Am I the only one who thinks it’s ridiculous that Ronald Reagan has become sacred cow of the 2008 presidential election? It’s not just conservatives, it’s everyone! Pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have always fawned over the “Big Gipper.” That’s expected — they live in Reagan’s fantasy. This morning, however, I woke up to an incredible nightmare. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this quote from Barack Obama in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal:
“Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path, because the country was ready for it … I think he tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want, you know, a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”
Are you kidding me? Optimism? Clarity? Is this Barack Obama? Am I the only one who isn’t on the same boat?
Let’s get back down to Earth. Ronald Reagan’s bag of wind sold this country a sack of bad ideas. He turned America into an ill-managed business — in constant competition with the Soviets. While doing so, he committed some of the most unethical fouls in foreign policy. Give Obama a yellow card and tell him sit on the bench for a while while I heal the wounds.
-image courtesy of MSNBC
1.) The Reagan Doctrine (a.k.a. The Third World Doctrine) is directly responsible for killing almost half a million people. In order to keep the upper hand over the Soviet Union, Reagan allied this country with a vile assortment of characters like the murderous villain Jonas Savimbi in Angola, Rios Montt and the contra rebels in Nicaragua (who slaughtered Mayan Indians by the tens of thousands), the Khmer Rouge government of Vietnam, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. We shook hands with these people.
2.) No matter what the neo-cons tell you, Reagan expanded the federal government by 90 percent through its military industrial complex. This quadrupled the national deficit and caused recessions in the early 80s.
3.) Reagan’s “War on Drugs” was ineffective, wasted billions of dollars, failed to reduce the amount of drugs available on the streets and created significant racial disparities in our prison population. Most experts agree that Reagan’s “War on Drugs” has actually strengthened the black market and helped internationalize thousands of drug operations in Canada and Europe.
4.) Reaganomics — More tax receipts led to more government spending. The average annual growth rate of real income-tax receipts per working-age person was 0.2% from 1981 to 1990. In simple terms, Reaganomics did little to help the economy while plunging the public into severe national debt. The job growth rate while Reagan was in office was only 2.1% per year.
5.) AIDS — Reagan refused to even use the term “AIDS” in public until Rock Hudson’s infection became public news in July 1985. Too late, Ron. 10,000 Americans were already diagnosed with AIDS, and over 6,000 had died. Thanks, bud.
There’s more, but even writing about Reagan reminds me of how we fell for the same kind of policy for the last eight years, and I want to stay positive about mankind for a while. Reagan is credited with a booming economy and an end to the cold war. Let me remind you that the 80s were not equipped with the internet and most media outlets in the country were controlled by conservative interests. Liberals were unorganized and neutered. Images of families buying cars, living in nice neighborhoods and benefiting from Reagan’s vision were as easy to sell as Reagan’s speeches. Remember, he was an actor, professionally trained in lying. Reagan’s “feel-good” America is an example of excess, ignorance of consequence, hedonism, and the blind nationalistic pride that requires you to shut up and watch T.V.