The Great Communicator is scarcely at the fore of my thoughts, but during a lengthy back-and-forth over at Micah Tillman's blog, I innocently mentioned that "I’m always curious to hear people argue in favour of Reaganism, to test my own convictions"... and, man oh man, was my curiosity satisfied. My mistake, of course, to invite praise upon Reagan on a libertarian blog. What follows here will most certainly be said in vain, because the ideological chasm between myself and Andrew Stevens makes the grand canyon look like Stephen Malkmus cracking a smile. Nonetheless, I want to share my appraisal of Ol' Ronnie without weaving a Gordian knot out of Tillman's comment thread. Now, everything I'll mention here has been repeated elsewhere, but in the interest of being thorough...
Why exactly do I loathe Ronald Reagan? Let me count the ways:
~He ratted out and demonised fellow citizens before the HUAC.
~Apparently, "cleaning up the mess at Berkeley" included Gestapo tactics.
~All those crazy people wandering the streets? Yep, Reagan's fault.
~In all likelihood, he used 52 hostages as pawns in an election campaign.
~Perhaps in an overzealous attempt to prove "government is the problem," he busted a national union and put 11,345 Americans out of work.
~Reaganomics: a Trojan Horse that bore a stagnant median wage, the S&L crisis, and that festering cherry on top, the '87 stock crash.
~Oh, and that massive cut in inflation? You can thank massive unemployment for that, not Reagan.
~And while I'm at it: fuck tax cuts for the rich. There, I said it.
~Ladies and gentlemen, Robert Bork!
~He pledged to "do whatever was necessary" to aid that Saddam guy against Iran.
~290 innocent civilians died in a case of mistaken identity.
~He staunchly supported & sold arms to Efrain Rios Montt, per-capita the bloodiest dictator Latin America has ever seen.
~He "allowed Alexander Haig to greenlight the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, fired him when that went too far and led to mayhem in Beirut, then ran away from Lebanon altogether when the Marine barracks were bombed, and then unbelievably accused Tip O'Neill and the Democrats of 'scuttling.'"
~He praised the future Taliban as "freedom fighters" while the religious extremists who would later attack the WTC received funds & training from the CIA.
~The Iran Contra Affair
~The HUD grant-rigging scandal
~The "War On Drugs"
~"We begin bombing in five minutes!"
In the words of a far more succinct man, "Let the earth where he is buried be seeded with salt."
Finally, Mr. Stevens made it clear that his praise for Reagan was not out of partisanship by praising JFK. Likewise, I'm not bound by unblinking loyalty to a particular party. "Slick Willie" Clinton's misdeeds - from the Defense of Marriage Act to destroying a Sudanese penecilin plant - are far too quickly forgotten or forgiven. Likewise, JFK was an overromanticised speed-freak playboy who cried "appeasement" and brought the world perilously close to nuclear annihilation - but then, he's already been assassinated once, so I needn't do it again.