While Obama later clarified his point to say he didn't mean to endorse Reagan's conservative policies, Obama seemed to suggest that Reagan's 1980 election administered a needed dose of accountability to the United States when Reagan actually did the opposite. Reagan's presidency represented a dangerous escape from accountability--and reality.
Still, Obama and congressional Democrats continue to pander to the Reagan myth. On Tuesday, as the nation approached the fifth anniversary of Reagan's death, Obama welcomed Nancy Reagan to the White House and signed a law creating a panel to plan and carry out events to honor Reagan's 100th birthday in 2011.
Obama hailed the right-wing icon. "President Reagan helped as much as any President to restore a sense of optimism in our country, a spirit that transcended politics--that transcended even the most heated arguments of the day," Obama said. [For more on Obama's earlier pandering about Reagan, see Consortiumnews.com's "Obama's Dubious Praise for Reagan."]
It's a sure thing that the Reagan Centennial Committee won't do much more than add to the hagiography surrounding the 40th President.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.