Sunday, February 06, 2011

He was a crook

That is the most important thing to remember about Ronald Reagan on his 100th birthday: He was every bit as vicious, venal, twisted, and crooked as Richard Nixon. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Reagan was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. He ran one of the most corrupt administrations in U.S. history -- over 138 Reagan Administration officials convicted or indicted, and his whole political career was based upon racism and the BIg Lie theory. Reagan was Limbaugh with a smile, a racist thug who would lie about his own mother's milk if that's what was necessary to attain his goals. Whether he was jibbering in 1962 about how Medicare would destroy democracy in America and turn the U.S. into a socialist hellhole of crumbling grey concrete tenements, empty store shelves, and tyranny and then later lying about it on national TV when confronted by Jimmy Carter, or blatantly pandering to racists by kicking off his Presidential campaign in a KKK strong hold and inventing fictional racial stereotypes to get racists to vote for him, Ronald Reagan was a liar of the first degree, a man who never let the truth stand in the way of getting where he wanted to be -- which was to be President of the United States. And once President, he then doubled taxes on the working class via his massive hike in the payroll tax (paid by workers) and his shifting of responsibilities once handled by the federal government to the states (which required the states to hike taxes drastically -- especially sales taxes which fall more harshly upon the poor, which went from 1% in my state to 8% by the end of the Reagan Administration) while slashing taxes for the rich, and set into play the economic dynamics of the next thirty years, where the rich got richer and the rest of us got the shaft, all the while pretending to be a "man of the people" -- while doing his best to discredit the only organization We The People can use to defend ourselves against predators -- that is, government, which, Reagan implied, was an alien imposition upon America rather than the way that We The People chose to provide ourselves with services that aren't economical or possible otherwise.

Ronald Reagan took Richard Nixon's maxim of "if the President does it, it can't be illegal" and used it to run a regime whose corruption in retrospect is astounding -- and he got away with it. He was not only a crook, but a smart crook, one who knew how to keep his own hands clean while his subordinates did his dirty work. And he set the tone for the next thirty years, by showing people like Rush Limbaugh and his ilk that they could blatantly lie and never be called on it by the media.

That, then, is Ronald Reagan and his toxic legacy. He is a man who did the most to create the environment of the past 30 years that has hollowed out the American economy and caused America's military might to become such a hollowed-out relic of its former self that a bunch of medieval asswipes with 1950's-era weapons beat it in Iraq and are beating it in Afghanistan. His anti-government anti-tax anarchist rhetoric resonated with the large number of Americans who want the benefits of living in a civilized nation but don't want to pay for it, his racist rhetoric and lies set the stage for people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to pollute our national discourse with hatred and lies, and we are all the poorer for it.

= Badtux the History Penguin

My own relationship with Ronald Reagan at the time was one of extreme distrust. I didn't "buy" his awe-shucks gee whiz schtick. Unfortunately these were the days prior to the Internet, and there simply was not the resources then to turn my suspicion that the man was a fraud into proof. In today's Internet era Reagan's many lies would have made his candidacy a mockery, he had too much history by the time he was elected in 1980 to survive Internet-level deep scrutiny. Unfortunately while the Internet has proven a boon for preventing experienced liars and crooks like Reagan from being elected, the result has been blank slates like George W. Bush and Barack Obama being elected, where you haven't the foggiest notion what they're going to do after election,

Blatantly inspired by Hunter S. Thompson's obituary for Richard Nixon. Too bad I'm not half the writer that Doc was...


  1. It would appear that republicans are continuing to live up to Reagan's image. The current crop are not any better.

  2. "Too bad I'm not half the writer that Doc was..."

    You do a damn good job, Badtux. It's why you're one of my daily reads. Well, that, and gratuitous cat pix. LOL

  3. Jerry, the current crop are idiots. Reagan merely *played* an idiot on the big screen (well, after Hinckley shot him he was never the same, my speculation is that the blood loss between the time he was shot and the time he got transfused at the hospital caused permanent brain damage there which was later covered up by the "Alzheimer's"). Reagan knew that the American people will buy any amount of bitter pills if you offer it with a smile and patriotic rhetoric. The current batch, with their weeping and ranting and dour visages, don't understand that it's not enough to push the policies of Reagan -- you have to push them with an aw-shucks smile.

    Reagan got his start as a salesman, first for his own B-actor services to Hollywood, then for General Electric, one of the most corrupt companies in the country at the time (indicted by the JFK administration for price-fixing of electrical goods). Reagan knew how to sell. The current batch of Republicans, on the other hand, don't survive extended contact with the general public. They're just too icky, like Oompa Loompa Boehner and his boner, which makes you want to just go "ick!" upon extended exposure to the slimeball.

    - Badtux the Sales Penguin

  4. I have always wondered about the canonization of Reagan. I was in grad school then and as an RA my stipend was tax free, it was calculated that way so at the end of the year you had enough for bed/board/books and maybe one movie then ended with $0. He changed it so we paid tax. That was a fun year, lucky I had some savings.

  5. Fabulous post. The only thing I might quibble with is that I'm convinced that Reagan had lots of help from Poppy and Poppy's moneyed constituents. I suppose you did cover that by using the term "puppet." though.

  6. I agree with Nunya that he was the choice when GHW wasn't popular enough with the 'thugs then, and that it was always a "Bush"-CIA-Big Business show (h/t Eisenhower).

    How does this description differ from that appropriate for Ken Lay (and Cheney when he finally gives up the ghost - and all the rest of the rats)?

    Not much.

    Hunter was a god.

    Thanks for the remembrance.

    Either way, an orgy of greed and duplicity was sure to follow any public hint that Nixon might have somehow faked his own death or been cryogenically transferred to fascist Chinese interests on the Central Asian Mainland.

    It would also play into the hands of those millions of self-stigmatized patriots like me who believe these things already.

    . . . He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him - except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat

  7. The current batch, with their weeping and ranting and dour visages, don't understand that it's not enough to push the policies of Reagan -- you have to push them with an aw-shucks smile.

    Actually, they don't push the policies of Reagan, who raised taxes 11 times during his 8 years, gave amnesty to illegal aliens, strongly believed in nuclear disarmament, dramatically grew the size of the federal government, armed Iran, and fertilized and enabled the gestation Al Qeada and he Taliban.

    The current Rethug party would have no place for either him or Goldwater.

    Reagan became president because he offered morning in America. A fucking lie, but it got him elected.

    I can't understand how or why anyone is stupid enough to vote for the current batch of rethugs.

    But they now run the house, and could well take over the senate next year.


  8. Jim, yeah, I remember when Reagan started the taxes on the grad school stipends. He also started taxing the Pell Grants, which he also slashed drastically. As a poor penguin from the wrong side of the tracks I qualified for the full grant. My first year in the Pell Grant program, not only did it pay for all of my tuition and books, but there was a tiny bit left over for a meal at McDonald's! By the time Reagan finished cutting the program, you could maybe buy a couple of textbooks with the proceeds of the grant, but you certainly weren't going to pay even in-state tuition at a state university -- I had to borrow money under the SLP (Slavery Lifetime Plan, since student loan debt is non-dischargable via bankruptcy and 15% of your wages will be garnished for life by your lender if you can't make payments) to do that.

    Nunya, Poppy wasn't much of a fan of Ronald Reagan. By all accounts they had a somewhat frosty relationship, Poppy felt Reagan was a Neanderthal, and Reagan felt Poppy was a preppy asshole.

    Bukko: Oh my. Far, far better than anything I've written on Reagan. Thank you!

    Jazz, you have to put Reagan in his time. Remember, we were coming off an era when liberalism dominated American politics, if he had put forward the current Republican agenda it would have gone down in flames. It took thirty years of Reaganism to get us to where we are today. From everything I've studied about the man, he would have agreed completely with the current Republican agenda -- with the single exception that he would have put a genial face on it to convince us all that hammering ourselves over the head with yet more failed policies was the right thing to do. I think he would have been quite upset with the strident rhetoric coming from Republicans today... but evil with a genial face on it is still evil, yo.

    -- Badtux the Rememberin' Penguin


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