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6/10/2004

Blumenthal on Reagan

Salon.com | Rewriting the script: "Reagan did not bring about the downfall of the Soviet Union, which was crumbling from terminal internal decay. But to the degree that he gave Gorbachev political time and space, he lent support to the liberalizing reform that hastened the end. In reaching out to Gorbachev, Reagan blithely discarded the right-wing faith that totalitarian communism was unchangeable and that only rollback, not containment and negotiation, would lead to its demise.

Now, President Bush eulogizes Reagan as his example. To the extent he was studying the Reagan presidency at the time, he took away the myths, not the lessons, of history. Bush has his own doctrine, a Manichaean battle with evildoers and an army of neoconservatives to lend complex rationalizations to his simplifications. Reagan was saved by the wholesale firing of the neoconservatives, the rejection of conservative dogma and a deliberate strategy to transcend his old typecasting. It is why he rose above his ruin, and rides, even in death, into the sunset of a happy Hollywood ending."

 

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