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Intro: "The time element of '30 years' keeps slipping into American official reports and news stories about the origins of crises - the latest in 'The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report' - but rarely is the relevance of the three-decade span explained, and there is a reason."

Then-California Governor Ronald Reagan sharing a laugh with President Nixon, 06/15/70. (photo: UPI Photo/File)
Then-California Governor Ronald Reagan sharing a laugh with President Nixon, 06/15/70. (photo: UPI Photo/File)

 

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+25 # GTrout 2011-01-29 23:02
Thank you, Mr. Parry, for a detailed look at the Reagan nightmare. I've made the same argument - though much less cogent than yours - many times during the past 20 years and it has only been recently that my progressive friends have come to agree, so strong is the Reagan Mystique. It terrifies me to imagine the damage that a Reagan clone could do in today's climate of ignorant, deluded, desperate voters suckered in by three decades of incessant conservative propaganda.
 
 
+16 # Glen 2011-01-30 04:58
You saw something very close to a new Reagan under George W., who quite possibly did more to damage the country than Reagan's people ever dreamed of accomplishing.
 
 
+23 # Ken Hall 2011-01-29 23:49
RR pandered to the most selfish and "exceptionalist " tendencies of the US voter. His presidency is an ongoing disaster for putting a false, avuncular face on the vicious class warfare that decimated the middle class during the past three decades. "Trickle-down economics"? The results are in...
 
 
+19 # giraffe 2011-01-30 00:52
Some of us remembe the S & L, Reaganomics and that the old man was like "W" -- just an actor whose script was written by a Rove. My friends, family, and I were Republican until Reagan == I still have the newpaper article that defined "double speak" -- i.e. Reagan's words and his meaning were "double speak"

Those who vote in the GOP in 2012, when they come for YOU - nobody will be left to speak for you.
 
 
+10 # www.democratz.org 2011-01-30 02:05
1. Reagan appeared our first Bizarro President. So to "Help" the people less fortunate he attacked their social programs and to make peace he bellowed about the evil empire, etc.

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+19 # Glen 2011-01-30 04:56
A few years ago I read scathing critiques of both Nixon and Reagan - the only ones I ever saw. As in GTrout's experience, everyone I know continues to respect Reagan if not revere him, including independents and democrats.

Anybody paying attention at the time would have looked upon Nixon, Reagan, Bush senior and their people for what they were/are: criminals who recreated the government to suit their agenda and gain the support of gullible citizens.

In truth, I do know some who remember or who suffered under the S & L mess. They will never forget, or be fooled again.

We have much to worry about - and be ashamed of.
 
 
+13 # Bruce Gruber 2011-01-30 05:56
A most perceptive chronicle of the last 40 years. We might also remember that Ronnie's ad visors' taxation 'redirection' abolished BOTH the double declining mortgage deduction for housing investment (great incentive for improving availability of housing for modest income families) AND the 10% investment tax credit which had sparked capital investment by small business while simultaneously increasing employment. We might consider that he didn't understand either of those things either.
 
 
+20 # granny 2011-01-30 06:43
Right! Bonzo is sanctified by the very billionaires meeting today in California to plot the overthrow of democracy in this country. And the rest of the country bows and scrapes - and will honor the villain by sanctifying his birthday in February and naming everything possible after him. But HIS statues will fall some day, and so will the traitors now scheming their political coups. What goes around comes around, big boys - though it may take a while.
 
 
-5 # pk de cville 2011-01-30 07:33
Was it Reagan or was it Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al?

Pls consider writing this piece from the point of view of these guys and THEIR team.
 
 
+10 # Glen 2011-01-30 12:16
If you are referring to the Cheney types and all the other vile characters that have played a role in the shadows behind the backs of Reagan, the Bushes, just about everybody of late, then you are correct.

As a prominent comedian said, after sitting next to Dick Cheney at a dinner: If you want to know evil, experience Dick Cheney.
 
 
+2 # Alturn 2011-01-30 07:42
30 years also marks the choice America made for the world - a materialistic over a spiritual direction. "The one with the most toys wins" - a popular bumper sticker then - over Brotherhood.

Between 1980 and 1982 there was a major push to get the head of the Spiritual Hierarchy of Masters - the World Teacher Maitreya - into the world. Maitreya, who embodies the quality of the Christ - divine love - was and is in London. Full page ads were placed in major newspapers and the media was well-informed of this fact. Yet none investigated and the public had other interests than following the direction which Carter - an initiate of standing - indicated appropriately was wise. So we have had a drunken orgy for 30 years instead of creating what Maitreya at the time communicated as "A world in which men can live without fear, without mistrust, without division; sharing together the Earth’s bounty, knowing together the bliss of union with our Source." That was Reagan's and America's gift to the world.
 
 
+20 # bigkahuna671 2011-01-30 08:05
I remember voting against Reagan in '68 when he ran for gov. of CA. He won, but California lost. His inept handling of the state, the way he tore down the educational system to benefit the tax breaks he was giving his allies, has been one of the major reasons for the decline of schools in CA. When he was elected Prez, I knew we were in for it and we were. Again, his lack of knowledge about how to do anything cost the citizenry. The GOP can lie all they want about his accomplishments , but being able to read a script doesn't mean you really know what you're talking about or doing. Reaganomics was a joke, as any of my econ students would tell you. Anyone who believes the rich will allow $.01 to be trickled down to the middle and lower classes is a fool, just as they're fools today for allowing the tax cut for the rich to stay in effect. The wealthy got there by ripping off everyone else and they stay there the same way, handing out bribes to congressmen on both sides of the aisle to back them up. He spent the USSR into economic freefall, but set us up for the same thing, creating a massive deficit from which we will NEVER recover. Yes, they tore down their wall, but a new one has been erected - one between the rich and the rest of us here in the US. Hey, President Obama, "Tear down that wall! Now!" Reagan - PHOOEY!!!
 
 
+11 # DaveW. 2011-01-30 10:26
bigkahuna671, I emphatically agree with your points! But as Parry's article suggests, "the myth persists" concerning "Saint Ronnie." I don't know that ANY political figure in U.S. history has been more damning to the country than Reagan. By creating his own monster (government) he was something akin to Dr.Frankenstein , feverishly working to keep his creation alive, one that he'd "created" from the body parts of the living and needy. He divided the country in a massive way only to be outdone in that department by George W. I went back to college in my late 40's and my Econ teacher, a self-described "former" Republican in his mid 60's was quite clear about where our trouble started. Boys and Girls...back about 30 years ago...there was this guy...
 
 
+9 # Lee Black 2011-01-30 08:45
Remembering the association of Robert Gates with Reagan and with the Supreme Court decision that put W. into office I have to wonder why Gates has the respect and high office he has now.
Makes me uncomfortable.
 
 
+10 # Lee Black 2011-01-30 09:08
The Reagan administration admitted to a campaign of disinformation - at the time the press was up in arms about it. Now it is taken as business as usual.

see internet - Disinformation Campaign Reagan Administration

Remember Reagan's "map of the world"?
http://bigthink.com/ideas/21087

Some of us remember the period without the rose-colored glasses. I'm so glad Parry has linked our situation today with what started then. it's too easy to forget what each President has wrought. Seems that we're supposed to forget what W. did and blame Obama for not fixing it all in 2 years.
 
 
+10 # tomo 2011-01-30 12:36
Parry is right, as usual. The "teflon presidency" lives on. How strong the myth is can perhaps be seen in the behavior of his adopted son Michael. Back when Reagan was our President, Michael wrote On the Outside Looking In--a notable criticism of of our compassionate conservative President's lack of compassion. Since then, I'm told he became, on talk radio, an evangelist for his adoptive dad's philosophy. It's not surprising we hang onto the Ronald Reagan Story, Authorized Version. It's fully in harmony with the American Exceptionalism in which we have been raised. It's this "exceptionalism " that armed us morally to "win the West" by killing as many Indians as possible; that armed us morally to go into the Phillipines at the end of the Spanish-America n War, and take over--killing many Filipinos in the process; to unseat Mossadegh in Iran in the early 50's--with much consequent hatred and mistrust from Middle Easterners. These were the kinds of things Ronald Reagan celebrated. He brought "Springtime for America," and we have been grateful to him ever since. They say, "Whom the gods will destroy, they first make mad." We've been mad about Ronnie for a long time now, and there's no sign of our letting up. Destruction, too, is moving along on schedule.
 
 
+14 # MagneticNorth 2011-01-30 13:14
I sure don't 'shy away' from labeling Reagan what he was: A dim bulb. An empty suit. A smiley face sticker masking a steaming pile.

And the whitewash of RR's legacy has been an astonishing lesson in propaganda:

* He doubled the national debt. But RR is remembered for having such charisma.

* He supported apartheid. But RR is lauded for always being so personable.

* He aided Sadam Hussein. But some only way to remember that RR always made us feel good about ourselves.

* He trampled worker rights. But RR apologists say we always felt like we could 'have a beer' with him.

* He traded arms for hostages and diverted the profits to drug running thugs and nun-raping death squads. But RR is remembered for never losing his sunny disposition.

* His own advisors were shocked at his poor grasp of policy. But RR is fondly recalled because of his optimism.

And the list goes on...

If self-righteous bulls**t were music, Ronald Reagan and his boatload of apologists would be a brass marching band.
 
 
+5 # Gringaryan 2011-01-31 07:31
Let's not forget *Catsup is a vegetable w/ regard to healthy lunches in school.... and *If you have seen one tree you have seen them all, refering to the Giant Redwoods!
 
 
+14 # brianf 2011-01-30 13:49
Reagan was a horrible governor of California, forcing the mentally ill to either be homeless or go to prison, beginning the ruin the state's formerly top-notch higher education system (and education in general), disdaining the environment and life in general, helping big businesses at the expense of everything else. I could not believe it when he was elected president! He was absolutely wrong in almost every position he took. He saw everything in terms of the simple movies he acted in: good guys against bad guys, and killing as the solution to every problem. He was a much worse president than even Nixon, committed much worse crimes, and he was never held accountable for those crimes. Later, Bush 2 comes along, commits even worse crimes than Reagan, and he gets away with it too. Just wait until the next crackpot gets in office, knowing that he/she can do anything at all and not have to face any consequences. It will also be the fault of the Democrats who refused to apply the law equally to all people.
 
 
+5 # Lee Black 2011-01-31 12:57
I remember the gubernatorial election - Jesse Unruh ran the most horrible campaign and afterwards I realized Reagan outspent him about 20 to 1 - so from the start he realized the power of big spenders. And Nancy refused to move into the Calif. State House so they had to build a new one - built by 'donors'.

And after that he was elected President. I lived in Holland and the Dutch considered it rather a joke that the President of the U.S. was an actor, and a poor one at that. When Reagan did something atrocious, like wanting to place "Peacemaker" rockets in Europe they'd broadcast "Bedtime for Bonzo".
 
 
+6 # Foxtrottango 2011-01-30 13:56
The day Reagan became President, the nation's destiny was in doubt. He started the whole conservative idea and made it what it is today, totally evil!

GW Bush was just a tool, something to be used in future discourses. That is why GW Bush chose the same right wing conservatives, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, but he went even further with Karl Rove! The rest is history and the nation has not recovered even when Bill Clinton became president for a total of eight years. It seem the Democratic Party in Congress can't seem to get it together.

Obama was elected because the nation had high hopes on him and he just wasn't cut out to be a great president. He caved in easily to the Republicans but than, he had help, his corporate advisors.

What's next for the next two years while the Democrats now have lost control of the House and weakened the Senate is anyone's guess!

But Ronald Reagan, that mischievious "luv'ble" Irish leprechaun is having a good laugh, if he is not burning in hell with the rest of his ilk!
 
 
-7 # robhood 2011-01-30 14:24
In all fairness, we can trace a lot of these policies back to the early 1970s, even late 1960s. Ford and Carter were No angels, trust me. They did their part in bringing "we the people" to where we are today.
 
 
+11 # angelfish 2011-01-30 15:38
Ronald Reagan was the beginning of the end for American Politics. It was HE and his mega-wealthy handlers that got him elected, that led to the lunacy we are now faced with in America. His legacy of "greatness" is a farce. He WAS a great pitchman for 20 Mule Team Borax, but he garners no fame for Bedtime for Bonzo, or his most famous line, "Where's the rest of me...?" Indeed, WHERE was the rest of him? His policies of breaking the Unions and deregulating us into the evil hands of the "ME Firsters" is what is at the core of our rotten government today. His last term was served while he was in the first stages of the Alzheimer's that would eventually end his life. The Historical revisionists of the Republican Party have been honing his "legacy" for decades. Truth be told, he was a nice man, overtaken by his fame and inflated Ego who actually believed his own hype. The damage he inflicted on us as a Nation will take many more decades to overcome. In my opinion, he deserves NO accolades. He was a "B" actor all his life and an "F" President.
 
 
+6 # DaveW. 2011-01-31 08:34
angelfish, The "nice man" you refer too was secretly taping the words of fellow actors in his home as early as 1947. It was all being done for the House on Un-American Activities commission and being coordinated through the FBI. "Friends", such as fellow players Howard Da Silva and Alexander Knox were invited over for dinner and drinks and then primed by the "nice man" to see if they had any Communist sympathies. You know like, maybe they donated money to a farm workers group or something. He was a "New Deal" Democrat way back in the day but it's been a Looooonnnnngggg time since Ronnie was a nice man.
 
 
+3 # angelfish 2011-01-31 10:01
Hey Dave, I never knew that about him, so I've learned something new. I had no idea what a REAL Rat-fink he truly was, cowardly, too, it seems. Thanks for setting me straight.
 
 
+6 # Regina 2011-01-30 16:26
The article overlooks the perpetual campaign by Nancy Reagan to keep glorifying her Ronnie. But she has lots of helpers. There are far better presidents in our history who never had such an observance. Bedtime for Bonzo has become Debt Time for Americans in the economic connivances dumped on us by the Greedy Old Party over these 30 years. RWR was a willing tool for the first stages of our decline, as crafted by his advisers and continued by their acolytes.
 
 
+5 # bigkahuna671 2011-01-30 19:37
Hate to say it, but "Bedtime for Bonzo" might have been the high point of his career, even more so than when he played George 'the Gipper' Gipp. He was a creation of his handlers and his present march to sainthood is the culmination of years of the GOP's attempt to have someone of the strength of FDR, the trustworthiness of Truman, and the charisma of JFK. Sorry, Reaganites, but you've failed on all three counts!!!
 
 
+5 # DaveW. 2011-01-31 08:45
bigkahuna671, Reagan was both abysmal Governor and later President no matter how much spin his acolytes put on it. "Bonzo" however was not his best film. That would be "Kings Row" where he loses his legs in an industrial accident and made in '42. Also check out "Juke Girl", also from '42, w/Ann Sheridan where Reagan ends up being an ADVOCATE for the rights of Mexican farm laborers! His acting was far superior to his politics especially after he started seeing future wife and actress Nancy Davis. Her Dad had a lot do with Ronnie's conversion to Conservatism. On a side note: Did you know Reagan screen tested for the part of "Rick" that Humphrey Bogart ended up immortalizing in "Casablanca?" Warner Brothers made the right choice. Too bad voters decades later didn't do the same.
 
 
+4 # bigkahuna671 2011-01-31 10:12
Dave, this was totally tongue-in-cheek . I actually didn't think any of his roles were especially outstanding. I don't know about the Nancy Davis thing, however, since I was always of the belief that when his "B" picture career began to flounder and he got picked up by GE, their influence on him grew exponentially as his movie roles withered on the vine and his income from them went up. He was almost totally dependent on them in the '50s. I understood he didn't get the Bogart role because he couldn't be sympathetic enough or put any depth into the role. As for "Kings Row" and "Juke Girl," you have to remember that Ronnie was actually a liberal back in those days, so advocating for Mexican farm laborers rights would have fitted in with his then-professed attitudes. One thing we can certainly agree with is that he was an abysmal Gov. and an even worse Prez. I can't understand how the GOP could nominate Presidential candidates over the past 60 years whose combined IQs couldn't have been over 1000. Subtract Nixon's IQ, which was over 110, but not by much, then divide the remainder by 12 and you can see the hole we're in. Look at their elected ones - Ike-bottom half of his class at West Point; Nixon-'nuff said; Reagan...Bonzo was smarter; George H.W-thankful his father was an ambassador; Dubya-thankful his dad was head of the CIA and Veep. Yep, definitely 'nuff said!!!
 
 
+4 # John Hedtke 2011-01-30 20:29
I've written a short piece on how Reagan, who spouted such unbelievable drivel, was acclaimed "The Great Communicator," that dovetails neatly with this. http://hedtke.blogspot.com/2008/05/reagan-great-communicator-and-how-he.html
 
 
+1 # DrAnne 2011-01-31 12:38
I would add that the highly pathological "Teflon-speak" of "The Great Communicator" has become endemic in our country. I watched the Winter X Games over the weekend. One of its sponsors was the U.S. Navy, and its tagline was "A Global Force For Good."

How bizarre is that?
 
 
+1 # motamanx 2011-02-01 06:43
Californians, who had Reagan for a governor, are much more attuned to the fact that The Gipper was really an empty suit.
I was embarrassed by his presidency. He gave a good speech when the astronaughts died, but I can't think of another thing he did that was any good.
 
 
0 # rf 2011-02-03 04:49
All true right up to the Dems not having the organization or the balls to counter...inclu ding Obama and his tax cuts for the rich. The only actual fight against any bill in the senate was by a liberal...they never made republican get up and actually filibuster anything, they just caved until a Democrat decided to fight tax cuts for the rich. That shows how much they (the Dems) wanted those cuts bad! They just didn't want to take the blame. They all suck...Dems and repubes alike!!! I'm voting socialist.
 
 
0 # J. Samuel Ray 2011-02-14 03:04
Victory for Democracy in Egypt - Pyrhic or Transformational?

I sincerely wish the good people of Egypt every success in seizing this historic moment and turn it into the beginning of a new era. But I would be less than candid if I failed to point out that many "revolutions" have never found the momentum to sustain themselves. The one I lived through first hand a third of a century ago gives me pause before allowing myself to fully rejoice for Egypt today.
The Marcos - Acquino transition in the Philippines - a bloodless coup by an intelligent, civilized population and an ethical, professional military. Had great hopes it would endure. Acquino's fundamental problem was that she did not have a sufficient power-base at the provincial level to govern effectively at the "grass-roots" - the system has been "fed" on patronage for so long that it had become institutionaliz ed - without Marcos and his cronies passing out money and favors, there was no "cash-flow" in the political system - so the "powerful" elite were suddenly broke...with no alternative source of income. The easiest alternative was for them to revive the old system of patronage, so everything steadily reverted to the way it was before the revolution, and Acquino's support evaporated as soon as the provincial chiefs realized that they were poorer under Acquino than they had been under Marcos.
 
 
0 # J. Samuel Ray 2011-02-14 03:06
Victory for Democracy in Egypt - Pyrhic or Transformationa l? (continued)


A "feudal" system must be replaced by something else - a viable economic model - or the most capable people in society become too hungry too fast and fall back into patterns that allowed them to eat...and - sadly - you can't eat "democracy." The key is always a redistribution of wealth - the only form of government that can retain popular support is one that can assure people that they will continue to be sustained, reasonably safe, sheltered, and fed. Without that assurance, even highly moral people will revert to patterns that compromise their intellectual and spiritual well-being just to get a few more basic physical necessities. Deprivation is a heinous weapon that too often enables dreadful people to gain control of people's minds by starving their bodies, then promising even a little relief from the famine. I hope Egypt prospers and succeeds with democracy...bec ause if they do not prosper, they will not succeed.
 
 
0 # J. Samuel Ray 2011-02-14 03:07
Victory in Egypt - Pyrrhic or Transformationa l (continued)

That simple, if unpleasant truth has been just below the surface in the modernization of every country in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America...and is in full play in the United States today - any government that can improve living conditions for the greatest number (even if not equitably) will prosper and survive; any government that fails to create the conditions in which there is more misery than satisfaction is doomed. Despite all our high-minded political philosophies, the simple truth is that humans do not bite the hand that feeds them, and will not support any leadership that lets them drown. Economics is the mother of all social sciences and humanities - politics, sociology, philosophy and the pursuit of most intellectual endeavors are predicated on a full stomach. Only the sciences and the arts thrive on poverty - because science tries to find a better way to overcome hardship, and the arts are often a means of expressing and coping with injustice and discomfort. I wish Egypt well. They have the Earth's oldest tradition behind them - which may give them the tools to climb out of feudalism...or may drag them back into its clutches. As with most political change. only time will tell.

Sam
 

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