Now is no time to be uncharitable. Ronald Reagan died a long, lingering death that was doubtless heartbreaking for everyone close to him. I never thought I’d find myself saying so, but I admire Nancy Reagan for responding to her husband’s decline by taking on the fundamentalists and flat-earthers (like Bush and cronies) to demand more aggressive embryonic stem-cell research that might lead to treatments for Alzheimer’s. Good for her.
As for the former president himself, it must be noted from the Infospigot perspective that he became the answer to a big presidential trivia question: Which former chief executive lived to the greatest age? (I think John Adams, who remained lucid to the end, was the former title holder; he died at age 90, but that’s a well-known story).
Standing apart from the instant canonization and overnight hagiography of Reagan the Great, the Pious, the Good-Humored, the Brave, the Handsome, the Rugged, the Well-Spoken (who looks especially good when compared with the resident White House squatter), let us remember the Ron who (short list, and everyone has their own favorites):
–Played war heroes and talked tough, but never served in the ranks himself.
–Declared with relish that he would “loose the dogs of war” on
protesters at the University of California, which led to National Guard
helicopters gassing the campus.
–Ran up a deficit higher than an elephant’s eye, then shrugged and walked away from it (an obvious role model for Bush).
–Signed off on, then slept through, Iran-contra.
–Appointed James Watt secretary of the Interior.
–Made ketchup a vegetable.
–Pointed with pride to his union-busting (remember PALCO)?
–Invited the Bush dynasty into the White House.
But hey, he loved macaroni and cheese. What a guy.