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From Salon: When Reagan was (much) less popular than Carter

It's been widely observed that Reagan, a radical conservative in his day, would be considered far too liberal to be nominated by today's GOP, despite the extent to which current Republicans genuflect before his memory. Raised taxes, grew government, borrowed and spent, amnesty to illegals, pulled out of Lebanon, you know (or should know) it all.

What I hadn't fully appreciated before reading this article is just how recent the revisionism of his record and deification of his memory is. Only 46% of Americans viewed him favorably in 1992? While Carter's favorables were over 60%? Wow.

The long illness during which everyone was reluctant to say anything negative about him, combined with Clinton's success in erasing the huge Reagan/Bush deficits, and a systematic right-wing PR campaign on his behalf, did one hell of a job scrubbing away everything but the warm smile and the anti-government rhetoric in record time.

Date: 2011-09-09 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To be fair, if they had asked about how people viewed each person's Presidency, they would have probably gotten much more similar ratings (at that point).

As the article notes, Carter was doing lots of 'good' stuff at that point in 1992 so his favorability was high, while Reagan was doing lots of 'bad' stuff, so that probably compounded whatever blame he was getting for the deficit and the recession.

Nonetheless, you have to give a lot of credit to the right for their ability to deify Reagan and make him the patron saint of policies he might have paid lip service to but never, ever, followed.


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