Monday, June 07, 2004

Reagan vs. Bush the younger

Reuters is reporting (here) how my fellow Southern Californians are mourning the loss of our former two term governor and successful Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan, now lying in state not far from where I write this.

I was following a left-wing media source earlier today, that headlined his passing in the following: "We'll have all the news, including the passing of a 93-year-old."

Everyone seems to agree that, like Inspector Cleuso in the Pink Panther film series, no one is quite sure whether Reagan's bumbling disengagement and acknowledged lack of comprehension of detail were the brilliant facade of a true politician genius, or the secret of a bumbling old fool of an emperor without any clothes. His policies frightened some while his great mastery of media communications reassured many others.

One thing I will say about Reagan. He respected alternate points of view, and his politician enemies, in turn, respected him for that. This came out clear today in a clip on the U.S. PBS program Newshour, showing both the Democrat Tip O'Neill and Republican George Bush senior laughing in public at one of his jokes.

People liked him even if they disagreed strongly with he was doing. There were no accusations of media censorship in the United States under him. No sense that his political enemies would be subject to retribution for disagreeing in a gentlemanly manner with him.

That doesn't seem true under the present Administration.