Sunday, March 20, 2016

'He Scares Me; He REALLY Scares Me!' OhYeah . . .

We're hearing a lot of warnings nowadays from liberals (and even quite a few moderate Republicans) about one or two of our presidential candidates. Dire warnings.
But does anyone remember what some of these same people said about Ronald Reagan? Huh?

Here's a sampler:

"Something like the speech to the evangelicals is not presidential, it's not something a president should say. If the Russians are infinitely evil and we are infinitely good, then the logical first step is a nuclear first strike. Words like that frighten the American public and antagonize the Soviets. What good is that?" - Rick Hertzberg, quoted in the Washington Post, March 29, 1983.

"President Reagan has substituted a mindless militarism for a foreign policy, rattling arms from El Salvador to Saudi Arabia, frightening our friends from Japan to West Germany. He proposes a 50 percent increase in ‘defense expenditures.’ Much of it will be dissipated in the self-defeating spiral of an open-ended nuclear-arms race that poses a greater threat to our own internal and external security than all the Communist propaganda that ever emanated from Moscow. Already, the cost of Reagan policies is devastating to our country in economic strength, in diplomatic influence, in national security, in moral stature." -- John B. Oakes, former senior editor, New York Times, November 1, 1981.

"All evidence indicates that the Reagan administration has abandoned both containment and d├ętente for a very different objective: destroying the Soviet Union as a world power and possibly even its Communist system. [This is a] potentially fatal form of Sovietphobia… a pathological rather than a healthy response to the Soviet Union." — Princeton Professor Stephen Cohen, 1983.

“I used to say I thought if you were down on your luck and you got through the Secret Service, got in the Oval Office and said, Mr. President, ‘I’m down on my luck,’ he would literally give you the shirt off his back. And then he’d sit down in his undershirt and he’d sign legislation throwing your kids off school lunch program, maybe your parents off Social Security, and of course the Welfare Queen off of welfare.”
— ABC’s Sam Donaldson.

"Ronald Wilson Reagan knows a thousand ways of being sentimental, hypocritical and cheap." --Christopher Hitchens, writing in The Nation

"A few years from now, I believe, Reaganism will seem a weird and improbable memory, a strange interlude of national hallucination, rather as the McCarthyism of the early 1950s and the youth rebellion of the late 1960s appear to us today." - Arthur Schlesinger, Washington Post, May 1, 1988.

"I wonder how many people, reading about the [Evil Empire'] speech or seeing bits on television, really noticed its outrageous character… Primitive: that is the only word for it. … What is the world to think when the greatest of powers is led by a man who applies to the most difficult human problem a simplistic theology – one in fact rejected by most theologians?... What must the leaders of Western Europe think of such a speech? They look to the head of the alliance for rhetoric that can persuade them and their constituents. What they get from Ronald Reagan is a mirror image of crude Soviet rhetoric. And it is more than rhetoric: everyone must sense that. The real Ronald Reagan was speaking in Orlando. The exaggeration and the simplicities are there not only in the rhetoric but in the process by which he makes decisions." - Anthony Lewis, New York Times, March 10, 1983

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