Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

By Robert Parry
June 3, 2009

There’s been talk that George W. Bush was so inept that he should trademark the phrase “Worst President Ever,” though some historians would bestow that title on pre-Civil War President James Buchanan. Still, a case could be made for putting Ronald Reagan in the competition.

Read on.

39 comments:

big em said...

Exactly right, Mr. Parry! While we can quibble indefinitely about who is the 'worst' president, Reagan is undoubtedly in the top five for that honor. A shuck-and-jive huckster who (like many conservative politicians) seldom practiced the 'morality' in his personal life that he espoused on the podium, he was the epitome of 'style over substance' in the politicians of our generation -- but what could you expect when you nominate/elect a former B-movie actor to office?

JOHN L. OPPERMA said...

While a B-minus actor (at best), his very 2nd rate performances were enough to snow many gullibles and in doing so opened the door to those following, and set the stage (no pun) for other bad actors.
In reality, he was also a 2nd rate, class b-minus human being (at best). Just look at his history, a weird, almost freakish background, and deceitfull most of the way.
~john L.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I love your site and I like this article quite a bit. I absolutely despise Reagan and I am sick of the cult the Right has built around this barely intellectually functional crypto-fascist. Would like to note that "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was actually by Bobby McFerrin not Bob Marley. And G.H.W. Bush tried to use it as his campaign theme but McFerrin forced him to stop.

Marc aka Mahatma Mahdi said...

Part One: I was deceived by the early Reagan years. I was in the Army and things got better. There was still a stigma of the Iranian Hostages, where I was acquainted with one of the rescuers. We had lost faith and Reagan appeared to restore it. The bluster of the White House and the lavish spending seemed to help. But unfortunately, it was just a sugar rush. When it wore off there was a price to pay. I even wrote to Reagan and he wrote notes back. But in the second term, the notes stopped. Instead I get a policy paper from the State Department. One I must say disturbed me. These were ideas I gave up in my late teen years. The illusion burst for me as the military spending slowed, the political world was full of scandals and it appeared that someone else was really in charge. Then there were the cuts in the military. While bickering to be promoted before I re-enlisted, I received orders saying I was one of the lucky 7,000 volunteers who were to get an early out. I was supposed to have even left a month before. I gave the Army one last chance to promote me. I had done excellent at the board, but it meant I would have to leave where I was working. Once they refused, I started clearing as my papers said I was gone already along with a couple of others who got the same papers. None of us volunteered by the way.

Marc aka Mahatma Mahdi said...

Part Two: I went off to college after that in hopes of becoming a teacher. The scandals continued and it seemed that the V.P. was heading for 4 more years of cover ups and scandals. I had an instructor in Modern U.S. History who got me to look into the Reagan years. Back when Reagan was shot and Bush for a while was C.i.C. I started looking into who this Bush character was. Character is kind. I didn’t like what I found. I had suspicions that the real ring leader in the last term was Bush. Reagan tried to reassert himself near the end, but he never was really in charge. But this Bush guy was bad news, so was the whole Bush family. I first heard of GW from a reservist who knew him from Midland and bragged about the lavish cocaine parties GW had. This at a time when his mother would be on TV telling kids to just say no, when her own son was knocking down $3,000 worth of cocaine a weekend with all the expensive hard liquor one could consume.
I was one of the lucky ones in a way. When I was stationed in Texas many of those I went to high school with were in the Huston area. There were giant tent cities as unemployment was rampant. In the county in Michigan where we came from it was 28% unemployment! It was the start of out sourcing. Many of the small manufacturing plants in Northern Michigan were moving away. Many were for auto parts, others plastics, injection molding and electronics. I was insulated and isolated in the military. The war on drugs was taking a toll also. What else were the jobless to do?

Marc aka Mahatma Mahdi said...

Part Three: The more I learned about Reagan, the more I felt duped. Truly it was a time of illusion and smoke and mirrors. I always wondered why there was such a cover up of all the attacks in Germany on our Military. Sure people heard of the bombing in the Berlin Disco, but what about the bombings in Gelnhousen, Hanua and the rest? Where was the reporting on all the boondoggle projects the Military was was spending vast sums on? The news stories of the protests against the Pershing II missiles in Europe? Had not Dan Johnson side tracked us at the last minute to check out a burlesque show before going into the 1980 Octoberfest, we would have been blown up. Thank goodness his Mother was a Las Vegas showgirl.
The Cold War was a great deception on the American people. I have been playing war games since I was 12. I’ve played many on this period. I can never win as a Soviet player because I have inferior equipment and need three times as much to win. For all their bluster the Soviet Union was on the defensive, unless they went nuclear from the start massively. But we fail to remember that it was the USA that was the ONLY country that used nuclear weapons. The brinkman ship of the Reagan years was pure recklessness. They were scared of us, more than we of them. It is this aspect that many fail to realize that made these years some of the most unsafe for all human kind. The hubris in the White House because of the illusion they spun did not win the Cold War. It prolonged it. Still, somewhere deep inside me, I like Reagan, hate his policies, like deregulation, the attack on science, the truth and all the suffering and misunderstanding they caused. But when it comes to worst, no he is number three, because he didn’t try at all.

Daniel J. McCarthy said...

Excellent piece, Mr. Parry. Reagan's post mortem deification seems to have finally run its course. History will treat him about as kindly as he treated the Air Traffic Controlers, I suspect.
Reagan's most insidious contribution to American politics was opening the door to union-busting, to the Big Lie of trickle-down economics, to the
usurpation of civil liberties, and to Newt Gingrich, all with an avuncular charm that somehow made it acceptable. Perhaps his greatest achievement was putting an end to the "Three Martini Lunch", and sicking the IRS's dogs on restaurant waiters and waitresses to raid their tip cups, whose total gross annual earnings would not equal the interest on US Sugar's subsidies for a quarter.
But Reagan's inaction on so many issues was more harmful than his actions. He will certainly go down in history as ONE of the worst presidents ever, but that last one reset the bar.
Perhaps worst of all, he made crypto-fascism fashionable. I despise the memory of him and hope I live long enough to see his name removed from Washington National, my favorite airport. I won't hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

Jeffeson Davis ws the worst president.

Tom said...

While I am heartened by this analysis, I'm also a little dismayed by a couple of things Reagan did which I think are even MORE insidious and long-term disastrous. First, he pressured the FCC to remove restrictions on media ownership and responsibility, paving the way for the corporate takeover of the 4th estate. That's a hard genie to put back in the bottle. Second, he began the politicization and corruption of our federal court system, with appointments like 9th Cir. Judge O'Scannlion, a timber industry lobbyist! Could you imagine Obama trying to appoint a lobbyist with no judicial experience to the second highest court in the land? This began a trend of right wing ideologues being appointed to the federal courts, now in the majority, which as an environmental attorney I can tell you is causing incredible damage and undermining democracy by ignoring laws they do not agree with. People still have no idea about this, though Bush v. Gore gave them a pretty good taste of judicial corruption.

gill bates said...

gee, ya think?
We used to laugh about how he was wound up like a toy and pushed out onto the stage.
He was a moron.

Stevo Harrington said...

One more thing about Reagan, the star wars program destroyed the profession of engineering in the USA, because it was absolute bullshit from an engineering perspective, it would never work, requiring a 10^12 improvement in laser performance, but it fooled the Russians and they tried to duplicate it, which helped 'win' the cold war. But what we lost was the respectability of scientists and engineers which has contributed to our current society where the word of Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly carries the same weight as that of a Nobel Laureate.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Drones. Bozo's. Idiots. Only Libs can talk about a President that honored this country and loved this country and back up a Bozo like Obama who only breeds hate for this country.
You are idiots.

zuzuzpetals said...

Great sum-up. Am emailing the link to everyone I know. Thanks again Mr. Parry.

Anonymous said...

If people had taken time to read David Stockman's Book, "The Triumph of Politics," much if not all of the destruction and degradation of this country could have been avoided. However that would require the american people to be less frightened about the countless things Ron used to get votes, to be less like sheeple, less like worms, and show some backbone. But lack of real education, nonideological education, and some real sophistication. So, it follows that at last, the American People are at fault entirely. These rodents just took advantage of country full of witless mopes. "In the kingdom of the witless, the Halfwit is king."

Anonymous said...

Peggy Noonan was an imposter from Canada whose original name was not Peggy. but Hughina.The CIA suspects her of soviet spying and informing on FBI agents to the Mafia, who executed them.The CIA imported her as Reagan's mistress, so if she was Soviet it was a big boo boo they would want to hide forever,by pretending she was a cloumnist for the Wall Street Journal.Reagan also did bad things to the Mafia,though again some of them fronted cash for the Iran Contra scheme.

Anonymous said...

Reaganites insist that we broke the Sovs by outspending them on weapons.The truth is often more than one reason.The Sovs collapsed internally because they could never physically supply their markets with goods.Markets can not be controlled, or they die.Capitalism needs the unrealistic possibility of getting rich, irrational incentive, or it will not work at all.This is immoral and wasteful but nothing can be done about it.

Blue! said...

I stumbled onto this blog while researching Reagan policies.
My reading and research has made it apparent that Ronald Reagan is the father of today's total mess. Reagan's deregulation of corporate interests, allowing investment houses to act as banks, demonization and smearing of his political opposition, criminalizing the poor and near poor, greasing the skids of American jobs leaving America. Under Reagan jobs went to South America and Mexico...under Clinton and Bush they shipped further to Asia; but make no mistake that jobs leaving America started with Reagan.
Ronald Reagan's southern strategy hindered and may have permanently damaged any racial healing the country was experiencing before his Presidency. Ronald Reagan appealed to and gave permission to act on our lowest natures of greed, racial prejudices, war mongering and mistrust of those not like us. Reagan's tough guy stances were beguiling to greedy shallow thinkers who lived in fear the unknown. Those without a curious bone in their bodies who accepted lies without investigation...the lazy prejudiced masses who only wanted to posses a "lifestyle of the rich and famous" another American fantasy with no backbone or substance...just like Ronald Reagan.

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pryorka said...

Probably the worst thing Reagan did that was left out here is that he taught the republican party to lie to the people they represent. He taught them corrupt practices and led them to rape the country for their personal gain. Conservatives used to actually be conservative, but ever since Reagan they've left us with a massive debt the democrats have struggled to balance. Clinton worked hand tooth and nail to get the budget balance and finally had us running a surplus, but then Bush II followed in Reagans footsteps and debt took off again.

So Reagan was definitely corrupt himself, but the worst was he taught the entire republican party to leave their past ideals and mislead the country rather than lead. To exploit America for their gain. Just stop and think.. Lincoln was republican, and we know his ideals are nearly complete opposite of the republican party today.

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