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View Full Version : What exactly were the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan?


Volcana
Jun 11th, 2004, 09:45 PM
I will admit, first and foremost, that I am NOT, in any way, an admirer of Reagan. I consider him the last president to be an overt a supoorter of white privilege, and white bias in the United States. That, of course, makes me less than the ideal chronicler of his accomplisments. So I ask those who admired him to list his accomplishments in this thread, that I may consider them. Except in cases where things are factually in correct, I'm not going to argue about it, though I may ask questions. People have their reasons for admiring Reagan, and I'm more interested in hearing those reasons than arguing about it.

However, there are two issues for which Reagan is often credited, which I will not consider valid. The end of the Cold War, and tax cuts. On these two issues, my reasoning is as follows.

1) The End of the Cold War

The cold war was not ended by Reagan's military buildup bankrupting the Soviet Union. As Mikhail Gorbachev himself points out, the Soviet Union was perfectly capable, financially, of continuing the arms race. For that matter, having more than enoughs nukes to de-populate the planet, they didn't even have to continue the arms race. Follow the link for more details on that. Gorbachev: 'We All Lost Cold War' (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32927-2004Jun10.html) (WashingtonPost, June 11)

The end of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism was first and foremeost the result of internal events in the communist countries, in which westerners played a marginal role. Russians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, and othe 'East Bloc' residents deserve most of the credit for the ending communism, and with it the Cold War.

If one man deserves credit for ending the Cold War, and I do not believe one man does, that man would be Mikhail Gorbachev, who for two years said repeatedly that he wanted peace with the United States, and an end to nuclear weapons, and Ronald Reagan would not listen. (in fairness, few US policymakers initially took Gorbachev at his word.)

2) The second issue for which I do not credit Ronald Reagan is tax cuts. Why? Because, while he cut taxes in 1981. He raised taxes in 1982 and again in 1983. Both of these tax increases, were, at the time, the largest in history. In fact, Reagan raised taxes every single year he was in office except 1981.

The best source for detail on this is the memoir of Reagan's first budget director David Stockman, "The Triumph of Politics" subtitled "Why the Reagan Revolution Failed". It available at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060155604/102-9109206-8935341?v=glance&st=)

Those two things aside, I'm prepared to sit and listen to Ronald Reagan's accomplishments. I would encourage others who did not support Reagan to allow his supporters to have their say. There have to be reasons he was admired by so many.

Ballbuster
Jun 11th, 2004, 09:47 PM
A mini-series of his funeral.

*JR*
Jun 11th, 2004, 09:50 PM
Bedtime for Bonzo :o

DeDe4925
Jun 11th, 2004, 09:52 PM
Got away scott free in the Iran-Contra Affair.

Volcana
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:07 PM
Got away scott free in the Iran-Contra Affair.
Can we please give Reagan's supporters a little time before going negative in the thread?

Infiniti2001
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:08 PM
He did not recall :eek: Too bad current administration did not name him as part of the axis of evil :tape:

decemberlove
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:08 PM
i think people admired him cos he was real . its a rare thing in politics

regarding tax cuts: i dont think its taz cuts in general that he is known for . but his use of supply-side economics, which often isnt the best political statement to make . yet he did it cos he believed passionately that if businesses prosper, it will trickle down

better than bush's tax cuts . candy to the kids of america . its shuts them up if they have a few extra bucks in their pockets . but it certainly doesnt help the economy

Barrie_Dude
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:20 PM
Actually, I do give Regan credit for ending the cold war. It took some courage to actually reach out to Gorbechev and end this thing at a time when I am quite sure that conventional wisdom would have prevented that. Also, he restored an awful lot of confidence in the United States at a time when thatwaas in jeapordy as well as abroad. Take a look at what Bush/Clinton/Bush have dne to damage the credibility of the USA at home and abroad and, teat, amazingly there is credibilty left in a large part because of Regan. A great many of you have no concept of what life was like prior to Regan. There was the entire Vietnam disastor, the civil rights fiasco of the 60's ( a very painful time when we lost people like JFK, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King), the Nixon/Watergate thing, hyper-inflation and the fact that our military was a laughing stock. Not to mention the on going cold war saga. Then along comes a man like Regan to restore our confidence in ourselves. That is, perhaps, his greatest accomplishment!

peachfuzz
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:26 PM
Can we please give Reagan's supporters a little time before going negative in the thread?

There were more negatives than positives while he was in office IMO...so it works out about right to go into negatives already...

Cybelle Darkholme
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:27 PM
Can we please give Reagan's supporters a little time before going negative in the thread?
why is it negative to state the facts?

Barrie_Dude
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:28 PM
There were more negatives than positives while he was in office IMO...so it works out about right to go into negatives already...Are you really that stupid?

Volcana
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:29 PM
Actually, I do give Regan credit for ending the cold war. It took some courage to actually reach out to Gorbechev and end this thing at a time when I am quite sure that conventional wisdom would have prevented that.
Gorbachev was reaching toward Reagan for almost three years before Reagan took his hand. By that time, conventional wisdom was very much in favor.

Take a look at what Bush/Clinton/Bush have done to damage the credibility of the USA at home and abroad
I think you do both Bush I and Clinton a great disservice here. Clinton clearly ENHANCED the credibility of the USA at home and abroad. He balanced the Federal budget, a feat theretofor deemed impossible, and improved US relations in Asia, Africa and Europe. Bush I was saddled with the Reagan defeicits, and a Democratic Congress, which limited what he could do.

Reagan's affect on the credibilty of the USa abroad I will leave for a couple days, til more people have posted. That's a topic on which there is a vast historical record.

the civil rights fiasco of the 60's ( a very painful time when we lost people like JFK, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King)
I'm not sure 'fiasco' is the word I would use.

DeDe4925
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:30 PM
Can we please give Reagan's supporters a little time before going negative in the thread?
Well excuse me, I thought that was an accomplishment. :p

peachfuzz
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:32 PM
Are you really that stupid?

Hey...i'm just peachfuzz afterall ;)


:p

Volcana
Jun 11th, 2004, 10:32 PM
Are you really that stupid?I don't want to get into the negatives now. However, there's a discussion forum in the Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25142-2004Jun8.html

A lot of people bring up a number of Reagan negatives. Saying that the negatives outnumber the positives is hardly 'stupid'. Numerically, that's likely correct. However the positives may be more significant, which is why this threa is focused on them.

why is it negative to state the facts?Because we don't learn anything about why people admire Ronald Reagan by harping on negatives. I COULD have posted a 'bash Ronnie' thread. I think learning why people admired him is more interesting and instructive.

ys
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:00 PM
:skipping some introductionary drivel:



However, there are two issues for which Reagan is often credited, which I will not consider valid. The end of the Cold War, and tax cuts. On these two issues, my reasoning is as follows.

1) The End of the Cold War

The cold war was not ended by Reagan's military buildup bankrupting the Soviet Union.
Correct. That explanation was only good enough to convince simple-minded American taxpayers.

As Mikhail Gorbachev himself points out, the Soviet Union was perfectly capable, financially, of continuing the arms race.
No question about it.

The end of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism was first and foremeost the result of internal events in the communist countries, in which westerners played a marginal role. Russians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, and othe 'East Bloc' residents deserve most of the credit for the ending communism, and with it the Cold War. And this is really not true."Residents" deserve very little credit for that. Very few, nearly none of them were prepared to die for freedom. And even when they were ( Prague-68, Budapest-56 ) it would not matter really, as long as Soviets controlled the military.

Reagan deserves his credit not for arms race with Soviets, but first of all, for taking a stand against Soviet geopolitical agression. For the first time in many years Soviets faced opponents ( in him and Thatcher ) who, they know, would not blink. Soviet leaders were never maniacs or psychos. They played a geopolitical game which they wanted to win, but at no point they wanted a World War or shit like that. They truly believed in their system and wanted that system to prevail. As simple as that. Reagan took a stand. Reagan unified Western World against Soviets. Reagan let everyone know that in the Cold War Western countries have a reliable leader in USA and that leader believes the West can win and knows how to do it. Reagan threw huge resources to contain Soviet geopolitical efforts. As a result, it was Soviets who ultimately blinked. But I assure you, should Jimmy have won the second term, he would have been kissing Andropov's ass somewhere just like he was kissing Brezhnev's in Vienna.

If one man deserves credit for ending the Cold War, and I do not believe one man does, that man would be Mikhail Gorbachev, who for two years said repeatedly that he wanted peace with the United States, and an end to nuclear weapons, and Ronald Reagan would not listen. (in fairness, few US policymakers initially took Gorbachev at his word.)Gorbachev deserves a lot of credit. Ultimately, his first steps in economy reforms as early as in 1985-1986 have already signed a death sentence to socialist economy, and, hence, to Soviet geopolitical ambitions. But it was Reagan's uncompromising position that made Gorbachev ( and probably his teacher Andropov ) to realise that they can't win.

Volcana
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:09 PM
:skipping some introductionary drivel:


For the first time in many years Soviets faced opponents ( in him and Thatcher ) who, they know, would not blink.
'Many' years? Putting aside your opinion of Carter for the moment, I think in Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford the Soviet Union found opoonents who did not 'blink'.

You fail to credit Jimmy Carter's committment to human rights in the fall of communism, as well as Gerald Ford's commitent to the Helsinki process, both of which had a great deal to do with ending communism in the Soviet 'satellites'.

Also Gorbachev made clear his desire to reform the Soviet system in '81. His statements to that effect PRECEDED the US military buildup, and for that matter, most of Reagan's presidential statements on the issue.

The loss of 230 marines in Beirut with virtually no US repsonse was considered something of a 'blink'.

I would also take issue with conviction in the unity of the West in the early 80's, but that's a whole thread by itself. Suffice it to say that much like today, that was more a unity of the United States and Great Britain.

You are however clear in your beliefs, which helps me understand your admiration of Reagan.

decemberlove
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:10 PM
volcana . what type of tax cuts do you prefer at a time when inflation is high?

ys
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:14 PM
:skipping some introductionary drivel:


'Many' years? Putting aside your opinion of Carter, I think in Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford the Soviet Union found opoonents who did not 'blink'.
Whole Vietnam affair was one huge 'blink'..


I would also take issue with conviction in the unity of the West in the early 80's, but that's a whole thread by itself. You are clear in your beliefs, which helps me understand your admiration of Reagan.
I do not admire Reagan. But I know the Soviet system from inside very well, and I can imagine what would it take to defeat it. All those mentioned by you failed to defeat it. Not just defeat it. Influence and might of Soviets was steadily growing at any moment between WWII and Reagan presidency. Reagan stopped them.

Volcana
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:22 PM
volcana . what type of tax cuts do you prefer at a time when inflation is high?I don't necessarily favor tax cuts when inflation is high. Tax cuts often fuel spending, which often drives inflation up. Of course, you have to increase supply somehow. I tend to favor free trade, but tell that to the US motorcycle industry.

Generally speaking though, I don't favor small tax cuts. If you can afford to cut, you can usually afford to cut a lot. However, fiscally you'd probably describe me as a 'deficit hawk', so I wouldn't favor tax cuts now at all. And in wartime, the whole concept is strange.

Volcana
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:32 PM
Whole Vietnam affair was one huge 'blink'.I don't understand that response at all. Vietnam was a fight between first the Vietnamese and the French, then the Vietnamese and the United States. The Soviets committed themselves to nothing more than training and some armorment. They didn't commit anything like the half million troops we did. Far from 'blinking', what we did in Vietnam was overkill if anything. Also stupid.

Influence and might of Soviets was steadily growing at any moment between WWII and Reagan presidency. Reagan stopped them.

Gorbachev did NOT feel the influence and might of the Soviet Union was growing in the 1970's. TO quote him."The country was being stifled by the lack of freedom," he said. "We were increasingly behind the West, which . . . was achieving a new technological era, a new kind of productivity. . . . And I was ashamed for my country -- perhaps the country with the richest resources on Earth, and we couldn't provide toothpaste for our people."


The only place the 'influence and might' of the Soviet Union grew in the 1970's was Africa, and that was because they backed Africans seeking freedom from white colonial rule, while the United States backed white colonials.Reagan stopped them.The core of our disagreement. I don't think he 'stopped' the Soviets from doing anything. But you've made your point clear.

*JR*
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:49 PM
Influence and might of Soviets was steadily growing at any moment between WWII and Reagan presidency. Reagan stopped them.
I'd say the Afghan coup of '79 (I know, one Communist toppling another, but calling in the Soviets).... US backing for the muhajadeen started under Carter, led to a Vietnam for the USSR, and eventually undermined its resolve from within its own sphere of influence.

ys
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:52 PM
I don't understand that response at all. Vietnam was a fight between first the Vietnamese and the French, then the Vietnamese and the United States. The Soviets committed themselves to nothing more than training and some armorment. They didn't commit anything like the half million troops we did. Far from 'blinking', what we did in Vietnam was overkill if anything. Also stupid.

The rule of politics for superpower is simple - if you have got involved in a war, have guts to win it.




Gorbachev did NOT feel the influence and might of the Soviet Union was growing in the 1970's. TO quote him."The country was being stifled by the lack of freedom," he said. "We were increasingly behind the West, which . . . was achieving a new technological era, a new kind of productivity. . . . And I was ashamed for my country -- perhaps the country with the richest resources on Earth, and we couldn't provide toothpaste for our people."




What does it have to do with "influence" and "might"? That Soviets have NEVER really cared about living standards of their citizens - it was never a secret - it was a policy - we were building a happy communist tomorrow, and for that great goal the comfortable life of today was expendable.


The only place the 'influence and might' of the Soviet Union grew in the 1970's was Africa, and that was because they backed Africans seeking freedom from white colonial rule, while the United States backed white colonials.The core of our disagreement. I don't think he 'stopped' the Soviets from doing anything. But you've made your point clear.
Only Africa? What about Vietnam, Cambodja, Nicaragua and Salvador? Soviets were everywhere. KGB was surely the mightiest secret service in the world with unbelievable spy penetration and agent network everywhere.

ys
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:55 PM
I'd say the Afghan coup of '79 (I know, one Communist toppling another, but calling in the Soviets).... US backing for the muhajadeen started under Carter, led to a Vietnam for the USSR, and eventually undermined its resolve from within its own sphere of influence.
Started under Carter? It was _NOTHING_, nothing at all. There was _NO_ resistance to Soviets for first 2 years of occupation. And it was nothing until late 1981, famous Reagan "Empire of Evil" speech and subsequent commitment of huge finiancial resources for Afghan opposition support. That's when it really started. Of course, mind you, he was building Al Qaeda by that, but who cared about that back then..

Volcana
Jun 11th, 2004, 11:59 PM
I think we've successfully established that a belief in his steadfastness in standing against the Soviet Union is one reason Reagan is admired.

Any others?

decemberlove
Jun 12th, 2004, 12:15 AM
I don't necessarily favor tax cuts when inflation is high. Tax cuts often fuel spending, which often drives inflation up. Of course, you have to increase supply somehow. I tend to favor free trade, but tell that to the US motorcycle industry.

Generally speaking though, I don't favor small tax cuts. If you can afford to cut, you can usually afford to cut a lot. However, fiscally you'd probably describe me as a 'deficit hawk', so I wouldn't favor tax cuts now at all. And in wartime, the whole concept is strange.
i dont favor them either . however, its really only demand-side tax cuts that will cause inflation to rise . since inflation is caused by too much money in circulation leading to too much demand and suppliers not being able to provide what the consumers demand . supply-side tax cuts DO help the economy . it gives the businesses more money to produce the items requested . demand drops . inflation drops with that

Volcana
Jun 12th, 2004, 12:37 AM
i dont favor them either . however, its really only demand-side tax cuts that will cause inflation to rise . since inflation is caused by too much money in circulation leading to too much demand and suppliers not being able to provide what the consumers demand . supply-side tax cuts DO help the economy . it gives the businesses more money to produce the items requested . demand drops . inflation drops with thatIf you don't match that spending cuts, you pay the price 6-10 years up the line with big deficits and the debt service that comes with them. That's what happened to Bush, Sr. Reagan's 1981 tax cut did give businesses more money. But even though in '82 and '83 Reagan signed the (then) largest tax increases in US history, the spending increases for the military more than offset that. So when the Reagan deficits came home to roost, Bush, Sr took the hit for it. He couldn't cut taxes OR increases. All his excess capital went to debt service.

Clinton cut spending to balance the budget. (Rememebr all those military base closings, and 'ending welfare as we know it'.)

If you're cut taxes, you gotta cut spending.

January 1981, the federal deficit wasajust under $74 billion, and the federal debt $930 billion.

In 1988, when Reagan left office, the federal deficit was $208 billion, the national debt $2.6 trillion. it is said that in those eight years, the United States moved from being the world's largest international creditor to the largest debtor nation.

Truth to tell, measured against the size of the ecomony, those numbers aren't as bad as they look. But certainly Reagan wasn't a man you wanted in control of your credit card.

Warrior
Jun 12th, 2004, 01:27 PM
He was a great actor. No other figurehead played a role of president as well as he did.

Warrior
Jun 12th, 2004, 02:13 PM
He lied and cheated in the name of anti-communism

From Iraq, Reagan didn't look so freedom-loving

Jonathan Steele in Baghdad
Friday June 11, 2004


The Guardian

It will be odd for Iraqis to watch TV tonight (power cuts permitting) and hear the eulogies to freedom-loving Ronald Reagan at his state funeral. The motives behind US policy towards their country have always been a mystery, and if Iraqis sometimes explain to westerners that Saddam Hussein was a CIA agent whose appointed task was to provoke an American invasion of Iraq, it is largely thanks to Reagan's legacy.



Although Saddam was still a junior figure, it is a matter of record that the CIA station in Baghdad aided the coup which first brought the Ba'athists to power in 1963. But it was Reagan who, two decades later, turned US-Iraqi relations into a decisive wartime alliance. He sent a personal letter to Saddam Hussein in December 1983 offering help against Iran. The letter was hand-carried to Baghdad by Reagan's special envoy, Donald Rumsfeld.

Reagan liked several things about Saddam. A firm anti-communist, he had banned the party and executed or imprisoned thousands of its members. The Iraqi leader was also a bulwark against the mullahs in Tehran and a promising point of pressure against Syria and its Hizbullah clients in Lebanon who had just destroyed the US Marine compound in Beirut, killing over 200 Americans.

It is not surprising that the current international manoeuvring over Iraq is treated with suspicion grounded in that history. Iraqis regard their newly appointed government with scepticism. They see the difficulty France had at the United Nations in trying to persuade the Americans to allow Iraqis a veto over US offensives in places like Falluja. They note that Prime Minister Ayad Allawi did not even ask for a major Iraqi role until the French made it an issue. Iraqis remember that Allawi and his exile organisation, the Iraqi National Accord, were paid by the CIA.

Not just in Iraq but around the world, the hallmark of Reagan's presidency was anti-communist cynicism, masked by phoney rhetoric about freedom. In his first press conference as president he used quasi-biblical language to claim that Soviet leaders "reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat". It was one of the most extraordinary cases of the pot calling the kettle black. What could Saddam, let alone other Iraqis, have thought when it became known two years after Rumsfeld's first visit to Baghdad that Washington had secretly sold arms to the mullahs Iraq was fighting. Who had been lying and cheating?

In the name of anti-communism everything was possible. Reagan invaded Grenada on the false premise that US students who had been there safely for months were suddenly in danger. Reagan armed thugs to overthrow the government of Nicaragua, even after it won internationally certified free elections in 1984. He made the US an outlaw by rejecting the world court judgments against its blockade of Nicaragua's coast.

Reagan armed and trained Osama bin Laden and his followers in their Afghan jihad, and authorised the CIA to help to pay for the construction of the very tunnels in Tora Bora in which his one-time ally later successfully hid from US planes. On the grounds that Nelson Mandela's African National Congress was pro-communist, Reagan vetoed US congress bills putting sanctions on the apartheid regime the ANC was fighting.

His policies towards the Soviet Union were hysterical and counter-productive. He put detente into deep freeze for several years with his insulting label "the evil empire". It led to overblown outrage over the downing by Soviet aircraft of a South Korean airliner that intruded into Russian air space. Moscow's action was inept, but if Reagan had not put the superpowers in collision, the Kremlin might have treated the wayward plane more calmly.

Moscow's policies in the developing world were no less cynical than Reagan's. In Iran and Iraq they played both sides, tilting towards Saddam Hussein, in spite of his execution of communists. They feared Iran's Islamic fundamentalism as much as Washington did. But the cold war was not mainly about ideology, and certainly not freedom. It was a contest for power. By the time Reagan took office, some independent analysts and reporters with experience in the Soviet Union were arguing Moscow's power had peaked.

The CIA was exaggerating the strength of the Soviet economy and the amount being spent on defence (shades of the recent fiasco over Iraq's WMD). The issue was hotly debated, and it was hard to reach the truth of events in a closed society. Those like myself who detected Soviet weakness had to struggle against the Kremlinological establishment, where traditional views were in a majority.

But the record of Soviet behaviour suggested that, behind Brezhnev's rhetoric, Moscow had become disillusioned with its international achievements. Its Warsaw Pact allies were unreliable and had to be periodically invaded or threatened.

In the Middle East, Moscow had few allies in spite of decades of trying to win friends through the supply of arms. Egypt had moved west, Syria saw that Russia had no clout on the central issue of Israel and Palestine, the Gulf states were suspicious, and only Yemen and Iraq seemed to offer a little hope.

The Kremlin was losing heart, but its elderly leaders were too ill to draw the consequences. It took a younger leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, to start the process of international withdrawal. High oil prices after 1973 had given Moscow a decade of easy money to finance its part in the US-Soviet arms race while also developing its industrial infrastructure.

By the early 1980s the weakness of the consumer goods sector, the failure to reform agriculture, and the pressure for liberalisation coming from a policy elite which had travelled abroad as diplomats, engineers and journalists was about to break the surface.

Reagan's Star Wars project did not bankrupt the Soviet Union into reform, as his admirers claim. In repeated statements as well as his budget allocations Gorbachev made it clear Moscow would not bother to match a dubious weapons system which could not give Washington "first-strike capability" for at least another 15 years, if ever.

The Soviet Union imploded for internal reasons, not least the erratic way Gorbachev reacted to the contradictory processes set in motion by his own reforms. Reagan was merely an uncomprehending bystander. His acceptance in his second term of detente was a u-turn which millions of peace activists in Europe had been demanding.

It was detente that made the end of the cold war possible, and without Reagan's blind anti-communism it could have come at least four years earlier.

· Jonathan Steele' s book The Limits of Soviet Power was published in 1984

j.steele@guardian.co.uk (j.steele@guardian.co.uk) Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Volcana
Jun 12th, 2004, 05:27 PM
Warrior, I don't disagree with the article, but while it is informative, it doesn't inform my point. Millions of people all over the United States are mourning Reagan's death as that of a great leader. Do you not wonder why? It's easy to cite a list of Reagan's failings and despicable acts. It's a long and public record. But if those are the reasons he was admired the world should indeed fear the American people.

I would rather here from his supporters what they found admirable in the man.

Infiniti2001
Jun 13th, 2004, 07:29 PM
Someone on the NIn mailing list sent this.

(From Dr. Greg Griffin (yes, some of my students were doctorates, dayammmn)
aids survivor for 20 years

There is something very disturbing about this photograph. I took it out of the LA Times. Take a look and see if you get a similar reaction:




(Although I lifted this, as an artist myself, I hope you can read the name of the photographer, it is Bryan Chan. More about Mr. Chan later.)

I believe the Hollywood (And those Reagans were always about Hollywood. More about the Reagans and Hollywood later.) reading of this photo—the reading we were supposed to make—is, “Flag-draped coffin of a fallen hero about to be buried is being blessed by the family’s priest/pastor. Grief stricken wife falls to her knees and on to the casket in near psychotic break to try to hold/communicate/love husband/lover just one last time. But, alas, to no avail. For he is truly dead."

“Well, well, well! Isn’t that special!”

I’m sorry, I know this is quite tasteless, BUT SO IS THIS PHOTOGRAPH. Nancy and Ronnie are as tasteless in death as they were in life. By the Regan camp’s own admission, they have been actively planning this funeral for ten years and the plans went to well over 300 pages. Perhaps this doesn’t seem so to you, but to me this just screams lack of restraint and taste. That being the case, I figure why not just jump on the bandwagon.

[BTW. she did this coffin stunt again at another stop of the magical mystery tour of death. If I am ignorant here please let me know if this is some special Presbyterian religious rite. Somehow I rather doubt it.]

Let’s just pretend (PRETEND) that this isn’t a staged photograph (“Hey Mr. Photographer want to get your work on the front page, well then, TAKE a Picture of ME NOW!). Nancy was never much of an actress, let’s just all admit, and she does not appear very grief stricken here either. She appears to be listening. HELLO! Earth to Nancy! He is dead and frankly he’s been a stalk of broccoli for several years. He hasn’t been answering you for quite a while. He’s not going to speak unless you have put a tape recording in the coffin. I wish you had, because that would be rather inspired tastelessness. I dunno Nancy, let’s give you the benefit of the doubt; perhaps your ASTROLOGER (remember when Reagans' meetings and state trips were scheduled according to the stars) told you he would speak to you from the otherside. Maybe you can be featured on an episode of “Crossing Over with John Edwards”. “Nancy, someone from the otherside who was very important is trying to come through, is there something to do with the country China associated with someone in your life that has passed on.” “Not that I know of, but could it be ‘New China Pattern’?” “Yes that is it, who was this person.” “It was my husband [pause significantly, thrust fist to mouth and bite knuckles, then tearfully finish,] Ronnie.”

But that is all just pretend. All of it. No listening. No dropped to your knees in grief, either. Just another staged photo opportunity. By the way Mr. Chan and the LA TIMES: Shame on you for running fake news photos. I’m rather sick of this funeral. If you want to run a news story on it, why don’t you run some REAL obituaries about how Reagan funded terrorism, but called it Freedom Fighters; and that sort of thing? How much is this whole thing costing the taxpayers? Who authorized it? Why is there Secret Service protection of the dead body? It’s DEAD! No one can kill it again. That sort of thing. Yes, yes it’s sad when a 93 year old bunch of carrots stuck in a blazer and slippers dies with incredible medical care; BUT IT IS TRAGIC WHEN THE PERSON IS 27 and dies in poverty in some public ward penniless and treated like a pariah. (But more on this later . . .)

Pola Negri:









There is another funny part to this tastelessness. It’s stolen. From another Hollywood actress: Pola Negri, the mostly silent film star and uber-vamp and sex goddess of the 1920’s. She threw herself on Rudolph Valentino’s coffin during his funeral and managed to get her picture on the front page of most of the nation’s papers the next day. Pola’s knees didn’t creak so much and she was able to stand on her own, so she was able to be at least a bit more poetic in her body language. Nancy was never very original; she tried so hard to be Jacqueline Kennedy, but only managed to be Mari Antoinette. Not even, actually. BTW Nancy, Mrs. Kennedy had more restraint during JFK's funeral and he had his brains blown off into Mrs. Kennedy's lap and she tried to hold his head together while they raced to the hospital. Now THAT was tragic and sad.

Pola was clearly a young woman who could more fetchingly pull off this kind of stunt. (She also fainted several times during the funeral as well.) Perhaps Nancy thought no one could still actually remember this bit of melodrama, but she forgot the scores and scores and scores of (old) queens who watch old (old, old) movies and collect good dish with great delight. [Hmmm. I guess I fall into that category.]

But on to the tragedy from the comedy.

I have a much more serious and personal ax to grind with the Reagans. Ronald Regan did not mention AIDS in a speech until five months before he left office. He said and did nothing for seven years while the virus spread, blinded, and killed. There was virtually no federal funding of AIDS research. Prevention work—teaching people how to have safer sex, and real research on how safe is safe—was eschewed by the government. Organizations receiving public funds that tried to do this were threatened with loss of their funding. (This has come back in spades since Clinton left office. I call this calculated murder of the young.) Costly court battles were fought. While children were literally burned out of their homes with completely unfounded AIDS hysteria—he said nothing. Funding to study legionnaires disease was five times that of AIDS when legionnaires disease had killed 50 Americans, and HIV already had killed more than 25,000. And that was just the beginning. For a while many in the gay community thought AIDS might have been intentionally introduced into our community.

I would like to be relieved of the burden of remembering these things, but the public and the press seem to want to forget them and pretend it did not happen. My dead lovers and friends can't remember, so I remember for them.

Although the so-called promiscuous gay man was the general face of AIDS, it devastated the ranks of hemophiliacs as well as infants born to HIV-infected mothers, not to mention those fighting substance abuse. The president didn’t lead, he did not care. We learned all too well what an act the Reagans kindly image was. Nancy, a much lesser actress than he was an actor, did not act so well, her mean-spiritedness was less under wraps. She was a vile manipulator within the cabinet and his senior staff, while she tried to act meek and adoring. The worst of this, though, was the absolute envy and bitchiness with which she treated Raiza Gorbachav. She could not stop her public comments, even if they could possibly affect national security. Mr. Gorbachav did manage to rise above it and not take Nancy’s comments and treatment of his wife seriously. The Reagan's and especially Nancy's personal ambitions and concerns were always placed ahead of the country's, be it national security or people living with HIV.

Whatever your religious views are, it is unlikely that religion was a factor in Reagan’s utter disinterest in AIDS. One of my research group secretaries was married to the pastor of the church the Reagans attended prior to his election. She said they rarely came, made a brief appearance, and slipped out early. They weren't much at tithing either.

That was all just an act as well. They were Easter Sunday Christians whose faith was easy (and cheap). They missed several of Christianity's main points (forgiveness and charity) but kept the "I'm gonna live forever," part of the faith.

Here is my personal ax though, and it is VERY personal, and very sharp, even these years and years later. It’s not about my own health either. I had two spouses who died from AIDS. I’m not sure Nagib who went completely blind in 1987, and died in 1989 at age 30 could have been saved. But Manny, who died in 1996, at age 37 could have been. I can only guess, but I don’t think 100,000 American deaths to lie at the feet of his disregard are anything but conservative. World wide—it is millions. The French discovered the HIV virus before the Americans, and a much smaller percentage of the French population was infected. Go figure, do the math, whatever. My government didn’t care two cents about me or my spouses or my friends. It's hard to live when you are constantly reviled publicly and you are fighting to keep someone else happy and alive, and you realize that your kindly, grandfatherly president just doesn't give a shit about you or the thousands and thousands of FAMILIES like yours. (Yes Mr. President, I have a family. A father and a mother. And a spouse. And we suffer together, like a (real) FAMILY does.]

One year earlier for the “AIDS cocktails” to have been developed would have done it. Just a little leadership on Reagan’s part. By the way, every young man and woman who died from AIDS had some symptoms of dementia or other disabling cognitive impairment. The deaths were all ugly, painful, debilitating, and humiliating. Much, much worse than an Alzheimer’s disease death. We were treated a pariahs, and the religious right that the Reagans and Bushes toady up to with such enthusiasm; gave sermons about God punishing the wicked with AIDS. These men and women read such different Bibles than I have ever found. Gone is the Lords prayer and the sermon on the mount, in it’s place the “Godly” substitute turning their back on the sick and dying or actively interpreting God’s actions (selectively), as it helps them in their incessant lust for power, fame, and money.

Nagib, Manny, and I were all about 22 or 23 when we contracted HIV. The virus had not been discovered. We had not even heard of HIV or AIDS—those terms did not even exist. I didn’t have scores of toadies to plan funerals and take care of these men. I and many in my community did it on our own, or with the help of a few family members and within our own community. The Center for Disease Control did not develop prevention methods: The gay community did itself. Now the CDC discourages everything but faith and abstinence based prevention. I don’t know exactly how that works, since it doesn’t and never has. It didn’t for the Reagans (divorced), their children (Oh God, their poor, poor children. Only props, and they have all suffered mightily trying to come to terms with parent’s lack of concern for them.) Well we can certainly assume that abstinence and faith are not the bedrocks of the George W’s daughters. Nor was it his, prior to getting his holier than thou religion at age 40. My stomach turns every time I hear that hypocrite speak.

When it came to family, the Reagans talked the talk, but did NOT walk the walk. Their children hungered so for any attention. Ron Jr. (the still closeted 45 year gay man) became a ballet dancer. Another a radical liberal. They all rebelled and eventually made some sort of peace with their absent father. It must have been awfully hurtful at some level to listen to his speeches about family, and old-fashioned values, and the rest of that pabulum; while so little of it represented the life they lived. One can imagine that Nancy’s attitude after giving birth was that of another old Hollywood movie line, “I can see my work here is done . . .”

Am I the only one who found Ronnie’s habit of calling Nancy Mommie in public more than a little bit creepy? Nancy was not a very good mother, and I have to say, I have never heard her say anything like, “Motherhood was so great an experience . . .” Credit is due there for her surprising lack duplicity. Mostly she publicly complained about her children when they were acting out in attempts to get their parents' love; and little about them as they made peace with what was. It doesn’t take much leap of the imagination to figure out where that gooey Mommie moniker came from: straight from their bed. I can’t help but think of lines like, “Can Baby have some milk Mommie?” Or perhaps Mommie was very strict with Baby in the bedroom. The imagination runs wild, and for me, at least, it is rather horrific.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for good sex, with lots of imagination, role playing (if that is what turns your crank), or whatever two (or more) consenting adults want to do. I just question the, uh, well, propriety of a sitting President publicly addressing the First Lady that way. It is funny, I think, that the conservatives are always so publicly obsessed with sex. If it is not the “secret coded” sex talk of Reagan, it’s spending millions of dollars investigating and trying to impeach Clinton over NOT publicly acknowledging what goes on behind closed doors. Now Bush’s camp is debating trying to amend the constitution to prohibit gay men and women from marriage, or anything close to it, in order to make sure we remain second-class citizens. (We just can’t win can we? We are excoriated for being promiscuous, and excoriated for wanting to marry and settle down.) Non-persons really: even slaves had the right to marry (well sometimes, anyway). I think straight people, even the religious right, should look to themselves if they want to solidify their marriage, and lay the foundation for good marriages for their children. I hardly think that the gay community poses much of a threat. “Physician, Heal thyself,” etc. etc. etc. Hate mongering just isn’t consistent with that.

I read that the Bush campaign is almost gleeful about Reagan’s death; figuring that George W. can somehow assume Regan’s mantle. What a double delight! Well, whereas Reagan just really didn’t care; I suspect George W. is actively vindictive and mean. His page is from Nancy’s book, not Ron’s. A man who goes on a fishing trip rather than postponing it when his daughter is having an emergency appendectomy—well, I suspect Reagan would have at least have been more concerned about the appearance of callous disregard.

Here is another fake news photo that is much more revealing. See if your reaction to this one jibes with mine:






I laughed out loud at this one! Could these two women have moved their chairs any further apart? They would have had to use their cell phones to speak (indeed if they actually did!). All that staunch heartfelt condolence being expressed. I mean if both of these women know all about publicity shots and framing and such, what is this really saying? Nancy really was in a couple of B (or C-) grade movies, and it’s not like either of them haven’t posed a bit here and there. I can only figure they must really HATE EACH OTHER’s GUTS. Ah, if only they could have worked Raiza Gorbachav into this one! Or maybe this is just some sort of old people’s yoga they are jointly doing . . .

Ronald Reagan was 93. His death was not a tragedy. He was not a hero, he was an actor. He was never in a war, but he did play several soldiers in a couple of movies; and he did participate (on McCarthy’s side) in (something of an unholy war in) the 1950’s Congressional investigations of non-existent communists. (Gay men were routinely dismissed from their jobs in this Stalinistic purge as well.) He didn't end communism, and the claim that he was responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union is dubious at best. Why has China prospered, for example? (I personally think the world as a whole is less safe now, and a lot of the old Soviet Union has just replaced one repressive government with another. Nukes are being moved from a system that couldn't afford to use them, into the hands of people who have nothing much to lose.) I don’t doubt that Nancy is having some bittersweet memories, but I think more than anything she is playing the part, and enjoying all the attention. By Friday she is starting to look a bit lost and bewildered, and as the animation is leaving her features, the mask-like quality of the Westside Los Angeles rich elderly matron is showing through. If you don’t live out here, you haven’t seen this all-too-common look: It’s that of an 83-year-old woman who has had too much “work” (cosmetic surgery) done. In those ten years of planning with her toadies and hundreds of pages of detailed plans, she might have realized burying someone you love requires some down time. Flying back and forth and back and forth from one ceremony to the next may get you publicity, but it is not much of way to say good by. It’s a good way to get fatigued and jet-lagged and bewildered.

But when it is over, she can now spend even more time lunching with that other Uncle Tom-of-a-gay man, Merv Griffin. (I just rolled my eyes and guffawed when I saw he was going to be an honorary pallbearer.) I don’t think she cares two snaps about stem cell research; it is just a way for her to get the adoration she still desires (from the long-gone father that didn’t pay much attention to her). [Yeah, (Nancy) Babe, we’ve all got our demons, but why do yours have to be played out so viciously and publicly.] That is rather sad, truly; but the tragedy is what she and her husband did to so many people and the world; and how their name and legacy is being misremembered, and misrepresented by the current administration.

But, Hey! That’s Hollywood. Appearances count. Truth does not. I find that tasteless.


[If this diatribe struck your fancy, please pass it along. For many of us Reagan’s passing stirs up much bereavement and anger. I want that story to be told and remembered as well. – Greg Griffin]

UDiTY
Jun 13th, 2004, 07:53 PM
Accomplishments of Ronald Reagan:

http://cache.****************/comp/310235.jpg?x=x&dasite=MS_GINS&ef=2&ev=1&dareq=E2399169AC85D6DEB09FEF561C66D29410D5545DB105 7CF9

:p

AjdeNate!
Jun 13th, 2004, 08:00 PM
Well, for some other minor accomplishments.....
I went to Reagan school. borrowed books from Reagan library, drove across the Reagan bridge.

Celeste
Jun 13th, 2004, 11:21 PM
Post this on a right-wing site, not a left-wing site. Hello?

It is like posting on a Martina N. site "Why is Martina N. better than Steffi?" You will get what you want as a Martina fan. Volcana, don't post something asking for good about Reagan on a left-wing site and then pronouce "victory" when little comes of it. Ronnie got superrich during Reagan, but also during Clinton.

Ballbuster
Jun 14th, 2004, 02:12 AM
Nice Post Infiniti2001, I felt that.

Tratree
Jun 14th, 2004, 04:35 AM
I’m sorry, I know this is quite tasteless, BUT SO IS THIS PHOTOGRAPH. Nancy and Ronnie are as tasteless in death as they were in life. By the Regan camp’s own admission, they have been actively planning this funeral for ten years and the plans went to well over 300 pages. Perhaps this doesn’t seem so to you, but to me this just screams lack of restraint and taste. That being the case, I figure why not just jump on the bandwagon.

[BTW. she did this coffin stunt again at another stop of the magical mystery tour of death. If I am ignorant here please let me know if this is some special Presbyterian religious rite. Somehow I rather doubt it.]

Let’s just pretend (PRETEND) that this isn’t a staged photograph (“Hey Mr. Photographer want to get your work on the front page, well then, TAKE a Picture of ME NOW!). Nancy was never much of an actress, let’s just all admit, and she does not appear very grief stricken here either. She appears to be listening. HELLO! Earth to Nancy! He is dead and frankly he’s been a stalk of broccoli for several years. He hasn’t been answering you for quite a while. He’s not going to speak unless you have put a tape recording in the coffin. I wish you had, because that would be rather inspired tastelessness.


I'm sorry, but that writer has NO right to talk about tastelessness. That is about the most vindictive, mean-spirited, tacky things I've ever read. Good God, the woman's husband just died. What a sad angry little person to say all those things.

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Jun 14th, 2004, 02:10 PM
Whether or not you agreed with is policies - RR was an incredible man and president.

Unlike our current leader, he has class, kindness, and a genuine care about America.

That writer obviously has no idea how the Reagan family despises the current Bush admin.