Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Reagan Controversy 

I find it funny how after Ronald Reagan's death you have the conservative side anoiting him Demi-God status, much like the Romans did with Augustus after his croaking, and the Liberal side doing whatever they can to cast him as a modern-day Nero (nut-job murderous maniac).
While I do not think the somber, and lofty platitudes are 100% deserved for Reagan, the Liberal side is being pretty damn disingenuous. Allow me a brief explanation of their argument as to why Reagan was evil:

1. He did not do enough to stop the AIDs crisis in the early 80's.
I'm sorry there's only so much blame one can put on a damn president about the AIDs crisis. However, according to the New Republic:
"Precise budget requests are difficult to calculate, as online records from the 1980s are spotty. Nevertheless, New York University's archived, hard copies of budget documents from fiscal year 1984 through FY 1989 show that Reagan proposed at least $2.79 billion for AIDS research, education, and treatment. In a Congressional Research Service study titled AIDS Funding for Federal Government Programs: FY1981-FY1999, author Judith Johnson found that overall, the federal government spent $5.727 billion on AIDS under Ronald Reagan. This higher number reflects President Reagan's proposals as well as additional expenditures approved by Congress that he later signed. "

Now that still probably wasn't "enough", although in 80's dollars that's a LOT of moolah. But what seems to get really get people pissed off is that he never even mentioned AIDs in public until 1989. Um, OK. How many homosexual men would listen to ANY advice given to them by Ronald Reagan? Probably as many kids that listened to Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" dogma on Different 'Strokes.

2. He was against strict sanctions on South Africa to end Apartheid. OK, this point is valid. I'm sure the general excuse is that he was focused on taking on the Soviet Union and wanted to avoid other foreign "issues". Either way, he was wrong on this count.

3. The Soviet Union would have collapsed on its own anyway. Um, NO! Reagan's aggressive stance against the Commies scared the shit out of a lot people, both right and left wing. But after 10 years it worked. There is no denying that. Do you really think Jimmy Carter or Walter Mondale would have built up our military so much that the Soviets finally realized there was just no fucking way they could keep up? If you do believe that, I assume you're reading this from a looney bin.

4. Reagan was mean to poor people. Well DUH! That's why he beat Carter by 10 points, and Mondale by 40! The vast majority of Americans were fucking sick of shitloads of their tax money going to welfare programs created by Democrats like Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. Reagan promised to slash all of these federal programs and turn them over to the state governments. His reasoning was, if individual states wanted to tax their residents for massive welfare programs, then fine. It was their right. That's what Reagan was about, a small federal government, with most of the work being done by the individual states. The thinking was, if everyone's federal taxes are lower, the states can, if they want, raise theirs to meet the welfare needs. I can understand if you disagree with this policy, but the fact of the matter is, he RAN on this policy and he won in a landslide. So he did what he promised.

5. Reagan was crooked with the whole Iran/Contra deal and propped up murderous dictators in Guatemala (especially) and Nircaruga. Yup, he did it. His argument was to keep the commies at bay. He did have a point I guess, as that was an honorable goal. Too bad the tactics were not so honorable.

OK, now lets look at the Democrats own Demi-God, Franklin Delanor Roosevelt. FDR did a GREAT many things for this country. He did save the nation from the Great Depression with radical programs such as the CCC. He did, like Reagan , give Americans optimism in a very dark time. He WAS a tremendous leader during WW2. He totally revolutionized politics and made the Democrat party into a great force.
HOWEVER, let's not forget:

1. Who forced 120,000 innocent Japanese-Americans to lose their life savings, homes and personal property while placing them into internment camps after Pearl Harbor? Answer. FDR

2. Who got intelligence informing him of what EXACTLY Hitler was doing to the Jews BEFORE we even entered WW2? Who was willing to let this occur to 6 million people, to try and keep us out of the war as long as possible? Answer. FDR.

3. Who, after the end of WW2 allowed the brutal Soviets to exterminate MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS of people in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, East Germany, Belarus, Romania, and dozens more instead of taking General Patton's advice and finishing the Soviets off and freeing Eastern Europe while our troops were still in Europe? Perhaps 50 years of brutally murderous Soviet "efficiency" could have been averted. Answer. FDR.

The whole point in this exercise is this:
I think FDR and Reagan are the two greatest Presidents since Lincoln. Both made mistakes. There's no such thing as a perfect president. Although there are those on both sides who are so clouded by their prejudices they are unwilling to acknowledge that fact. They both came to power when the US was in horrible straits, both economically, and in terms of foreign threats. Both of these men did more to make the USA what it is here in the 21st century than any other leader. Both are to be respected.


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