Bloggers Attack Reagan
By: Shawn Macomber
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Dozens of email alerts fill my inbox every day, mostly with old news and requests for money that are quickly dumped in my virtual trashcan. On Sunday morning I received more than 30 responses to the death of President Reagan. One in particular stuck out, blinking at me like a bright red flag. It was a notice from the raconteurs over at CrushKerry.com: "Many liberals happy Reagan is gone," it read. I thought it had to be an exaggeration, but after a couple hours of clicking around it became clear the truth was even worse than CrushKerry made it out to be.
"I'm sipping some excellent German white wine now," one poster over at the Democratic Underground blog wrote. "To Ronald Reagan, may you rot in hell you sorry evil creep! Clink glasses." A fellow blogger agreed, writing, "R.I.P--In Hell," with a third adding, "On a Slowly Turning Spit."
"I thought Reagan died in 1982, and the GOP inserted electrodes into his corpse to make it twitch for the cameras while his cabinet sold missiles to Iran and illegally funded terrorists in Central America," another, one of hundreds, snickered.
"I thought, as liberals, we were supposed to be benevolent, kind people?" one poster lamented, attempting to appeal to the bloggers' better instincts. "Yes, Reagan was a terrible President, who's cannonized by the right-wing. But he was a human being, and to be honest, I doubt he would wish death upon ANY of us Americans. Can you imagine how you would feel if the right-wing would say some of this about Paul Wellstone?"
But any call for restraint or class was immediately shot down as an attempt to curb "first amendment rights" or "free and open discussion." Apparently free speech extends to everyone in the liberal blogosphere except those who dare to call something tasteless.
Shockingly, some of the most virulent rage was prominently posted on the blog section of the official John Kerry for President website.
"RIP Ronald Reagan," Peter K. wrote, in what apparently seemed a very magnanimous gesture to him. "Never voted for you and didn't particularly like the way you treated the poor, the middle class, and the gays. But I guess this is a time to bury the hatchet."
"Many of us have major problems with Reagan's legacy," poster Ron Logee wrote. "The Reagan Revolution was a disaster for this country and we're still dealing with the aftermath. Most of us have been harmed by Reaganomics and huge deficits -- the whole trickle-down, voodoo economics thing -- but it wasn't just that. The Reagan Revolution heralded the beginning of a very nasty chapter in GOP politics that has become the horrific specter of rise of the neocons. Sorry but I can't find it in my heart to be too gracious at a time like this because of having to live in times like these."
No less than a few hundred of the entries on the site went in to long-winded recitals of liberal conspiracy theories and myths about the Reagan presidency: Some claimed Reagan was a puppet of George H.W. Bush, who in turn was a puppet of the Carlyle Group. Like a sinister Johnny Appleseed, he joyfully spread AIDS and crack cocaine throughout minority neighborhoods. He lied about the threat posed by the Soviet Union. He cut social services (in reality he merely slowed their rate of growth), and so on.
"John in CU" upped the ante, claiming that Reagan was a racist: "The day after receiving the nomination for President, Reagan went to Philadelphia and gave a speech in which he expressed his support for state's rights (a well-known code phrase for resistance to Federal enforcement of civil rights laws), and never mentioned the victims of the murders. He might as well have put on Klan robes for that speech, since it was an unsubtle declaration that he would be the candidate of white bigotry."
"Mom of Two," a frequent blogger at the Kerry for President site, wrote that when AIDS was primarily confined to homosexuals and IV-drug users, "it was allowed to spread because it wasn't considered important to protect 'those people.' So AIDS in this country could have been mitigated, if not stopped."
Many of the posters expressed outrage that the press was giving Reagan credit for helping to hasten the fall of Communism. Meanwhile, other bloggers prayed Republicans would use Reagan's funeral the way Democrats used Wellstone's memorial service, and face a nationwide backlash. Some even encouraged Kerry to invite Nancy and Ron Reagan Jr. to speak at the Democratic National Convention.
"It would be very risky for Rove to try to overplay this, especially with Bush's conservative base beginning to collapse," Hard Rain wrote. "George Will has announced a split between classic conservatives and neo-conservatives. Will loved Reagan. I don't think he will allow Reagan's legacy to be tied to Bush. I think that he will defend Reagan's legacy from being tainted by becoming associated with Bush's neo-conservatism, and I think that other classic conservatives will follow Will's lead. I also do not think that Nancy Reagan is going to put up with any nonsense regarding her late husband."
Mostly, however, Democrats reverted to their most trusted forte: Bush-hating.
"I love what Bush's press secretary just said about Bush's first words upon hearing of Reagan's passing, 'This country just lost a great American,'" Peter K. wrote in what must have been his 25th posting. "COME ON! Were those REALLY the FIRST WORDS out of his mouth? Or were they the first words that was decided should be released. These people can't even be honest about what
his first words were. I think they were more like, 'Ron who?'"
Even more amusing was watching liberals attempt to adopt Reagan:
"Reagan did attempt to be a uniter, offering an optimistic viewpoint and
seeking what he believed to be a better future," Ron Chusid wrote. "This
contrasts with George Bush who has divided the country, and is willing to
pursue a course harmful to over 99% of the country to benefit a small
oligarchy. Ronald Reagan held views which he generally ahdered to. For Bush,
political views are just something to state in order to attract voters to
pursue his own agenda."
"Nancy Reagan has been very outspoken against Bush's policies on Stem Cell research," Mary from Manhattan wrote. "She is no big fan of 'W' and it will be interesting to see her body language when she has to sit next to with him during the funeral. Say what you want about Reagan, but he never would have handled the Iraq mess the way the [way] our current President has done. Reagan was not hated around the world like Bush is and I felt safe traveling abroad when he was President. My oh my how things have changed.
"Now, it's back to doing everything we can to get Senator Kerry elected in
November!" she concluded. "We can not afford another term of Bush. I truly
believe Nancy Reagan feels the same way. Her son Ron Jr. most certainly
Linda Enterkin, who admitted voting for Reagan against Gerald Ford before
she voted for Carter in 1974, also enjoyed comparing and contrasting Bush
and Reagan. (Appropriately enough, her chosen candidate is also a fan of
voting for things before he votes against them.) "I thought Reagan was a
decent man, much different from the scum that's been in the White House the
last 3 1/2 years," she wrote. "He also, for what it's worth, was not
particularly fond of either of the Bush's. I definitely feel that Reagan, at
least, governed from a core value system, which neither of the Bush's have
ever possessed. And, as far as Iran Contra went- I've always suspected that
that was George HW Bush's plan all along- I actually felt that Reagan was
too senile by then to know exactly what was going on." Talk about a
After a couple hours at the Kerry blog, I headed back to the
Democratic Underground. It turns out they were just getting warmed up.
"The hysteric media outburst has already begun, his crimes against humanity
notwithstanding," We Clark Democrat wrote. "The blunt idiocy of that
national self-deprecating spectacle makes me sick to my stomach. I'll
proceed to celebrate the news in private. For now."
"How many people died of HIV who would be alive today if not for Reagan?"
another mused. "I'm glad he's dead. I hope he suffered at least half as much
as my lover suffered. Though I doubt he did. His kind never do."
"Think of it this way: It IS the end of an era," a blogger named Calimary
tried to comfort. "The more superstitious out there among the right wingers
may look on this as a bad omen. A bad 2004...A symbol of their glory days
being formally dead now. And they're left with this pathetic little pissant.
"Furthermore, it's beneficial that it's happening now so we can get all this
over with - now," the blogger added, in her best Machiavelli impersonation.
"We'd hate it to happen in July when Kerry should have the spotlight. And
we'd hate it to happen any later in the year. This is fine. This is
"When he won in 1980, I gave up on America," Snellius wrote in a dark
eulogy. "Reagan was the establishment's revenge for the Revolution, and
without us, black, hippie, feminist, gay, tree-hugging, commie peaceniks,
there never would have been any Ronald Reagan."
At the popular Daily Kos site, Trapper John lectured lefties to look
at the career of Ronald Reagan as a cautionary tale.
"While we rightly condemned Reagan for his extremism and hostility to the
egalitarian ideals of his youth, perhaps we should take this occasion not
only to remember Reagan's failings, but also to reflect upon the failings of
the left that allowed the ascension of the extreme right," he wrote. "Let's
never again allow ourselves to become so self-satisfied that we allow
another Reagan to capture the hearts of everyday Americans."
Thus, a lefty unwittingly gave Reagan the kind of compliment he would have
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