James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Reject the Reagan myth

Ronald Reagan is dead.

We are now going to be covered with goo about what a wonderful, kind man he was, what a great leader, and on and on and on. It already feels like having an endless supply of warm butterscotch poured on our heads.

No need to be rude or offensive about it, but, frankly, I see no reason to accept such nonsense without comment.

Ronald Reagan was arguably the second worst president in this country’s history. The worst, by quite a distance, now camps in the White House, but he wouldn’t be there if Reagan hadn’t led the way, aided and abetted by a corporate news system that gave him a free ride throughout his political career simply because he had an actor's charm and a whole lot of rich and powerful people behind him.

The fawning reporters called him “the great communicator,” and pretended that his nonsense made sense. They let him slide on every offense, even gave him a pass on the Iran-Contra scandal, which, had it been reported honestly, should have put “finish” to his unearned reputation.

In the early babbling about his death, a CBS reporter noted that “he wasn’t interested in details, but when he took a position, that was it, he stood by it.”

Yep. Remind you of a president you’ve been stuck with lately?

What remains to be seen, as I write this, is what tactic the Bushies will use to turn Reagan’s death into a political tool for the nominal president’s election. Watch for it. Don’t get suckered.

Again, no need to be rude or offensive, but no need to bite your tongue either. When someone says in those unctuous tones that already fill the air, that he was “a great president,” it’s right to say calmly, “No, he was a very bad president, the one who began the class war on behalf of the rich and against the poor, the elderly and the helpless, the one who put us on the road to the very bad place we now occupy.”