I am one of President George W. Bush's gardeners. Mr. George likes to talk to me.

Monday, June 07, 2004

A Tribute to Ronald Reagan

Some readers have sent me strongly worded messages complaining that I left Ronald Reagan off my list of the Top Ten Presidents of the United States. Some Reagan critics point to his daffy "I don't recall" responses in the wake of the Iran/Contra affair, in which he sold weapons to Iran and used the proceeds to help the Nicaraguan rebels. However, he was suffering from Alzheimer's by then, so I don't hold his testimony against him. Nor do I judge him for facilitating the Savings & Loan scandal through deregulation, because I respect his faith in the integrity of the American businessman. I had omitted Mr. Ronald for three reasons: (1) Because he followed a big tax cut with an even bigger tax increase — taxes are bad, (2) he dramatically increased the size of the federal government, and (3) whenever I asked him a question about a current affair during any of few visits to the White House garden, he responded by smiling and talking about children, or hope, or golden sunsets. Or sometimes the new Taco Bell fajitas.

That was all before his life ended so tragically, well before his time.

I have now placed Ronald Reagan at the top of my list of the Top Ten Greatest Presidents of the United States. Now, as we ponder a wonderful actor and good president, I realize this is no time for petty grievances. Now is a time for hysterical hyperbole. Together with Phil Donohue, he slammed the door on the Communist Threat! Together with the Olympic hockey team, he inspired a healthy sense of xenophobia and patriotism! And together with Oliver Stone, he pushed past the complex rhetoric of capitalism: greed is good. Greed is good!


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