Reagan's myth has grown over time
February 4th, 2011
09:31 PM ET
12 years ago

Reagan's myth has grown over time

Washington (CNN) - As the late President Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday is observed, historians point out that his political successes, not his persona, have been mythologized over the years.

"Today's Republicans created this fantasy role of Reagan as anti-government," said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. "He was really Reagan of government efficiency."


Filed under: Ronald Reagan
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. CNN The Masters of Spin

    Wouldn't you Big Government, Entitlement Taking, God Denying, Liberals only WISH The Great Ronald Reagan was what all of you know he wasn't! Reagan despised Big Government.....cause I heard him say so!

    February 4, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    I liked Ronald Regan a lot more before he was canonized. These days he is invoked by people who would have opposed him in real life and vice versa.

    February 4, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  3. Zip

    As someone who remembers the Reagan years and voted for him twice, I've got to admit, most of what is said about him now is myth. But he was the right man at the right time. And he would've hated Fox News

    February 5, 2011 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  4. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    Sure wish Reagan was President today, instead of Jimmy Carter's clone.

    February 5, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  5. 300tt

    Finally!!!! Well said. the truth.

    February 5, 2011 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  6. Sherri W.W.#1~ILLinois

    They can say what they want about Ronald Reagan,but the Republicans of today,have NO idea how to govern,and few Morals. There are ones who were around when Reagan was,and they HAVE to know,in their heart,that he would be totally Ashamed at how they are acting today.Pres.Reagan would never have permitted such things!

    February 5, 2011 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  7. diridi

    I hate to see this idiot's face o.k, He is the biggest idiot that messed this great nation.....of course second is Bush.2...Don't talk big about thug...and idiot...o.k..

    February 5, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Guess they have not heard what a big sucess "trickle down" was, or how Ronnie started the war on the middle class. Birthday should be celebrated right up there with other notables like Franco, Benito, and Juan and Eva.

    February 5, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  9. Chris

    Reagan has definitely been mythologized by Republicans. It is to the point that there is a total disconnect between the false image they have created for him and what he actually did. Any perceived economic prosperity that we saw during his time was the equivalent of someone going out on a wild spending spree and maxing out their credit cards.

    February 5, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  10. Squigman

    When lies are accepted and the truth denied, the nation suffers. When will hypocracy be wiped out? When people with common sense accept the fact that an outright lie is unacceptable, regardless of party ties.

    February 5, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  11. once upon a horse

    I admit that Reagan was the first (and so far ONLY) Republican I ever voted for POTUS. But they are right about the myth. The far right loved to point at Obama's falling approval rating when that was going on but never want to talk about Reagan's in his first term were equal or lower. To date trickle-down economics have not worked and President Reagan raised taxes on the American people I belive 11 times. Could you imagine if Obama would do that? The Reagan era was very good for upper middle class to wealthy white males..the rest of us had to wait until Clinton got into office to make it.

    February 5, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. informed voter

    It is amazing how the history revisionists has conveniently forgotten that Reagan raised taxes, expanded government, was oblivious the the whole Iran-Contra arms shenanigans, and considered AIDS a punishment for homosexuals (refused to fund research and development to find a cure). His economic policies (trickle down economics) helped create the largest disparity between the wealthy and the poor this nation has ever seen. Few also know that while he was president of the Screen Actors Guild (yes, he was a UNION guy) he turned in fellow actors to McCarthy's witch hunting panel!! He was not the great president that so many on the right have mythologized.

    February 5, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. Marcus

    It's not surprising that Reagan (today) became way different that he actually was when he was POTUS. If you are a supporter you tend to ignore or diminish the failures or partial achievements of the one you support while you have to conrol yourself to not overvalue his/her achievements, and if you are a detractor you tend to do the opposite.
    Sometimes, like is happening with Reagan and happened with even Shakespeare and Jesse James (among many others historical figures), people 'adapt' the historical figure to their current beliefs.
    One of the reasons as there are people who simply don't believe that Shakespeare never existed but was an alias of somebody is because 'historians' tried to prove their political beliefs (either being of the right or the left) by using him as the 'proof', so of course that Shakespeare never existed and was an English lord (if you were a rightist 'historian') or a writer/intelectual (if you were a leftist 'historian')...
    The same is happening with Reagan today, in both sides of the political aisles...

    February 5, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. Sorensen

    "Dawn in America" and all the other empty slogans. Nancy and witchcraft. Etc.Etc.
    The economy going down the drain. The government not getting smaller.
    Hollywood and selling soap.
    Anything else?

    February 5, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |