Happy Birthday, Gipper! Funny photos, videos, and 9 reasons to love President Reagan if your liberal…or disown him if you’re conservative.
President Ronald Reagan would have been 100 years old this Sunday. Here’s 100 (okay, nine) reasons liberals can love him and conservatives may not want to see him up on Mt. Rushmore after all.
1. He was a liberal before he was a conservative.
2. As governor of California, he legalized abortion.
3. Reagan is thought of as a popular president. He wasn’t: “Reagan’s average approval rating during the eight years that he was in office was nothing spectacular – 52.8 percent, according to Gallup. That places the 40th president not just behind Kennedy, Clinton and Dwight Eisenhower, but also Lyndon Johnson and George H.W. Bush…In 1982, as the national unemployment rate spiked above 10 percent, Reagan’s approval rating fell to 35 percent. At the height of the Iran-Contra scandal, nearly one-third of Americans wanted him to resign.”
4. He raised taxes more often than he cut ’em: “…The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 was, at the time, the largest peacetime tax increase in U.S. history…Reagan signed measures that increased federal taxes every year of his two-term presidency except the first and the last. These included a higher gasoline levy, a 1986 tax reform deal that included the largest corporate tax increase in American history, and a substantial raise in payroll taxes in 1983 as part of a deal to keep Social Security solvent. While wealthy Americans benefitted from Reagan’s tax policies, blue-collar Americans paid a higher percentage of their income in taxes when Reagan left office.”
5. He was a peacemaker. “…Though Reagan expanded the U.S. military and launched new weapons programs, his real contributions to the end of the Cold War were his willingness to negotiate arms reductions with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his encouragement of Gorbachev as a domestic reformer.”
6. He was no Dubya: “According to biographer Lou Cannon, the president called the death of innocent civilians in anti-terror operations ‘terrorism itself.'”
5. He regarded torture as un-American. “In 1988, Reagan signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which stated that torture could be used under ‘no exceptional circumstances, whatsoever.'”
6. He talked up small government. He didn’t govern that way, however, “increasing the federal government’s size by every possible measure during his eight years in office.”
7. He made Democratic Presidents look like financial wizards: “Federal spending grew by an average of 2.5 percent a year, adjusted for inflation, while Reagan was president. The national debt exploded, increasing from about $700 billion to nearly $3 trillion.
8. He saw a role for government in citizens’ lives: “The number of federal employees grew from 2.8 million to 3 million under Reagan, in large part because of his buildup at the Pentagon. (It took the Democratic administration of President Bill Clinton to trim the employee rolls back to 2.7 million.) Reagan also abandoned a campaign pledge to get rid of two Cabinet agencies – Energy and Education – and added a new one, Veterans Affairs.”
9. He appointed the first woman to the Supreme Court, and a good one at that. He named “Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court. O’Connor mostly upheld abortion rights during her 25 years as a justice.”
All of the above comes from Five Myths at Washington Post. Have your own myths to add, or want to respectfully argue. Offer your two cents, below in comments.
EC: other things I like about him:
a. Great hair.
b. Great style.
c. He liked horses, and rode them often.
d. He was amiable to a fault.
e. He was a poor dad, and knew it, and he tried to be better constantly.
f. his diaries are respectful of his “enemies.”
g. he worked short office hours, and loved Sound of Music.
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