Below, I wrote about Reagan’s last gift to the GOP, which was to highlight the venom of the left. There were the usual protests from the usual suspects, but this comment really stated what I meant best:
I think it is right and proper to honor a dead President. It is a ceremony we carry into our personal lives: we eulogize the dead as an occassion to celebrate the life of that individual. This doesn’t necessitate erasing any of the bad from our memory, but rather it is our last opportunity to offer final respect.
In Reagan’s death, this process was accompanied by an immediate reaction by those who disagreed with Reagan’s policies to remind us all that they did disagree, although the pains to put criticism out there often took the form of vitriolic ad hominem attacks.
Why the urge to indemnify Reagan upon his death? I think we can all agree that all the criticisms made during Reagan’s death have already been asserted. There was an urgency to reiterate them, lest Reagan’s detractors be forgotten. There’s a certain impropriety to it all, like a child witnessing another playing with a toy and swiping it from him because it’s making him happy.
I think a serious examination of Reagan’s policies is always a good thing, if only to learn from history, but I haven’t seen that examination at all. Rather, I’ve seen a rush to shout insults about a dead man, lest his admirers feel to much comfort in his praise.
Exactly. We all know you have to take the good with the bad, but the attempts by those on the left were not to provide a balanced outlook of the man’s legacy. Indeed, there was no balance at all, but rather nothing but insults, jeers, and attacks. There was no constructive effort by liberal bloggers to show the good with the bad, all that was done was attempts to highlight why Reagan sucked.
After a day or two, it really started to approach the absurd. Not only was the left not content to merely focus on the ngeatives repeat mantras about Iran/Contra and AIDS, by midweek we were learning that there was no Reagan boom, that Reagan had absolutely nothing to do with the fall of the Soviet Union, and that Reagan really didn’t lower taxes, and that he was the least popular president ever. In fact, the only praise that could be found of Reagan from the usual suspects came in the form of backhanded compliments (best typified by this Drum piece), which took the form of ‘Reagan sucked, but he was harmless compared to Bush.’
Bill Clinton wailed about the politics of personal destruction. Too bad his party has mastered it.