7 Feb. Good to round out the background to this guy.

    Actors should be avoided as politicians I think. They are too good at pretending to be something, someone, putting over a palatable point of view to their chosen demographic and mindset group. Good descriptive words, chameleons, protean.

  4. mike 4

    We are living the same hell here and now. One read of Hollowmen will show the script is pure Reagan (he’s mentioned a lot). Stir up the hate and give the front man job to a vacuous smiling (read sneering) actor, our present PM. There doesn’t seem to be any way we can wake up from this hideous nightmare. We’re doomed!

  5. randal 5

    they voted him in because they wanted the B1 bomber project to go ahead and some new nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers and stuff.
    if you want something absolutely destroyed overnight you know who to call!

  6. Daveosaurus 6

    Reagan spent his entire term as President supporting the most evil regime of the second half of the 20th century, after their crimes had been made public. I will never think of him with anything but the utmost contempt.

    Anti-spam word: million. One and a half murdered by said regime.

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