"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Upon Ronald Reagan's passing, I feel regret that I had but two votes to give him, and I gave neither. Neither, however, did I give them to his opponents. My first vote for president was for George H.W. Bush, my second, for Bill Clinton--a vote that will live in infamy. I felt that Bush was out of touch, Clinton seemed young and vigorous (he certainly proved that, didn't he?), and I was (and still am) far from hard-right on some social issues. The shame I feel about voting for Clinton is, I imagine, similar to that felt by those who have been hustled. I shall never be hustled again.

I admired Reagan during his presidency, but I can't say that my regard for him was as great then as it is now. I was immature, with no terrific interest in politics. And I was inclined to half-believe some of his critics who characterized him as a fuddy-duddy figurehead who was only reading the script placed before him. I later learned the reality was very different. As more than one of his former speechwriters has related, Reagan knew exactly what he wanted to say, and he frequently rewrote speeches completely, improving on his writers' drafts.

What I was able to appreciate back in the '80s was that he was presidential, had a great love of country, and helped usher in an era of prosperity and pride after years of malaise.
Isn't it interesting that the lefty criticisms of Reagan are echoed in today's criticisms of George W. Bush? Reagan was "antagonistic" toward the Soviets, by using the "Evil Empire" tag and by placing nuclear missiles in Europe. It's funny--Gorbachev doesn't characterize their relationship as antagonistic. And everyone with a brainwave realizes now that Reagan was right--even the Russkies! (Gorby's reply to the Stanford professor who told him that communism was superior to capitalism: "Obviously, you've never lived under communism.")

Thus, the Left should be embarrassed by their slander of Reagan. But they're not. And they continue, even after his death. And if Iraq becomes a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, there will still be those who maintain that Iraqis saw us as oppressors and occupiers, and that they prefer dictatorship to freedom. And when Bush dies, there will be those who will claim that he was a warmonger, a moron, and a liar.

After Reagan's death, there have been the expected warm words from family, friends, and colleagues, and the grudging respect from former adversaries. But most interesting are the virulent words of the Angry Left, both for their tastelessness and their wrongheadedness.

I tuned into Air America Radio to hear what Al Franken's posse had to say. Sure enough, Janeane Garofalo was bashing not only Reagan, but also those who supported him (and remember that RR received quite a few votes from so-called Reagan Democrats, some of whom may be listening to AAR). Lovely Janeane sneered at those who are filing into the Reagan Library to pay their respects. The women are "the kind that put their daughters in Little Miss pageants and name them Tiffany and Brittany," she spat. The men are "Enron types" . . . "like Archie Bunker with a college degree."

Once again, the left shows its contempt for middle America--and in a tone-deaf manner, at that. After all, one imagines that there are plenty of Little Misses, Tiffanys, and Brittanys whose parents are loyal, Clinton-loving Democrats.

And here's a statement from Danny (Lethal Weapon 4) Glover:

We all know Reagan's legacy, from the Iran-Contra affair to the funding of the Nicaraguan military in which over 200,000 people died. The groundwork for the move steadily to the right happened with the Reagan administration. People want to elevate him to some mythic level; they have their own reason for doing that.
We do "all know Reagan's legacy," it's just that some of us understand its significance and some mischaracterize it. Mr. Glover falls in the latter category. The Iran-Contra Affair was indeed a smudge on his presidency, somewhere between a scandal and a kerfuffle. Charging RR with the deaths of 200,000 Nicaraguans, however, is totally without merit. Glover also neglects to mention the inconvenient fact that when the Nicaraguans were given the choice between communism and democracy, they chose the latter. (It is also worth noting that Reagan is universally hailed on Grenada as a liberator.)

The rest of Glover's statement comprises facts that are intended as insult, however, even Rush Limbaugh would be comfortable uttering them: Reagan moved his party and country to the right, people think of him in mythic terms, and they have (good) reasons for doing so.

No argument with that.