Friday, June 11, 2004

Let Reason Prevail

In some of the more scathing anti-Reagan rants that have been posted over the last several days, I've been reminded of something FDR's grandson said about how--in the 15 years or so after his grandfather died--people would approach him and express their vitriolic HATE of FDR.

Reagan has been out of the public eye for ten years. During his time in office, and the five years before he went public with his Alzheimer's, there were numerous critical books written about him. After 1994, those books ceased, partly out of respect, but mostly because publishers thought negative books on Reagan would not sell.

Just as there was an anti-FDR backlash after he died (hence the 22nd Amendment) so too there was an anti-Reagan backlash after he left office (even Bush Sr. had a small hand in that, when he spoke of a "kinder and gentler" America, Nancy Reagan was said to have asked, "Kinder and gentler than who?").

It takes time to look back in history with real perspective. FDR is still a controversial figure in some circles, but most historians consider him the greatest President of the 20th Century. I don't think Reagan deserves to be ranked with FDR, but I do believe he was better than average--and certainly better than the alternatives in 1980 and '84.

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