R.I.P., R.R.Ronald Reagan was not a great president. In fact, in his second term he was a barely functioning one. But he sure knew how to play one on TV!
Among other disasters, you will recall that he actually financed terrorists, including the organization that 20 years later destroyed the Twin Towers. U.S. covert action money built up the Nicaraguan Contras, the Angolan UNITA under the homocidal megalomaniac Joseph Savimbi, and -- worst of all for us -- the mujahedeen of Afghanistan and their Saudi confederates, including Osama bin Laden.
One big problem with Reagan was that he had too active an imagination. Things he'd dreamed up (that welfare queen with the Cadillac, for example) and movies he'd seen seemed real to him. W.'s problem (and ours) is that he has almost no imagination at all, or curiosity. And when he imitates Reagan's boyish grin, he just looks foolish. He may be no worse than Reagan as a real president (that would be a tough test), but he's abysmally worse at faking it. Reagan managed to fool all of the people (or nearly) some of the time; W. is fooling only himself and a dwindling sector of the willingly self-deluded.
For a fitting farewell to RR: Goodbye and Good Riddance by Phil Gasper.