Ben Turney

Boing Boing
Online Photographer

June 12, 2004

Reagan was...

a better communicator, a child of light, a colossus of the 20th century, a complete failure, a friend of Pakistan, a friendly man with one close friend, a giant, a giant on the American political landscape, a good man, a great man anyone could like and agree with, a great man at the right time, a man of deep and abiding faith for whom prayer was an integral part of his daily life, a man of great optimism for the future, part of his optimism is hoping that others will not be afflicted with this disease, a president who inspired his nation and transformed the world, a providential man who came along just when our nation and the world most needed him, a real guy, a resolute guardian of Taiwan, a self-made man, a steady captain, a tenacious adversary of the Cuban Revolution, able to comfort many people, all folksy...

almost giddy, always on the Armed Forces Network, always talking directly to the troops, always "presidential", an eternal optimist, an idealist, an international outlaw, an optimist, at home in the job, bright, focused on the big picture rather than policy minutiae, certainly not America's president; he was white America's president, comfortable being unpopular, coming, complicit in the violation of U.S. law, considered for the part of Will Rogers in the movie about the life of the Oklahoma humorist, consistently kind, even to his political adversaries, convinced that a free society was the best way to achieve a just and prosperous one as well, derided for his stark depiction of the Cold War as a �struggle between right and wrong, good and evil.�, doing everything imaginable to bring down the evil empire, enthusiastic about racing, especially partial to the sweeping, the stirring, the spectacular., famously derided as an �amiable dunce� by Democratic elder Clark Clifford, fondly remembered by Catholic and pro-life groups alike, for dorks, friendly and engaging, warm and concerned about even young staffers such as myself, hated for precisely the same reasons he was loved, idealistic, but not really an ideologue, in the early stages of Alzheimer's, indeed possessed by the demons of manifest destiny, interested in you and not himself, like a ticket to freedom, more pragmatic and responsible than that, more right than he knew, more than a historic figure, never afraid of controversy, never mean-spirited, no friend of the working man, not attentive enough to detail to know what his staff was doing and they broke the law, not consumed by himself, not content to manage problems, not God, but he did have convictions that were 'unlobbyable' and a vision for America, which obsessed him and drove him to success, not only the Great Communicator but the Great Healer, nothing petty or mean-spirited about him, one of America's greatest, optimistic about America amid the cynicism and general retreat of the post-Vietnam era because he believed unfashionably that America was both great and good, optimistic about the great promise of economic reform, optimistic that a strong America could advance the peace, optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, passionate about achieving a free society, possessed by demons, smart enough to know he couldn't do everything, so he put his efforts into his priorities, so strong, so certain, strong and gentle, stupid, such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself, such a nice guy that he didn't want to say no, and so there was too much spending in Sacramento and then in Washington, telling Americans what they wanted to hear and what they wanted to believe about their country, the all-American good guy, the butcher of my people, the chief victim of a Dean Martin Celebrity Roast in 1973, the first president who understood that television has affected all communication, the kindest, most gracious president I have met, the last president for whom the Depression -- the years when America stopped working -- was a formative experience, the most polite, courtly gentleman, but he knew what he was for and why and he always stuck by it., the most successful President of the United States in the 20th century, the president through most of my childhood, the product of lifelong evolution, the right man in the right job at the right time, the standard-bearer of a conservative assault on the New Deal orthodoxy that once dominated Washington., the �Teflon president� to whom no charge ever stuck, the tonic for a nation in a funk, thinking about my job and me doing it, truthful and attained his goals through honorable actions, trying to govern �based on maxims out of McGuffey�s Reader and Calvin Coolidge.�, unfazed by a ballooning deficit, unique in his ascendancy to greatness, utopian, virtually brain-dead, willing to make compromises to attain his goals, willing to try new technologies like satellite television as a way to reach the public.

Posted by Brenden at June 12, 2004 10:50 AM

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