[In the end history may determine that Reagan did more long term harm to the U.S. than Bush II now under the gun.

Reagan’s pre-presidential history was none too impressive (as was Bush II’s). He was by any estimate a third rate actor who nevertheless had made a bundle in 3rd rate flicks that appealed to mass audiences. At some point along the way he must have determined that making and keeping his big bucks was more important than working as a lobbyist for less successful fellow actors and his political weather vane switched over from caring liberal Screen Actors Guild head to greedy conservative:

http://www.sag.org/history/presidents/reagan.html

Such political/economic switches are not rare when people make it big. And the cool (one could say somewhat psychopathic) Reagan was not manifestly a caring person (or parent either to judge from his children’s reactions to him).

The big switches that came under Reagan were mainly his allowing the military-industrial complex to run wild under the ostensible excuse that we were defeating the Soviet Union thereby (which historians have since pointed out was falling under its own weight and the efforts of a couple of decent leaders).

The main contribution that Reagan made, however, was to hamstring government regulation which is essential to curb unrestrained corporate greed. Your credit card company has you hooked and tells you that it is raising your interest rates to 31.99%? Thank Mr. Reagan. You can’t afford life-saving medications or medical care? Ditto. The oligarchs were unleashed by the Gipper. Those of us in philosophy cringe at the takeover of government by actors. Frankly, ancient Greece had that problem, too — the sophists who were clever speakers who conned their hearers with nonsense made appealing to the basest of human motives. A Socrates who struggled in vain to enunciate the truth was executed for his efforts (as was Jesus, while we are at it). These people care about nothing but their own personal gain and the devil take the hindmost — let the poor die off quickly so that we don’t have to waste Social Security outlays on them.

Enough said. Reagan was the first of our con artist presidents — a third rate actor who could say his lines convincingly. May we never be so hooked again. There looks to be another one waiting in the wings. The NY Times editorial below more or less captures the real mentality (or lack of it) of the man. I suppose that what Reagan and Bush II have shared is speech writers who could put words into their mouths that they could deliver to us naive believers in our Commander in Chiefs — from the “evil empire” to the “axis of evil” — rather a dangerously improvised way to formulate critical governmental policies! Ed Kent]

…………………………….

The Gipper as Diarist
Anyone hungering for historical disclosure and nuance in
Ronald Reagan’s presidential diaries will have to settle
for a prosaic and amiably unrevealing drone.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/opinion/06sun4.html?th&emc=th


“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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