To the editor:
How is it that conservatives have long touted our nation's 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan, as the virtual paragon of conservative virtue, when, in fact, Reagan, the man and the president, did much that was quite contradictory to the iconic image that has been created and reinforced by his staunch sycophantish Republican supporters over the years.
Areas of contradiction include:
First: Although a proponent of strong family values, Reagan was literally estranged from his children for much of his life and remains our only divorced president.
Second: Reagan spoke openly in support of organized religion, but attended church services only on the rarest of occasions.
Third: Reagan is praised for his outstanding leadership when, in actuality, he was often said to be unattached and uninterested in the detailed daily machinations of his chief executive status in addressing critical national and world events,
Fourth: Reagan is referred to as the great communicator, but as president gave the fewest press conferences with the exception of George W. Bush during the modern television era, rarely strayed from his prepared script and was devoid of detail when on rare occasions questions were answered.
Fifth: As president, Reagan increased taxes 11 times, granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and increased the number of federal employees at an even faster rate than Jimmy Carter, whom he derided for such as "irresponsible."
Sixth: Under his leadership, the national debt experienced its largest percentage nonmajor war-time increase in history (from $994.8 billion to $2.87 trillion.)
Seventh: Spoke proudly of our nation's prosperity while in office; however, although the top 1 percent of U.S. wage earners enjoyed a 17 percent increase in income, income fell by 7 percent of the bottom 20 percent of wage earners, which marked the largest such disparity in more than 100 years.
Eighth: Willingly negotiated with terrorists to our nation's detriment in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Last, although history has correctly recorded that Reagan overwhelmingly was elected president in 1980 and re-elected in 1984, aided by the support of Reagan Democrats, in reality, much of his support during his two successful presidential runs was more anti-Carter in 1980 and anti-Mondale (who had been Carter's vice president) in 1984, and Reagan's overwhelming electoral victories may have been at least as much of a rejection of what many considered to be weak Democratic candidates, as opposed to their support of Ronald Reagan and his policies.