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Which president was more apologetic about America?

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Some right-winger whose name I didn’t catch was on television the other night holding forth on the durable Republican theory that Barack Obama spent much of his tenure as president “apologizing for America.” He said Ronald Reagan would never had done such a thing.

The guy was wrong, of course, on both counts. The false characterization of Obama always apologizing for America was popularized by Mitt Romney when he ran for president in 2012, but it didn’t do him much good. And the suggestion that Reagan was such an unapologetic patriot is based largely on myth.

Snarky pundit Slade Sohmer put it succinctly a few years ago when he said Reagan’s tenure in the White House  “would have to be considered by current conservative standards the worst presidency in American history.”

Reagan nearly tripled the national debt. He compromised with Democrats. He signed an immigration reform bill that granted blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. He talked with our enemies. He raised taxes 11 times. In fact, he raised payroll taxes in order to pay for government-run health care. He presided over double-digit unemployment. He expanded the size of government and created new federal departments. He cut and ran, withdrawing troops from hostile regions. He put two justices on the Supreme Court who voted to uphold Roe v. Wade. He closed tax loopholes to ensure “every corporation pay their fair share.” He even advocated gun control on the op-ed pages of — get ready for it — The New York Times.

No, the real Ronald Reagan was not the Saint Ronaldus Maximus who’s held in such esteem by today’s Republicans.

But these same folks — who are so eager to peddle the myth that Barack Obama frequently apologized for America — seem not to remember Reagan’s own record of apologizing for this country.

In truth,  the Reagan administration apologized to Japan for a sea incident, to France for the US’ hiding of a Nazi war criminal after WWII, to “Red” China for a police failure to abide by the Vienna Convention, to the Soviet-puppet regime in Poland for subsidizing anti-government radio programs, and to tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans for their internment during WWII.

Those are the instances that come readily to mind. There probably were more.

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2 Comments

  1. Robert Hazz Geaunads

    You’re claiming to remember that level of detail on Reagan, right of the top of your memory? No looking up of such data on the net?

    I find that hard to believe.

  2. Robert: Having nothing intelligent to say doesn’t deter you, does it?

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