Saturday, June 05, 2004

Ronald Reagan is dead
NBC is announcing that Ronald Reagan just died. Bush is on right now saying something that I don’t care to listen to. I know a lot of people see Reagan as some sort of icon. Even people from the far end of the political spectrum often felt required to say he was a nice guy. Maybe he was. I think that’s a pretty low standard for judging presidents. In the long run, I do not think he will be judged a great president, but I also do not think he will be judged a horrible president. I think he will land somewhere around Eisenhower. We have certainly had and have worse.

It’s not my style to get maudlin about people I didn’t like and say nice things that I would never have said of them in life. I didn’t like Reagan. On the other hand, it is informative to compare the worst and best we could say about him with the present inhabitant of the oval office. While we hated his policies and advisors, we usually had to grant him some credit for his manners and dignity. Compart his visits with Queen Elizabeth with Bush’s. The joke was that Reagan would have made great king, but a crappy prime minister. Reagan charmed foreign heads of state; Bush annoys them. Reagan looked great on a horse; Bush, the “rancher,” can’t ride.

It might be tacky of me to take this moment to wonder how his death will affect the current presidential race. I can in a way justify my thoughts by saying that I’m sure the other side is making the same calculations. How much will they try to wrap Bush in the mantle of the fallen great man? Expect the demands to put Reagan on the dime and Mt. Rushmore to rise to a deafening volume and for the administration to try to associate themselves with it. I feel sorry for his family and the pain they are feeling. I feel worse for them considering the circus of exploitation that is about to descend on them.

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