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Reagan Revisionism: Planned Centennial Commemoration Hoopla - by Stephen Lendman
A weeklong infomercial followed his death on June 5, 2004, mythology airbrushing truth, including Marilyn Berger in the New York Times, saying:
"To a nation hungry for a hero, a nation battered by Vietnam, damaged by Watergate and humiliated by the taking of hostages in Iran, Ronald Reagan held out the promise of a return to greatness, the promise that American would 'stand tall' again."
Quoting admirers and critics, she called him a "great communicator," a "made-for-television president (who) never lost his boyish charm or his ability to look Americans in the eye and make many feel good about themselves. (He) was a combination of ideologue and pragmatist who could compromise and still appear to be a man of unbending principle."
One of America's best or worst? For supporters, the former. Critics disagree. Judge him by his record, not the hoopla. Typical praise came from made-for-media historians like Michael Beschloss practically elevating him to sainthood, equating him to FDR, saying it's "not too much to suggest that Americans would give similar thanks that they twice elected Ronald Reagan, a President who saw the chance to end the Cold War in his own time" - an event, of course, he had nothing to do with besides being president on the cusp of when it happened.
Calling him "an exceptional leader," Beschloss praised his "inner strengths (and) political skills....who left an indelible stamp on history, (and was noted for his) powerful speeches...." In fact, according to one critic, they mixed:
"hokum, bunkum, flapdoodle and balderdash of the type dished out daily by motivational speakers, along with mashed potatoes and turgid chicken breasts," the type language that turned Warren Harding into a laughing stock, "the 29th President who most resemble(d) Reagan (in) physical appearance and intellectual capacity" - big in size, small in wisdom and good judgment - a lightweight at best.
As a former actor he could read his lines, but with no prepared text, he was inept, a simpleton, passive, and detached, the term "damage control" practically invented to mean correcting his frequent gaffes and ignorance of facts any head of state should know. Not Reagan, yet the press barely noticed or cared, nor about the worst of his presidency.
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