Ronald Reagan

66 (Unflattering) Things About Ronald Reagan
Reagan's Bloody Legacy


"Reagan was the worst American leader since Herbert Hoover.

"After Democrats and Republicans in Congress passed sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa, Reagan Vetoed the measure. Hist administration cuddled up with the fascistic and anti-Semitic junta of Argentina and backed militaries in El Salvador and Guatemala that masssacred civilians. It moved to normalize relations with Augusto Pinochet, the tyrant of Chile. Reagan sent George Bush the First to the Philippines, where the Vice President toasted dictator Ferdinand Marcos for fostering "democracy." Pursuing a quasi-secret war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, the Reagan Administration violated international law and circumvented Congress to support contra rebels engaged in human rights abuses... Reagan covertly sent arms to the mullahs of Iran and courted Saddam Hussein, even after his use of chemical weapons...

"[His] "trickle-down" tax cuts -- coupled with a tremendous boost in military spending -- were designed to bankrupt the government.. justifying draconian cuts in social programs. (Remember ketchup as a vegetable?)

"Reagan showed little concern for the deindustrialized workers who suffered during the 1980s, and he was actively hostile to unions, firing PATCO air-traffic controllers en masse after they struck for better pay and working conditions...

"..no one in the Reagan White House appeared to care about a new pandemic that mainly killed homosexuals...

"Despite his Administration's "law and order" language, by the 1990s nearly 200 Reagan-era officials had faced investigation and prosecution...

"...widespread lack of ethical standards. His Administration weakened workplace safety standards...

"He appointed Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court. He tried to gut the Civil Rights Commission, and his Administration waged a relentless series of attacks on affirmative action while trying to grant tax-exempt status to private schools that engaged in racial discrimination...

"..history of right-wing dogmatism... at best a shaky grip on reality; he often seemed to live in a world of his own -- with Reader's Digest his only news source...

"...his presidency.. empowered and enabled some of the worst elements of public life in our country: greed, arrogance, neglect and hypocrisy" (Editorial. "The Reagan Legacy." The Nation, June 28, 2004: 3-5).


"..ignored the tough questions and stuck unyieldingly to his scripted version of reality...

"..his main purpose -- delegitimizing the federal government... get government off our backs, encourage the strong, forget the weak... put a smiling face on the market orthodoxy of "every man for himself"...

"...politicians of both parties learned from his cue -- wave the flag and avoid bad news. Ronald Reagan launched the great era of false triumphalism that continues to this day among American leaders" (William Greider. "The Gipper's Economy." The Nation, June 28, 2004: 5-6).


"..the former actor's PR apparatus pioneered or perfected many of the news-management techniques now taken for granted by press and public alike...

"Reagan and his PR apparatus knew how to get their desired message across while satisfying the media's appetite for interesting stories and appealing visuals. The apparatus understood the value of repetition.. only messages that get repeated can pierce the statis and register on the public consciousness...

"In the United States, the media shape mass opinion but tend to reflect elite opinion, and most of the nation's elite either supported Reagan or were afraid to criticize him... journalists look to the opposition party for quotes and perspectives to counter the White House's claims. The coverage of any President, therefore, tends to be only as critical as the opposition party is. The failure of Democrats to criticize Reagan meant he faced relatively uncritical coverage.." (Mark Hertsgaard. "Beloved by the Media." The Nation, June 28, 2004: 7-8).


"Nixon thought Reagan was "strange" and, so he told the secret tape recorder in the Oval Office in 1972, "just an uncomfortable man to be around." The late President certainly was a very weird human being, not at all like the fellow being hailed this week [during his funeral]...

"Reagan had absolutely no moral sense about truth or falsity... RR. told Yitzhak Shamir, then prime minister of Israel, that he had helped to liberate Auschwitz, had returned to Hollywood with film footage of the ghastly scenes he had witnessed... Truth, for him, was what he happened to be saying at the time...

"He had a sound belief in astrology... He believed Armageddon was right around the corner...

"Reagan installed fantasy as the motor of national consciousness, and it's still pumping disastrously along. He was an awful President, never as popular as the press pretended, presiding over a carnival of corruption and greed at home, terror in Central America and Africa" (Alexander Cockburn. "Reagan in Truth and Fiction." The Nation, June 28, 2004: 9).


"...the full deification of The Gipper proceeds with Republican politicos openly engaged in idolatry... A little perspective, please! It would be appropriate, for example, to erect a statue on The Mall and inscribe it, "Ronald Reagan: The man who gave us Saddam Hussein."

"...more golden chestnuts from Ronnie's tenure: James Watt, ketchup as a vegetable, Star Wars, a tax credit for segregated Bob Jone University, the S&L scandal, trees cause pollution, Grenada, William Casey, union busting, trickl-down economics, CIA sponsorship of Muslin radicals in Afghanistan (including one Osama bin Laden), Ed Meesse, extensive cuts in programs serving poor people, Robert Bork, and the tripling of the national debt" (Hightower, Jim. "Giving the Gipper His Due." Texas Observer, 7/16/04: 15).


"One People's Project, a New Brunswick, New Jersey, antiracist group whose website offers free "Ronald Reagan Rots in Hell" buttons" (Liza Featherstone. "The Fine Art of Bush-Bashing." The Nation, July 12, 2004: 18-20).


"...the Reagan administration's "unflagging campaign to exalt the power of the presidency and to undermine the power of the law, the courts, the Congress, and the people"" (George Scialabba. "Homeland Insecurity." The Nation, Oct. 11, 2004: 36-42).


Q: You've talked about this country having a national Alzheimer's disease.

A: "Gore Vidal calls this country the United States of Amnesia. Take Reagan. He's perhaps the worst President until now we've had, a man who knocked the hell out of the very thing, the New Deal, that saved his ass and that of his father... His father got a job on the WPA during the Depression. Ronald Reagan... was an acknowledged fink. He was president of the Screen Actors Guild at the same time he was informing regularly to the FBI on his own members he considered un-American..." (David Barsamian. "Studs Terkel." The Progressive, Nov. 2004: 36).


"All governments lie, but Ronald Reagan and his crew raised the bar. From about 1978 on, when the drive to put Reagan in the White House gathered speed, lying was the standard mode for Reagan, his handlers and a press quite happy to retail all the bilge, from the Soviet Union's supposed military superiority to the millionaire welfare queens on Chicago's South Side. The press went along with it. Year after year, on the campaign trail and then in the White House, the press corps reported Reagan's news conferences without remarking that the Commander in Chief dwelr mostly in a twilit world of comic-book fables and old movie clips" (Alexander Cockburn. "First the Lying, Then the Pardon." The Nation, Nov. 28, 2005: 12).,p.


Colby Glass, MLIS