For those predisposed to disliking
jovial old frauds of whatever persuasion, the 100th
anniversary of Reagan's birth is an appropriate time to commemorate the
death of a salesman.
When Reagan slipped his final grip on that consciousness he had
infrequently graced and
so long abandoned, it was certainly as historic an event as the
introduction of a new soap
powder product, or the retirement of an old one.
First elected Governor on a muted inclination to shoot student
demonstrators, Reagan spent
his political life as an apostle of reaction, repression and
recklessness. Made President by the
hostage-taking Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini, then reelected by a
marketing program so meretricious
it remains a marvel of its kind, Reagan only escaped impeachment over
Iran-financed war in Nicaragua by the lateness of its revelation.
His genial Irish confidence-man's twinkle served him well in movies, as
a pitchman, and finally
as a deliverer of political homilies almost every one of which was
false in some major particular.
The unrepentant public liar that Republicans accused Bill Clinton of
being, Reagan had already
been. His most famous comments were astonishing in their irrelevance.
"I paid for this microphone"
helped him get nominated in 1980, even though the dispute was over the
agreed rules, not the
payments. "Tear down this wall" was as hubristic as if Gorbachev had
told Reagan to stop
imprisoning so many black people.
"The Great Prevaricator" is Reagan's indisputable historic title,
unrivaled as he was, even by
Richard Nixon, in his dedication to publicizing his dream world and
calling it reality. Nixon knew
what the truth was and didn't care; whereas Reagan neither knew nor
cared. The degenerative
series was completed by Bush Minor, who stood doomed in the words of
Brecht. "Who does not
recognize the truth, is an imbecile. But who recognizes it, and names
it a lie -- that is criminal."
Reagan craved credit for winning
the Cold War though his major achievement was that he
was standing around when the
peoples of Eastern Europe, for reasons of their own,
chose economic and political
A shot of Chinaco to
slingist, especially for that last sentence.
If only the Democrats could learn to list the damn facts.
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