"Righting" is likely too strong a word to use in light of the sugar coating of Ronald Reagan and his presidency over the past few days in an avalanche of coverage. Stories have trickled out about how St. Reagan was, in fact, flawed.

Joan Vennochi of The Boston Globe writes, "Conservative radio talk show hosts were quick to target those who dared question the depiction of Reagan as anything less than the greatest president since FDR. In their echo chamber, just criticism is one more liberal conspiracy to denigrate the opposition."

Reagan deserves some credit, Vennochi says, for "using the world stage to help end" the Cold War, although that seems a bit generous.

With his devotion to tax cuts but not necessarily spending cuts, Reagan made it politically fashionable to put the personal good ahead of the common good. It remains that way today. His photo-op presidency also idealized the notion that Americans need to feel good rather than actually do good.

An AP story, datelined out of San Francisco, also takes issue with the idea of a sterling Reagan legacy. For instance, it took him five years and 21,000 fatalities for AIDS to earn a mention from the White House.

Many won't forget his administration's proposal to classify ketchup as a vegetable as a way of further reducing spending on federally subsidized school lunches.

"Ronald Reagan really was a modern day Robin Hood in reverse — he stole from the poor and gave to the rich," said Michael Stoops, a longtime advocate for the homeless in Washington.

Few politicians deserve as much credit as Reagan for introducing iron-fist-in-velvet-glove agenda of power and money over people and the common good. A quote in the AP story succintly captures that:

"The tone has gotten more venomous, largely because of the people who came after Reagan and carried the Reagan banner," said Roger Hickey, co-director of Campaign for America's Future, a liberal advocacy group. "I give him full credit for unleashing the vast right-wing conspiracy."


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