Jellybeans in Heaven
Reagan cartoon roundup
Plus: Reagan's death boosts Bush campaign
Certainly people who admired or agreed with Reagan have a right to mourn, and to focus on what they saw as Reagan's positive qualities if they want to. But they shouldn't whitewash history in the process, and those of us who were horrified by his policies and actions shouldn't fall over backwards pretending we miss him. I've heard this a lot: "I disagreed with his everything he did, BUT he was such a gentleman" or "BUT he had such a great sense of humor" or "BUT he brought dignity to the White House" or "BUT he loved his wife" or "BUT he was such a DECENT man." But NOTHING. A charming personality does not make up for atrocious actions.
Look, I'm not gloating. But I'm not going to pretend I liked Reagan when he was alive, and I'm not going to start waxing nostalgic about chimps, jellybeans, or "Morning in America." Yes, I was 9 years old when Reagan left office. But I remember how angry he made my parents, and I've read up on my history. I know about Iran-Contra, and trickle-down economics, about Guatemala and Grenada and his murderous silence on AIDS, about turning the mentally ill out onto the streets, about Star Wars and ketchup as a vegetable, about supporting apartheid, about trees as polluters, about arming Saddam Hussein and the Taliban. Most of the tributes (hell, most of the media coverage in general) I've seen emphasize vague personality traits like "optimism" and "leadership", and gloss over what he actually DID as president (except when giving him credit for tearing down the Berlin Wall, but let's not go there right now). But no amount of cowboy hats and jellybeans will bring back the tens of thousands who died as a result of his actions or inactions.
Reagan saluting cartoons: here.
The Big Gipper.: Here.
This one is just odd. A whole new meaning to trickle-down economics (though really, the people who should be crying here are the poor and disadvantaged harmed by trickle-down... puzzling).
And of course...
Gasp! Cartoons that are actually critical of Reagan. So far, I've only seen this cartoon from Tom Toles, and this sketchbook piece from Scott Bateman. But I'm sure Ted Rall will have something to say soon. (Update: for more toons critical of Reagan, see my more recent post.)
And in the in-between category: Stacy Curtis might emphasize the "Reagan as gentleman" angle in his cartoon, but he actually acknowledges alternate views and memories of Reagan.
Speaking of Strom Thurmond and Ronald Reagan and cartoons, here's an old Boondocks cartoon about both of them.
For more thoughts on Reagan, I kindly direct you to This Modern World, Atrios, John Nichols, David Corn (" 66 (Unflattering) Things About Ronald Reagan"), Ted Rall, Daily Kos, and Greg Palast and BET (yes, BET).
P.S. Reagan Boosts Bush No surprise: Reagan's death is shifting American attention away from Bush's failures and scandals and giving Bush's campaign a boost. Kerry says he's going to TONE DOWN his campaigning for a week in deference to Reagan, including cancelling fundraising events expected to bring in millions--you can bet Bush won't be doing the same (see August for more, though I'm surprised by how nice he's being to Reagan). Some relevant quotes:
Political observers say Reagan's passing provides a stellar opportunity for the Bush campaign to remind voters of GOP strengths.and
Advisers to Mr. Bush said they had not determined how prominently Mr. Bush should identify his presidency with Mr. Reagan, whether Mr. Reagan's image should be incorporated in Mr. Bush's advertisements and whether Nancy Reagan might appear on Mr. Bush's behalf in the fall.But don't forget, Mrs. Reagan might not be all that receptive:
Several Republicans added that Mr. Bush's hopes of enlisting Mrs. Reagan might be complicated by the differences between Mrs. Reagan and Mr. Bush on the issue of embryonic stem-cell research. Mrs. Reagan has been vocal in arguing that the research might help others suffering from Alzheimer's disease, which doctors diagnosed in Mr. Reagan after he left office, while Mr. Bush's policy restricts public financing for this kind of research to existing cell lines.And of course:
Aides to Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry said they did not want to do anything that would make it appear that they were exploiting the news of Mr. Reagan's death. But in one sign of what may lie ahead, Republicans circulated old quotes from Mr. Kerry in which he criticized Mr. Reagan. Democrats promptly dug up instances of the first president Bush speaking unkindly about Mr. Reagan in 1980, as the two men competed for the Republican nomination.Truly heartwarming. So let's see--they're digging up one of Kerry's proudest moments in the Senate (his pursuit of the truth about Iran-Contra) and making it look like he was being cruel and insensitive for insulting a dead man... who of course was not dead at the time? Help, my head is hurting...
Oh, and one more thing. I've seen a lot of comments on liberal blogs suggesting that a good way to attack Bush would be to make him look inadequate next to Reagan. But I beg to differ. Bush truly is Reagan's heir on many levels--and I mean that as an insult. I almost NEVER agree with Mike Ramirez on anything, but in this case he has a point.