Dean Clough

April 1, 2024

Portico Darwin: Did You Like Reagan?



2 Minute Read

Happy Monday.   

Put simply, I am not in the Saint Ronnie club.  You know, the one consisting of those who deify President Ronald Reagan and insist he's in the league of Lincoln or either Roosevelt, to name three of our greatest leaders.

I was and remain no fan and blame him for the shift towards socialism for the wealthy but cold-hearted capitalism for the poor.  If you do your homework, you'll find Ronald Reagan took over for Richard Nixon for the Allen Dulles crowd.

Which makes my full-throated endorsement of him today all the more strange.

Before going further, now please ask yourself:  Did I like President Ronald Reagan and the state of the nation while he was in office?

Of course, many (and a landslide did in 1984) say "yes."   OK, good.

So let's look at Reagan through today's political kaleidoscope.

Immigration is Awful and It's All Biden's Fault
I agree 100% that our immigration system is completely broken and requires major reform, including improving border security.  Build the wall is certainly not what I am saying, but the fact is we can and must do better.

Because we're a nation of immigrants and it is our unique strength among all nations.  But those aren't my words - they are a paraphrasing of Reagan's.   

Here are two direct quotes from President Reagan, one from 1986 and the other from 1989.  In the first, speaking on the 100th anniversary of The Statue of Liberty, he offers his thoughts on those who came here as immigrants.  

They were the men and women who labored all their lives so that their children would be well-fed, clothed, and educated . . . they worked in our factories, on ships and railroads, in stores, and on road construction crews.  They were teachers, lumberjacks, seamstresses, and journalists.  They came from every land.

And then there's this.  At this point, he had no reason to say anything he didn't mean.

Since this is the last speech that I will give as President, I think it’s fitting to leave one final thought, an observation about a country that I love.  We lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people — our strength — from every country and every corner of the world.

So I say let's honor Reagan, our heritage and lifeblood as a nation, fix the immigration problem, and move on.

Sadly, however, some don't want to.

Reagan & The Golden Age of The 1980s
As someone who came of age (high school class of 1981) in the Reagan decade, I must agree it was an economic grand slam.  Taking office in 1981 at an economic nadir, by 1984, inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and the stock market had all markedly improved.  Indeed, he had turned it around to such a degree that everybody voted for him.

Thus a lot of people, especially Republicans and conservatives, see Reagan's performance as a gold standard.

Please hold that thought.

I have acknowledged immigration is a problem, but the fact is, only Congress can fix that.  But like immigration, many blame Biden for an economy they claim is a disaster (the worst!), with runaway prices and the specter of higher taxes always looming.

But if you liked Reagan's economy, I am not clear how or why you loathe Biden's.

This slide is from Bill Maher's show a couple of weeks back.  But I encourage you to visit this site, as I did, to validate his staff's numbers.  The above is reality.
So maybe saying Biden's economy is terrible now yet Reagan's was wonderful back then is . . . ?  

Perhaps as similarly misguided as demonizing immigrants and immigration, vs. fixing the problem.


Many thanks to all of the three of you who wrote in expressing your enjoyment of Chapter 9 in the seemingly endless London Calling series.  

Well, for them and everyone, I have some good news:  It's almost over.  Note the entire thing transpired over 11 months.  And I just published the ninth chapter.  Do the math, and you'll learn we're just two chapters away from this tepid but giant bath of self-absorption draining from the tub.

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


To those that continue slamming President Biden in the light of evidence and/or your simultaneous adoration of Saint Ronnie, I join David Gilmour from a Textbook album of the 1980s and ask you to do an About Face.

About Dean Clough