From a reader:
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
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.