Friday, February 4, 2011

The Gipper at the Century Mark: A Little Balance

Posted By on Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 12:42 PM


Tennessee GOP Chairman Chris Devaney has a blast email out today celebrating the endless fabulousness of Ronald Reagan on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Gipper's birth. Serving up quotation highlights such as "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem" and "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," Devaney writes that "we cherish the steadfast leadership that President Reagan exuded during tough times."

We at Pith also cherish the fecklessness. For some highlights let's go to Christopher Hitchens' classic 2004 Gipper takedown:

Ronald Reagan claimed that the Russian language had no word for "freedom." (The word is "svoboda"; it's quite well attested in Russian literature.) Ronald Reagan said that intercontinental ballistic missiles. . . .could be recalled once launched. Ronald Reagan said that he sought a "Star Wars" defense only in order to share the technology with the tyrants of the USSR. . . .Ronald Reagan used to alarm his Soviet counterparts by saying that surely they'd both unite against an invasion from Mars. Ronald Reagan used to alarm other constituencies by speaking freely about the "End Times" foreshadowed in the Bible. In the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan told Yitzhak Shamir and Simon Wiesenthal, on two separate occasions, that he himself had assisted personally at the liberation of the Nazi death camps. . . .Reagan sold heavy weapons to the Iranian mullahs and lied about it, saying that all the weapons he hadn't sold them (and hadn't traded for hostages in any case) would, all the same, have fit on a small truck. Reagan then diverted the profits of this criminal trade to an illegal war in Nicaragua and lied unceasingly about that, too. Reagan then modestly let his underlings maintain that he was too dense to understand the connection between the two impeachable crimes. He then switched without any apparent strain to a policy of backing Saddam Hussein against Iran.

And let's not forget "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do." As Devaney says, "a true statesman."

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