Praising the dead, forgetting the living

Hillary Clinton made some remarks about Nancy Reagan.

It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s, and because of both President and Mrs Reagan, in particular Mrs Reagan, we started a national conversation…

It may be hard for your viewers to remember? Apparently, it’s really hard for Hillary Clinton to remember. I remember the 1980s; I remember our national nightmare of incompetence under the Reagans; and I most vividly remember their dismissal of AIDS, their neglect of the disease, the open ridicule that inflicted on the people suffering from it. Nancy Reagan was not an advocate for empathy or support or research into HIV. Quite the opposite.

Dan Savage remembers, too.

Hillary Clinton needs to walk this back immediately or she risks losing the votes of millions of queer Americans who survived the plague. We watched our friends and lovers die by the tens of thousands while Nancy and Ronnie sat silently in the White House. More than 20,000 Americans died before Ronald Reagan said the word “AIDS” in public—because it was a “gay plague” and Nancy and Ronald Reagan didn’t give a fuck about sick and dying faggots. I’m literally shaking as I try to write this. There are no words for the pain Clinton’s remarks have dredged up. I’m supposed to be writing a column—it’s way overdue—but all I can think about right now are all of my dead friends, lovely guys who might still be with us if Nancy and Ronald Reagan had started a national conversation about HIV/AIDS. Or done something about it.

You want to say something nice about Dead Nancy Fucking Reagan on the teevee? Compliment her taste in china. Don’t go on television and lie about her and her husband’s homophobic, hateful, appalling, murderous record on HIV/AIDS. Just don’t.

He includes a video of the Washington press corps laughing at people dying of the gay plague, and making jokes about each other not being gay, and therefore not having to worry about it.

This isn’t just a lie by Clinton. It’s demeaning a lot of people who watched the inactivity and obstruction of the Reagans in fury.

It’s also the kind of pandering remark to poisonous conservative ahistoricity that could cost her the election. We don’t need Democrats in office who look back fondly on the Reagan years — they were a horror.


  1. whywhywhy says

    If Clinton gets the nomination, I may need to cut my nose off in order to vote for her, because simply holding my nose to vote for the lesser of two evils will not be enough.

  2. says

    It’s demeaning a lot of people who watched the inactivity and obstruction of the Reagans in fury.

    That would be me, for one.

    We don’t need Democrats in office who look back fondly on the Reagan years — they were a horror.

    To say the very least. I was surprised we made it through Reagan at all, a bloodthirsty, warmongering actor who gave us “oh, let them eat ketchup!”

  3. says


    She apologized.

    I suppose that’s good, but it never should have been said in the first place. What the fuck she was thinking, I don’t know.

  4. anxionnat says

    Thank you so much. I lived through those years. I’m bi and lost many friends, including one who was the older brother I always wished I had. I can understand Dan shaking w/ rage, so am I, can barely type this. Just another reason to not vote for Clinton.

  5. says


    “At least you didn’t get us all nuked” #afinelegacy

    It wasn’t for a lack of trying. After it was revealed that Reagan had Alzheimer’s, and thinking of his constant refrain in the hearings of “I don’t remember that” and similar, I’ve wondered how long we had a sitting president in the grip of senility.

  6. says

    How can anyone believe this is anything but someone else’s bad luck? And if so: a) what kind of person can laugh at someone else’s bad luck b) what kind of god inflicts such bad luck on others?

  7. says

    Caine@#7: I know. Thanks Stanitslav Petrov!!
    I am constantly chilled (growing up in the Washgton/Baltimore area) that I didn’t wake up one morning to see the sun rise in the west.

  8. says

    Marcus @ 11:

    How can anyone believe this is anything but someone else’s bad luck? And if so: a) what kind of person can laugh at someone else’s bad luck b) what kind of god inflicts such bad luck on others?

    Oh, it was so much worse than that. There were a whole lot of people blatantly saying the “gay plague” was a great thing, because it was getting rid of those icky gay creatures, and it was obviously god’s plan, ’cause it was only affecting those icky gay creatures. Of course, that wasn’t the case at all, and a whole lot of people ended up dead, gay, hetero, and bi. It really wasn’t until it was noticed that a fucktonne of hetero women were dying, and some hetero men too,* that those assholes decided they better pay attention.
    *I was just thinking of Arthur Ashe the other day.

  9. llamaherder says

    The only explanation I’ve seen that makes any sense to me is that she’d intended to say Alzheimer’s, and she mixed up the diseases while she was speaking. The Reagan-AIDS connection is legendary, so it makes sense that it’s the disease that it would get mixed up with.

    It might not be that, and I feel like I’m making excuses for her, but i’s hard to believe this could have been anything other than an accident. She had absolutely nothing to gain by saying something so obviously untrue and hurtful.

  10. Rob Grigjanis says

    llamaherder @14:

    The only explanation I’ve seen that makes any sense to me is that she’d intended to say Alzheimer’s, and she mixed up the diseases while she was speaking

    I agree. It’s hard to imagine someone as smart as Clinton intentionally saying something so clueless. I’m certainly no fan of hers, but it’s much more believable that she simply misspoke.

  11. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The only explanation I’ve seen that makes any sense to me is that she’d intended to say Alzheimer’s, and she mixed up the diseases while she was speaking. The Reagan-AIDS connection is legendary, so it makes sense that it’s the disease that it would get mixed up with.
    It might not be that, and I feel like I’m making excuses for her, but i’s hard to believe this could have been anything other than an accident.

    I have – entirely as a college student and lay person, not as an expert – done a lot of reading about the way the fallible human mind works. There are reasons that, for example, Spoonerisms are common enough to be recognized as their own linguistic phenomenon, with their own name.

    For that reason, I grant you that it’s plausible, given what we know about human thinking, that a person could say this by mistake if exactly the wrong thoughts were being juggled at exactly the wrong time inside a single brain.

    However, we also have a long and inglorious history of speaking pleasant falsehoods about the famous dead. Clinton is also a part of a culture of power.

    Her remarks were far too lengthy for me to excuse as a jumbled thought. If she, herself, came out with exactly that information, I’d have to consider it. But she didn’t only say the name of a disease about which she did nothing while crediting her for a career in which she did something about other diseases.

    Clinton also mentions not merely the decade of the 1980s, but the specific difficulty of talking neutrally about HIV infection. Even the language was fluid then – though by the time it had any public traction it was clearly labeled “AIDS”, it was “GRID” before that, and after the GRID=>AIDS change, the name of the virus was changed from Human T-Lymphocyte Virus #3 (HTLV3) to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Later AIDS was given a gentle phase-out in favor of “HIV disease”.

    Don’t get me wrong: talking about the disease was easy, so long as you wanted to bash people. No, talking neutrally about the disease, scientifically and accurately about the disease, advocating for research and treatment funds: that was difficult.

    I don’t know because I was old enough to be involved: I know because my father is an oncologist. During the GRID and early HIV years, oncologists were among the front line in treating HIV disease. So I heard about it from him, how his patients were treated, how the insurance companies were denying him money, and more.

    Clinton remembered accurately: she lied.

    She told a despicable, inexcusable lie.

    Fallible human brain or not, her apology won’t get nearly enough credit to put my respect for her even back at the very moderate level it was before she said this.

  12. says

    To be fair, Henry Kissinger started a national dialogue about bombing Cambodia. It’s not like Nancy Reagan said it’s a good thing that gay people are dying, or anything.

  13. treefrogdundee says

    I never understood the retrospective glorification of Reagan’s term in office. Bits of history like this make me understand it even less. I’d add something about how this affects my view of Hillary but she bottomed-out for me a long time ago.

  14. microraptor says

    Caine @10:

    After it was revealed that Reagan had Alzheimer’s, and thinking of his constant refrain in the hearings of “I don’t remember that” and similar, I’ve wondered how long we had a sitting president in the grip of senility.

    Rachel Maddow said the same thing in her book Drift a few years ago.

    As someone who was a kid going to a Catholic elementary school in the 80s, all I really remember about AIDS was “don’t be gay or you’ll get AIDS and die.”

  15. llamaherder says

    Maybe there’s a longer clip I’m unable to find, but the clips I’ve seen doesn’t haven’t gone into more detail about it.

    I don’t think intentional deceit is out of the question, but I think a mistake is more plausible until I can convince myself that she’d have any motivation to do so. If her goal was to praise the dead, as it certainly was, then there are a millions ways to do so without claiming Reagan was good on AIDS.

    Even the most despicable, self-serving caricature of Hillary I can drum up wouldn’t have a good reason to have said this.

  16. mike47 says

    She has already walked it back, albeit with the unfortunate use of “misspoke”. Actually, this situation MIGHT be one where that word would be appropriate – she said she meant to talk about the Reagan support for stem cell research but she said AIDS. I have never subscribed to the “she monster who must be destroyed” storyline and I give HRC a whole lot of credit for both surviving and thriving in an atmosphere so toxic that most people would have simply melted. I can see where this kind of mistake, and it IS a huge mistake, can happen. But, of course, the “Clinton rules” always apply.

  17. Tethys says

    I’m pretty angry at the sheer clueless hurtfulness of what she said, and “I misspoke” is not cutting it. My friends are long dead because of Nancy Reagan, and they died painfully, very young, and feeling like human scum, so fuck you Hillary for that pandering lie.

    I will now go listen to Killer Queen, Somebody to Love, and Bohemian Rhapsody very loudly while looking at Alexander McQueen’s art.

  18. says

    Rob Griglanis #16:

    I agree. It’s hard to imagine someone as smart as Clinton intentionally saying something so clueless. I’m certainly no fan of hers, but it’s much more believable that she simply misspoke.

    Sure she “misspoke”, whatever that means. Just another one of those instances where she said something she thought would sound good to voters without checking (or caring) whether it was actually true or not – until she got caught. She is not really as smart as you seem to think. Her apologies are not worth much either. She is a rather transparent liar and panderer.

    PZ convinced me that she is still better than Trump or anyone else from that party. But it is not by a lot, really.

  19. says

    #24: Reagan didn’t support stem cell research until the mid- to late-1990s, after her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and stem cells were touted as a tool to fight that disease (which, you may notice, hasn’t actually happened).

  20. beergoggles says

    Her impression of Reconstruction in the Dunning school, her campaign advisor Bob Hormats a vice chair of war-crimes inc.. Err Kissinger Asdociates, and now this. Enough red flags that I’m considering moving to Mexico and paying for a wall a better deal than voting for her.

  21. Rob Grigjanis says

    Crip Dyke @17: Thanks for that. You inspired me to look up and load the interview on my ridiculously slow machine. There is actually no excuse for misspeaking there. It comes across as thoughtless toadying to a fellow power player. That such an astute politician could be so clueless is still amazing, but yeah, it was a lie.

  22. llamaherder says

    @Marcus Ranum

    Thanks for posting that. Still not much detail on the AIDS front, but the fact she bridged from Alzheimer’s into AIDS tells me it’s not the sort of mistake I thought it would have been.

    I’m back to being completely baffled.

  23. markkernes says

    And how about the fact that when old man Reagan was getting senile in his latter days in office, Nancy was feeding him national policy she got from her ASTROLOGER!!!!!!!!!

  24. malta says

    @Marcus Ranum, thanks for the clip! The part about AIDS starts at 4:09 if anyone wants to skip directly to it.

    It doesn’t sound like a misstatement to me. I think she’s honestly crediting the Reagans with leading the national conversation on AIDs. Like it wasn’t real when the activists did it, but once the President spoke the words, that’s when the real magic starts to happen. It’s actually a bit similar to what she said about LBJ: “Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act. It took a president to get it done.”

    I’m going to chalk this one up to Clinton selling the power of the presidency and pissing on activists in the process.

  25. Rob Grigjanis says

    llamaherder @33:

    …the fact she bridged from Alzheimer’s into AIDS…

    With gun violence in between, and then Clinton, unprompted, starting with “the other point I wanted to make…”. If I’d been a Clinton supporter, I’d be banging my head on the desk right now. But I am still amazed at the stupidity, especially in an election year epoch.

  26. says

    I’m not sure about the liturgical music dubbed into the grey noise in the Hillary Clinton interview. I think it’s either Arvo Part’s “Stabat Mater” or “Arstithir” probably not an officially approved message from Hillary.

  27. Rob Grigjanis says

    “epoch”. Sorry, I let the technical term for the length of a US campaign slip in.

  28. MassMomentumEnergy says

    Hillary’s support of the LBGTQ community has always been veneer deep, to be jettisoned as soon as pandering for position is no longer required.

    I can’t help but assume that will become the fate of every progressive policy position she has stolen from Bernie this season.

    Honestly, given her warmongering record (Iraq, Hondouras, Lybia, Syria, Ukraine) I’m not sure she would be a better choice for the world than Donald “let’s make a deal” Trump. If it is a Hillary/Trump choice, I might take one for team earthling and vote the Donald: he might fuck America up, but I doubt he’ll start WWIII. There is no profit in that after all.

  29. says

    I doubt he’ll start WWIII. There is no profit in that after all.

    Don’t say that. Please. There hasn’t been any profit in most of the other stuff he’s done, either.

  30. woozy says

    Jesus Fuck!

    I understand pandering to conservatives and the fictional memories of the sainted Reagans. Really I do and I don’t blame her for doing this. I really don’t.

    But, fuck me, if you are going to do this you have to do it for things they didn’t actively discourage.We might as well thank Strom Thurmond for his active support of Civil RIghts.

  31. cartomancer says

    This is the first I’ve learned about American approaches to HIV during its terrifying first years in the 80s. As a rule of thumb I tend to assume that Reagan was just a gender-swapped version of Thatcher and that his policies were probably much the same. Clearly here they were not.

    Well, okay, in the first few years of AIDS awareness they kind of were. Our first cases in Britain were identified a year or so after yours in America, in 1982, and between then and 1985 very little was done here about it. But in 1985 Thatcher gave the go-ahead to Norman Fowler and Willy Whitelaw to put together a national strategy and information campaign, at the behest of our Chief Medical Officer Donald Acheson. This led to the famous Tombstone and Iceberg scare ads, voiced by John Hurt, that are among my earliest memories. Thatcher, of course, wanted to have absolutely no connection to the campaign, and it was not run from Downing Street. Her name was never attached to it, because it would have angered a good portion of her Tory voter base. But it did happen, and it seems that it did do a lot to slow the spread of HIV in the UK for a good while. I think the statistics do bear that out, though the campaign has been criticised on many things also, particularly its over-reliance on scare tactics. When I was at school in the 90s we had plenty of education on HIV and STDs in general. It really did change the attitude of the nation. Not that Thatcher was a friend to the LGBT community in any other way, especially with her nasty Section 28, but at least she saw sense and signed off on this one.

    So… this makes me wonder whether the situation in the US was different because Reagan specifically was actively obstructive to other people’s efforts to create a national strategy, or whether nobody in power saw the importance of such efforts. It makes me wonder whether it was a lack of American Willy Whitelaws and Donald Achesons and Norman Fowlers, or whether such people did exist but Reagan would have none of it (even if his name was explicitly put nowhere near their efforts, like Thatcher’s wasn’t). Is this the sort of thing that the President is supposed to take the initiative on over there, or are there other government agencies from which public health programmes would normally arise that were either criminally negligent or thwarted? Because there is a huge difference in culpability between a politician who takes no steps to address a problem through personal inadequacy and one who uses power to actively thwart the efforts of others to do so.

    Of course, none of that is relevant to whether Hilary Clinton was lying, confused, insensitive or cynical here. But it strikes me as an issue worth raising, given that the context is the election of the next President.

  32. MassMomentumEnergy says

    Just because Trump is a shitty businessman who can’t realize a profit, doesn’t mean he can’t see the possibility of profit, or lack thereof. I mean, how can you not make a profit by taking cheap ass, crappy Sysco steaks, putting them in a fancy box, and selling them for an inflated price?

    Even Trump knows that nuclear war will make the whole idea of profit obsolete.

    Given the Syria and Ukraine boondoggles, Hillary could easily bumble into nuclear war with Russia if given the chance.

  33. Owlmirror says

    If it is a Hillary/Trump choice, I might take one for team earthling and vote the Donald: he might fuck America up, but I doubt he’ll start WWIII. There is no profit in that after all.

    Oh, come on. This is Drumpf. He would gladly start WWIII for far pettier reasons than profit.

  34. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If it is a Hillary/Trump choice, I might take one for team earthling and vote the Donald: he might fuck America up, but I doubt he’ll start WWIII. There is no profit in that after all.

    Lots of profit for the makers of munitions. Given The Donald’s fascist/bully rhetoric, I don’t see him as being timid to use the military. What good is playing a bully if you don’t use some force on occasion?

  35. MassMomentumEnergy says

    Oh, Trump might easily launch as many small wars as Hillary most assuredly will, but they will most likely be Bill Clinton style wars rather than GW Bush, or worse, style wars.

  36. DLC says

    Mrs Clinton apologized for her comments, saying she misspoke.
    From her Facebook Page : “While the Reagans were strong advocates for stem cell research and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, I misspoke about their record on HIV and AIDS. For that, I’m sorry. ”

    While the thing about stem cell research is only true in the sense of Nancy supported it when it was being touted as a cure for Alzheimer’s, at least she took back the statement about HIV/AIDS.

  37. MassMomentumEnergy says

    Of course she backpedaled as soon as she started getting negative press. Did you honestly expect any different?

  38. Rob Grigjanis says

    DLC @49: Listen to the interview, linked to by Marcus @26. The apology is bullshit.

  39. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Marcus Ranum:


    To be fair, Henry Kissinger started a national dialogue about bombing Cambodia.

    ZOMG, I am completely irredeemable in my evil: I laughed so hard at this. You get the 2016 Oscar for Best Use of To Be Fair in a Screenplay – or would, if the Academy had a more liberal use of “Screen”.

    I have, on occasion been known to enjoy Sarah Silverman quite a lot. All comedy is hit-or-miss: when a good, funny joke comes in the midst of serious or at least unfunny dialog (or monolog), it changes everything. An unfunny joke that comes in the middle of a string of funny jokes is even more noticeable. There are times when I’ve had to wonder if she’s punching down, and if you’re making people wonder that, even if you were intending to punch down by dryly portraying the terrible personalities of people who are, truly, horribly bigoted, you’re going to lose the funny with me pretty damn quick.

    So, yes, I’ve criticized her, but gotten angry with people just because they’ve enjoyed her humor?

    What? Has she done something really nasty of which I’m unaware? Maybe I’m just taking this all too seriously.

    @Llamaherder, #21

    I get that you find carelessness/confused thought/whatever a more plausible rationale for saying what she said than intention to deceive. I also get that she’s been the victim of literally decades of sexist (and too-often sexualized) political demonizing. It’s perfectly fair to bring some skepticism to comments like mine that treat some behavior or comment of hers harshly.

    We must always use some generalized experience when actually interpreting the data (as opposed to merely performing the numerical analysis or other mechanistic techniques on a dataset). I don’t begrudge you your generosity.

    But I’m sufficiently convinced that it was a lie as to require a really significant piece of new information to dislodge that description. I may have been young, but I haven’t forgotten.

    As for your bafflement, I think the most plausible type of error here is that there wasn’t a huge amount of time to prepare to speak about Reagan, and that remembering NR in a general way as someone who spoke up about diseases while also remembering NR as someone specifically pegged to the 1980s led her to attribute without any fucking evidence a specific speaking up about the disease that was most politically potent in the 1980s: HIV disease.

    In the best case, Clinton might be aware that she’s speaking something for which she has no evidence, but has to say something now and is convinced that she remembers something about AIDS & the Reagans and is further convinced (during this brief moment of deciding what to say in a live interview) that given NR’s later work it probably involves speaking up about HIV. She’s clearly and authentically aware of the political context of conversations around HIV in the 1980s, but that kind of thought-train could take you to that destination if you happen to be speaking live in an interview where any interview could cost you the presidency if you fuck it up badly enough.

    So, yeah, I think there exists a realistic, plausible scenario where it could have been something of a mistake.

    But even in that scenario – which is the best I’m willing to grant Clinton at this point – she would be speaking praise of the politically powerful dead which she was unable to justify even to herself.

    This kind of thinking believes there is no vice in over-praising the powerful. In my hypothetical, she would be saying something that she knows is unsupported even if she’s not saying something that she knows is false.

    I have no desire to demonize Clinton, but she was a hippie/yuppie crossover in the 1980s, active on the left wing of Arkansas politics and very prominent. She was a person to whom others would want to tell their stories. And, finally, she was a well-connected Democrat whose husband was Governor of Arkansas who at the very least looking to the White House for her husband’s future job, if not her own.

    She would have heard endless criticism of NR & her husband, some reasoned, some nasty, not a small amount of it coming from wealthier gay men made suddenly and passionately political when their friends started dying. (And make no mistake: unlike in the heterosexual community, HIV hit wealthy gay men very hard, possibly as hard or harder than poor gay men. Reliable demographics are impossible to come by, of course, with so many in the closet, but certainly among various communities of wealthier gay men, some of those communities were completely devastated.) She remembered enough of the complaints of the 1980s to remember that people were having trouble speaking up to give personal accounts of living with HIV or even simply medically accurate information.

    To move forward with praise of NR remembering even just that much shows to me that she valued the truth in that moment less than she valued something else – the most immediately available hypothesis is, of course, wanting to avoid being plausibly portrayed as a spiteful, backward-looking b* to the audiences of dozens of right-wing media figures. She might bend over backward to appear nice in such a moment.

    But I can think of many things to say about her that the republicans will take as praise (wasn’t NR white or something?) that don’t give NR credit for fucking ACT-UP.

    @Rob, #32:

    Yeah, I agree that’s how it comes across. That the lie actually hurt people and got called was what’s unusual here. I’m sure she’s mouthed platitudes she didn’t believe at many a fundraising dinner (You know the type of thing: “Oh, and your chicken a la king was just fabulous, thank you! Don’t think for a minute that when I announced last week to widespread media attention that I had become vegan and could never again eat an animal until widespread change to our food industries that I would have wanted to miss your chicken> It really is justly famous.”)

    I don’t intend to demonize her when I say that lying has become a habit of hers. She’s also certainly much more honest than a number of the other presidential candidates. But it is a fact of the system that its participants have convinced themselves that these lies are a necessary (if regrettable – and not everyone considers them regrettable) part of interacting with the electorate and/or the donor class.

    If lying really has become sufficiently part of how she speaks of those in power (or respected by power) that she’s acquired an ability to speak “thoughtlessly” not knowing or caring whether what she says is true, she deserves a hit to her reputation for that.

    If lying hasn’t become a habit, if she crafted her sentence with actual thought, she deserves the repercussions for that.

    I actual find habitual dishonesty much more serious than a consciously chosen but badly crafted lie.

    That leads me to a very interesting conclusion: since I -like you- don’t have the kind of extraordinary evidence I’d need to call this statement something other than a lie (something at least known not to have support, but spoken aloud anyway), I am entirely unaffected in my analysis by my uncertainty as to how much this was habit and how much it was bad intentional crafting.

    @Olav, #29

    Yes, I agree: this could be one of those instances where an actual misstatement occurred and where a person could literally think at the time that they were saying something positive and were so unaware of how a key word changed what was communicated that they were simultaneously impaired in the ethical consequences of making the statement, and, thus, should be wholly or partially excused from ethical condemnation in this case. (I spelled out why I don’t think it is earlier, but yes, I agree that it could be one of those times).

    The fact that politicians routinely use “misstatement” to mean “I didn’t know anyone was recording me, and I thought everyone in the room hated fags. You can’t hold that against me! Almost everyone does hate fags! It’s not our fault, it’s just a natural thing!” might seem unfortunate for Clinton in this case, except that routinely misusing “misstatement” is an example of habitual lying in the course of seeking power. That this is as acceptable (and, indeed expected) amongst many politicians and political operators ethically condemns our current rules of the game.

    Now, maybe you can’t get elected President without lying a lot. Frankly, I’m sure Bernie Frank lies a lot in the “Oh, I loved your Chicken a la King” way.

    But if you want me to feel like it’s actually unfortunate for you that you’ve been hurt by a sudden inability to express that something actually was a misstatement because the political corruption of the truth is so widespread as to give any attempt to claim a slip of the heuristic, by any words or language, entirely platitudinous…

    …well, then you better either be a local, naive politician or you better have made your own public efforts to change the corrupt rules of the corrupt game before it bit you in the ass.

    If Clinton wants to change the political meaning of words now, when it suits her, that’s not enough for me.

    She actually has spoken out against a broad political willingness to lie. This all occurred, as far as I know, after i turned 18 and she was already on a national stage getting ridiculous sexist crap flung at her by white water, so it suited her then, as well. She hasn’t been super-active on this front, and it came after self-interest was already in place, but she’s had moments, had more than one good statement on the topic, and had the moments come over a period of years.

    That’s enough that IF she came out with what purported to be a real analysis of what she was thinking at the time and how it led to that error, I would seriously entertain it. And if the only thing that keeps her from doing that is the maliciousness of certain Republicans, that’s sad.

    But it’s not enough to make me feel like she’s the victim of a deceptive political culture taking away her ability to communicate. Not nearly enough.

  40. says

    I think she simply didn’t know, or more likely mis-remembered what had happened 30 years ago regarding AIDs and Reagan’s refusal to address the issue. I don’t see any benefit to her deliberately misrepresenting history given the obvious risk of alienating the gay community. Not everything people say is calculated to the nth-degree. Sometimes people, especially those getting on in years, make mistakes.

    Either way, there are two critical reasons to vote for her, if she wins the Democratic nomination. (a) The swing vote on the Supreme Court and (b) winning back the Senate.

  41. F.O. says

    We don’t know what Trump would REALLY do once elected. We know that if he went all warmongering, he’d attract righteous flak from a sizable slice of Americans.
    We know that Clinton WILL go all warmongering and supporting her dictator friends.
    The difference is that everything would be swept under the carpet and few will complain.

    While a good argument might be made that Clinton would be better than Trump for US citizens, I am NOT convinced that she’d also be better for the rest of the world.

  42. Rob Grigjanis says

    tacitus @53:

    I think she simply didn’t know, or more likely mis-remembered what had happened 30 years ago regarding AIDs and Reagan’s refusal to address the issue.

    As Jimmy of South Park would say, “I mean, come on!”. I’m an apathetic cis-het Brit-Canadian who pays far too little attention to US politics, but somehow I remember the criminal neglect of the Reagans to the AIDS epidemic. Clinton was there, then.

  43. leerudolph says


    some hetero men too,* […] *I was just thinking of Arthur Ashe the other day.

    Also Isaac Asimov, though he treated it as a guilty secret, unlike Ashe.

  44. leerudolph says

    MarkKernes@35: “And how about the fact that when old man Reagan was getting senile in his latter days in office, Nancy was feeding him national policy she got from her ASTROLOGER!!!!!!!!!”

    Well, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for me (for instance) to believe (absent actual evidence to the contrary) that her astrologer would be giving her somewhat random advice to feed the President, whereas every one else in the Reagan White House (e.g., Eliot Abrams) would be feeding him uniformly horrible advice; in which case the world might have ended up just a little better off with the astrologer in the picture.

  45. treefrogdundee says

    Having still been a child in the 1980s, I did not have to undergo the unspeakable nightmare of an entire country treating me like a leper. Learning of the reality of it from my elders was gut-wrenching enough. But what it did tell me is there is ZERO margin of doubt as to where the Reagans and their policy toadies stood. We aren’t talking some obscure trade deal or judicial nomination. Any mention of “Reagan” and “AIDS” in the same sentence should automatically bring to mind one of the darker hours in American history. I don’t for one second believe that Hillary Clinton, the consummate Washington creature, misspoke. Nor am I convinced remembering all the other times her words were “misconstrued”, followed by a non-apology that only showed she was annoyed at having to address the issue.

    I’m struck by the mental gymnastics many people are willing to go through to explain away her history… everything from this to the Iraq War to “super predators” to being attached at the hip to the banks… things that if (and when) Republicans do it constitute unforgivable sins. November is no longer a matter of the lesser of two evils. The difference between her and Trump is too small to be calculated.

  46. unclefrogy says

    we are being asked to believe that she, a former Secretary of State, misspoke at what could easily be called a state occasion. One that was highly choreographed and very important to the republican party electorate.
    She just so happens to be running for president against the republican party at a time where there is every indications that the republican party is in danger of fracturing over the current front runner.
    uncle frogy

  47. says

    I see from comments on Salon that Clinton has offered both a notpology and a statement that she “misspoke” (although the context makes it clear that she did not). And her original comment shows that she doesn’t actually remember the Reagan years.

    Can’t recall, misspoke, and is not sorry for saying something cruel. What more could anyone ask for as a commemoration of the Reagans?

    Seriously, though: how many times does Clinton get to screw up before people start to notice that she has really catastrophically bad judgement? Her history — her “experience”, as her campaign bills it — is just one bad judgement after another, each of which gets disavowed after she gets called on it: voting for war with Iraq, sabotaging diplomacy with Libya, advocating for NAFTA and the TPP, shilling for fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline, etc. etc. etc. Even if you accept that her current positions are sincere (which is difficult to believe, since she has only held many of those positions since starting her campaign), you have to admit that she constantly chooses the wrong side when it matters and then walks back her positions when the damage has already been done. Not even close to what I want to see in a president.

  48. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    taking off from Tacitus in #53:

    Either way, there are two critical reasons to vote for her, if she wins the Democratic nomination. (a) The swing vote on the Supreme Court and (b) winning back the Senate.

    I don’t care as much about winning back the Senate. There are Senators that have what I consider truly good proposals that are blocked by republicans, but the Dem senate leadership is strategic about everything (of course – that is not itself a criticism) and wouldn’t let the best proposals through anyway. Truly good bills can be killed or undermined in a whole host of ways, not least in conference committee, after all the press coverage that’s going to be generated about a bill’s substance and/or the substantive argument for/against a bill has already happened.

    No, in effectiveness in passage of positive legislation, control of the Senate hasn’t itself been terribly important. In terms of preventing negative republican legislation, it has arguably been more important. But either way, in much of domestic policy (including, specifically, much of US criminal law and the drug war, but much more broadly than that) and much of trade policy, Senate control matters not at all.

    Also, I simply don’t understand your argument: you’re voting for a particular president in order to decide control of the Senate? How does that make sense?

    But even with the large areas of policy overlap and other reasons why control of the Senate matters less than I would hope, given Republicans’ extreme policy positions, I can’t and won’t ignore the fact that there are specific areas in which a democratic president might make a difference.

    For me, the areas in which the President can make a significant difference and where any Democratic nominee – including Clinton – would be a much more positive president than any potential Republican nominee, are (probably, this is the first time I’m thinking this through in exactly these terms) summed up as:

    1) foreign engagement
    Credibility around the world on certain issues can have positive impacts for people living under other governments. (Generally) the Democrats do not openly disparage international engagement and treaty making, or openly engage in paranoid rantings about loss-of-sovereignty. Also, the Democrats are likely to require fewer offensive limitations on the spending of foreign aid monies in other nations. The Dems routinely repeal the “global gag rule” executive order of their Republican predecessors*1 – okay, well, there have now been 2 times when a Dem succeeded a Rep and in both cases the Dem did so. At stake in just this aspect of foreign policy is the education and access to fertility, health, and/or life-saving care of millions.

    Foreign engagement is also a large part of #2, though #2 also transcends it:

    2) Anthropogenic Global Warming.
    The climate is changing, and on average the atmosphere and hydrosphere are picking up kinetic energy. Some of what must be done is domestic and statutory, and wouldn’t pass a Rep senate, but even just choosing wind & solar to provide electricity to rural offices of federal agencies instead of attaching them to the grid (or fixing the grid connection when broken) can have a sector-influencing effect on demand, which in turn enables a further reduction of the already down-trending costs of power generation that, relative to coal or natural gas, saves more carbon than it generates over its life cycle (solar cells are transported in gasoline and diesel powered vehicles, after all, and plastic parts likely use petroleum derived plastics). There are huge numbers of executive orders that can be issued that will each make a small but long-term difference. Add that to the international efforts related to AGW and carbon emissions that a Dem president is almost certain to better support (even simply changing your open negotiating position during conferences and treaty-making sessions matters a great deal to the outcome if you’re the primary emitter on the globe), and this is a real reason to support a Dem nominee one doesn’t otherwise like.

    3) SCOTUS nominees:
    It’s been discussed much lately, what with Scalia dying in that no-I’m-totally-not-making-this-up*2 transgender, gay child that entrapped Scalia and then murdered him,*3 so I won’t go into detail. But the nominees a Dem sends up very likely will be substantially different from any potential nominee a Rep sends up. I still don’t really understand why given the huge overlap on so many issues between Ds & Rs, and given that presidents of both the Ds and the Rs are influenced very significantly by party relationships and past friendships, but it does really seem to be true.

    4. The Drug War
    It’s going to take a republican to end the drug war. That thing about only Nixon could go to China? Yeah. It’s a thing. Any president that acts to limit or end the drug war will take serious heat, and a serious political hit. If nothing else, there’s a lot of funders you’re going to piss off. But for a republican there’s going to be a political upside AND a political downside, given that the drug war is such a huge problem that relief generated by actually addressing this catastrophe will bring to a Rep president money, good will, and a certain number of voters that president could never have gotten otherwise. If I thought any of the Rep candidates for nominee might actually be the one to keep thoughts on the destructiveness of national drug policies quiet until in a position to do something about it, I might hold it out as a wild-card reason to reserve final judgement on that candidate.

    I’ve looked at the candidates. There’s not so much as a glimmer of a hope.

    If an R candidate isn’t going to be the one to end the drug war, that candidate will only make the drug war worse. They make drug policy based on a desire to punish the choice to use certain drugs because those choices are – to those candidates – morally wrong.

    D candidates including Clinton have a much stronger likelihood of not making the drug war worse, not least because Ds tend to argue based on the evidence, and the evidence is that the drug war isn’t working. While the Ds who manage to get as far as Senator or President aren’t likely to value saving a neighborhood more than they do their own electability, their tendency to argue based on the evidence will still tend to have them doing as little as possible when the evidence on electability clearly says that it’s going to hurt them to worsen the drug war and less-clearly says it will probably hurt them to end it, and even if it doesn’t hurt them long term, there’s always an election around the corner that can mean ending it is a bad idea for “right now”.

    I would like to expect more of Presidents than that they don’t make the drug war worse, but it’s my best judgement that any Rep nominee from this field would make the drug war much worse, while either Clinton or Sanders would leave the drug war little changed by end-of-term. This is a real, material difference in the lives of many, perhaps millions though at least thousands. On its own in any one election it might not justify voting for the lesser of two evils (which does tend to corrupt the system and make greater evil possible), but it sure does tend to distinguish the evils.

    5. Poverty and health
    Republican administrations have a strong trend of increasing poverty rates and worsening the effects of poverty, while Dem administrations have a strong trend of decreasing poverty rates and lessening at least some of the effects of poverty. Health is affected in many ways, and there are ample opportunities in the Affordable Care Act for an administration to weaken it, even with little support for a general weakening in the Senate. Some of those are purely administrative, others can be passed as “tweaks” to the ACA, tweaks that will be considered minor adjustments by opposed Senators despite having major impacts on small numbers of people or noticeable impacts on large numbers.

    Health and architecture are linked: will the next President choose agency heads and Cabinet secretaries that encourage their agencies/ departments to build only new buildings that incorporate systems that lessen health impacts that some buildings are known to cause? Will the buildings be a negative for the health of the workers within them?

    Architecture is only a sample of the potential ways that health in the US might be improved without any public scrutiny or new legislation.

    We could talk about specific anti-poverty efforts here, but the health and poverty trends in the US are much larger than merely AFDC. It’s not entirely clear, but economy-wide effects seem to be more important than specific programs. It might be the tendency of Dems to embrace Keynes’ work and put it to use in fiscal policy if the economy drags, it might be a different monetary policy having different macro-economic effects, it might be the tendency of recent Dems to run smaller deficits which have their own macro-economic effects (this trend, as I understand, doesn’t go back too far in history, though I’m unclear where this cuts off), or whatever. It might be ton of different things, and it is almost certainly all of them, each making up a small part. It is hard, therefore, to point to one economic policy and say, “If only the candidate I’m considering would change this position to a better one, it would change my vote.” It is even possible, given are lack of clear mechanism(s) of causation, that this is mere spurious correlation, but I wouldn’t bet on that assumption. Nor would I vote on that assumption.

    War and murder.
    Presidents, of course, call this national security. However, I am not willing to use NS here because
    a) the creepy, intrusive, sometimes-illegal and probably-unconstitutional surveillance that has developed over the last 70 years is generally included in NS and Dems aren’t any better
    b) I’m actually perfectly content to vote for a president that believes in a national self-defense. Although I’m a pacifist, I would not enforce my non-violence on others.*4

    the US government goes far beyond self-defense, and while every nation is confronted with the problem of reasonably defining “national self-interest” the US has done a particularly bad job. We murder with drones, we murder with clandestine agents, we murder with special forces. We murder and murder and murder and murder in order to make the world safe. Republicans do it. Dems do it. When the president demands authority to go to war, nearly everybody does it. After 9-11, if your name wasn’t Barbara Lee, you did it even when not a single soul in congress had read the legislation. As far as I know, there is no nation on earth whose military kills beyond its own borders at anything like an equal rate – or even comparable rate based on size and/or population. Perhaps in some of the wars in Africa over the last few decades official government forces and government-supported militias have killed beyond a national borders in greater numbers, but still close to home. Even then, I would argue the killing is different. Even when innocents are slaughtered – to my horror and earning the strongest moral outrage I can make – they are innocents that are actually extant on land actually disputed or who might return to land that is actually the subject of war. The US bombs thousands of miles from its borders on persons that wouldn’t know how to begin to craft a plausible, practical plan to get to the US. Shit like that? We’ve lead the world in those types of killings.

    Dems are fucking cowards on the issue of war. They are afraid of having others say that they are disparaging the troops even when they are criticizing the politics of war and not the warriors…

    the Reps truly scare me on the issue of war. Maybe it started as political tribalism but they are determined to learn nothing from Iraq, nothing from Vietnam. They are responding to a core constituency that is just as frightening as the politicians in their violence and their justifications for even more violence.

    While I don’t trust any democrat to oppose a march to war, I think the evidence should lead us to tentatively conclude that a really, really huge fucking gap exists between Dems and Reps that might get the nomination on the relevant point: how likely that person, as president, would be to approve new wars and how many people, as president, that person would be likely to kill.

    yes, I get it that domestic issues drive votes and I get that for people making between 30k and 200k a year, there aren’t **that many** issues of domestic policy in which you can say that the Dems are clearly and reliably preferable as a group.

    Even so,
    on issues of poverty and health
    on constitutional issues, issues of separation of powers and SCOTUS nominations
    on issues related to the drug war, unless and until you see the Drug War’s under-cover assassin in the Rep’s nominee,
    on every single international issue and on every issue that can be improved anywhere in the world through international engagement,
    on the issues presented by anthropogenic effects on climate including especially carbon emissions,
    and, ultimately,
    on the issue of how many people the next president is likely to murder in my name,

    I do find aggregate issues that should at least be considered when making a statement about the party differences.

    It just plain bugs me when people say the parties (or their nominees) are the “same” – even “substantially the same”.

    If you wrestle with all this and come November make a considered decision to vote for none of the above, that’s your right to decide and I understand such a decision is certainly morally justifiable. I have strongly considered it at times with respect to particular presidential races, and I’ve embraced that decision making in local races.

    But if you dismiss these differences because SCOTUS nominees make their impact felt over inconveniently long time-scales, or that you don’t care about people beyond your national borders or because for those of moderate income the immediate domestic policy impacts are fairly small, if you really believe that any likely Dem nominee is going to be “the same” as any likely republican nominee, you’ve got a long way to go if you want me to treat that statement with anything other than derision.


    *1: if you’re unaware of the global gag rule, look it up. Mainly it’s a terribly unethical requirement that covers even doctors themselves and requires that abortion not be mentioned and that no abortion-related education be performed (even if the magical a-word goes unspoken).

    *2: but certain right-wing talk radio hosts might be

    *3: [We don’t know why since he’d already been entrapped and had transgender-gay-pedophila sex, but probably because Scalia said something really noble about how he’d been tricked into transgender-gay-pedophilia sex with a 7 year old, and everyone would know how sexually aggressive the 7 year old was, and the truth about how he was the real victim of the transgender-gay-pedophilia sex and that therefore, and most importantly, they couldn’t blackmail him into deciding cases any way he wasn’t already going to decide them. Or maybe Scalia didn’t have a chance to say anything noble, because Obama screws everything up, even to the point of killing SCOTUS justices he’s gone to all the trouble to control. Probably just Obama.]

    *4: Brave of me to not enforce that, isn’t it?

    *5: this conflation happens not least because the military leans right politically and criticizing the policies embraced by a majority of warriors can be seen as criticizing the warriors for disproportionately embracing policies about which the rest of the electorate is more ambivalent. Still a shitty reason, but there is at least a shitty reason, rather than being made up out of whole cloth. Holy shit, why am I defending this conflation? It’s wrong. Even when i understand how people get there? It’s wrong.

  49. laurentweppe says

    He includes a video of the Washington press corps laughing at people dying of the “gay plague”, and making jokes about each other not being gay, and therefore not having to worry about it.

    One has to wonder how many straight people who thought they were safe ’cause not gay ended up infected by the virus

  50. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    I fully acknowlege that this has virtually no value, much like if i were to say that tomorrow is going to rain because i can feel it in my bones, but there is something about Clinton’s support for the LGTBQA community that just seems completely fake to me. I feel like she doesn’t mean it, she just says it because she knows it gets her praise in the current environment. I just don’t buy it…i can give her credit for having changed her mind and publicly supporting it now, but her past actions and positions as well as her husband’s say a lot, and the excuses she presents for them are really shit… those are not the actions and words of someone who trully supports LGBTQA rights…they are the words and actions of someone who goes wherever the wind blows, and then claims to be leading the wind. Don’t buy it, don’t like it. She just says whatever she thinks people want to hear, she is a master panderer, and when they cheer in response you can see her mana bar being replenished…I wouldn’t want to be pandered to, i’d want my candidate to actually fucking mean it, with conviction.

  51. says

    Clinton occasional veers into lies when it makes no sense to do so – other than that perhaps she had a chance to say something and didn’t have anything true to say so she made something. Like the dodging sniper fire (which she tried hard to walk back, but it’s just an outright bullshit lie) and now the Nancy Reagan. Whatever. I don’t particularly care about that stuff, it’s tenny tiny small potatoes for a politician.

    I do wish someone had come out and said about Nancy Reagan:
    Sanctimonious hypocrite Nancy Reagan used to take Seconal to sleep and was addicted to Valium, Quaaludes, and all the while she said “Just Say No!” and “There’s no moral middle ground,” she said. “Indifference is not an option.” Opiate addiction is serious stuff, I’m sympathetic. But presenting addiction as a moral weakness while chunking down a pharmacoepia that would make Rush Limbaugh green with envy – a pharmacoepia she had safe, unlimited access to because of her political power – the moral weakness on display was her hypocrisy. She could have done something to further education about the addictive power of opiates, and helped – but instead she aligned with authoritarianism and “do as I say, not as I do.”

    I’m sure that knowing that she was a weakling and a liar probably galled her tremendously. The hypocrisy was, however, a lifestyle choice.

  52. says

    Marcus @ 65:

    It’s thanks to the Reagans’ utterly stupid “war on drugs” that’s resulted in it being damn near impossible to get adequate drugs for chronic pain. I have to interview every 3 months to have my hydrocodone renewed, and submit to drug testing. (You wouldn’t want someone in pain doing anything effective, oh no.) The latest reclassification of all codeine containing drugs meant that no doctor can prescribe it with refills. So, every fucking month, I get to send in a request to have my scrip re-filled, pretty please and all that.

  53. says

    By comparison, here in Soviet Canuckland, my doctor writes me two three-month scrips, one postdated, for meds an order of magnitude more powerful than the ones Caine must beg for. Admittedly she’s an outlier here even, it’s unimaginable in Nancy Reagan’s America.

  54. says


    By comparison, here in Soviet Canuckland, my doctor writes me two three-month scrips, one postdated, for meds an order of magnitude more powerful than the ones Caine must beg for.

    Yeah, my primary neurodoc used to prescribe six months worth at a time. And the feds wonder why there is an ever increasing black market in prescription pain meds. At this point, it would be much easier to go illegal, if a bit more expensive.

  55. MassMomentumEnergy says

    Given the recent Brownshirt actions, I’m not sure I can vote for the lesser warmonger. Bernie or Jill it is (I have the advantage of living in CA which would vote for a goat running as a democrat over any republican).

    Anyway, Hillary’s appology wasn’t even written by her. She signs self made tweets with “-H” which is absent from her “misspoke” tweet.

  56. Artor says

    This is a long thread, and I’m a little surprised nobody has made the obvious comment in response to Hillary’s ignorant counter-factual blunder. “There you go again…”

  57. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @CatieCat & Caine:

    Actually, in my experience the better correlation isn’t the country (at least US vs Canada), it’s how seriously your jurisdiction has considered assisted suicide.

    I’ve talked about this before, but Oregon (the first state to pass AS legislation) got its law by direct democracy – the bill was put before the people not the legislature. The Catholic church opposed the ballot measure. They lost. So they went to the legislature to get it repealed. The leg did that. The people put it on the ballot again. The church got really scared that it would pass again, so it tried to address the reasons people had voted yes. One of the big ones was untreated pain at end of life. The drug war had made it so that doctors could refuse to give pain meds to patients that were clearly in excruciating pain (e.g. when metastatic cancer lodges in the bone it causes some of the worst pain humans have documented) with literally no consequences. Some patients had filed complaints against doctors for refusing medically necessary/indicated care. The medical association took no action. On the other hand, doctors that did prescribe pain meds could be disciplined even when the pain meds were medically indicated in a particular case because the guidelines for that type of condition called for less medication or meds for a shorter period of time. Since the board reviewed every prescription you wrote, but none that you didn’t write, people really were going without pain control.

    The Catholic church owns a huge section of the hospital and hospice industry in Oregon (as it does in many places around the country). Since there’s nothing in the doctrine banning liberal use of pain killers when someone has cancer and there’s a big no-no placed on assisted suicide, the church threw its weight around for what was a very good cause…even if it absolutely refused to do anything about suffering until a law was passed that allowed non-Catholics to disobey Catholic teaching, so they’re still insufferable theocrats.

    Pain control reform got passed (I don’t know if there was any legislation, but there were huge changes in the doctors directives that the medical association enforces on anyone who wants to maintain a medical license), but the AS bill was back on the ballot. There wasn’t a lot of time for people to get experience with the new system, and doctors conservative prescribing patterns didn’t change overnight.

    As for the bill? It passed with even bigger numbers. But since the pain control reform had already been done, and since there really wasn’t a good medical reason to undo it (and since doctors hated being treated like drug dealers anyway), it stuck.

    Getting pain control in the year 1999 – after all this was over – was completely different than in 1994 when we were first voting on AS.

    If I remember correctly, Ontario has been having an assisted suicide discussion for a while immediately before Oregon did, but the Rodriguez case shut that down. Carter is the BC case that was just decided last year. We’ll see what changes that brings to BC, but BC is not nearly as easy to navigate as Oregon for the person seeking adequate pain control.

    I’d be interested to know exactly what the pain control supervision/policy regime is actually like in Ontario in a more detailed way.


    *1: the people didn’t like the leg repealing a law before it even went into effect, it felt to many like taking away the right to vote. Thus many who voted no the first time voted yes the 2nd because they felt that the people had decided it already and their vote was more about telling the leg not to screw around with the right to vote than about assisted suicide itself.

  58. says

    CD, it has nothing to do with that. The FDA recommended a shift to schedule II, and that’s what happened, because the feds thought it was simply too easy for people to obtain drugs with codeine in them. The song and dance required to get, say, hydromorphone or similar is considerably easier than what is now required for any codeine product.

  59. greg hilliard says

    Laurentweppe @62: I know of several priests that happened to. What, you think they were gay? But, but, but they were priests! They’re celibate!
    At The Arizona Republic in the ’80s, we weren’t allowed to say how AIDS was contracted, only that it was through “an exchange of bodily fluids.” Tears, sweat, saliva, who knew? That was thanks to a very prudish managing editor.

  60. wzrd1 says

    Let’s give Nancy the credit where she’s due. When Ronnie was in office, she wasn’t a national security risk, she was a national security plague. She was always into things to try to protect her husband, she nearly learned of Iran-Contra while it was going on, where hubby needed implausible deniability.
    But, for both, they do deserve the credit that they’re due together, the proper and respectful credit for causing the largest pandemic in human history.
    Mental note: If ever by their grave, leave a suitable remembrance there, biodegradable and one that will fertilize their flowers.
    Good bye, Nasty Reagan, go burn in hell, which I’d happily create just for you and your horrible husband. Three near misses with thermonuclear war didn’t endear me back then, watching you foster the growth of a horrific pandemic should put you in history right next to Hitler.