The Corner

Re Slate

From a reader:

Dear Jonah–

I’ve been thinking about Tim Noah’s critical Slate article on Ronald

Reagan, and whether or not it’s as tasteless as you suggest. And I

don’t really think it is. For the next week or so, the media will be

full of Reagan-praise, and inevitably some of it will be used for the

scoring of political points (see also Wellstone, Paul). I suppose

it’s fair that Slate gave us the other side of the coin, because

that’s about all we’ll get of that side for a while. And how much

better that it was a fairly substantive critique of Reagan’s policies

rather than some weaselly backhanded praise (“Reagan’s charm and

connection with the American people enabled him to destroy entitlement

programs and fatten the military-industrial complex while bankrupting

the Treasury” or somesuch).

When I heard Reagan’s death announced on a live program on NPR,

someone in the crowd emitted a distinct “WOOHOO!” Now THAT’s

tasteless.

Keep up the good work,

ME I certainly understand the point and, as I said, I don’t mind critical pieces of Reagan from folks who disliked him. But this was the only piece they rushed to publication, and I believe it went up even before it was official he was dead. That’s why I said “Slate’s first instinct.” Why the rush? Can’t wait ’til morning, or Monday? This is what you feel the need to race the clock to get up?

Anyway, I’m sure there will be plenty of criticism of Reagan in the days to come. Historic presidents deserve criticism precisely because they do great things and nobody did anything great without stepping on some toes.

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