Several years ago I watched a comedian on the Comedy Channel describe Ronald Reagan thusly:
Ronald Reagan had as much to do with the Reagan Administration as a hood ornament on a 1956 Buick.
I am surprised when old issues come to the fore that I thought had been resolved years ago.
Maybe that is why I become so enraged to see political movements that wish to include the teaching of ancient myths as reality in our primary and secondary schools.
I mean the earth is not a mere 6,000 years old, President Jackson was one of the most cruel and inhumane animals who ever sat in the Oval Office and Cal Coolidge brought this nation to the precipice of annihilation by capitalist robber barons.
I mean to me that is settled history, and should be included in all public school texts.
But nowadays, nothing is settled.
We are forced to reargue scientific findings going back five hundred years.
We are forced to reargue what most level headed folks came to assume after properly analyzing the data and documents available.
Now I always despised Ronald Reagan. But I have to admit that at times he was hilarious even if he had no intent to be hilarious, like when he chastised the University of California for allowing rock bands to play in one of their gymnasiums in 1966 as he sparked off his campaign for governor:
Ronnie Rayguns was against everything I was for in 1966 whether the issue was Civil Rights or welfare or ‘socialized medicine’ or free speech. So my view of this idiot is colored by biases that I have held for fifty years.
But there is a non political opinion that I have held with regard to this man during his two terms in office.
It was clear to me that by age 70, a couple of weeks following his inaugural address, Ronald Reagan was short more than a few cards of a full mental deck.
I listen to Matthews marvel about this President’s ability to bring the country together with his marvelous presence, his marvelous speeches, his marvelous stature and frankly I have no fucking idea what he is talking about.
CBS reporter Lesley Stahl may be able to settle the family feud that has erupted between President Ronald Reagan’s two sons over an important historical issue: Did the 40th president have Alzheimer’s disease when he was in the White House?
In a new memoir, his son Ron suggests that Reagan suffered from the beginning stages of this disease while he was commander in chief, pointing out that his father became “lost and bewildered” during the 1984 presidential debates with Democratic nominee Walter Mondale and that in 1986 Reagan could not remember the names of familiar landmarks.
But Ron defends his father, who was not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s until 2004, and his aides: “I’ve seen no evidence that my father (or anyone else) was aware of his medical condition while he was in office. Had the diagnosis been made in, say 1987, would he have stepped down? I believe he would have. http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/reagan-alzheimers-family-feud-lesley-stahl
Now to be fair, Reagan was shot down by some wacko in 1981 and it certainly did him no good. He almost died and I am sure that had a lasting affect upon his cognitive abilities.
But by that time, he could not get out an entire sentence without stumbling while reading his provided text.
Leslie Stahl visted the Oval Office in order to receive some meaningless award from the President and was ordered not to ask one goddamn question during this informal presentation. Fine, she thought, I will get my medal.
As she was led into the sacred chamber, the President of the United States looked like he was in some absent mental state.Reagan was as shriveled as a kumquat. He was so frail, his skin so paper-thin. I could almost see the sunlight through the back of his withered neck…His eyes were coated. Larry introduced us, but he had to shout. Had Reagan turned off his hearing aid?
…Reagan didn’t seem to know who I was. He gave me a distant look with those milky eyes and shook my hand weakly. Oh, my, he’s gonzo, I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet. My heart began to hammer with the import…I was aware of the delicacy with which I would have to write my script. But I was quite sure of my diagnosis
Certainly by 1985 Reagan was not running this country any more than that hood ornament was driving the ’56 Buick. And Michael Moore underlines this point in his movie Capitalism:
Speed it up says Donald Regan
Donald Thomas Regan (pronounced /ˈriːɡən/; December 21, 1918 – June 10, 2003) was the 66th United States Secretary of the Treasury, from 1981 to 1985, and Chief of Staff from 1985 to 1987 in the Ronald Reagan Administration, where he advocated “Reaganomics” and tax cuts to create jobs and stimulate production. Regan was criticized for his Prime Ministerial style of working, for his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair, and for his frequent disagreements with Ronald Reagan’s wife, First Lady Nancy Reagan.
I maintain that by ’83 Reagan was lost to dementia. But the American People reelected this poor victim just like they reelected the most corrupt Administration in 100 years in November of 2004.
Now I do not really blame Stahl even though I have always despised her. Leslie is a vain and pompous self engrandizing journalistic whore. But are not most journalists whores in the end anyway. In the context of her meeting with Reagan, what could she have written? Where were her witnesses? Where was her degree in Psychiatry?
Reagan, in his more sane days, was a capitalist who wished to undue all of the measures taken during the Administration of FDR, all of the Civil Rights Legislation of the 60’s and all of the provisions of the War on Poverty.
I despise the man and his legacy.
But Ronnie does demonstrate an important symbol in the governmental affairs of this country.
You can have a brain dead person who nominally is in charge of the most powerful Executive Office in the world and the corporate robber barons will end up running everything. Nothing will be left to chance!!
And the American Electorate will abide anything.