How on earth did we think this man was better than Carter? And, by th way, if we had listened to Carter, we would be much better off with regard to energy and the global warming situation.
The default option these days is fantasy a trend in American politics kicked off in this epoch by Ronald Reagan. Reagan knew how to keep things simple. When Reagan died a Pentagon official told me that when Ron became president in 1981, and thus "commander in chief" the Joint Chiefs of Staffs mounted their traditional show-and-tell briefings for him, replete with simple charts and a senior general explicating them in simple terms. Reagan found these briefings way too complicated and dozed off. The Joint Chiefs then set up a secret unit, staffed by cartoonists. The balance of forces were set forth in easily accessible caricature, with Soviet missiles the size of upended Zeppelins, pulsing on their launchpads, with the miniscule US ICBMs shrivelled in their bunkers. Little cartoon bubbles would contain the points the joint chiefs wanted to hammer into Reagan's brain, most of them to the effect that "we need more money". Reagan really enjoyed the shows and sometimes even asked for repeats.
Reagan set the bar for the level of national political debate. They called him the Great Communicator and no one has moved the bar since. So who cares if his great contribution to the national fantasy "missile defense", aka, "the strategic defense initiative" aka "Star Wars, is now scheduled to consume 19 per cent of the defense budget even though it's well nigh universally admitted the system is useless. The system is impregnable to reform and everyone knows it.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Something about Reagan
This is from an article by Alexander Cockburn. I'm glad I didn't know this while Reagan was president: