From today’s editorial:
To many of those who remember Ronald Reagan’s presidency, his latter-day popularity is a little puzzling.
The Republican icon, who like George W. Bush produced skyrocketing federal deficits by advocating tax cuts even as he hiked military spending and — also like Bush — promoted laissez-faire regulatory policies that culminated in a home-loan crisis, is today so widely admired that even Democrats such as President Obama frequently praise him.
I find fascinating the editors’ suggestion that we should not admire Reagan because large deficits occurred during his presidency. (Place to one side the fact that Congressional Democrats’ spending was largely to blame, and that many argue Reagan’s tax cuts actually increased revenue.) If we’re measuring a presidency by the prodigious nature of its deficits, surely the last president we should admire is Barack Obama, whose deficits dwarf anything Ronald Reagan or George Bush ever dreamed of. And what is the view of L.A. Times editors regarding deficit creator Obama?
We admire President Obama. We endorsed him.
Just a little reminder for you. Now let’s move on to the editorial’s main theme: the resurgence of Reagan’s popularity is reminiscent of the resurgence in popularity of . . . Josef Stalin’s:
But if Americans’ perceptions of Reagan are puzzling, Russians’ perceptions of Josef Stalin are downright bizarre.
. . . .
It’s widely believed that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who recently said Stalin’s legacy is too complex for any black-and-white assessment, is encouraging nostalgia for the dictator in order to build support for his own authoritarian rule.
Like those who aim to canonize Reagan, he has some big advantages: The subject being reinvented is no longer around to demonstrate his many flaws, and memories are short.
Indeed. One of the biggest mass murderers in human history is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and it reminds us of the resurgence in popularity of Ronald Reagan.
I understand that the editors are not equating the two. But the idea that Stalin’s re-emerging popularity would remind them of Reagan’s in any way is just bizarre.
Let’s compare the two. Stalin murdered millions and was instrumental in solidifying a totalitarian regime that took away freedom from countless millions for decades. Reagan won the Cold War, instilled a new respect for conservative principles of limited government, cut government spending as a percentage of GDP, and presided over a multi-year spurt of economic growth.
Pretty much in the same league, I’d say, wouldn’t you?
Thanks to Pat C., who observes: “These guys are beyond parody.”
Yes, they are, Pat. Yes, they are.