The good, the bad, the ugly —
Having successfully avoided all but the headlines all weekend, I finally confronted whole news stories today. The Progress Report has a good summary of Reagan’s mixed legacy – as does Alternet. Eric Alterman links to a slightly less balanced piece he wrote four years ago, acknowledging that he would have been a little gentler had he written it in the aftermath of Reagan’s death. If you have no patience for balanced treatments of Reagan’s legacy and just want to be riled, read Greg Palast’s angry obit. (The link is not working very well, so I can only point to his site. You won’t have any problem finding the column!).
This San Francisco Chronicle piece wonders if Reagan’s passing will galvanize Republicans to rally around their current oh-so-not-Reaganesque candidate. However, the event could strengthen Democrats, too: those of us who thought Reagan’s conservatism was draconian in its hostility to the poor, the disadvantaged, the non-white non-males, the non-heterosexuals, and the environment, now could almost yearn for those years when comparing them to Bush’s compassionless conservatism. Perhaps we’ll work even harder for regime change in November. Yes, Bush will get a sentimental boost from the Republican National Convention, but six months is a long time for him to continue showing us how very unlike “the Gipper” he is — despite Rove and Co’s best efforts to position him in Reagan’s glow.
The White House is probably hoping this story will go largely unnoticed this week: via Atrios, Intel-Dump quotes at length and discusses a Wall Street Journal story on yet another classified legal memo justifying torture. A segment of the story:
The draft report, which exceeds 100 pages, deals with a range of legal issues related to interrogations, offering definitions of the degree of pain or psychological manipulation that could be considered lawful. But at its core is an exceptional argument that because nothing is more important than “obtaining intelligence vital to the protection of untold thousands of American citizens,” normal strictures on torture might not apply.