Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Editors: The New Popularity of Stalin Reminds Us of the New Popularity of Reagan

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 10:41 am

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.

40 Responses to “L.A. Times Editors: The New Popularity of Stalin Reminds Us of the New Popularity of Reagan”

  1. *yawn* Another “How did he win? I don’t know anyone who voted for him!” editorial from an airhead liberal columnist. Find better Fisking material.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  2. Provide it.

    Patterico (4ef72a)

  3. …except of course, Reagan didn’t slaughter millions of his countrymen.

    JEA (dc0ba0)

  4. Hmmm. I wonder what kinds of jounalists in the past we are all reminded of, when we think about the LA TIMES?

    Eric Blair (8564e4)

  5. Really, chaos, it sounds like time for you to open your own blog.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  6. Stalin won by eliminating his adversaries. Reagan won by running against James Earl Carter. That was a contest both Stalin and Reagan could have won.

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III (57cae1)

  7. Funny how they try to hang the S&L collapse on Reagan, ignoring the critical contributions of Fernand J. St Germain (D-RI), Chairman of the House Banking Cmte, whose fingerprints were all over the legislation that precipitated the collapse; just as they have whitewashed the contributions of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd leading up to the collapse of Freddie & Fannie and the sub-prime fiasco.

    If they were honest partisans it would be understandable; but, there has been nothing honest about the political leanings of the apparatchiks at PravdaWest for decades.

    AD - RtR/OS! (396a30)

  8. Comment by chaos — 12/24/2009 @ 10:43 am

    That quote from Pauline Kael (The NewYorker) was in reference to Nixon’s landslide victory over McGovern in ’72.

    AD - RtR/OS! (396a30)

  9. Obama’s lieutenants are in love with Mao, who broke Stalin’s body count record.

    Alta Bob (5daf3f)

  10. And people still pay money to have copy like this delivered to their driveway?

    Waiting for this paper to die is too cruel. They wouldn’t let a horse linger on like that.

    Amphipolis (17a9b7)

  11. let’s see if my comment makes it to the page %-):

    Leave it to the LA Times to use an editorial about Stalin as an excuse to bash Reagan. Next time you are having a meeting wondering why your circulation and ad revenues continue to drop faster than Ear Leader’s popularity, ask yourself is there is any chance that such blatant ideological bias might just possibly have something to do with it.

    Of course, you will undoubtedly not even consider that possibility, since doing so would require you to be intellectually honest, and might even require a reassessment of your world view. Better to keep doing what you’ve been doing: The Spring St. building will make great lofts.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  12. That quote from Pauline Kael (The NewYorker) was in reference to Nixon’s landslide victory over McGovern in ‘72.

    It’s apropos to use to describe the mindset on display in that editorial. Sorry if you weren’t astute enough to pick that up.

    Provide it.

    Are you making an offer or just being whiny?

    Really, chaos, it sounds like time for you to open your own blog.

    Soon as you get that broomstick out your colon buddy.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  13. My God, if the next round of LAT layoffs does not include the self-satisfied putrid editorial board then there is no hope that the paper will ever reverse its declining fortunes.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

    JVW (5e174d)

  14. chaos, you are the one telling another what he should write about. That places the broomstick in your colon, not mine. You don’t like what Patterico writes about, spare us the vapid snark and open your own blog.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. Why, I had NO idea laissez-faire policies led to our current economic crisis. I thought lax lending practices encouraged by the government was the culprit.

    Ask anyone living abroad who’s even semi knowledegable about America, and they’ll tell you that this is the most regulated place on earth. Can’t smoke even outside a fast food joint, penalized in some states for talking on the phone while driving, strict ID requirements for alchohol, etc. My cousins from Asia marvel that you can’t make some banking transtions over the phone.

    lee (cae7a3)

  16. I was unhappy that Reagan did not do more to cut spending but this is ridiculous. As for Stalin, I remember reading something by a refugee from the USSR a few years ago about his time in the Soviet Union. He said his parents would be moaning about some awful abuse by the regime and their most common comments would be “If only Comrade Stalin knew about this, he would do something.” That is the mindset of the totalitarian citizen. Nothing is the leader’s fault.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  17. Reagan had his shortcomings, but he did manage to rein in inflation and win the cold war. And while his spending record wasn’t fantastic, he did at least put a break on domestic non-entitlement spending and close oodles of corporate tax loopholes. And to top it off, he restored America’s reputation in the world, and (probably most significant) America’s confidence in itself.

    Come to think of it, this perfectly explains why Reagan’s popularity would be “puzzling” to the LAT, as their ear leader is hell-bent on reversing each and every one of Reagan’s successful accomplishments.

    Sean P (9f91c3)

  18. These guys seem to forget that Reagan won the Presidency in a landslide, beating Carter by 10% with 489 electoral votes, carrying 44 states. And then he beat Mondale in 1984 by almost 19% with 525 electoral votes carrying 49 states. Reagan missed carrying the 50th state — Mondale’s home state of Minnesota — by a mere 0.18%

    So, these guys were pretty alone when it comes to remembering the horror of the Reagan presidency.

    I suspect their only real beef with Stalin is that he gave Socialism a bad name.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  19. If there were 2 spots open on Mount Rushmore for 20th Century presidents, I’m pretty sure they’d go to FDR and Reagan.

    I’d love to see who’d be the Times’ choice if it isn’t Reagan.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  20. Revisionist history is always a favorite tool of the Left. The LAT editors continue to whine as their readership goes ever deeper in the tank on a daily basis. Here’s a question: do they ever stop the spin long enough to ponder why they are in their last throes?

    GeneralMalaise (a38f27)

  21. “Soon as you get that broomstick out your colon buddy.”

    – Frito Pendejo “Idiocracy

    GeneralMalaise (a38f27)

  22. Their basic mistake is that Reagan isn’t enjoying a ‘resurgence’ of popularity. He was always popular – just not with them. He was so popular that now liberals are forced to agree with him or be laughed at.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  23. I’d love to see who’d be the Times’ choice if it isn’t Reagan.

    No doubt the awesome farmer from Plains, GA would be first on their hit parade. He’s got it all; double – digit inflation, out of control deficits, military morale and capability severely compromised, laughingstock of the rest of the world.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  24. If there was enough vertical room on Rushmore to do a full figure, it would have to be Bubba (but only in full dropped-trou).

    AD - RtR/OS! (396a30)

  25. Actually, if one wanted to talk about a “resurgence of popularity” among liberals (especially black liberals) these days, it would be Lyndon Johnson. I argue that he’d fit a lot better in the Stalin meme than the libertarian-leaning Reagan.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  26. No, they’re not beyond parody. Not if you understand that they’re fascists. I don’t mean that as a slight, or an insult, but a plain and simple description. The sun rises in the East. The sky is blue. Many of the most “educated” people in America are, by their actions and beliefs, fascists.

    Simple as that.

    LCP (23f1e8)

  27. Agreed!

    AD - RtR/OS! (396a30)

  28. Ol’ Jimmuh “lust in my heart” Carter… terrorizer of aquatic rabbits… hater of Joos… long-suffering brother of archetypal redneck Billy Carter… enabler of ayatollahs…

    We laugh to keep from crying.

    GeneralMalaise (a38f27)

  29. Scratch a Progressive, find a fascist.

    ropelight (8fa168)

  30. Obama reminds me of Stalin more than Reagan.
    socialism-wise at this point anyway.

    firefirefire (81ecb9)

  31. If the point the LAT is making has something to do with the cult of personality, then look no further than Bee Ho, himself, for proof positive that popularity without substance leads to poor decisions and disastrous consequences.

    Icy Texan (9e4c68)

  32. Time to make Godwin’s Law a bit more generic. Whether it’s Hitler or Stalin, the reasoning is the same: I do not like you, I do not like [Hitler/Stalin/whoever], therefore, you are like [Hitler/Stalin/whoever].

    Xrlq (1cd5bb)

  33. The spam filter seems to be still asleep on Christmas morning.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  34. Stalin won by eliminating his adversaries…. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III

    … their most common comments would be “If only Comrade Stalin knew about this, he would do something.” That is the mindset of the totalitarian citizen. Nothing is the leader’s fault. Mike K

    I heard that when Stalin came to the podium to give a speech, people would stand and clap for prolonged periods, (perhaps as long as an hour or more at times?) because everyone was afraid to be seen as the first one stopping until Stalin gave them permission to sit down.

    Between the narcissism, political maneuvering, and the purity of intentions attributed to him by some, I think our current president better fits the Stalin analogies.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  35. “Time to make Godwin’s Law a bit more generic. Whether it’s Hitler or Stalin, the reasoning is the same: I do not like you, I do not like [Hitler/Stalin/whoever], therefore, you are like [Hitler/Stalin/whoever].”

    – Xrlq

    Right. See #26, #29 for examples of expanded definition – “I do not like ‘progressives’, I do not like fascists, therefore ‘progressives’ are fascists.”

    Leviticus (8e623b)

  36. I have been trying to find words to express my dismay at the latest LA Times idiocy, but words fail me at this latest example of its editors’ mind-numbing density and obsessive vindictiveness and cluelessness toward Reagan. This will have to suffice.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  37. Lenin actually, from a profile that Richard Pipes did in his history of the Russian Revolution

    bishop (474138)

  38. “Progressives” might not be “Fascists”, but the early Progressive Movement was very supportive, and admiring, of Mussolini’s Fascist Party.
    Of course, it could have been something as simple as technocrats wanting to get the trains to run on time, but the history is there of wanting to impose the primacy of the State over the Liberty of the individual.

    AD - RtR/OS! (3759d6)

  39. Inside every Progressive, there’s a Fascist waiting to emerge from hiding and to joyfully proclaim the coming new age of enslavement for all mankind, happy jobs driving tractors for the faithful, and gulags for the recalcitrant.

    ropelight (0f6263)

  40. Why not call this the “Ezra Pound” standard: the comparison of mass-murdering, self-appointed European leaders to elected Presidents?

    Today the LA Times Pounded Stalin and Reagan….

    tehag (c96e44)

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