Friday, June 11, 2004

Ron Reagan craps on George W. again?

I agree with Kevin Drum that the following comment by Ron Reagan, Jr. at his father's funeral was unmistakably a shot across the bow of the present occupant of the White House.

[My father] was a man of unabashed faith, but he didn't make the mistake that some politicians do of wearing his religion on his sleeve. True, after he was shot, he came to believe he had been spared by God in order to do good, but he took this as a responsibility — not a mandate.

I commented to my wife the other day that the biggest difference I see between Reagan and Bush (the biggest among many) is that Reagan actually seemed to care about people while Bush, at best, only thinks he does, but in his heart he really couldn't give a crap about anyone but himself. That Reagan, after his brush with death, might see it as a message to take his responsibility seriously, while Bush, after 9/11, saw the war on terror as a mission from God to rid the world of evil-doers, are both believable propositions.

I still fundamentally disagree with a lot of Reagan's policy positions and I think some of his actions caused a lot of pain and misery. But I think he honestly believed what he was doing would help people out. Bush, on the other hand, just thinks that what he does is automatically right and therefore must actually be the best thing for everyone.

When the Iran-Contra scandal first broke, Reagan went on the air and insisted that they did not trade arms for hostages. A couple of months later, when the facts in evidence clearly proved that that could no longer be the case, Reagan again went on the air to say that, while he still believed in his heart that they weren't trading arms for hostages, the facts prove otherwise. In other words, Reagan was telling the truth as he believed it in that first statement, but he was not so egotistical as to ignore the evidence that showed that his belief did not match reality.

Bush consistently refuses to let the real world refute his faith in his own righteousness. If it does, then the real world must be wrong.

It's not that Bush isn't in the same league as Reagan. He's not even playing the same game.

Or, as Ron Reagan put it in a Salon interview last year:

"My father crapped bigger ones than George Bush ..."

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