Sunday, June 06, 2004

"his trademark jellybeans"

I don't think a man's death is the time to drag out all of the reasons one might have to disagree with him, but I also think it's not the time to churn out myths and exaggerations.

Reports from ABC News yesterday did a pretty balanced job of reporting Ronald Reagan's death, I thought. They mostly talked about his achievements, but they also mentioned a few of the down sides about his Presidency. The biggest national deficit until George W., the hovering spectre of Iran-Contra, cutting social programs, economic policies that continue under George W. today . . . they chalked up the Cold War as a victory attributed only to Mr. Reagan, which I would disagree with, but overall, it was pretty fair.

Reports today have been very different. They're of the Reagan Did No Wrong variety, and I expect that trend will continue for the rest of the week until his burial on Friday. One of the most heavily touted claims is that he was the most popular President of the modern era, but Gallup polls report Bill Clinton has having a higher approval rating than Reagan.

I'm not trying to start a Reagan fight today. Meredith and I have gone over that before. But there are a lot of myths out there, and when the subject of them finally passes away, the myths flare up brighter than ever before.

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