A strong leader and gifted orator, his administrative style and policies have made him one of the defining presidents of the late 20th century and a tremendously polarizing figure in American politics.
He boldly advanced the twin conservative virtues of fiscal discipline and strong national defense all the while exporting an aggressive form of foreign policy that surmounted a half century long effort to contain and push back the powers of communism.
His efforts to minimize the scope of federal regulatory structures and alleviate marginal tax burdens in addition to setting a stable monetary policy lead to one of the largest episodes of economic expansion in recent history.
The man attracts the raw and often irrational ire of of the political left due primarily to the fact that his political legacy is a successful condemnation of sacred progressive principles as highlighted in contrast to the catastrophe that was the Carter administration.
Conservative: Why, because he wasn't engineering winners and losers through a convoluted tax system that puts downward pressure on economic development?
Progressive: No because he left the poor out to dry and hated gay people.
Conservative: Oh, well that explains why his gay son still has a high regard for his late father and how there was enormous wealth creation and essentially no net growth in poverty levels over the course of his administration.
Progressive: ...... Most people have no idea who Reagan really was.
Conservative: Yeah, I can see that.
In return, he is seen as one of the greatest Presidents ever because of the surging economy regardless of the long-term impact to be had with the tripling of the national debt as well as his 'defeating' of the Soviet Union regardless of their financial failings since the 1960s and the social reform of the 1980s.
He is given credit for ending the Cold War instead of the true heros like Gorbachev and to a lesser extent, Walesa. Communism was on its last legs anyway and the system was failing from within. Reagan didn't do much more than make a few nice, happy speeches.
The idea he supported freedom is a myth, shown by his support for brutal South American dictators which was/is glossed over. Reagan installed the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and propped up Saddam Hussein in Iraq despite the known atrocities. Later, the Republicans would do a HUGE U-turn on this, in their quest for oil.
And anyone who chooses shit like Donald Rumsfeld to work for them, can't be all that great.
Least we forget, it was Reagan's policies that brought
1) Change to the federal tax system, giving massive tax breaks to the wealthy and big business, and shifting a horrendous tax burden to the middle class;
2) Change to environmental laws, wrecking havoc on natural resources, endangered species, and the health and welfare of all Americans;
3) Change to labor laws, wrestling hard-earned workers' rights from unions, and causing at least one industry, air traffic control, into paralysis, affecting the safety of air traffic for more than a year;
4) Change to American foreign policy, by selling arms to Iran, and forwarding the profits to right-wing Central American dictators to help fund their death squads;
5) Change to monetary policies resulting in his leaving office with the largest federal deficit yet seen in US history;
6) Change to education - when he could not disband the US Department of Education, as he campaigned to do - he succeeded in reducing Federal education spending by 50%, and ravaged local education control by diverting funding to the state leve.
In addition, there are millions of Californians whose minds and memories are not so feeble as to fail to remember not only the miserable years of the Reagan presidency, but the painful, bitter years of the Reagan governorship.
I for one, being a student at the University of California during Reagan's governorship, saw firsthand his efforts, and "success" in dramatically raising tuition costs while slashing budgets, terminating construction projects, firing Clark Kerr, the popular President of the University, and enraging faculty with his declarations that the state "should not subsidize intellectual curiosity".
His massive cuts to health and welfare benefits in California, and in particular, mental health care, is the single biggest cause of the massive increase in homelessness in California over the past three decades - the tossing out into the streets of thousands of sick people who could not function in society.
1. someone who took credit for the concerted work of Mikael Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Pope John Paul II, Lech Walesa, and Vaclav Havel.
2. Thought we could shoot down nuclear missles with lasers in space.
3. Why we treat the poor with contempt instead of compassion.
4. Oversaw some of the most mediocre economic performance of the last half century.
5. Actively supported some of the worst scum on Earth, including Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
6. Sold weapons to Iran so he could finance nun-raping drug runners.
7. Why we have a 9 trillion dollar debt today.
to convince someone you are helping them while you are actually screwing them with their pants on
During his years in office, Reagan was not particularly popular. Gallup polls published recently compare him during office with other presidents. His average ratings during his years in office were below Kennedy, Johnson, Bush I, and Clinton; above Nixon, Ford, Carter. Those are averages during their terms in office.
By 1992 he was ranked just next to Nixon as the most unpopular living ex-president.
Since then there has been an immense PR campaign to convert him into a revered and historic figure, if not semi-divine, and it's doubtless had an effect, radically shifting the rankings. Not on the basis of facts: rather, extremely effective marketing. The current performance is reminiscent of the death of Hirohito and Soviet leaders. One of the more depraved moments of US media. The lying is quite impressive, even by people who surely know better.