A front page article in the Washington Post today offers an alternative view of the late Ronald Reagan, countering what historian Robert Dallek called the current hagiography since Reagan’s death on Saturday. Eric Pianin and Thomas B. Edsall wrote today:
The lavish praise obscures that much of Reagan’s record through eight years in office was highly controversial and intensified social and political divisions. Even now, nearly 16 years after he left office, some major interest groups and key voting blocs most adversely affected by Reagan policies remain bitter about his legacy.
Its hard to avoid mixed feelings while watching the non-stop coverage of Reagan’s life and death. Reagan coming to office in ’80 opened my eyes to politics and the power of the presidency — as a teen, I was swept up by his optimism and through high school I grew increasingly fascinated by government as I watched Reagan dominate politics in the 80s. My views evolved though as I closely followed his presidency during college and watched the emergence of the Iran Contra scandal and also witnessed his administration’s ignoring the growing AIDS crisis.
With due respect, I think its important to consider Reagan’s legacy with a bit more restraint and balance, especially during a time of an ongoing national crisis overseas and with a presidential election approaching.