Sunday, June 06, 2004

Billmon on Reagan
I have nary an original thought about Reagan's passing. Mostly I'm annoyed that Republicans may have an artificial "win one for the Gipper" rallying cry to help unite them going into November. That's awfully heartless, I know. I do have admiration and sadness for any family that has had to endure that horrible disease for so long. But I can't help thinking that the absence brought on by his illness has made the heart of many Americans grow fonder of Reagan's legacy than it would have if he had been constantly visible, reminding us of his outlook and biases (think Michael Moore's interview with Charlton Heston...).

Billmon believes that impact to be a close relative of the present Administration:
"Looking back, it's also easy to see the propaganda connections between Reagan's war in Central America and the current Orwellian nightmare in Iraq. There were the same moral oversimplications - pure goodness versus absolute evil - the same flowerly rhetoric about freedom and democracy (to be administred to impoverished campesinos with machine guns and torture chambers.) There was the same lurid hype about the dire danger to the homeland - as when Reagan famously warned that Nicaragua was just a "two-day drive from Harlington, Texas."

And of course, we're even looking at some of the same actors - Elliot Abrams, John Negroponte, Colin Powell. To a large degree, the Reagan administration's covert wars in both Central America and the Middle East formed the template for how the war in Iraq was packaged, sold and - unfortunately - fought."
Oh yeah, and there was this little matter of exploding budget deficits thanks to the arms race, the ridiculous STAR WARS plan, and lowering of taxes. Will Reagan's economic legacy ultimately include--thanks to "trickle-down" theories in part--shifting the deficit hawk emphasis from the Republican toward the Democratic Party, a shift still taking place?

No comments: