I know, I know. Not a newsflash. And half of the PCHA editorial team had the foresight to leave the country while the getting remained good. But still. We are the fucking dumbest.
According to a new poll by 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair (reputable pollsters, to be sure), the former president most Americans would like to have running the country during these troubled times is none other than the Gipper himself, the Great Communicator, Mr. Ronald Reagan.
Yep. Ol’ Ronnie sure would be the right person to lead us out of an economic crisis. Thirty-six percent of those polled selected Reagan. Thirty-six percent! Granted, about 25% of Americans can’t remember any presidents from before 1980, but that’s still a disgrace.
Ronald Reagan. Who espoused the inane trickle-down theory that is in large part responsible for the woeful state of the economy and the insane wealth disparity that’s led us to Occupy Wall Street.
Ronald Reagan. Whose failed deregulation policies were reintroduced and expanded under George W. Bush, which lead directly to the housing market collapse.
When running for the presidency in 1991, Bill Clinton said, “The Reagan-Bush years have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”
Yeah, but he talked so pretty!
Reagan is generally remembered in one of two ways: the hero who ended the Cold War, or a silly, harmless, demented amnesic who ran the country based on what his wife’s horoscope said. The truth is, of course, far more sinister. Sadly, Reagan was far to the left of conservatives of more recent vintage, but his policies still took a tremendous toll on the economy both in the short and long term.
Americans though, are stupid, and don’t know and/or care about facts. They remember the ’80s as that fun time when there was a lot of neon, the Bangles were famous, and the Berlin Wall came down because our nuclear bombs were better than the Soviet Union’s nuclear bombs. And Reagan gets the undue credit for a time that was neither as safe or happy as we want to believe.