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Thread: The myth of Ronald Reagan: Coming to your bookstore in 2009

  1. #1

    The myth of Ronald Reagan: Coming to your bookstore in 2009

    By Will Bunch

    [url]http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/The_myth_of_Ronald_Reagan_Coming_to_your_bookstore_in_2009.html[/url]

    The towering bronze statue pictured above stands guard over the entrance of the Reagan Library in Simi Valley -- it's called "After the Ride" and it depicts Ronald Reagan -- Midwesterner-turned-movie-star-turned-governor-turned-president - in the mythical guise of something he was not (except in a couple of "B" movies), a swashbuckling cowboy. Stetson hat in hand.

    It's quite a tribute -- but almost every week now there is one like it somewhere in America, often in places that Reagan never set foot, like Covington, La. -- where just this week an even larger bronze statue of the Gipper was unveiled , some 9-feet tall, standing watch over a trail head in a town where neither the public or its elected officials had asked for it. Instead, the world's largest Reagan statue was placed there and paid for by the foundation of late oilman Patrick Taylor. The Louisiana entrepreneur started Taylor Energy in 1979, the year before Reagan was elected and two years before Reagan dramatically reduced taxes on big oil and began slashing tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. Today, Taylor's widow is said to be the richest person in the entire state, worth $1.6 billion; it's surprising the statue wasn't cast from solid gold.

    But why wouldn't there be Reagan tributes from coast-to-coast, from New Hampshire's Mt. Reagan to the brand-new Reagan Medical Center at UCLA, a branch of the school that Reagan himself once decried as a hotbed of socialism and orgies? Haven't you been paying attention to the 2008 presidential race?

    It was Reagan who not only single-handedly won the Cold War and toppled the Berlin Wall but also caused the greatest economic turnaround in American history, and that's not all. It was Reagan who looked Iran in the eye and caused them to give up our hostages in a matter of minutes, who taught us that "deficits don't matter" and was steadfast about never increasing taxes, who never compromised, who reduced federal spending and ended big government -- as so many political candidates have told us. He was the most popular president in modern American history -- and if only he were still in the White House today, he would have dealt sternly with illegal immigrants and appointed hard-line conservatives to the Supreme Court -- but we know he would never negotiate with terrorists, "cut and run" from a difficult military situation, or talk to our enemies.

    As Reagan himself said (attempting to quote John Adams) in 1988, "facts are stubborn things." OK, actually when he said it, it came out initially as "facts are stupid things." The irony is that nearly 20 years after Reagan left office, neither is true -- facts are largely irrelevant, especially as we create these false idols of our 40th president. There is a Ronald Reagan myth in this country, and it is already causing great harm to our politics, and will do even more damage if we don't tackle it head-on.

    The image of Reagan was all but hijacked by an ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party in the late 1990s when its movement was at low ebb, lacking in new ideas and charismatic candidates. Amazingly, they've managed to whitewash both what was horrible about Reagan's record (the growing gap between rich and poor, the Constitutional abuses of Iran-contra, and ignoring of homelessness and AIDS) and a few things that were actually pretty good (his willingness to talk with the Soviets and other enemies, reluctance to use force that would cause civilian collateral damage, which he called "terrorism itself," and pragmatism on some other issues) to create a Reagan who never existed, who would continue to cut taxes no matter how large the debt and who believed not just in a strong military but in throwing its weight around.

    Reagan's distorted legacy will loom over our next president, whether it's John McCain, who flip-flopped on taxes to appease key GOP power broker Grover Norquist, the head of the Reagan Legacy project, or Barack Obama, who has cited Reagan's political optimism as an influence and whose recent moves to the political right is raising new doubt about whether he can alter the course that was set nearly three decades ago.

    Unless something is done to correct the myth.

    I'd be ignoring the stubborn facts if I didn't acknowledge that there are a lot of books about Reagan -- but none have truly tackled what has happened in the years since he vanished from public life and his 2004 death, his distorted legacy and its warping impact on our political debate. That's why I'm more excited about the project that I am currently working on than anything I've done before: A full-length, hardcover book about the Reagan legacy that will be published in the early part of next year by Free Press, which is an imprint of Simon & Schuster. There's already a working title and a cover and a proposed release date, but for several reasons I'm going to continue to keep those under wraps for now. As the market for progressive volumes grows, I'm hoping to be able to take both this book and the underlying issue to a broad audience with the help of Free Press, my friends in the blogging community, and -- as they say on public TV -- people like you.

    And yes, there's a practical reason I'm telling you this now. Although the project is surprisingly far along, I'm going to be taking my 2008 time off between the July 4 holiday and sometime in mid-August to finish the writing. That means that Attytood will be on something of a summer hiatus -- my tentative plan is to put up daily open threads so you guys can keep talking to each other, but probably nothing else (unless if there's more news related to the book). I'll be back full-time for both conventions and the excitement, hopefully, of the fall campaign, and the election of our 44th president.

    Who won't be Ronald Reagan -- no matter what he tells you.
    Last edited by intelligentjetsfan; 07-08-2008 at 06:39 PM.

  2. #2
    This sounds like a very interesting read

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg;2619344]This sounds like a very interesting read[/QUOTE]

    Thank you. I came across this and its seems very relevant considering how the primary season developed. The people pushing this myth about Reagan our being intellectually dishonest as the author points out. And by doing so, they are missing the good things that he actually did.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2619332]The image of Reagan was all but hijacked by an ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party in the late 1990s when its movement was at low ebb, lacking in new ideas and charismatic candidates. [/QUOTE]

    That's why it cracked me up seeing CBNY's old "What he said" avatar of Reagan.

    If some of the conservatives on JI actually followed "what he said" they wouldn't be pushing half the stuff they do now or act as they do.
    Last edited by SMC; 07-08-2008 at 07:10 PM.

  5. #5
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    I honestly think republicans know that he is over hyped. They just don't like to admit it because he's the best that they've had recently even though he was just average. Same way Democrats talk about Clinton because he's the best that they've had recently. I mean, if you could switch Bill Clinton's two terms back to 1977-1985 and move Jimmy Carter to 1997-2001 and then have Bill Clinton die then it would be a very similar situation with Democrats talking about Clinton as if he was the best thing since sliced bread just like the Republicans are doing about Reagan.

  6. #6
    Wouldn't JKF be a conservative by today's standards? You know, the whole cutting taxes, being aggressive against threats (Vietnam, Bay of Pigs), so maybe it is you who have a distorted image of JFK as the idealistic liberal. Just saying.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=JetsVault03;2619364]Wouldn't JKF be a conservative by today's standards? You know, the whole cutting taxes, being aggressive against threats (Vietnam, Bay of Pigs), so maybe it is you who have a distorted image of JFK as the idealistic liberal. Just saying.[/QUOTE]

    I never said JFK was the idealistic liberal. In fact, thats not even JFK on my avatar, its Bobby Kennedy. ;)

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2619332]By Will Bunch

    [url]http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/The_myth_of_Ronald_Reagan_Coming_to_your_bookstore_in_2009.html[/url]

    The towering bronze statue pictured above stands guard over the entrance of the Reagan Library in Simi Valley -- it's called "After the Ride" and it depicts Ronald Reagan -- Midwesterner-turned-movie-star-turned-governor-turned-president - in the mythical guise of something he was not (except in a couple of "B" movies), a swashbuckling cowboy. Stetson hat in hand.

    It's quite a tribute -- but almost every week now there is one like it somewhere in America, often in places that Reagan never set foot, like Covington, La. -- where just this week an even larger bronze statue of the Gipper was unveiled , some 9-feet tall, standing watch over a trail head in a town where neither the public or its elected officials had asked for it. Instead, the world's largest Reagan statue was placed there and paid for by the foundation of late oilman Patrick Taylor. The Louisiana entrepreneur started Taylor Energy in 1979, the year before Reagan was elected and two years before Reagan dramatically reduced taxes on big oil and began slashing tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. Today, Taylor's widow is said to be the richest person in the entire state, worth $1.6 billion; it's surprising the statue wasn't cast from solid gold.

    But why wouldn't there be Reagan tributes from coast-to-coast, from New Hampshire's Mt. Reagan to the brand-new Reagan Medical Center at UCLA, a branch of the school that Reagan himself once decried as a hotbed of socialism and orgies? Haven't you been paying attention to the 2008 presidential race?

    It was Reagan who not only single-handedly won the Cold War and toppled the Berlin Wall but also caused the greatest economic turnaround in American history, and that's not all. It was Reagan who looked Iran in the eye and caused them to give up our hostages in a matter of minutes, who taught us that "deficits don't matter" and was steadfast about never increasing taxes, who never compromised, who reduced federal spending and ended big government -- as so many political candidates have told us. He was the most popular president in modern American history -- and if only he were still in the White House today, he would have dealt sternly with illegal immigrants and appointed hard-line conservatives to the Supreme Court -- but we know he would never negotiate with terrorists, "cut and run" from a difficult military situation, or talk to our enemies.

    As Reagan himself said (attempting to quote John Adams) in 1988, "facts are stubborn things." OK, actually when he said it, it came out initially as "facts are stupid things." The irony is that nearly 20 years after Reagan left office, neither is true -- facts are largely irrelevant, especially as we create these false idols of our 40th president. There is a Ronald Reagan myth in this country, and it is already causing great harm to our politics, and will do even more damage if we don't tackle it head-on.

    The image of Reagan was all but hijacked by an ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party in the late 1990s when its movement was at low ebb, lacking in new ideas and charismatic candidates. Amazingly, they've managed to whitewash both what was horrible about Reagan's record (the growing gap between rich and poor, the Constitutional abuses of Iran-contra, and ignoring of homelessness and AIDS) and a few things that were actually pretty good (his willingness to talk with the Soviets and other enemies, reluctance to use force that would cause civilian collateral damage, which he called "terrorism itself," and pragmatism on some other issues) to create a Reagan who never existed, who would continue to cut taxes no matter how large the debt and who believed not just in a strong military but in throwing its weight around.

    Reagan's distorted legacy will loom over our next president, whether it's John McCain, who flip-flopped on taxes to appease key GOP power broker Grover Norquist, the head of the Reagan Legacy project, or Barack Obama, who has cited Reagan's political optimism as an influence and whose recent moves to the political right is raising new doubt about whether he can alter the course that was set nearly three decades ago.

    Unless something is done to correct the myth.

    I'd be ignoring the stubborn facts if I didn't acknowledge that there are a lot of books about Reagan -- but none have truly tackled what has happened in the years since he vanished from public life and his 2004 death, his distorted legacy and its warping impact on our political debate. That's why I'm more excited about the project that I am currently working on than anything I've done before: A full-length, hardcover book about the Reagan legacy that will be published in the early part of next year by Free Press, which is an imprint of Simon & Schuster. There's already a working title and a cover and a proposed release date, but for several reasons I'm going to continue to keep those under wraps for now. As the market for progressive volumes grows, I'm hoping to be able to take both this book and the underlying issue to a broad audience with the help of Free Press, my friends in the blogging community, and -- as they say on public TV -- people like you.

    And yes, there's a practical reason I'm telling you this now. Although the project is surprisingly far along, I'm going to be taking my 2008 time off between the July 4 holiday and sometime in mid-August to finish the writing. That means that Attytood will be on something of a summer hiatus -- my tentative plan is to put up daily open threads so you guys can keep talking to each other, but probably nothing else (unless if there's more news related to the book). I'll be back full-time for both conventions and the excitement, hopefully, of the fall campaign, and the election of our 44th president.

    Who won't be Ronald Reagan -- no matter what he tells you.[/QUOTE]

    You want a real myth? Check your avatar.

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=JetsFanatic;2619417]You want a real myth? Check your avatar.[/QUOTE]

    um, what myth are you talking about? And what does that have to do with the thread topic? This is about Ronald Reagan and the myth that has been created by some of the [I]extreme[/I] right who needed a hero to champion their cause. When the [I]extreme[/I] right could not find one, they simply invented one.

    If you want to start a thread debating Bobby Kennedy (thats not JFK ;)) I will be more then happy to get into it. Just be prepared to back up your assertions with facts or you'll be shut down. ;)

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2619432]um, what myth are you talking about? And what does that have to do with the thread topic? This is about Ronald Reagan and the myth that has been created by some of the [I]extreme[/I] right who needed a hero to champion their cause. When the [I]extreme[/I] right could not find one, they simply invented one.

    If you want to start a thread debating Bobby Kennedy (thats not JFK ;)) I will be more then happy to get into it. Just be prepared to back up your assertions with facts or you'll be shut down. ;)[/QUOTE]

    I never said it was JFK, so don't be a wise ass.

    I understand you're a teacher. Where is your school located, Fantasy Land?
    Last edited by JetsFanatic; 07-08-2008 at 07:58 PM.

  11. #11
    im 52 years old so I lived before R.R. and after with great recollection. I can honestly say you better thank you lucky stars we had him as POTUS.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=JetsFanatic;2619435]I never said it was JFK, so don't be a wise ass.

    I understand you're a teacher. Where is your school located, Fantasy Land?[/QUOTE]

    Better then Gilligan's Island, which is the what our country has been like for the past seven plus years. ;)

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2619448]Better then Gilligan's Island, which is the what our country has been like for the past seven plus years. ;)[/QUOTE]

    At least your a Jets fan.;)

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=JetsFanatic;2619450]At least your a Jets fan.;)[/QUOTE]

    That is the common ground that we must remember :yes:

  15. #15
    Do you ever have an original thought besides Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V?

  16. #16
    [QUOTE=acepepe;2619439]im 52 years old so I lived before R.R. and after with great recollection. I can honestly say you better thank you lucky stars we had him as POTUS.[/QUOTE]I'm 45 and am curious as to why we should be thankful.I remember the era oh too well. I got out of high school in 80 and it was not good times for most that I knew as I recall.

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg;2619344]This sounds like a very interesting read[/QUOTE]

    Looks like agenda driven dribble.

    Whether you think RR perculator theory economics were great or noxious, whether you give him a piece or all of the credit for peaceably winning the cold war, there is one ting that Reagen did that demands gratitude. RR made being American matter again. Between Nixon and Carter, our spirit had sunk about as low as it could get (far, far worse than now, Dawggg). RR was the face that spearheaded the about face at a time when we desperately needed it.

    Like every other President RR, was flawed and not perfect. But he reigned over an era when America got back up on its feet and gained balance after the distaers that were the 60s and 70s.

    Anyone who puts the flaws before the results is missing the point. I have heard it said (but do not know for sure) that Martin Luther King, Jr. was guilty of adulterous affairs. If th is is true, it is not the core nor should it be our memory of the man. MLK, Jr led one of the greatest movements we will ever see. That is his legacy.

    RRs legacy is that he brought honor back to being an American.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2619369]I never said JFK was the idealistic liberal. In fact, thats not even JFK on my avatar, its Bobby Kennedy. ;)[/QUOTE]

    I was born the day Bobby was assassinated...

  19. #19
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    Just another pathetic and transparent attempt to re-write history by yet another liberal idiot. It's no different than the tactics they use with the the disgraceful "history" books they push on our country's schools.

  20. #20
    [QUOTE=JetsFanatic;2619450]At least your a Jets fan.;)[/QUOTE]

    Strike Two....

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