"""""It was extraordinary that, in Mikhail Gorbachev, Reagan was dealing with a man who knew that the Soviet Union could not sustain the arms race and a man who was out of patience with the satraps of East Germany. To Gorbachev goes an enormous share of the credit. But if I run the thought experiment and ask myself whether Walter Mondale would have made a better interlocutor in 1987, I cannot make myself believe it. This does not involve un-saying any of the things about Reagan that his admirers would prefer us to forget. But it does acknowledge the distinction between a historic presidency and an average one. Reagan's friend Margaret Thatcher once said that the real test of her success was the way that she had changed the politics of the Labour Party. By that standard, the legacy of Reagan in permanently altering the political landscape is with us still.""""
Typical Hitchens waffling and qualifications: Hitch. goes on ad nauseum about Reagan's flaws (didn't he call him a senile lizard a few years ago), then pats him on back for the Berlin Wall (whilst qualifying by saying Gorbachev had something to do with it) and finally offers his usual unprovable speculation, i.e. Reagan would have been superior to Mondale anyway. Bullsh*t.
Contingencies' Speculation du jour: Reagan and his fundamentalist henchmen created the Moral Majority, which served as the prototype for the Teabaggers. He increased military spending to astronomical levels. He also created, or rather his Administration created the myth of supply side economics aka trickle down as a viable model.
That said, there are one might say Orwellian factors to the Reagan regime that should be considered. First off, however incompetent, Reagan's body count no way matches that of Bill Clinton, or BushCo (or, really Obama). Grenada doesn't compare to Kosovo or Iraq. After Hinckley's dread act, Reagan may very well have become a puppet for..the CIA, military, the corporate/finance gang, and the religious zealots--. Reagan was a bit of a farm boy--perhaps more naive than evil. At any rate Reaganomics....hatched Sarah Palin.