Reagan is constantly in the news these days due to his 100th birthday coming up and more recently the family squabbles. I am going to start with an admission of ignorance:
I remember much of Reagan’s presidency but it began when I was 14 and I wasn’t informed enough to really know much at the time, and most of what I know about him politically comes from readings after his reign. I also have a near irrational dislike of him due to my family being very negatively affected by a couple of his policies (particularly his Social Security cuts). However, I basically know enough about his administration to follow a conversation but too little to participate without betraying some- in the words of his biographer Edmund Wilson concerning Reagan- “encyclopedic ignorance” of areas of his administration and its after effects, so I’m starting this thread less to participate and more to learn.
He’s of course one of the most divisive figures in history, beloved by millions- some of whom would literally carve his face on a mountain if they could- and hated as the ruin of the nation if not civilization by his detractors, with of course most folks falling in between. His sons are bitchslapping each other this week as even they are divided on his legacy (though both have the most self serving of reasons to be- book deals).
So- in your opinion- what were the best and worst aspects of the Reagan years? Was he responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union? Were Reaganomics effective or disastrous? And do you think the man was actually in control?