Friday, June 18, 2004

Death of a Bad Actor-----

The great daddy figure for the US conservative horde has now passed. Yet hopefully some of us won't participate in the cheap nostalgia and flag waving.

Reagan's optimism and conservative populism was calculated and appealed to the sentimental and irrational aspects of the masses. At first I tried to think along the "nice" liberal lines: "I objected to his politics, but he was great, inspiring, heroic, etc. etc."

However, after going through some of his speeches, looking at his ugly mug (he was not handsome--he looks simian to me), listening to the conservative flag wavers go on about their lost leader, I must say I feel little or no empathy or sense of tragedy for the demise of this former sports broadcaster. The worst part is that the conservatives want to compare him to Washington, Jefferson, or Lincoln. Hah.

He was far less intelligent a president (and man) than FDR or Woodrow Wilson, and I would venture to say even Nixon was above him in political and economic abilities. (not that I am supporting Nixon at all). His policies created the S n L crisis, he tripled the deficit, increased military spending to some unreal amount. His admin. helped support death squads in Central America. He deregulated necessary environmental protections (remember James Watt?) and helped develop corporate welfare.

As CA Governor Reagan was nearly a fascist, calling in tanks on protesters, stuffing the courts full of totalitarian judges, increasing police. His Hollywood connections are also I think quite objectionable, as was his and his wife's leaning towards astrology. He was perhaps a great father figure for American peasants, but for any rational human--and I would say even rational conservatives--his administration is not a model of an effective or clearly thought-out political philosophy.

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