1. says

    I’m convinced the mythology and deification of Reagan won’t stand the test of time. He was not a good president, and the policies of his administration not only did great damage to this country, but the expansion of them among the Bush regimes and even the two corporate-friendly Democratic administrations to succeed him have so greatly eroded this country as to create a rot that could make this temple we call America come crumbling down.

    Really, only one of two things can happen to this country: we can wake up and have ourselves a miniature revolution, rejecting totally the economic policies of the past 30 years, or America’s station as a significant world power is over. Already, we’re being out exported by a country less than a third of our size — Germany — while China exports three times as much as we do in terms of total value. We’re rapidly losing our station as an economic or intellectual power house (contrary to what Obama suggested at the State of the Union, our patent trend-lines are going in a dangerous direction) and large swaths of our country’s infrastructure and cities are decaying, to put it kindly.

    If we don’t act soon, I’m not sure we’ll be able to restore the greatness of this country — the ideals of the American Dream — within the periods of most of our lifetimes. The hole will be too deep, and our resources stretched far too thin. We’re at the precipice, and we cannot regain solid footing and build anew without taking the economic policies of Reagan and the mythology of his days in power and making it all dead and buried.

  2. GregV says

    If it had been 20,000 young, straight, white people who had died of a new disease discovered only on his watch, it’s hard to imagine Reagan wouldn’t have mentioned something in public, or that the government wouldn’t have led an effort to combat the disease sooner.

  3. says

    According to his biographer, it’s a myth that Rock Hudson and the Reagans were “close friends.” BUT two years after hosting him at a White House state dinner, and nine months after he died from AIDS, the Reagans attended a nationally televised rededication of the cleaned-up Statue of Liberty in July 1986. A part of the evening’s “entertainment” was Repug comedian Bob Hope, who “joked”:

    “I just heard that the Statue of Liberty has AIDS but she doesn’t know if she got it from the mouth of the Hudson or from the Staten Island Ferry.” “As the television camera panned the audience, special guests French President & Mdm. Mitterand looked appalled. The Reagans were laughing.” – Michael Bronski.

    Forget building more statues to him, naming more streets, more buildings, more airports after, and putting his face on a coin or a mountain. THE most appropriate way to remember him is a REnaming: “THE RONALD REAGAN MEMORIAL AIDS QUILT.”

  4. Tim says

    Does the same ol’ partisan hack BS ever get old on this site? 49 states voted Reagan back into office in 1984. He worked his entire presidency under a Democratically controlled Congress which also perpetuated stereotypes and failed to act.

    Using examples of the intolerance of the entire nation to slam one man you didn’t like is partisan slime at it’s worse. Yes, the 80s sucked for gays, but there were millions more than Reagan who contributed to that, including leftists and Democrats.

    Grow up.

  5. willie t boned says

    With the hysteria over the recent pandemics that never appeared — it is very clear that only bigotry allowed HIV to go unaddressed or even mentioned by President Reagan until 20,000 Americans were dead and buried.

    This allowed the illness to spread across the country and internationally = we will never know what early prevention efforts could have achieved – because President Reagan CHOSE to ignore to coming pandemic for POLITICAL reasons.

    Reagan was an actor paid to represent for the elite – and not for all of America.

    A very evil man.

  6. StillmarriedinCA says

    @Tim–No, you grow up. If Andy and others were spreading lies and propaganda to foment hatred (ala Palin, Coulter, Limbaugh, Beck, and many Republican Senators and Representatives) then you would have a point. But all these things about Reagan are true.

  7. Roseann says

    goprune (goproud) must be so happy that the repukeplicans idol ignored the devastating AIDS epidemic back in the 80’s. We will never wake up from this nightmare!! goprune stick your head in the sand on this one along with your dead idol!!

  8. lewlew says

    This is the man responsible for all the homeless — 85% of which are mentally ill. He is the one who SHUT down government mental hospitals, dumped these people on the streets, where their only shelter is Jail! Not the way to treat the mentally ill, this is the standard we have to use to judge our own society. Do NOT believe all the hype about him, he was a terrible person and a worse president.

  9. LincolnLounger says

    The Reagans were part of the Hollywood crowd and were always surrounded by many gays, both in their social circle and in their California administration.

    Reagan could have and should have done more; however, hindsight is a wonderful thing. The idea that this was some right-wing conspiracy and conservatives sat around rubbing their hands in glee at AIDS death is preposterous and sickening.

    There’s a reason why public poll after public poll shows Reagan as one of our best and most beloved Presidents.

  10. says

    I think the deification/myth building of reagan is an excellent study

    7 yrs after his death, Modern era, modern record keeping devices, people still alive who saw him

    supposed gospels = 70-90 yrs after the supposed death of supposed jesus, no modern equipment, nobody still alive who would have seen any of it, they thought the world flat


    a very interesting study indeed on myth building

  11. says

    oh and just to set some of the reagan myths straight

    – turned USA creditor nation into a debtor nation

    – raised taxes 6 times in 8 yrs

    – did not single handedly end the cold war…..a poll in the last year of his presidency had 43-47% of america saying gorbechav had more to do with the end of the cold war with only 14% thinking reagan had anything to do with it

  12. BobN says

    “If it had been 20,000 young, straight, white people who had died of a new disease discovered only on his watch”

    20,000? There would have been a response if only 20 had died.

  13. brian says

    I don’t see why Reagan should have done anything. He’s not responsible for an illness that is due largely to sexual promiscuity.

    In any case, most of the money that’s been given to AIDS research has been wasted. All we really got out of it was a huge AIDS industry that trades on phony victimhood status to milk more and more money from the taxpayer.

    The best way to avoid sexually transmitted illnesses is to moderate your behavior. Don’t be promiscuous – can’t be any simpler than that.

  14. TANK says

    As BRIAN above me said, if you want to avoid sexually transmitted illnesses, don’t have dicks fill your bum up with loads… This implies that everyone who contracts hiv via sex doesn’t want to avoid it, and are at least unconcerned about getting it; and at most they want to get it. It’s entirely their fault that hiv exists for them to get and that they got it because they could have not had sex at all, or could have used protection. Couldn’t be simpler than that. So why is it that so many gay men continue to seroconvert if it couldn’t be simpler than that…I dunno, but who cares because it’s not my problem and it’s all their fault, so it doesn’t need to be addressed by the government because it’s not an epidemic or anything, and it’s just the gays, who aren’t real people, anyway. Reagan was a horrendous president, and polling of the american people reveals a deeply ignorant and stupid populace of angry fat slobs destroying american prosperity.

  15. Rocco says

    I’ll ignore your ignorant homophobia and focus on the facts: Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States, our “leader.” He said and did NOTHING about AIDS for several years and thousands of people died. Whatever you perceived as his “obstacles” don’t matter. Not only did he not lead on this crisis, he did nothing.
    Your peeps like to shout about responsibility a lot….so take some. Partisanship and popularity have NOTHING to do with this.

    Segue to your friend Brian…
    I am going to guess you are quite young and/or incredibly ignorant. The etiology and of HIV/AIDS was not immediately known….so your hateful judgements about “promiscuous” people are very misplaced. You might want to read “And The Band Played On” by Randy Shilts (one of the more popular accounts of this pandemic).

    Best definition of promiscuity: someone who is getting laid more than you are.

    One can be infected in one encounter. It is well documented that large numbers of gay men have had a high number of sexual contacts but practiced only safer sexual behaviors and never seroconverted….it’s about behavior!

    How dare you two come onto a site like this and spread your venom. Have you no shame?

  16. ted says

    Like Tim’s observations. Most folks here revere Obama, it will be held up for posterity that he was the “pro gay” president, who spoke to gay crowds and curried favor with gay voters, and DID NOTHING. Reagan is unfairly criticized because he was a conservative republican, Obama, a radical, gets nothing but unfair praise. I want to know, specifically, just what reagan could have said that would have made the difference in one HIV case? There was no cure, and traditionally left leaning people rebel against authority. I imagine we would have seen people screaming about Reagan trying to shut gay sex down if he had uttered a syllable. it is a no win situation. Conservatives are reviles before, during and after office. Relentlessly. Progressives are lauded no matter how slimy or irresponsible or dangerous to our country. Reagan was a great president, and Palin will be.

  17. ted says

    Just researched the timeline on AIDS. Reagan mentioned fighting AIDS in a speech to congress on February 6,1986.

    “We will continue, as a high priority, the fight against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). An unprecedented research effort is underway to deal with this major epidemic public health threat. The number of AIDS cases is expected to increase. While there are hopes for drugs and vaccines against AIDS, none is immediately at hand. Consequently, efforts should focus on prevention, to inform and to lower risks of further transmission of the AIDS virus. To this end, I am asking the Surgeon General to prepare a report to the American people on AIDS.”

  18. ted says

    Here is 1985 comment by Reagan on AIDS. This is two years before ACT up is founded. Reagan put out half a billion dollars for research by 1985.

    Just because he did not mention it before does not mean the administration was unaware of it or not supporting research…I am sick of the lies put out about this great man, who was the first to invite GAY COUPLES to the White House and had many gay friends. Not to mention a gay son.

    (((aside -And Bob Hope’s joke may have been tasteless, but he put it out there, and took some of the vile secrecy off of the illness – but no one noticed, he said “she go it”. Who ever alluded to the fact women can get the illness?))))

    reagan press conference
    Federal Support for AIDS Research

    Q. Mr. President, the Nation’s best-known AIDS scientist says the time has come now to boost existing research into what he called a minor moonshot program to attack this AIDS epidemic that has struck fear into the Nation’s health workers and even its schoolchildren. Would you support a massive government research program against AIDS like the one that President Nixon launched against cancer?

    The President. I have been supporting it for more than 4 years now. It’s been one of the top priorities with us, and over the last 4 years, and including what we have in the budget for ’86, it will amount to over a half a billion dollars that we have provided for research on AIDS in addition to what I’m sure other medical groups are doing. And we have $100 million in the budget this year; it’ll be 126 million next year. So, this is a top priority with us. Yes, there’s no question about the seriousness of this and the need to find an answer.

    Q. If I could follow up, sir. The scientist who talked about this, who does work for the Government, is in the National Cancer Institute. He was referring to your program and the increase that you proposed as being not nearly enough at this stage to go forward and really attack the problem.

    The President. I think with our budgetary constraints and all, it seems to me that $126 million in a single year for research has got to be something of a vital contribution.

  19. StillmarriedinCA says

    There’s Republicans in a nutshell–completely out of touch with reality: “Reagan was a great president, and Palin will be”.

  20. Sean says

    Ted get your head out of the sand. I am not a bleeding heart liberal or an Obama fan. This said, AIDS is one of the major failures of the Reagan Administration. Yes he spoke about it for the first time in 1986, by which time 20,000 were dead, and hundreds of thousands were infected, most of whom were gay men. I will give Reagan credit for winning the cold war, but his lack of action about AIDS had LGBT people by the thousands protesting in the streets against his lack of leadership on a deadly health threat. Have you heard of ACT-UP, GMHC, or Queer Nation? How about the AIDS Memorial Quilt. It took gay activists creating these organizations and speaking out to finally force the Reagan Administration into action. AIDS is a threat which President Reagan knew about in 1981. You really do need to read Randy Shilts book “And The Band Played On”. Reagan could have spoke out and allocated a lot more CDC and NIH resources to research, education, and prevention programs, a lot sooner than 1986. Had he done so thousands of lives may have been saved. Safe sex education alone would have done this, if Reagan had made it a priority. He and his administration did not do so until 1986 and this is the blood his administration will always have on its hands. He rebuilt America’s prestige abroad, bankrupted the Soviet Union, winning the cold war, and did nothing to fight AIDS for five years because he cared nothing for who it impacted the most. Life is not so black and white as you would have us believe.

  21. Dave says

    How long have you been writing political fiction Ted? This “Reagan press conference” you write of, is there film or is it just a transcript from your butt? You can not be serious. This hero of yours tripled the national debt, armed Iran in exchange for not releasing the hostages on Carters watch, trained the Taliban and Bin Laden, raised taxes on the middle class eleven times, cut taxes for the rich, busted the once strong Trade Unions of our nation and yes said and did nothing while gay men died because the right people were dying. Those are facts, not the warped political fictions from your butt.

  22. peterparker says

    @TED: You are delusional if you think the Reagan administration handled the HIV/AIDS pandemic in a sensitive and responsible manner. In a video clip posted on the website of the Dartmouth Medical School, Reagan’s own U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, says of the Reagan White House’s response to the HIV/AIDS crisis: “Their attitude was ‘Well, who gets AIDS anyway? Intravenous drug abusers, homosexual men, bisexual men, promiscuous heterosexuals. Who cares, and don’t they deserve what they get anyway? And that was the attitude of the White House; not of Mr. Reagan, but of his handlers.”

    You can see and hear Koop say it himself by going to: and clicking on the link “How The Report on AIDS got started” on the left hand side of the page.

    @DAVE: Actually, the Carter administration negotiated the release of the hostages in Iran. The talks that resulted in their release began in September 1980, nearly 5 full months before Reagan was sworn into office. Those talks culminated with The Algiers Accords which were signed by Iran and the U.S. on January 19, 1981–the last day of President Carter’s term in office. Among other things, The Algiers Accords called for the immediate release of the hostages. The following day, 20 minutes after Reagan’s swearing in ceremony, Iran released all 52 hostages into U.S. custody. They were flown first to Algeria, a diplomatic gesture acknowledging that country’s assistance in resolving the crisis. The flight continued on to Wiesbaden USAF Hospital in Germany where Carter received them. They were given medical checkups and debriefed. Then they flew to New York, stopping to refuel in Shannon, Ireland. Ten days after their release, and thus eleven days after the diplomatic agreement that resulted in their freedom, the hostages were given a ticker tape parade in New York City. By that time, Ronald Reagan had already spent several days as the new U.S. President. And many members of the American public conflated the two events and came to believe, erroneously, that Reagan was responsible for the release of the U.S. hostages.

  23. Dave says

    Peterparker, both the legitimate Carter administration and the illegitimate Pre- Reagan administration / presidential campaign were in negotiations with Iran in the summer of 1980 history has shown. What group was ultimately more effective is up for debate, but as Carter lost the election sadly, I’d say Reagan’s thugs won the day but you are free to disagree and I would respect that.

    Barbara Honegger a member of the Reagan Administration as a researcher and policy analyst, is on record in stating clearly that George H. W. Bush and William Casey had conspired to make sure that Iran did not release the U.S. hostages until Jimmy Carter had been defeated in the 1980 presidential election. The Reagan presidential campaign made a deal at two sets of meetings in July and August at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid with Iranians to delay the release of Americans held hostage in Iran until after the November 1980 presidential elections. Reagan’s aides promised that they would get a better deal if they waited until Carter was defeated. Carter was defeated, the hostages were released and Oliver North went to work. Arms were shipped, Contra’s were supported, the CIA ran cocaine and crack filled the poor neighborhoods of America. Coke was cheap too the parties were fun but the music sucked. What the Carter Administration did was their job. What Reagan’s political operatives did is called treason.

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