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June 05, 2004

Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States, Dies in California

R.I.P., Dutch.

For my part, all I can say is that I didn't appreciate Reagan when he was President, as I was young, irresponsible, and stupid. In other words, I was a liberal, or at least I thought I was.

But I still remember clearly my Reagan moment, the moment I realized that maybe this guy wasn't so stupid, evil, or crazy as often claimed. A lot of people had had their Reagan moment in November 1980-- that's how he got elected, after all. Mine took a while.

Right after the Libyans had blown up flight 103 (or whatever outrage they'd perpetrated), Reagan, of course, went on TV to announce that we were bombing Tripoli.

I remember listening to a radio station that night, the one I favored at the time, which was a college alternative/punk station. And I thought those DJ's were pretty cool. They played the Flying Lizards and Camper Van Beethoven and, once in a while, just to mix it up, even the Sweet's Barroom Blitz.

Anyway, they were all droning on and on as if it were a funeral for a king, how horrible it was that America was retaliating, how terrible it was that we had a warmonger idiot for President.

And I remember having a frenzy of cognitive dissonance. I wanted to agree with them, I wanted to believe the received wisdom of the hate-America left, I wanted to parrot the sophisticated blather of the intellectual swells. Or even the swells who ran dinky radio stations.

So even as I strained to get as outraged about the attack on Tripoli as they did (and of course I don't even need to mention they weren't outraged at all about the bombing of flight 103; they didn't even mention it between songs), I couldn't help noticing that the things they were saying, while undoubtedly true, were also undoubtedly the worst bullshit I ever heard in my young life.

They blew up an airplane, killing hundreds of Americans-- and the crime here was that we were bombing the bombers?

This is all so very terrible, said the good-boy liberal part of my brain.

Are you out of your fucking mind?! asked a different part of my brain, this part less socially-acceptable but also a great deal more sensible and vital.

Within a couple of hours of going back and forth, I decided the first part of my brain was a fucking hippie fruitcake, and really ought not be consulted on solemn matters of foreign policy.

I think that was the first psychic shock that disturbed me out of my complacent, sheep-like belief in liberalism. There would be more to follow (Michael Dukakis pretty much sealed the deal), but it was Reagan's defiant resolve against terrorism in 1986 that set me on the path to questioning the received wisdom of the left and then finally rejecting it.

Thanks for understanding what so many of your intellectual "superiors" couldn't or wouldn't-- that when bad men attack America, good men attack back. The enemy in war isn't "violence," as the left claims. The enemy in war is the fucking enemy. Period.

Thanks for that airstrike, Dutch.

Update: Stix has a compilation of Reagan quotes, some embarassing and the type offered by liberals as proof of his stupidity, but most of them inspiring or humorous.

John Hawkins of Right Wing News has reaction from the blogosphere, and a reprint of a tribute he wrote on Reagan's 92nd birthday.

I Read the NYT Obituary So That You Don't Have To: This is a Kausfiles schtick, but a good one. Here's a part I liked, regarding Reagan's job as a baseball radio announcer:

His commentary became an exercise of imagination; he never saw any of the games he described so vividly. Instead, he recreated them from telegraphic reports from Chicago. In his 1965 autobiography, Mr. Reagan described what happened the day the wire went dead: "I had a ball on the way to the plate and there was no way to call it back. At the same time, I was convinced that a ball game tied up in the ninth inning was no time to tell my audience we had lost contact with the game." He proceeded to give meticulous descriptions of what may be the longest series of foul balls in baseball history, even describing in detail the redheaded boy who scrambled for a souvenir ball. It was a story he loved to tell.

The rest of the obit is typical liberal crap. They use a very unflattering quote from liberal historian (of course) Lou Cannon to describe his famous, political-star-making speech on behalf of Goldwater:

On Oct. 27, 1964, a washed-up 53-year-old movie actor named Ronald Reagan made a speech on national television on behalf of a Republican presidential candidate who had no chance to be elected. . . . Most of Reagan's address was standard, antigovernment boilerplate larded with emotional denunciations of Communism and a celebration of individual freedom. His statistics were sweeping and in some cases dubious. His best lines were cribbed from Franklin Roosevelt, and he quoted from nearly everybody else as well."

Yes, yes. It was the speech that made him Governor of California two years later, and President of the United States sixteen years later. Obviously, it was pap.

No lines from this historic speech are quoted, of course.

And his years in office? Why, even in an obituary, the liberal take on Reagan is the only take offered:

Washington had not seen a president like Ronald Reagan for a long time. He showed no lust for power. He seemed to have no need to prove that he could work harder, or longer, on less sleep than anybody. Where his predecessor was criticized for involving himself in every detail, Mr. Reagan was a 9-to-5 president, a chairman of the board.

He delegated authority to his staff. Associates said he left details to subordinates and tended to rely on 3-by-5 index cards that they gave him for information he needed at meetings. He paced himself, got a good night's sleep and took afternoon naps when he could.

Ah. A dunce and a slacker who liked to take naps and knock off early.

Don't bother reading this crap.

Oh wait, you weren't going to bother anyway.



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posted by Ace at 04:56 PM

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