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I Want to Wallow in the Hate

There's something more than a little ironic to see Chris Matthews, given his neck-bulging, vein-popping anger displayed every night on MSNBC, in today's Washington Post looking back with nostalgia on the wonderful comity between Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan back in the 1980s.  There's something to this, of course; Reagan could get along with anyone if they gave him a chance.  Just ask Gorbachev; first he smiled at Reagan, and before you knew it, his country went poof.

Matthews seems to forget or gloss over the fact that the "tone" of public discourse in the 1980s was just as bad as today.  For example, here's a public comment from O'Neill about Reagan that seems not to be in Matthews's archive: 

"The evil is in the White House at the present time.  And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and the future generations of America, and who likes to ride a horse. He's cold.  He's mean. He's got ice water for blood."

That's just a warm up. Democratic Congressman William Clay of Missouri charged that Reagan was "trying to replace the Bill of Rights with fascist precepts lifted verbatim from Mein Kampf."  Who can forget the desperate Jimmy Carter charging that Reagan was engaging in "stirrings of hate" in the 1980s campaign.  Los Angeles Times cartoonist Paul Conrad drew a panel depicting Reagan plotting a fascist putsch in a darkened Munich beer hall.   Harry Stein (nowadays a conservative convert) wrote in Esquire that the voters who supported Reagan were like the "good Germans" in "Hitler's Germany."  In The Nation, Alan Wolfe wrote: "[T]he United States has embarked on a course so deeply reactionary, so negative and mean-spirited, so chauvinistic and self-deceptive that our times may soon rival the McCarthy era." 

As Reagan's 100th birthday approaches next month, don't be taken in by all the liberals who now say what a wonderful guy he was or how much more civil things were then compared to that dreadful woman from the northern territories today.  Funny how liberals always seem to discern the virtues of conservatives only after they're dead and gone.

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 20 Comments

Too true, Steven. These liberals have always used nasty, scorched-earth rhetoric in describing conservatives. The only difference today is that it has worn thin over the years, and we now have our own media to counter-spin their stupid hogwash.

If the liberals of today had been raised by Amy Chau, we not have to be dealing with the children of the left.

But God forbid that anyone suggest that violent rap lyrics might contribute to a "climate of hatred" in which police are murdered.

Per Robert Bork, the scorched earth tactics had a very discrete point of origin - 1981.

For Republicans as fascist charges, see FDR, 5th graph from the end of his 1944 SOTU address. George Will finally picked up on this in a column last year. Tom West and others have been noting this for decades.

I recall back in the late eighties, I had a friend whose uncle was a Democrat. In his garage was a poster of Reagan, the photo taken from some western movie. The caption was: "The fascist gun in the West". Even back then, in my apolitical jr high school days it seemed a very odd description of a President who wanted government to have /less/ power.

Heh. I know. It cracks me up the way lefty politicians and the media claim they had all kinds of respect for Reagan.

Did they, ha! If you were alive then and paying attention (I was, just) the level of contempt they had for Reagan was stunning. I was apolitical then, but I soon got over it.

As a "red" guy who has spent his whole life in "blue" territory, I can vividly recall having to listen to lots of hatin' on Reagan by neighbors and acquainces and some family members. Sometimes it was casual contempt, sometimes apoplectic fury, but it was always nasty and hostile.

I felt a certain mordant amusement, when Reagan died, to hear and see all the media types speaking so warmly of him. My take is that they have their political passions (which are leftist), but they are also basically a bunch of whores. Seeing the outpouring of affection for Reagan being expressed by so many Americans, the "whore" portion of most mediabots' brains switched into overdrive and off they went, simulating respect and liking for Reagan out of fear of crossing the public that fills their their trough.

It was all quite insincere and laughable--as were John Kerry's attempts to invoke Reagan during the 2004 campaign--but it's significant, I suppose, that leftists have felt the need to dissemble in this way.

One of the great American industrialists of our day -- a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis -- recently emphasized the grave dangers of "rightist reaction" in this Nation. Any clear-thinking business men share that (his) concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop -- if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called "normalcy" of the 1920's -- then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of fascism here at home.

Ye gods, you're right.

What was disconcerting about the amount of vitriol during the Bush Administration was that Bush himself (unlike Reagan) did not give any indication that the reconstruction of the situation ante 1929 was an ultimate goal and did not (as did Reagan) manifest notable discontinuities in approach from the mode of the Republican Party before he took office. One gets the impression that the real issue with a Jacob Weisberg or a Paul Krugman is that their preferred schemes meet with any opposition or resistance at all.

Puts red-baiting Joe McCarthy in a different light, no? Of course we need to recall that Reagan said the New Deal was inspired by fascism, and of course he was right.

I tend to think the New Deal was inspired by a 27% decline in gross domestic product leaving a quarter of the workforce unemployed.

There were well-advised and ill-advised measures adopted by the Roosevelt Administration. One of the ill-advised measures was the erection of cartels across the whole panorama of economic sectors, superintended by the National Recovery Administration. It did not last long, as the federal courts ruled in 1935 that the commercial codes of the sectoral charters adopted under the NRA could not be enforced. A remnant of these cartels survived in the Department of Agriculture's 'marketing order' system. The NRA was a point of congruency between Mussolini's regime and the Roosevelt Administration. (Both the Italian government and the U.S. government had a military and a police force too). The only thing missing from the stew was an authoritarian party-state, a revanchist foreign policy, and re-armament.

I don't have the books handy, but Theodore White's MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT 1964 and especially Rick Perlstein's BEFORE THE STORM give multiple examples of mainstream news organizations Nazi-baiting Barry Goldwater. My favorite personal example is CBS News running a story during the Republican National Convention implying that Goldwater was going to Bavaria ("Hitler's one-time stomping ground." the report included in case you missed the point) in order to found an international far right movement. The report was put out by Daniel Schorr. I'm too young to have seen that report, but I do remember Schorr in later years on NPR. He could often be heard complaining about the vitriol and dishonesty of the right-leaning media and the low level of the public discourse.

Here's a link

Liberal journalists being sanctimonious and obtuse? Say it ain't so...

Our nation is too important to be silent about, especially when we see it being hollowed out by politicians peddling greed.

This is an excellent reminder of what went on in the 80s! When I was in college, the hate for President Reagan was almost worse than today. And, there was no large conservative media to speak of. One of the things that most irritated me was this ditty:
"It will be a great day when schools and teachers have all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber". It was and is an ignorant statement. Without the strongest military, there will be nothing to provide a good education. That is another post. But the point is that hate for President Reagan, conservatives and Republicans has been around all my 46 years on God's Green Earth. The difference? We are fighting back!

I was a moderate living in ground zero of liberalism during the 80s. The hate for Reagan was palpable and expressed all over the place. It was in the street, in the media, on protest signs, t shirts and blabbed about by everyone. No one ever said 'I'm against his policies', no he was the original 'evil one'. Wanted to nuke the world into oblivion. Created HIV as biowarfare so that 'gays would die'.

Nothing outdid the vitriole against Reagan until the advent of the Bush administration, where I saw history repeating itself like a stuck record. Again, he was a nazi, Hitler, fascist evil neocon wannabee dictator that wasn't going to leave office ("just you wait and see") with 'Darth Cheney' as his evil sidekick.

You want evil during protests? Check out zombietime's photo essays on the net. Yeah, good times for liberals, eh. And now suddenly they're worried about civil discourse when they are the ones that literally invented uncivil discourse? The hypocrisy is thick and the intellectual honesty is non-existant.

What's wrong with riding horses?

Seems the only thing more poorly utilized by the Left than their rhetoric is their memory.

Democrats try not to let little things like facts and reality get in the way of their self-serving little stories.

I am glad I found this site and will return.

I believe the advancement of the progressive movement and the Left leaning press is a direct result of our population being "Dumbed Down" through an educational system based on Regurgitation of Pap and No THINKING.

Not too many years ago (almost) all of of our University exams were essay, even in the sciences.

I wonder, though, the effect of those of us of like mind spend too much time talking to ourselves instead of on the Street Corner, sharing the TRUTH

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