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The Real Reagan vs Saint Ronald the Infallible

Quick, tell me who said this:

“I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.”

If you guessed Ronald Reagan, you win. He said this during a debate with Walter Mondale during the 2004 presidential election. Two years later, he advocated and signed a bill that allowed amnesty for 3 million then-illegal immigrants.

But that’s the real Reagan, not Saint Ronald the Infallible that lives in the conservative imagination. And they could hardly be more different.

Saint Ronald the Infallible relentlessly cut taxes and reduced government spending to encourage fiscal responsibility; the real Ronald Reagan submitted budgets that were larger than the ones the Democratically-led Congress approved and sent to him for his signature, raised taxes several times and massively increased the federal debt.

Saint Ronald the Infallible was a tough guy who never cut and ran in the face of attacks and always stood tall in the saddle, just like in the movies; the real Ronald Reagan pulled the Marines out of Lebanon after the barracks were bombed by Hezbollah.

Saint Ronald the Infallible was resolute and adamant that America would never negotiate with terrorists; the real Ronald Reagan traded hundreds of TOW anti-tank missiles and HAWK anti-aircraft missiles, among other weapons, to Iran in order to free hostages in Lebanon. He did this almost immediately after Iran was declared a state sponsor of terrorism, by the way.

Comments

  1. matty1 says

    Nonsense Zombie Reagan is the eternal president, like Kim Il Sung he was just as much ruler in 2004 as he was in 1984 and will be in 2084.

  2. John Kruger says

    Yeah, Regan died June 5th, 2004. It would be tricky to sign a bill 2 years after that.

  3. CaitieCat says

    THAT’S A LIE HE CAN’T BE SIGNING THINGS HE’S IN HEAVEN CAUSE HE WAS A SAINT NOT LIKE THAT KENYAN USURPER SOCIALIST ISLAMOHOMOFASCIST COMMIE PREVERT OBAMA WITH HIS BRUTAL REGIME OF HEALTH CARE AND MARRIAGE FOR EVERYONE AND OTHER ANTI-FREEDOM STUFF.

    /Poe-poke

  4. lclane2 says

    And don’t forget what Reagan will ultimately be known as, which is the father of bad government.

  5. bmiller says

    It’s a little more complicated than that. Ronald is more like the Holy Spirit right wingers talk about. He INFUSES the current Republican crazyocracy like the strong nuclear force!

  6. busterggi says

    The virtual deification of Reagan less than forty years after he was elected, complete with rewriting history into myth which contradicts reality, is exactly parallel to the Christ-Myth Theory. No coincedence that the truest believers in Reagan are fundie Christians.

  7. says

    Now, look, you know that was just a one time thing. I assume because the eye-leegals were of a higher quality back then. Not like these days. Back in my day we had ourselves a fine, upstanding crop of ‘em. Grew as tall as the corn they picked, they did. Sure, back then we still mistreated them, underpaid them and had NHS take ‘em away if they got uppity, but they were more deserving of respect than this new crop.

  8. Michael Heath says

    A few years back a reader in this forum linked to a study that showed partisan political ideologues couldn’t think straight when certain politicians were referenced. This affliction was observed not only on the right, but also on the left.

    The best illustration of this affliction on the left and in this venue is frequently observed when Ronald Reagan’s name is referenced (though this defect is not observed in up-thread comments). He is to the left what Madelyn Murray O’Hair is to an old Christianist. It’s gotten so absurd in this venue that some who feel (no thinking observed) President Reagan was a war-monger cite Grenada; demonstrating a degree of historical perspective equivalent to Michele Bachmann. I’m thankful Ed is not one of those people. However . . .

    Ed wrote:

    Saint Ronald the Infallible relentlessly cut taxes and reduced government spending to encourage fiscal responsibility; the real Ronald Reagan submitted budgets that were larger than the ones the Democratically-led Congress approved and sent to him for his signature, raised taxes several times and massively increased the federal debt.

    President Reagan domestic spending profligacy wasn’t what he preferred. He fought hard to cut or defund programs favored by liberals and also competent economists who favor optimal economic growth. We were fortunate that congressional Democrats – i.e., liberals, fought to protect that spending and fortunate that President Reagan, unlike today’s conservatives, was happy compromising. Even when certain policies were ones he opposed. Al Franken’s book referencing Rush Limbaugh in the title is a good introduction to how liberals saved the republic from some of Reagan’s worst tendencies.

  9. Michael Heath says

    Me at 11:

    The best illustration of this affliction on the left and in this venue is frequently observed when Ronald Reagan’s name is referenced (though this defect is not observed in up-thread comments).

    I obviously didn’t read @ 6 prior to posting @ 11. So that serves nicely as my Exhibit A.

  10. Michael Heath says

    busterggi writes:

    The virtual deification of Reagan less than forty years after he was elected, complete with rewriting history into myth which contradicts reality, is exactly parallel to the Christ-Myth Theory. No coincedence that the truest believers in Reagan are fundie Christians.

    True, but this affliction infects non-experts. So the disease on the left doesn’t extend to historians and main-stream economists. So what’s so ironic about watching some liberals who can’t think straight when Reagan is referenced is that they demonstrate exactly the same type and level of denialism we see from the right when the issues they’re vulnerable on are exposed, e.g., Barack Obama, Bill Clinton (though most were recovering – I predict regression if Hillary runs for president), economic austerity policies, Keynesianism/Monetarism, evolution, and climate change.

  11. dan4 says

    “…the 2004 presidential election….”

    I really enjoy this blog, Mr. Brayton, but why you refuse to proofread your posts is beyond me.

  12. rabokarabekian says

    Fine, Reagan wasn’t the worst president of my lifetime and was able to get a couple things right. But 4th out of 5 is nothing to be impressed with. The man is dead and one party worships his image from their own imagination. They are bent taking the worst of his policies and trying to outdo themselves on making them more divisive and destructive. I’d rather leave Reagan where he is: dead and long gone.

  13. says

    Michael Heath, you might be referencing research conducted by Drew Westen which isn’t exactly what you describe, but it’s consistent with a line of research that basically finds under many conditions that political partisans become idiots when their partisan chains get pulled. I think that reactions to Reagan are exhibit A, i.e., I agree with you.

  14. says

    I’ve thought that Ronald Reagan was an asshole since at least 1962 or thereabouts. Nothing changed for me, when he became PotUS, except that he was able to foist his idiotic neo-con bullshit on a larger number of people than he had been able to do while governor of California.

    I don’t attribute Reagan’s “good” acts to anything but his perception that a lot of things he did made him look like an asshole and appearance was everything to him. Oh, and, he could turn on a dime when he saw that Congress was going to stick it up his ass and break it off.

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