Cultural Revolutions

Ronald Reagan, R.I.P.

By no means the least of Ronald Reagan’s achievements as man and president was that he may well have been the first chief executive since Herbert Hoover who did not deserve a prison term for his crimes.  He also managed to hold the presidency twice, hand his office over to a designated successor, and remain a popular and even a beloved figure for the rest of his life.  Aside from these not inestimable accomplishments, however, his enduring legacy as a conservative statesman is pretty thin.

Unlike Franklin D. Roosevelt, Reagan did not deceive and manipulate his country into war through outright and covert aggression against foreign nations.  Unlike Harry S. Truman, Reagan did not cover up for known Soviet agents such as Alger Hiss and then vilify patriots who tried to expose them and bring them to justice.  Unlike Dwight D. Eisenhower, he did not engineer the deliberate starvation of thousands of German civilians after World War II nor contrive to send thousands of Soviet POW’s back to be massacred by Stalin in “Operation Keelhaul.” Unlike John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon, Reagan did not steal the presidential election outright, use the government to spy on and harass his political rivals, or cover up criminal conduct within his own administration.

It may be that Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter did not commit such crimes either, but in the case of these two...

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