Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Reagan Mythology

It seems that both conservatives and liberals are locked in bitter struggle over the legacy of Reagan. Bill Kristol points out that Reagan was "conservative before he became Republican" which he argued makes him a unique politician in the 20th century, unlike FDR and Kennedy who were just politicians who liberalism adopted.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman, the Democrats and a lot of the MSM are back to trying to re-write history so that the last 25 years were some sort of an economic debacle with the only exception being the Clinton years-oh, and somehow "Internet Bubble" is a term that has strangely been lost in a lot of the lefts "unbiased recent history".

One thing seems to be clear, Reagan is a pivotal figure in recent US history, the ineffectual don't get this much attention 20 years after leaving office. One of the fun things about at least Clinton and Carter as Democrats is that they managed to hand the incoming Republican Presidents econimies that were either "in" or very close to recessions, while Bush Sr handed Clinton a growing economy.

This is a nice little trick, as the sagging economy means lower revenues and almost requires higher deficits, so those numbers come out bad. The downside for the Dems is that if the Republican DOES get the economy turned around, as both Reagan and Bush were able to do, then they might get credit for it. The solution to that, since the MSM is so sypathetic is to just "talk the economy down" during a Republican administration. A Republican recovery is always "jobless", or "just based on debt", or "only benefiting the rich", while a Democrat economy, even if it turns out to just be an internet stock bubble ala Bill Clinton is always "robust", "structural", "broad based", or some other positive term.

Even though the market crashed in March of 2K, and the economy was rapidly slowing, the MSM had nothing bad to say about it until Bush took over and it immediately became "the Bush recession". In '92 however, the "Bush recession" lingered in the minds of the MSM while Bill Clinton was elected, but in fact we were already out of recession before Clinton ever too office. Naturally, the Bush tax increase, which no doubt deepened and lengthened the recession cost Bush votes with conservatives (mine for one), but got him no credit from either the MSM or Democrat voters.

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