Thursday, May 24, 2007

Revisionist History

I’m sorry, I normally don’t speak ill of the dead, but that is based on the preposition that they stay dead. I don’t know how it happens, but it seems to happen a lot in America; people rise from the grave. There was Elvis, Tupac, Marilyn Monroe, and now Ronald Reagan.

The reincarnate Ronald Reagan is a lot different from the original, I guess being dead for 3 years will do that to you. The reincarnate Ronald Reagan was last spotted at the Republican candidate debate, but since that appearance he is being booked all over the media. I thought it was crazy that Tupac wrote more albums after he died than he did when he was living, but Mr. Reagan has written a diary. Of course the diary is not new, but as usual when things are going badly there are some who long for the “good ole days”. The reincarnation of Ronald Reagan would be humorous if not for its nefarious intentions.

I asked myself, why is it necessary for the conservatives to create this mythical “white knight” that is now Ronald Reagan? The answer is simple really and very ingenious, you see people can have flaws, but icons do not. If the conservatives are able to succeed in making Ronald Reagan bigger than life, then they can hitch their flawed policies to him and give these ideas credibility that they do not deserve. The beginning of this was readily on display with the republican candidates falling all over themselves to out-Reagan one another. With all the money and spin being utilized to remake Mr. Reagan maybe we should look at who he really was and what he represented free; from the hype.

To many Ronald Reagan represented a return to “good ole” American values. His handlers had crafted this image of John Wayne with a heart, the beginning of compassionate conservatism. The thing you have to hand it to these conservatives is that they will craft a strategy and continue to play it out over years. If they are nothing else they are patient. Think about it, there was a time in this country when conservatism was a mockery. After the Barry Goldwater melt down, few took conservatism seriously as a viable strategy to govern and considered it a fringe element even in the Republican Party. It was at this bleak time that they begin the long push to make conservatism mainstream. They began by attacking liberalism. By the time they were done, calling someone a liberal was tantamount to a personal affront.

Ronald Reagan despite his short comings was an opportunist and he appeared on the scene at just the right time. He was a natural for the greatest role he would ever play and had the credentials from his years as an informant for the McCarthy crew and as the Governor of California. It is interesting to note that for most of his presidency, Mr. Reagan was not popular. Despite today’s spin being spewed by former Reaganites, his only period of decent popularity was during his reelection period of 1984 to 1986. That was due almost entirely on the surging economy and not any proposal or ideas offered up by Reagan. So let’s go to the record.

Reagan brought down communism is one of the main talking points of Reagan promoters. Ok, just because you happen to be in office when an event occurred doesn’t mean you caused the event. There has never been any direct evidence that any of Reagan’s policies or rhetoric had any effect on the fall of the Communist block. Mr. Reagan take down that wall of lies that was built around you.

Ronald Reagan was a tax cutter. Actually no, he signed the biggest middle-class tax increase in history. The whole “Reagan Recovery” was a farce. In truth most Americans paid more taxes under Reagan than before Reagan.

Then of course there was that Iran-Contra thing, the union busting (PATCO), the racist policy of engaging South Africa, the illegal war in Central America, the ignoring of AIDS, there was the 138 administration officials convicted, there was the whole Alzheimer’s rumors, and the governing by astrology.

When you look at the true record of Ronald Reagan, you see that this reincarnation of Reagan is a right wing conservative trick to put forward its agenda under a new brand. Thanks to the right wing onslaught, there are many who think Reagan was a great President, but the truth is that he wasn’t. Divisive politics should be rejected no matter what brand they are being packaged under. Let’s let sleeping dogs lie. We don’t need another Reagan, we need another Lincoln…

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