Monday, February 21, 2011

The Republi-CON Reagan Myth (and What Obama Can Learn From It)

UPDATE III: Reagan once said: "Someday it might be worthwhile to find out how images are created — and even more worthwhile to learn how false images come into being."

And just in time for President's Day Weekend, a new film examines the myth of Reagan, who according to The New York Times, Reagan and Reality:

"[Presented} himself — and has since been presented by his admirers — as someone committed to the best interests of ordinary, hard-working Americans. Yet his economic policies, Reaganomics, dealt a body blow to that very constituency.

Mark Hertsgaard, the author of 'On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency,' says in the film, 'You cannot be fair in your historical evaluation of Ronald Reagan if you don’t look at the terrible damage his economic policies did to this country.' . .

What we get with Reagan are a series of disconnects and contradictions that have led us to a situation in which a president widely hailed as a hero of the working class set in motion policies that have been mind-bogglingly beneficial to the wealthy and devastating to working people and the poor. . .

[T]he economic revolution that gained steam during the Reagan years and is still squeezing the life out of the middle class and the poor that is Reagan’s most significant legacy. A phony version of that legacy is relentlessly promoted by right-wingers who shamelessly pursue the interests of the very rich while invoking the Reagan brand to give the impression that they are in fact the champions of ordinary people."

Shall we have a WEBY meet-up to watch the film?

UPDATE II: "Some Republicans, I suppose, might be so enraptured by the Reagan legend that they are unaware of his actual record. I hate to break it to Sarah Palin, but Reagan raised taxes. Often. Sometimes by a lot.

When he took office as governor of California in 1967, the state faced a huge budget deficit. Reagan promptly raised taxes by $1 billion - at a time when the entire state budget amounted to just $6 billion. It was then the biggest state tax increase in history. During Reagan's eight years in Sacramento, the top state income tax rate increased from 7 percent to 11 percent. Business and sales taxes also soared. . .

[As president, Reagan] raised taxes 11 times, beginning with the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982. . .

Reagan had promised to eliminate the departments of Energy and Education, but he didn't. Instead, he signed legislation that added to the Cabinet a new Department of Veterans Affairs. . .

[Now,] the Republican Party has lost its mind. The GOP argues for deep across-the-board budget cuts of a kind that Reagan ultimately rejected. Party leaders denounce the belief that government can do any good for anybody as "socialism." "

Read the Washington Post, The GOP's selective memory on Ronald Reagan.

UPDATE: Did you know that "[f]ederal spending grew by an average of 2.5 percent a year, adjusted for inflation, while Reagan was president. The national debt exploded, increasing from about $700 billion to nearly $3 trillion." This despite the fact that "Reagan raised taxes six of the eight years he was in office."

And I bet you didn't know that "Reagan was in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants, [and] he signed a bill to give amnesty to 2.6 million illegal immigrants in the United States."

To better understand Republi-con mythology, read the Washington Post, Five myths about Ronald Reagan's legacyand HBO documentary explores Reagan's myths, mysteries, which shows that "Reagan-the-man refuses to conform to Reagan-the-myth, a figure [the documentary shows that ] has been created by political opportunists to brand policies and agendas Reagan himself would likely oppose."

"The present-day radicals donning Reagan drag, led by Sarah Palin, seem not to know, as Cannon writes, that their hero lurched “from excessive tax cuts to corrective tax increases disguised as tax reform” and “submitted eight unbalanced budgets to Congress in succession.” Reagan made no promise whatsoever of a balanced budget in the document that codified Reaganomics, his White House’s 281-page message to Congress in February 1981. The historian Gil Troy has calculated that spending on entitlement programs more than doubled on Reagan’s watch. America slid into debtor-nation status, and Americans “went from owing 16 cents for every dollar in national income in 1981” to owing 44 cents per dollar in 1988. . .

What Reagan did know was how to deliver a message, even if that message belied his policies or actions or the facts."

Read The New York Times, Let Obama’s Reagan Revolution Begin.

Funny Talking Animal Voiceovers

It's Monday, and if you need a good laugh, watch: