Reagan (now with 100% correct spelling)

Sun 06 June 2004 by Kevin van Haaren

Ronald Reagan was the first president I paid attention too. I wasn’t old enough to vote for him, but I was old enough to begin paying attention to politics. The fact that I rode with my father to a bus stop in downtown kc to catch a city bus to go to high school, and that my father listened to NPR’s Morning Edition the whole way probably had a lot to do with this (why I turned out more to the left than my right-wing father is unknown.)

I never liked Reagan. Listening to him, I always thought I was being sold a bill of goods. This was even further cemented during the Iran-Contra trials where I thought everybody was pretty much lying to cover Reagan’s involvement. Or at best if everything was true, then Reagan wasn’t in control of his government, and couldn’t remember anything.

Listening to all the retrospectives playing his famous speeches, he was indeed a good speaker and his voice was much stronger than I remember from the end of his presidency.

I think about the only thing he did right was to recognize that the time was right to apply the final push to the Soviet Union. To claim he brought down the Soviet Union on his own is a big mistake, a concept I think the current Administration believes and has led to a extremely bad foreign policy. Reagan’s policy worked because of the years of containment policies of past administrations. Reagan applied a well placed, well timed final blow — but it wouldn’t have worked without the hundreds of blows (economic or otherwise) in the past that had weakened the Soviets.

[updated – nothing says “I’m an idiot” more than misspelling a president’s name. Except maybe when it’s your father that points it out.]