Look- I don’t expect liberals and the left to mourn Reagan. I understand they don’t like his policies. I doubt very much I will be building a shrine to Clinton when he passes, nor will I shed many tears at Carter’s passing. However, I will not try to take away from the positive aspects of Clinton’s presidency- Clinton presided over a booming economy without hindering it, Rubin’s refinancing of debt drastically helped our finances, Clinton did sign a balanced budget and ran a surplus (yes- I know who ran Congress- but they have been running Congress under Bush, too), went against his party and signed NAFTA, he stood up to his party and did not gut the military, and he did the right thing in Kosovo.
Clinton was also exceptionally popular, an extremely gifted public speaker and an engaging person, and maybe it was his inborn Machiavellianism that has blinded even me, but I honestly think that Clinton did what he felt was right, most of the time, and honestly liked and cared about people. That final characteristic is not a bad measure of any man, and it is to Clinton’s credit.
Many would say that he only did so in attempts to build his legacy, but I believe Clinton honestly tried to be a broker for peace regarding the whole Israel/Palestine mess. Clinton had a whole number of shortcomings, failures, and things I don’t want to go into here, but if someone with such a distatse for Clinton as me can still list his positive aspects, why can’t the left admit Reagan’s successes, of which there were just as many, many of which had far greater historical importance than the achievments of the Clinton era.
At any rate, jerks like Atrios, Democrats.Com, the Democratic Underground should take a cue from Max:
I won’t be mourning. I disliked him a lot, but gloating would be stupid and obnoxious, and expressions of homage insincere. He doesn’t need any pity. He was a lucky man, he had a pretty good life, and in his own right he was successful. You can’t beat him because he has already won. Fortunately the game has more innings.
Respect is due the bereaved, as well as to those who have a good feeling about him. It’s just the decent thing to do.
Maybe they will listen to John Kerry, who struck exactly the right tone (and, IMHO, his statement was better than Bush’s):
Ronald Reagan’s love of country was infectious. Even when he was breaking Democrats hearts, he did so with a smile and in the spirit of honest and open debate. Despite the disagreements, he lived by that noble ideal that at 5pm we weren’t Democrats or Republicans, we were Americans and friends. President Reagan and Tip O’Neill fought hard and honorably on many issues, and sat down together to happily swap jokes and the stories of their lives. The differences were real, but because of the way President Reagan led, he taught us that there is a big difference between strong beliefs and bitter partisanship.
He was the voice of America in good times and in grief. When we lost the brave astronauts in the Challenger tragedy, he reminded us that, ‘Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.’
“Now, his own journey has ended-a long and storied trip that spanned most of the American century-and shaped one of the greatest victories of freedom. Today in the face of new challenges, his example reminds us that we must move forward with optimism and resolve. He was our oldest president, but he made America young again.
“Our prayers are with his family, and the wife he loved in a way all the world could see. And to the end, she loved him with courage and complete devotion. She helped all of us better understand the cruel disease that took him away before it took his life, and what we must do to prevent and cure it.
“Teresa and I and our family extend our deepest sympathies to Nancy Reagan and the Reagan family. Today, from California to Maine – ‘from sea to shining sea’ – Americans will bow their heads in prayer and gratitude that President Reagan left such an indelible stamp on the nation he loved.”
Max is right: “Respect is due the bereaved, as well as to those who have a good feeling about him. It’s just the decent thing to do.”
Unfortunately, decency is something that simply escapes many in the current climate.
It’s sad that too many of us from both sides of the politcal landscape can’t adopt the Reagan-O’Neill style of getting along.
Whatever their political diffrences were at the time, it appeared to me that they enjoyed one another’s company.
The “hate” in today’s politics that Chicago’s Mayor Dailey decried a few weeks ago may yet destroy us and we think global terrorism is a threat?
It’s past time to put he “hate in politics” aside and get on with getting along, recalling the time worn theory that reasonable minds can differ.
Rest in peace Ronald W. Reagan.
Let me second Jaq’s sentiment from the other side of the aisle.
At some point in the future, (say, 25 to 50 years from now,) debating Reagan’s legacy might be a useful conversation.
Right now, let’s pay our respects to a man who loved his country and loved his wife and family.
Rest in peace, President Reagan.
the ‘getting along’ part would be quite easy if both side weren’t being systematically demonized by their opponents. it’s the climate, and things will likely get worse before getting any better.
as someone on some blog stated a while back (paraphrased): both parties used to have the same goals, just different ways of getting there. however, these days it appears each party has different goals and vastly different ways of getting there.
Andrew | BYTE BACK
I like what you say here. It makes sense. Thank you.
And I can’t believe Matt Y wrote such drivel. (He does usually make more sense)
I also posted about my probable response to future other president’s deaths.
And thanks for pointing me to Kerry’s words. I hadn’t seen, heard or read them.
I’d say that’s still true of rank and file conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans. Any appearance to the contrary is the noise floor from pundits and party leaders screaming past each other.
I disagree; the Religious Right wants an explicitly nonsectarian state, and they’re riding the Republican Party as far as they can toward that goal. The Republican Party and Democratic Party have significantly different goals these days; the Republican leadership is explicitly bent on bankrupting the Federal Government and creating a religious state, and the Democratic Party, for all its fractiousness, is agreed on the essential foulness of both actions. These are divergent views of the nature of this country and where we’d like to go.