On Monday, January 24th USAToday ran a major feature on Ronald Reagan.
The Ronald Reagan I remember is very different from the idealized version offered in that paper.
As Governor, Reagan helped California’s public schools slip from #2 ranking to a #26 in just 8 years; in the aftermath of the killings at Kent State in May, 1970, to calm the exploding emotions Governor Reagan declared that:
“If blood is to run in the streets so be it!”
… and unleashed the brutals to attack the state’s students. In response, the University of Southern California summarily ended the semester weeks early, and, in a direct challenge to Reagan’s orders, awarded students grades and degrees.
As President he introduced America to deficit spending even along side tax increases, -yes increases -, made necessary by his massive increase in military spending. He insisted on a 600 ship Navy against the advice of his admirals; spent billions to retrofit World War II era battleships – only to order dozens of his 600 ships and battleships decommission soon after he left office.
In fact why was Ronald Reagan a Republican?
Because as President of the Screen Actors Guild in the late forties, Reagan, then a Democrat stuck on the acting ‘B’ list, used his position as President of the Guild to give names to the McCarthy’s Anti-Communist hearings hoping to remove some competition. For his dirty deeds the Democrats and Screen Actors kicked him out, and he slid to the ‘C’ list hosting ‘Death Valley Days’ and started looking for a new career.
Does anyone remember Iran-Contra – when Reagan was secretly dealing drugs to supply weapons; working with a ‘terrorist’ country ( Iran ) the administration had publically condemned while arming the Contra’s in direct violation of a Congressional act.
The list could be longer. Dishonor and disrespect, those are things Ronald Reagan might be remembered for.