Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hi! I'm From the Reagan Administration, and I'm Here to Help

Oy, what a week!  Just a quickie for right now: Daniel Larison wrote another good column the other day on the perils of Reaganolatry.
The trouble for the GOP isn’t just that younger voters don’t remember Reagan, but that most of them have fairly clear memories of the last administration and/or the current Republican leadership. Presidential candidates can talk about Reagan all they like, but it won’t change the fact that for most people that became politically engaged over the last fifteen years Republican governance has a horrible reputation of incompetence and recklessness. Republican candidates almost have to fall back on praising someone who hasn’t been in office in a quarter century, since for most of the time since then their party has become synonymous with failed and disastrous policies.
I do disagree somewhat, since "incompetence and recklessness" were practically Reagan's middle names, and his corrupt regime contributed a lot to our present problems.  Which is, no doubt, why Barack Obama admires him so much.

The comments under the post are a mixed bag, but I especially liked this fine example of Reaganolatry by a self-identified Reagan supporter:
That’s why Reagan, were he here and in sound mind, would regard Snowden as a patriot, just as Democrat Wyden and Republican Rand do.
I didn't believe that for a second, so I looked around to see if I could find what Reagan had said about Daniel Ellsberg, and I didn't have much luck for a while.  But I was sure that he must have said something, since Reagan was a constant and vocal presence on the American political scene during that period. Knowing his reactionary politics, I did not believe that Reagan approved of whistleblowers exposing American's delicate privacies to the harsh light of day.  I finally found this, from a June 28, 1983 press conference during which President Reagan was asked about reports that his 1980 presidential campaign had used briefing books stolen from the Jimmy Carter campaign.  He replied:
Well, my answer is that it probably wasn't too much different from the press rushing into print with the Pentagon Papers, which were stolen. And they were classified. And it was against the law. Now, I want the Justice Department to find out if anybody did anything that broke the law.
Which is roughly what was said about Bradley / Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden thirty years later.  So no, I doubt very much that Reagan would have thought either of them to be patriots.