Which president was more apologetic about America?

  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...

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The real Ronald Reagan has all but faded away

  Regular, longtime readers of this blog may have noticed my affection for Ronald Reagan. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m a lifelong liberal Democrat, and I never voted for Reagan. But frequently over much of the past three decades, I’ve felt the need to defend the legacy of our 40th president against the right-wing myths that have distorted it. Sure, Reagan was a conservative, but he wasn’t exactly the cartoonish wingnut portrayed by latter-day loonies in their mischacterizations of the man. I’ve devoted...

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A month later, Trump is still unpopular

    Donald Trump became president of the United States one month ago today, and his approval rating at this late date is weaker than that of any previous chief executive in the history of political polling. Trump’s numbers have been in negative territory for several months, since well before he took office. Oh sure, he can say that he’s doing comparatively well in the Rasmussen poll at a 55 percent approval rating, but the more reputable polls from Gallup and Pew have him at 40 and 38 percent, respectively. Rasmussen is...

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What will wingnuts do now that Obama is gone?

  Today’s transfer of power in the White House is fraught with ironies, not the least of which is that polls show that the outgoing president is much more popular than the new guy. More to the point, the departure of Barack Obama deprives the right-wing crazies, a noisy minority, of the principal target of their political invective. The time has passed for Obama to do all the evil deeds the wackos have long predicted. He wasn’t born in Africa. He’s not a Muslim.  He didn’t seize everyone’s guns. He...

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The story of a tone-deaf Reagan’s visit to a cemetery

  In the current debate over U.S.-Israel relations, the name of Ronald Reagan is invoked by all sides in the controversy, which brings to mind a mostly-forgotten story I’ve shared here previously. This episode occurred nearly 32 years ago, when Reagan, who was in his second term as U.S. president, made a visit to Germany to mark the 40th anniversary of V-E Day, the end of World War II in Europe. At the request of West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Reagan participated in memorial services at a military cemetery near the town of...

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