Dear Deconfuser:

Sometimes you hear two completely opposite opinions about the same person. For example, just the other day Sarah Palin said this about Ronald Reagan:

“Wasn’t Ronald Reagan an actor? Wasn’t he in ‘Bedtime for Bonzo,’ Bozo, something? Ronald Reagan was an actor.”

But then I read Peggy Noonan say the following:

Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I’ll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president.

I’d always heard that Reagan was an actor, but now I’m not sure sure. So who’s right?

-Confused in Topeka

Dear Confused:

Ronald Reagan was, indeed, a second rate actor who starred in a whole slew of forgettable B movies, including a few dumb comedies like “Bedtime for Bonzo.” It would stretch the bounds of both the English language and good taste to call him an artist. As President, he and OMB director David Stockman popularized the idea that cutting taxes was the best way to reduce the deficit, a stupid notion that has directly contributed to a fourfold increase in the national debt (constant dollars) since Reagan took office. So in a sense both Ms. Palin and Ms. Noonan are correct, but they are also in another very real sense, both morons.


I’d call Reagan an artist without hesitation. A bullshit artist.

Compared to Bonzo he was.

Otherwise, not so much.

Regan was more of a potted plant or large heavy piece of furniture than anything else…at least during the relevant period of his life.

First, I did not know that Ronnie was the head of a major labor union. As we all know, the Screen Actors’ Guild is a major “special interest” that wields an unholy influence on our national politics. That really explains the 80’s. Or, well, maybe the 50’s.

Second, I must apologize for sporadically appearing here in the comments to unleash my spleen with sometimes ill-considered diatribe and unintended consequences. Especially I must apologize to RML for a rant about my heart-felt disappointment on the health-care reform bill and indeed every accomplishment the Demrats so sorely failed to tout sufficiently to maintain their virtual stranglehold on the agenda of Government.

Though I’m not really sorry the Dems got trounced on Tuesday. I doubt that if they’d maintained power in the House, very much worth bragging about would be done in the next two years. Now we get nothing, which in our system may be better than the something either party can deliver.

Third, @TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: I don’t think even Reagan knew his own bullshit. With hindsight, the Bush-connected cabal was probably running that show. The Iran-Contra clusterfuck seems to support that, not that I’d ever want to make excuses for Reagan.

Fourth, @ManchuCandidate: Boys with short, thick genitals and tight scrotum are good for football playing. Shit, everyone knows that. Boys with short thick genitals and tight scrotum are good for all sorts of games involving balls.

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