Two Views of Ronald Reagan

Other than providing the usual entertainment (Isn't that nice?) and accusing President Obama essentially of treason ("Not only is [Obama] supporting our enemies and dissing our friends... "), Michael Reagan, in a piece at the Cagle Post, praises his father, Ronald Reagan, for his accomplishments in the national security arena during the Cold War -- as he should.

But while lauding his father's achievements, he accuses Obama of trying to give Russia what it wants in the missile defense area and, unlike his father "who always knew the Soviet Bloc was our enemy, Barack Obama believes the United States is the evil empire."

Others have accused Obama of leaving our country defenseless by trying to reduce the number of nuclear weapons of both countries.

But here is the rub. Michael Reagan's father, in 1991, signed START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), a bilateral treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union that became the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history and in its "final implementation in late 2001 resulted in the removal of about 80 percent of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence."

Michael Reagan himself acknowledges such: "Three years later the Berlin Wall came down. In 1991 Gorbachev came to Washington and signed Ronald Reagan's START agreement. And soon after, the Soviet Union was history."

(The START I treaty expired on December 5, 2009. On April 8, 2010, the replacement New START treaty was signed in Prague by U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev. Following ratification by the U.S. Senate and the Federal Assembly of Russia, it went into force on 26 January 2011.)

But even before that, in 1987, president Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union eliminating both countries' intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles -- reducing nuclear arsenals and "upsetting such conservative stalwarts as George Will and William F. Buckley Jr."

But let us not quibble about a few thousand nukes, or about the fact that the United States and Russia can still wipe each other off the face of the earth several times over.

Still staying with Michael Reagan's father, Ronald Reagan, it has been interesting to hear just about every Republican presidential contender claim that he or she is the true Reagan heir.

In a piece at the Mercury News last week, Steven Harmon, says that during the GOP presidential debates, "Reagan's name was invoked nearly 250 times by the GOP field."

Harmon continues:

But many historians argue that if Reagan had a true heir, he or she might raise taxes, compromise with Democrats and put aside the notion of taming the deficit during an economic downturn.

During his two terms in the White House in the '80s and as California's governor in the late '60s and early '70s, Reagan did all those things.

Harmon cites Stephen Knott, author of two books on Reagan and professor of national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College: "I'm not sure how well Ronald Reagan would do in today's highly partisan environment... If he tried to do today what he did in compromising on a budget dispute with House Democrats in 1982, he'd be crucified."


Indeed, the historical record clearly shows that Reagan was much more conciliatory, pragmatic and centrist than any of today's major GOP presidential candidates, who have proposed such things as deporting millions of illegal immigrants and limiting contraception as they vow not to raise taxes under any circumstances.

Please read more about this "other side" of President Reagan here.

An afterthought: Have we forgotten how another Republican president was spotted at his Crawford, Texas ranch in November 2001 being the best of buddies with Russian President Vladimir Putin, toasting Putin over mesquite-smoked peppered beef tenderloin, southern fried catfish, pecan pie and ice cream: "You only invite a good friend to your home," and explaining that the more he got to see President Putin, "the more I get to see his heart and soul ...the more I know we can work together in a positive way". Did Republicans accuse President Bush then of "supporting our enemies and dissing our friends"?