Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Oh gag me up one side and down the other:
Reagan, who died in 2004, was the nation's 40th president, from 1981-1989. There was bipartisan agreement that his statue belonged in the Rotunda, the symbolic core of American government. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama created the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission to plan and carry out activities marking the 100th anniversary, in 2011, of Reagan's birth.

His legacy includes the spread of democracy after his dramatic appeal in Berlin to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!" The Berlin Wall that divided East and West Germany fell in 1989, a symbol of the decline of communism and the thawing of the Cold War. Pieces of it are embedded in the statue, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Guests recalled other elements of the Reagan legacy, specifically the optimism and charisma he honed as an actor, tapped as a policy maker and used to create an outsized but genial presence.
Here are a few other things his legacy includes: A war in Nicaragua that killed hundreds of thousands, an emboldened and radicalized American right wing (According to Wikipedia, "Ronald Reagan reshaped the Republican party, gave rise to the modern conservative movement, and altered the political dynamic of the United States." and "It can also be argued that Reagan is responsible for the elections of both George Bushes."), not to mention the neocons. Gee thx Ronnie!

The capper to this inspiring ceremony had to be the benediction by that beacon of integrity and morality James Baker, III who said of the 7-foot-tall bronze statue:
"It will stand forever as a silent sentry in these hallowed halls, to teach our children and our grandchildren about that which once was and to inspire them with visions of that which can be again - today, tomorrow and unto the generations,"
Pepto Bismol, anyone?

UPDATE: Please check out this very long but excellent post from a guest blogger at Hullabaloo. With a plethora of links, it pretty much tells you everything you'll ever need to know about the legacy of that Great Communicator Illusionist, Ronnie "The Gipper" Reagan. Here's the last paragraph (emphasis mine):
Conservative stances on economics, foreign policy and human rights provide a pretty bleak snapshot of the Republican party. The poor remain faceless to them, as do foreigners blithely bombed and the victims of torture and abuse. Torture, with its dynamics of power and false confessions, actually makes a frighteningly apt metaphor for movement conservatives and obstinate ideologues everywhere. Why do these people ignore data and counsel, inflict suffering on populations foreign and domestic, and fiercely dismiss overwhelming evidence against their favored approach? Just as with torture itself, it's simple - they like the answers it gives them.
Here's The Gip with his Legacy, Bush43:

1 comment:

Ruth said...

The statue harks back to those death valley days that he brought wherever he could bring it on.