Dissing George Washington for Reagan

Exclusive: Was Ronald Reagan a greater American leader than George Washington? That is the impression one gets when historic “Washington National Airport” is redubbed “Reagan National.” Are Americans really that anti-historical to have forgotten Washington’s significance, asks Robert Parry on the first President’s 284th birthday.

By Robert Parry

Arguably, George Washington was the one indispensible American. He was commander-in-chief during the American Revolution holding the embattled Continental Army together sometimes by his sheer force of will; at another key turning point, he presided at the Constitutional Convention giving the nation its governing framework; he then served as the first President placing his personal stamp of legitimacy on the fragile, young Republic.

While other Founders played important historical roles John Adams organizing the Revolution, James Madison devising the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton giving substance to the new federal government, etc. it was Washington whose temperament and stature made the entire experiment work.

President George Washington, who warned against the dangers of a large military and an aggressive foreign policy to the Republic.

President George Washington, who warned against the dangers of a large military and an aggressive foreign policy to the Republic.

Later, other American leaders stepped forward to guide the nation through grave crises, such as Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War and Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression and World War II, but Washington was truly the Father of the Country giving the nation life on battlefields up and down the length of the Thirteen Colonies, inside the contentious Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and in the establishment of a truly unified nation by serving two terms as the first President.

Surely, Washington was not a person without flaws and contradictions, but without him it is hard to imagine what would have happened to the American colonies in the late 1770s or assuming that independence was won to the squabbling states under the ineffectual Articles of Confederation in the 1780s.

At every key turning point in those early years, Washington was there sacrificing for the new nation. He suffered with his troops at Valley Forge; he collaborated with Madison and Hamilton overcoming the national disunion that followed military victory; he agreed to leave his beloved Mount Vernon to serve as the first U.S. President of the United States but then retired after two terms showing that no one person was bigger than “We the People” enshrined in the Constitution’s Preamble.

So, it is fitting that Americans honor this great early leader of the American Republic. But what is odd and to me troubling is the ahistorical attitude that essentially expunges Washington’s name from what had been “Washington National Airport” to rename it, in effect, “Reagan National” or simply “Reagan.”

Whatever one thinks of Ronald Reagan and I rate him one of America’s worst presidents for his profligate fiscal policies, his excessive militarism, his atrocious actions on human rights and his contempt for the Constitution as demonstrated by the Iran-Contra scandal it is hard to believe that even dyed-in-the-wool Republicans and conservatives would rate Reagan as a greater president than George Washington.

Yet, since Reagan’s name was shoehorned into the airport’s title after Republicans seized control of Congress in 1995 a change signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton many U.S. airlines have dropped Washington’s name altogether when referring to what had long been “Washington National Airport.” It’s now referred to commonly as “Reagan National” or “Reagan.”

Bizarre and Confusing

Beyond the bizarre suggestion that Ronald Reagan was a more important historical figure than George Washington, there is the practical concern that many people visiting Washington D.C. find it confusing that its airport, which was once named after Washington (who incidentally lived close by at Mount Vernon), is now identified as “Reagan,” who spent most of his adult life in California and only lived in Washington during his time in the White House (and then only when he wasn’t vacationing back in California).

So, doesn’t it make more sense both historically and practically to again refer to National Airport as “Washington National”? And, even if it is currently politically impossible to restore the traditional name given how the reversion would infuriate many Republicans can’t we, as a flying public, demand that the airlines go back to combining Washington and National rather than demeaning America’s Founding Father by dropping him in favor of Ronald Reagan?

Ronald Reagan statue at National Airport, which was renamed in his honor as his scandals were excused and suppressed.

Ronald Reagan statue at Washington National Airport, which was renamed in his honor as his scandals were excused and suppressed.

I know my suggestion may be deemed petty by some and quixotic by others, but there is meaning in historical symbolism. That is, after all, why Republicans insisted on elbowing Washington aside in the first place and elevating their recent hero Reagan to such an august position.

But are Americans so historically ignorant that we actually believe that Ronald Reagan was a more important figure in our national existence than George Washington? Do Americans really not know or appreciate how the Republic was created? Are the heroic sacrifices of Washington and his Continental Army so forgotten and disrespected that an actor-turned-politician is given top billing? Do conservatives who call themselves “constitutionalists” have so little regard for Washington and others who crafted the actual Constitution that they relegate them to a subordinate position? Have Republicans forgotten how the Republic got started and who started it?

Really! Regardless of our political persuasions, don’t we care enough about America’s Founders and America’s Founding to tell the commercial airline companies that it’s not “Reagan National,” it’s “Washington National”!

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

61 comments for “Dissing George Washington for Reagan

  1. Evangelista
    February 25, 2016 at 21:34

    The first President of the current United States, the Commercial-Law constituted United States, was to have been Richard Nixon, and would have been but for Watergate. Ford was unable to carry forward what Nixon started, for Watergate backlash, and the fickle electorate (Oh, for electronic voting then!) backlashed by electing a Constitutionally constituted United States President (the last one), Jimmy Carter.

    And so Ronald Reagan became the first President of the new Commercial-Law constituted United States, wherein the old Constitution is only an Honored Relic.

    Thus, what was Washington National, in the old Constitutional United States era, named after the first president of that Republic, that should have become the Nixon National, the airport of Nixon, D.C., became Reagan National, and the renaming of the capitol had to be postponed.

    Ronald Reagan, a Warren Harding (who might have been the first president of the new Commercial United States ‘Democracy’, which was actually launched in the early 19th century) clone, without the mistress to mess things up, became the official First President of the current, the commercial-law constituted, United States.

    If we can manage to revert the United States back to a Constitutional Republic, then returning the national capitol airport back to Washington National would be appropriate. George Washington was an exemplary First President for the Republic, demonstrating the constraint that the Constitution indicates was intended for the executive of the People’s Government for the Republic.

    Until the nation is once again a Constitutional Republic it is probably better to reserve Washington’s name for the time in future when the nation once again demonstrates itself deserving of having his name attached to its capitol airport.

  2. J'hon Doe II
    February 24, 2016 at 15:09

    The American Civil War only features slightly, if at all, in the British collective memory, but the war years 1861–1865 saw special strains placed on relationship between the two nations. In Britain the conflict became one of the most debated topics of the day, leading to a proliferation of pamphlets, newspaper reports and letter-writing campaigns, as well as pro-Confederate balls, anti-slavery petitions and cotton boycotts.
    ::
    Is there a difference, in America, today?
    English Empire vs. New World colonies?
    conservatives v. liberals – reps v. dems?

    a concise continuum thru ages,
    centuries of war and peace.
    a Continuous Saga, ‘astheworldturns’

  3. J'hon Doe II
    February 24, 2016 at 14:46

    Centuries long dominance = Conservatism (white robe) Rules the world.
    :

    The American Civil War only features slightly, if at all, in the British collective memory, but the war years 1861–1865 saw special strains placed on relationship between the two nations. In Britain the conflict became one of the most debated topics of the day, leading to a proliferation of pamphlets, newspaper reports and letter-writing campaigns, as well as pro-Confederate balls, anti-slavery petitions and cotton boycotts.

    CSS Alabama
    CSS Alabama, Alias 290, Penny Illustrated Paper, 15 Nov. 1862
    1862 LON 105 [1861] NPL; 19th Century British Library Newspapers

    Economic ties

    Even after the War of Independence and the War of 1812, there remained many commercial, social and cultural ties between Britain and the United States. The two nations were also often competitors, suspicious of one another, particularly with regard to the British northern provinces and in relation to Central and Southern America. British investment in the United States was considerable, and the cotton mills of northern Britain and Ireland relied on the Southern states for their raw materials. Industrial developments, notably the railways, were also often financed through British banks and companies. As part of the British Empire, the British North American provinces and the Caribbean formed important markets and sources of raw material.

    Such considerations informed the course of the war. The Confederate states believed that British and other European reliance on their slave-plantation produced cotton would ensure early recognition for their independence, a factor that led to the announcement of the secession from the Union. As the Democratic senator for South Carolina, James Henry Hammond, threatened, ‘You dare not make war on cotton. No power on earth dares to make war upon it. Cotton is king’. British mill owners, it was believed, could not risk their machines falling quiet.

    British attitudes towards the North and South
    read more – http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/uscivilwar/britian/britianamericancivilwar.htm

  4. J'hon Doe II
    February 24, 2016 at 14:17

    Many problems and faults surrounding Reagan can be found in Bill Cooper’s little book titled BEHOLD A PALE HORSE, mentioned above. —- Many of us don’t agree with the UFO stuff but his points dealing with Reagan were strong enough to have him killed by FBI agents in some sort of covered-up raid.
    It’s a cry’n shame the publisher combined two separate book — to make Bill Cooper appear as a “Kill the Messenger” preview..>
    ::
    Behold a Pale Horse

    William Cooper
    Light Technology Publishing,
    Apr 11, 2012 –
    Social Science
    180 Reviews

    Bill Cooper, former United States Naval Intelligence Briefing Team member, reveals information that remains hidden from the public eye. This information has been kept in Top Secret government files since the 1940s. His audiences hear the truth unfold as he writes about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the war on drugs, the Secret Government and UFOs. Bill is a lucid, rational and powerful speaker who intent is to inform and to empower his audience. Standing room only is normal. His presentation and information transcend partisan affiliations as he clearly addresses issues in a way that has a striking impact on listeners of all backgrounds and interests. He has spoken to many groups throughout the United States and has appeared regularly on many radio talk shows and on television. In 1988 Bill decided to “talk” due to events then taking place worldwide, events which he had seen plans for back in the early ’70s. Since Bill has been “talking,” he has correctly predicted the lowering of the Iron Curtain, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the invasion of Panama. All Bill’s predictions were on record well before the events occurred. Bill is not a psychic. His information comes from Top Secret documents that he read while with the Intelligence Briefing Team and from over 17 years of thorough research.

    find @ http://www.amazon.com

  5. Brad Benson
    February 24, 2016 at 11:01

    I never liked the change, but you are comparing the mythical history of two historical characters. One owned slaves who, while he was suffering at Valley Forge, were suffering an even worse fate–and Valley Forge ended for Washington, while slavery never ended for his slaves. The other was a bumbling fool who stumbled into an agreement to end the Cold War that our current leadership is busily trying to restart. Other than that, he was nearly as murderous as Bush, Cheney, Obama and Hillary.

    Neither of these guys deserves to have an airport named after them. As one who lived in and around DC at various times in my life, I can tell you that most people associated the name “Washington National Airport” with the city, which also bears Washington’s Name. No one ever considered that the airport was named after George Washington and the tag on the suitcases that run through there still say “DCA”, thus associating the airport with the city not the general and president.

  6. Brad Benson
    February 24, 2016 at 11:01

    I never liked the change, but you are comparing the mythical history of two historical characters. One owned slaves who, while he was suffering at Valley Forge, were suffering an even worse fate–and Valley Forge ended for Washington, while slavery never ended for his slaves. The other was a bumbling fool who stumbled into an agreement to end the Cold War that our current leadership is busily trying to restart. Other than that, he was nearly as murderous as Bush, Cheney, Obama and Hillary.

    Neither of these guys deserves to have an airport named after them. As one who lived in and around DC at various times in my life, I can tell you that most people associated the name “Washington National Airport” with the city, which also bears Washington’s Name. No one ever considered that the airport was named after George Washington and the tag on the suitcases that run through there still say “DCA”, thus associating the airport with the city not the general and president.

  7. Eddie
    February 23, 2016 at 21:18

    And, lest we forget, Reagan was the one who appointed Scalia to DC Court of Appeals in 1982 and then of course nominated him for the Supreme Court in 1986. (There’s a pair for the devil to draw to…)

  8. Andrew
    February 23, 2016 at 12:03

    Am I to believe Bill Clinton was a Republican?

    “On February 6, 1998, President Bill Clinton signed legislation changing the airport’s name from Washington National Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, to honor the former president on his 87th birthday.”

    • Stygg
      February 23, 2016 at 16:43

      He certainly governed like one.

  9. dahoit
    February 23, 2016 at 11:27

    The worst part of these attacks on American heroes is the tendency of the dweebs to hold 18th and 19th century people to the standards of 21st century mores,which our current scum don’t even follow.
    Like almost every one of their own ancestors weren’t racists,or xenophobes.
    Hypocrites.

  10. Lucy Shatalova
    February 23, 2016 at 03:48

    Among all the opinions brought here I think Juri Orlov’s is the most objective/ You must’t forget on whost bones the USA was built.

    • dahoit
      February 23, 2016 at 11:06

      Every nation rests on the bones of its forebears.Russia too.

  11. I dunno...
    February 23, 2016 at 03:31

    If Washington had failed in his military campaign and we remained part of the British Empire, at least we’d have a single-payer national health care system like Canada, no asinine electoral college to thwart the majority of voters, no minority-controlled filibustering senate perfectly designed to obstruct all progress, no “state’s rights” movement to justify systemic racism and sexism, and no second amendment to justify turning the country into an armed camp full of packing gangbangers and rebellious right wing secessionists. Perhaps half the non-Christian world would also have gotten a better shake, especially in the Middle East. Perhaps not.

    • Brad Owen
      February 23, 2016 at 06:06

      You grossly underestimate the effect upon Empires that the mere presence of The Republic upon the World Stage had. You would have had NONE of those things, if we didn’t exist. The World would have been run like the colony of Jamaica, or the neo-feudal Plantation South, a hellish example of man’s abuse of man. It’s sort of like WE wouldn’t have gotten the New Deal if the Soviet Union never existed…and now that IT is gone, WE fail to live up to good, humane ideals, and collapse.

    • February 23, 2016 at 10:15

      My impression is the writers of the articles of confederation were so attentive to avoiding a military empire that they even avoided using capital letters as much as possible.

    • Bill Bodden
      February 23, 2016 at 14:25

      If Washington had failed in his military campaign and we remained part of the British Empire,

      slavery might have ended in the early 1800s instead of as it (sort of) did towards the end of the Civil War.

    • Brad Owen
      February 23, 2016 at 16:53

      I think the exact opposite would have happened. Slavery wouldn’t have even been acknowledged as a problem…just Imperial “business as usual”, and we ALL would still be living under it (and NOT just race-based, but CLASS-based). Having a safe haven for the harried “Serfs” to escape to, to escape from their oppressive, over-bearing Tyrants wearing “Crowns”, with their cruel Empires, FORCED the Empires to clean up their act, so as not to lose “Subjects” to the new Republic (meanwhile, the new Republic was forced to accept a devil’s bargain with the neo-feudal plantation South, that the enemy “Crowns” were counting on, to destroy the new Republic). It is exactly like WE could only get the New Deal through FDR because of the very existence of the Soviet Union which FORCED our moneyed Oligarchs to clean up THEIR act, and accept the New Deal (for awhile). With the disappearance of communism, and any serious socialism, our moneyed Oligarchs are reverting to the same behavior as the cruel, psychotic tyrants of old, with their Crowns and fearful, fawning subjects. THIS is the psychology of how change and progress occurs; the mere existence, or non-existence, of every single Faction, FORCES a change in the Whole.

    • Bill Bodden
      February 24, 2016 at 13:39

      Brad: Notice that I said “might” have ended slavery. This is a what-if scenario I have pondered for some time. Britain abolished slavery in its colonies in the early 1800s so making slavery illegal could have made it theoretically possible for slaves to walk off their plantations. But there are other possibilities. Most likely Jim Crowism would have taken root earlier and there might have been a civil war in the 1830s instead of the 1860s.

      There is also the fact that slavery continued by other names in Britain’s colonies as it did in post-Civil War America – and still does to some extent.

    • J'hon Doe II
      February 24, 2016 at 13:48

      Bill Bodden, it may be of interest to you that the British materially supported the Confederates in our Civil War.

    • J'hon Doe II
      February 24, 2016 at 16:04

      United Kingdom and the American Civil War
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      The United Kingdom and its empire remained officially neutral throughout the American Civil War (1861–65). It legally recognised the belligerent status of the Confederacy; it never recognized it as a nation and never signed a treaty or exchanged ambassadors. However, the top British officials debated intervention in the first 18 months. Elite opinion tended to favour the Confederacy, while public opinion tended to favour the United States. Large scale trade continued in both directions, with the Americans shipping grain to Britain while Britain sent manufactured items and munitions. Immigration continued into the U.S., with Britons volunteering for the Union Army. British trade with the Confederacy fell over 90% from prewar, with a little cotton going to Britain and some munitions slipped in by numerous small blockade runners. The blockade runners were operated and funded by British private interests; they were legal under international law and were not a cause of dispute between Washington and London.[1] The Confederate strategy for securing independence was largely based on the hope of military intervention by Britain and France, which never happened; military intervention would have meant war with the United States. A serious diplomatic dispute with the United States erupted over the “Trent Affair” in late 1861; it was resolved peacefully in a few months. British intervention was only likely in cooperation with France, which had an imperialistic venture underway in Mexico. By early 1863, intervention was no longer seriously considered, as Britain turned her attention elsewhere, especially toward Russia and Greece.[2]

      A long-term issue was a British shipyard (John Laird and Sons) building two warships for the Confederacy, including the CSS Alabama,[3] over vehement protests from the United States. This controversy, known as the Alabama Claims, was resolved after the Civil War when the United States was awarded $15.5 million in arbitration by an international tribunal for damages caused by these warships. That British private interests operated blockade runners was not a cause of serious tension. In the end, British involvement did not significantly affect the outcome of the American Civil War. The U.S. diplomatic mission headed by Minister Charles Francis Adams, Sr. proved much more successful than the Confederate missions, which were never officially recognized.[4]

      Contents [hide]
      1 Confederate policies
      2 American policies
      3 British policies
      4 Slavery
      5 The Trent Affair
      6 Potentially recognizing the Confederacy
      7 The Emancipation Proclamation
      8 Confederate diplomacy
      9 Postwar adjustments and Alabama claims
      10 Long-term impact
      11 See also
      12 Bibliography
      13 References

  12. February 23, 2016 at 03:09

    Why on earth not go the whole hog and change the name of Washington DC itself to Reagan DC?

    When all’s said and done, changing the capital’s name to that of a Hollywood B star would be a far more accurate description of the values the U.S. now stands for, as opposed to the the inalienable rights its founding fathers wrote into the Constitution. In fact, continuing to call it Washington might even serve as a basis for grounds to initiate legal actions for misrepresentation.

  13. Roses Prichard
    February 22, 2016 at 23:04

    Thanks so much for this excellent review of why George Washington was the indispensable man in American history. It’s a tragedy that so few Americans have ever learned why he was truly the father of our country.

    Perhaps his greatest lesson for our time was his self-discipline as he presided over the constitutional convention. He knew that his role had to be the embodiment of moral authority and fairness. He had to remain above the fierce arguments, which had to be resolved before a final draft of the constitution could be approved by the delegates and ratified by the new states. Historians seem to agree that he was so totally focused on maintaining his neutrality that he made all the delegates feel that he held them in regard, but would humiliate them if they threatened the process. With eyes on the prize, he kept his opinions to himself until the final day after it was clear the constitution was about to be approved, then rose and made his first speech of the convention about some final minor matter to be resolved. The delegates were stunned to hear the passionate authority in his voice, but it made them love and fear him even more in advance of his next great task, the presidency.

  14. Kenneth W.(Bill) Wood
    February 22, 2016 at 21:49

    J’hon and other gentlemen who commented after my entry,

    You brought up a number of thought provoking issues. Some I wasn’t aware of, others I’ll have to consider further, and some I take issue with. But, I do thank all of you for your input.

    Question, which presidents do you gentlemen rate as good or at least acceptable?

    Thank You.

    • dahoit
      February 23, 2016 at 11:04

      Washington,Jefferson,Lincoln and FDR.

    • J'hon Doe II
      February 24, 2016 at 13:38

      Kenneth W.(Bill) Wood >> Question, which presidents do you gentlemen rate as good or at least acceptable?
      :

      My choices would be Madison, a timely, incredible intellectual.

      Andrew Jackson, despite his involvement in the Trail of Tears Native removal, he stood strong against the central bankers – who twice tried to murder him.

      Lincoln, whose resolve to “Preserve the Union” cost him his life.

      FDR, who may’ve been the last President with literal concern for We The People.
      .
      Many problems and faults surrounding Reagan can be found in Bill Cooper’s little book titled BEHOLD A PALE HORSE, mentioned above. —- Many of us don’t agree with the UFO stuff but his points dealing with Reagan were strong enough to have him killed by FBI agents in some sort of cover-up raid.

      Bill Coopers’ book is valuable history, if you’re interested.

  15. Steve
    February 22, 2016 at 21:38

    Ah, and all of this exactly 1 week After “President’s Day” helping us to forget that Lincoln was born Feb 12 and Washington born Feb 22. The shortest month absolutely needed a Monday holiday. Next? 4th of July, 1st Monday in July? What of history, it is all revisionist, isn’t it?

  16. Mike Meyer
    February 22, 2016 at 20:43

    Well said.
    I second the motion.
    Who’s available to
    draft the petition?
    I suggest using this
    petition service.
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/create

  17. Steve Hill
    February 22, 2016 at 19:37

    Ronald Reagan was the Madonna of U.S. Presidents. Lots of style, little substance. BUT, he had good speechwriters and a mainstream media that loved (STILL loves) him, which makes all the difference.

  18. Yuri Orlow
    February 22, 2016 at 19:11

    Unfortunately, most Americans, it seems, have a very poor and lop-sided grasp of the history of their own country.
    Washington, for all that he is said to have achieved for bringing America into being, was simply a war criminal in regard to his involvement in the absolute destruction and genocide of the First People – the native Americans. He was ruthless in the destruction of their food sources and did not discriminate between men, women and children in his quest for victory – and personal power. Refer to Alan Eckerts “winning of America” work, where there is documented evidence of Washington’s “deeds”.
    America thinks it has gained nationhood – this is its greatest illusion.
    Bob Riley, a leader amongst Australian Aboriginals, now deceased, once said, in an interview with John Pilger, in regard to Australia’s quest for “nationhood”:
    “unless you give us back our nationhood, you can never claim your own.”
    America suffers from the same syndrome as Australia. Both of our countries need to understand this, give the First People back their dignity and nationhood, and move forward. Separating the truth from popular myth is the beginning.

    • histamai
      February 22, 2016 at 20:52

      That’s a very good point. His actions in destroying Iroquois villages just before the start of winter certainly qualify as genocide. And he was the master of a slave labor plantation. And lived in luxury that winter at Valley Forge, as his famous expense account documents.

      Incidentally, Washington’s bookplate displays the family coat of arms and the motto “Exitus Acta Probat” which translates “the end justifies the means.” He was an Anglo-American gentleman in a rigidly class-structured society, for whom the concept of “liberty” is only distantly related to what we consider freedom today. The Founders modeled their 1787 government on the checks and balances system of the Roman Republic, where “Libertas” mean the right of the “best men”, the propertied, slaveholding class, to rule without restriction.

      These men instigated a rebellion against British colonial authority so they could exploit the immense natural and human resources of the continent for their own profit. That they placed so many qualifications to voting in the new state constitutions that 85% of the people living here were ineligible to vote tells you a lot more about their intentions than does their high-blown, seductive rhetoric.

    • voxpax
      February 23, 2016 at 03:00

      You sure he did all this with his own men, I heard they bribed the Mohawks into this, at least this is what I heard up in Kanada in regard to Quebeq.

      So may be MOHAWK INTL.

    • Brad Owen
      February 23, 2016 at 05:48

      There’s also a lot of “First Nation” hagiography going on too, but karma is no respecter of humankind’s hagiographic efforts. Fist Nations disappeared from the World stage for karmic reasons, as shall we, the Last Nations, for karmic reasons, under the relentless onslaught of the neo-feudalist Synarchist Movement for Empire (SME, as described in the Executive Intelligence Review [EIR]; our efforts at RE-establishing republican principles in the World having met with failure…and “the sins of Our Fathers”).

      The one and only thing that tells me Reagan wasn’t all THAT bad was that THEY (SME) attempted to assassinate him…apparently a loose cannon willing to stray from “The Agenda”. The co-pilot had to take over day-to-day operations to “stick to The Agenda” and establish HIS dynasty of faithful servants to SME.

  19. Jack Heyman
    February 22, 2016 at 18:14

    The bitter irony is that President Reagan started his administration by breaking the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) strike in 1981, setting the stage for attacks against public worker unions long before the likes of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Reagan, while a union member and official of the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG), was a longtime FBI informer, who helped to frame up people like the Hollywood Ten and later as California governor to repress Free Speech protests at the University of California at Berkeley. His virulent anti-communism also motivated him to illegally circumvent Congress and fund the war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. In fairness to labor and students, it would be fitting for PATCO’s successor union, NATCO, to initiate a campaign that will remove Reagan’s name from the Washington, D.C. airport.

  20. February 22, 2016 at 17:47

    As I’m presently working on an article about the fabled Gipper, this is a timely, thoughtful and welcome piece. Along with the embedded links, it provides us all a more coherent, clear eyed perspective on the man, i.e. one sans the hagiography that all too regularly — and monotonously — accompanies the very mention of his name.

    An illuminating case in point here is this. Although an ardent admirer of Paul Craig Roberts — who served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan — it has always puzzled me as to why PCR continues to go out of his way to defend Reagan and his legacy. This is especially given that so many of the key issues facing America today in social, economic, environmental, and foreign policy – the very ones that PCR (rightly) rails against — have their genesis in the very policies that Reagan vigorously pursued. Not for nought was it dubbed the “Reagan Revolution”.

    When one considers almost every key aspect of the Reagan era, from the “October Surprise” that rendered his election illegitimate from the off, to his support of the execrable Nicaraguan Contras (the other — ahem — “Founding Fathers”) along with the broader Iran-Contra Scandal itself, to his wanton embrace of the “voodoo economics” of Milton Freidman, to his fast-tracking of financial deregulation, to name just a few of Number 40’s various sins of ommision and commission, the contention that Reagan was one of America’s most overrated presidents is compelling indeed. At least it is when the blinkers are removed.

    That said, the Old Hoofer did have a sense of humour. He once quipped: “It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.” Yet even here, it seems the joke was on all of those who voted him into office (twice), some of whom may still be waiting, Godot-like, for that much touted “rising tide”.

    One might even say Reagan’s presidency epitomised the verisimilitude he was alluding to between the two professions with the above one-liner, setting something of a template for his successors on both sides of that — admittedly wafer-thin — political divide.

    Greg Maybury
    poxamerikana.com

  21. Kennth W. (Bill) Wood
    February 22, 2016 at 17:35

    If there was an MVP award (Most Valuable President), Washington would truly deserve it. Reagan would have strongly agreed with that. And, if Reagan were alive he never would have had any part in renaming Washington International Airport. Washington was, arguably, our greatest and most influential President. But, please, give Reagan his credit due. He was an excellent President. And, I think, “Dapper” O’Neil would agree with that.

    • J'hon Doe II
      February 22, 2016 at 18:27

      As I appreciate your sincerity, Mr. Wood, I have much room to find fault with your “excellent president” vote-

      Mr Reagan is flawed to the point of stupidity.

      As a de facto press secretary/spokesman for proactive conservatism, Reagan was an award winner- a virtual mannequin of right wing perfection in the politics of exclusion and his presidency proclaimed victory for conservation of class superiority, which was his declared Causa.

      His political enactments, appointments and approvals
      were cutthroat to our middle-class economic structure
      and a kiss to the ring of commerce department globalists
      as well as government/defense industry monopolists’

      You can’t deny this.

  22. Joe Tedesky
    February 22, 2016 at 17:20

    My first plane ride was at the age of eight in the 1958. Let me tell you how a lot has changed when it comes to flying now a days. There was a time when the traveler was supreme. Now the flying public is treated like suspects, and cattle. So, after going through the TSA line, and putting up with the nonsense of that, I feel Reagan’s name is befitting. Oh, how I miss the good ole days!

    • EdF
      February 24, 2016 at 15:06

      I hope I never have to fly again.

  23. Bart
    February 22, 2016 at 17:04

    Most sensible people who spent their careers in Washington call it “National”. Hanging that actor’s name on it was as bad as stashing “under God” in the unnecessary pledge of allegiance. As a schoolboy long ago I fondly recall chanting “one naked individual” instead of “one nation indivisible”

  24. Ron Linker
    February 22, 2016 at 16:54

    666 is the ‘number of the name of a man’ RONALD WILSON REAGAN, the dead ‘Antichrist’ and 666 is the ‘mark’ and ‘sign of the beast’. UNITED STATES DOLLAR. Look in the mirror paleface and ‘Behold a pale horse’ that the ‘beast’ of empire rides in the ‘Apocalypse’ prophecy of ‘Armageddon’.

    • J'hon Doe II
      February 22, 2016 at 17:50

      I feel you on the “Behold
      a Pale Horse” graffiti

      they outside of true
      agree w/how they live
      as all Live by their Means

      inside they true
      or outside see’n in,
      the fittest survive.

  25. RodW
    February 22, 2016 at 16:53

    Which Washington, the myth or the man?

    • February 22, 2016 at 20:14

      Exactly. George Washington appears to be slipping into a similar sordid place as Columbus did a few years back.

      Start with how he came to be the richest person in the country, how he cheated young soldiers out of their land chits and amassed 60,000 acres, and how he engineered overthrow of the Articles of Confederation, a peace constitution unlike the commercial documewnt that posses as a constitution.

  26. Cliff
    February 22, 2016 at 16:34

    May as well add to to the outlandish horrific conspiratorial theories emanating from te unrepublic of Texas. “Did u know that those two phony Cuban Americans
    Cruz & Rubio are Fidel plants to take over …. OMG!!

  27. W. R. Knight
    February 22, 2016 at 16:17

    Additional little advertised, but extremely significant contributions Washington made to our government was his refusal to be “President for Life”, his voluntary release of power at the end of his term, and his refusal to “name” a successor. These acts, which no other person in power ever did, established a precedent that has enabled our Republic to last as long as it has.

    In fact, King George-III of England whom he defeated in the War, said “If Washington steps down and surrenders power to the Congress, I will declare him the Greatest man In the World!”

  28. rosemerry
    February 22, 2016 at 16:01

    But are Americans so historically ignorant that we actually believe that Ronald Reagan was a more important figure in our national existence than George Washington?

    YES.

  29. W. R. Knight
    February 22, 2016 at 15:52

    Living in the DC area, whenever I travel by air and a ticket agent asks if I want to fly into or out of Reagan National Airport, I remind them that it is Washington National Airport and that it was named after a real president and not an itinerant actor.

  30. Terry Washington
    February 22, 2016 at 15:47

    The argument that Reagan “won” the Cold War is a politically motivated right wing canard- whether or not “The Gipper” ever realized or admitted it(even to himself)- he could hardly have done so without the help of every President from Harry Truman to Jimmy Carter(and incidentally this is much an insult to Republicans like Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford as it was to Democrats such as JFK, LBJ and Carter), but it’s a lot easier to attribute “victory” in the Cold War to a right wing Republican than liberal Democrats!

    • W. R. Knight
      February 22, 2016 at 16:06

      The cold war, which was the brain child of John Foster Dulles, was brought to a end under Mikhail Gorbachev when the Soviet Union collapsed on itself economically. This collapse was going to happen regardless of the threat of war as the centrally planned economy was a failure from the beginning. The end of the cold war fortunate for everyone but the war profiteers who have since managed to rekindle the cold war in order avoid peace and the loss of war profits. Undoubtedly a win by Hillary Clinton will ensure that the war profiteers continue profiting indefinitely (at taxpayer expense).

    • Dosamuno
      February 23, 2016 at 14:29

      “…the brain child of John Foster Dulles”

      Yes–and of his vile brother Alan.

    • EdF
      February 24, 2016 at 15:03

      w.r. knight,
      So I assume you’ll vote for Trump!

    • Charles Fasola
      February 27, 2016 at 17:07

      Do you actually believe “the war profiteers continue profiting indefinitely (at taxpayer expense)” will end if one of the other laughable mediocracies in the electoral dog and pony show is chosen by the moronic american public that participate in it? Let me wake you up. Both parties are equally controlled by the 0.01%. Members of both parties act at the bidding of the oligarchy; by sponsoring legislation written by the billionaire oligarchs they serve. Both parties and their respective puppet legislators have been bribed with quarantees of lucrative employment for them and their family members after they conclude their service to their masters. Your democratic republic is in reality a reverse totalitarian dictatorship; with a puppet acting as the dictator with no real authority. Are
      you awake now? The mad woman clinton, the hitlerian trump, the mad man cruz, the truly demented rubio, the token black guy who is troubled to put 5 words that make sense. What difference does it make? Tell me Mr. Knight.

  31. Pablo Diablo
    February 22, 2016 at 15:40

    Let’s change the name of HELL to REAGAN. Isn’t that where he resides now?

  32. Minnesota Mary
    February 22, 2016 at 15:37

    Don’t worry Robert. A hundred years from now Reagan National Airport will be renamed for some other President or American icon.

    • Peter Loeb
      February 23, 2016 at 06:08

      DEFINING TERMS

      In almost all commentary/ analysis however vibrant and
      vital, the word “American” should be replaced by the
      word COLONISTS.

      The so-called “Americans” out of which came the “Founders”
      considered themselves “Britons” as Bernard Bailyn
      points out in his many works (eg THE ORIGIN OF
      AMERICAN POLITICS and others). But while adding
      major contributions to our understanding of the
      COLONISTS, Bailyn rarely mentions the people
      who already occupied the land. Native Americans
      did not consider themselves Britons. The slaves
      shared with Native Americans being denied
      consideration as “people”. They were property.

      The role of land as specie, land speculation
      etc. are clearly defined in Michael Paul Rogin’s
      FATHERS AND CHILDREN…(The owner of
      land could purchase slaves with it, pay a lawyer’s
      fee etc. It functioned as money as little money
      in today’s sense existed then.There were, for
      example few banks….)

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Bill Bodden
      February 23, 2016 at 14:04

      Using current terminolgy, the Brits might have referred to the rebellious colonists as insurgents and, perhaps, terrorists. From another angle the New Americans building their own empire by expanding to the west had much in common with the Mongol Hordes and other empire builders.

    • February 23, 2016 at 17:40

      among those who owned human property – slaves – and stole land from the original inhabitants – indians -was none other than this leader of the founders, a group of the 1% of those days who got together to write documents about freedom and democracy that had no thought of those things ever coming to men without property, women, and certainly not slaves or indians…washington’s journals or diaries reveal his trading of a slave for a barrel of nails or molasses, and referring to the indians as creatures like animals who did not understand the meaning of a fence or wall..the only difference between he and reagan is that ronnie the meatball was actually elected to represent the 1%, while georgie the legend was actually one of them.

    • SFOMARCO
      February 23, 2016 at 17:44

      another Dullard

  33. February 22, 2016 at 15:34

    But wait, it gets better still: Washington National was, like so much else in and around D.C., a New Deal project in which the Works Progress Administration and the Public Works Administration played major roles just as did Ronald Reagan in rolling back what the New Deal did for all Americans rather than those who could afford to buy the government:

    https://livingnewdeal.org/projects/ronald-reagan-washington-national-airport-arlington-va/

    The Living New Deal is currently mapping New Deal New York City and will then map New Deal D.C. It will thereby show that whether Republicans like it or not, they are living and working in a city largely built and enhanced by their nemesis, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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