Urbin Report

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Andrew Sullivan lists a collection of quotes about President Reagen from the 80's, which points out that they were all wrong:


"A few years from now, I believe, Reaganism will seem a weird and improbable memory, a strange interlude of national hallucination, rather as the McCarthyism of the early 1950s and the youth rebellion of the late 1960s appear to us today." - Arthur "Always Wrong" Schlesinger, Washington Post, May 1, 1988.

"Something like the speech to the evangelicals is not presidential, it's not something a president should say. If the Russians are infinitely evil and we are infinitely good, then the logical first step is a nuclear first strike. Words like that frighten the American public and antagonize the Soviets. What good is that?" - Rick Hertzberg, New Yorker macher, quoted in the Washington Post, March 29, 1983.

"President Reagan has substituted a mindless militarism for a foreign policy, rattling arms from El Salvador to Saudi Arabia, frightening our friends from Japan to West Germany. He proposes a 50 percent increase in ‘defense expenditures.’ Much of it will be dissipated in the self-defeating spiral of an open-ended nuclear-arms race that poses a greater threat to our own internal and external security than all the Communist propaganda that ever emanated from Moscow. Already, the cost of Reagan policies is devastating to our country in economic strength, in diplomatic influence, in national security, in moral stature." -- John B. Oakes, former senior editor, New York Times, November 1, 1981.

"In his distaste for bilateral efforts to manage the superpower rivalry and his instinctive predilection for unilateral ones, Reagan is counting on American technological and economic predominance to prevail in the end. The most striking, and questionable, theme in his star wars speech was his apparent belief that the U.S. could mobilize its scientific community and its economic resources in quest of an impenetrable antiballistic-missile shield over the entire nation without triggering perilously destabilizing countermeasures, both offensive and defensive, on the part of the U.S.S.R. Reagan's views notwithstanding, there is little reason to hope that the many handicaps of the Soviet economy will be decisively advantageous to the U.S. in the long run, allowing the U.S. to ‘beat’ the U.S.S.R. in an arms race." -- Strobe Talbott, Time, April 18, 1983.

Mr. Sullivan summed it up: "Rest in peace, Mr President. And know that after all these years, you were right - and all these people were clearly, emphatically, embarrassingly, wrong."