Tear Down This Myth: The Right-Wing Distortion of the Reagan Legacy
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In this provocative new book, award-winning political journalist Will Bunch unravels the story of how a right-wing cabal hijacked the mixed legacy of Ronald Reagan, a personally popular but hugely divisive 1980s president, and turned him into a bronze icon to revive their fading ideology. They succeeded to the point where all the GOP candidates for president in 2008 scurried to claim his mantle, no matter how preposterous the fit.
With clear eyes and an ever-present wit, Bunch reveals the truth about the Ronald Reagan legacy, including the following:
With masterful insight, Bunch exposes this dangerous effort to reshape America's future by rewriting its past. As the Obama administration charts its course, he argues, it should do so unencumbered by the dead weight of misplaced and unearned reverence.
may have been a small gesture with greatly ironic overtones, but there were many other big decisions on energy policy that look extremely unwise today, with the aid of hindsight. The damage that the Reagan administration did to solar energy programs in general was much more severe. For example, Carter had created a Solar Energy Research Institute, which received $124 million in federal funding in 1980, but Reagan slashed that by more than half in just two years, and by 1985 the GOP-led White
Democratic standard-bearer: Alain Robert-Jean, “Obama tries to wrest Clinton’s blue-collar base in Pennsylvania,” Agence France-Presse, March 29, 2008. Obama’s plan also raised: Robertson Williams and Howard Gleckman, “An Updated Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Tax Plans,” Tax Policy Center, Sept. 15, 2008, http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/url.cfm?ID=411750. CHAPTER TEN Karcher died in 2008: Eric Mainic, “Carl Karcher, 90; entrepreneur turned hot dog stand into a
treasuries, and $11.5 trillion in U.S. public and private debt altogether. Most experts believed that China, which owned about 10 percent of those U.S. treasuries, would never sell them off, since that would cripple its own economy, so heavily dependent on cheap exports to America. That is perhaps true, but the risk of such a precipitous action seemed to grow as the dollar continued to shrink in value. In the 1980s, Reagan had been able to negotiate, with a few close calls like the Able Archer
speechwriter David Frum, who authored that section of the speech, said he’d been reading up on Franklin Roosevelt’s response to Pearl Harbor, in part because he wanted to learn how FDR had convinced the nation to enthusiastically support the war against Germany when it had been Japan that attacked the United States. He believed that the three nations made up what he called an “axis of hate,” and he claimed Bush himself changed it to “evil.” Was Bush intending to mimic Reagan? A couple of weeks
Reaganism—as separate and apart from the flesh-and-blood Reagan—for misguided policies from lowering taxes in the time of war in Iraq to maintaining that unpopular conflict in a time of increasing bloodshed and questionable gains. Despite what viewers saw and heard in the 2008 campaign, the modern conservative agenda is not based on the once-sentient Ronald Reagan who ruled America a generation ago. Instead, a brand-new Ronald Reagan was cast out of bronze—just like the cowboy model with the