I’m going to come across as a completely uneducated bafoon, but what was so great about Ronald Reagan’s presidency? He passed away yesterday and the homage has been thick and deep. I know I’m a bit biased with my anti-Republican comments in the past, but I’d honestly like to know why people are saying he was one of the greatest presidents.
I blame a lot of my naivete on the school system that never covered anything after World War II, leaving me with a pitiful understanding of modern world history.
On a theoretical level, I know Reagan’s presidency came at a time when things weren’t looking good for the country. There was the energy crisis of the 1970s, the hostage thing in the Middle East, and recovering from a lot of 1970s muck like Watergate and Vietnam. And a lot happened during Reagan’s presidency. There were nuclear arms treaties with the Soviets, that whole Star Wars thing (I was always pissed when the news talked about the Star Wars program because I thought they were talking about the movie and I’d watch to see more about the movie, but they never had anything), and the merging of conservative Christians and the Republican party.
But I know a lot of messed up stuff happened during Reagan’s presidency. There was the whole Iran-Contra scandal. There was El Salvador and other conflicts where we were supporting war and bloodshed for dubious reasons. There’s the fact that Reagan was all about smaller government, yet he also created the biggest deficit in history.
There’s also the whole go-go 80s. The 1980s were really a big business era, and part of me wonders if that’s why Reagan seems so great. The economy was booming and whether or not he had anything to do with it, he gets the credit.
I was born in 1979, so Reagan is the first president I remember seeing. You tend to idolize a world leader when you’re that young, and you don’t know a lot of the facts.
Some of this is probably over-generalizing from what little I know (or think I know) about Reagan, so feel free to correct me. I know there are certain leadership qualities that stand out and would make a good leader, regardless of how you feel about their politics. I’m eager to know if that’s part of what made Reagan such a great president.