The two most destructive presidencies of the modern era in terms of what the nation has become today were those of the Sainted Ronald Reagan (1980-1988) and of the Appalling George W. Bush (2000-2008).
Both were essentially figureheads for a cabal of neocons and right wing thinkers; each allowed and encouraged illegal acts which were clearly impeachable and designed to ignore or undermine the laws of the land. And they told us exactly what they were doing if we’d only had the sense to listen.
Consider this 1981 observation from William Casey, who Reagan made head of the CIA:
“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
And this, said to reporter Ron Suskind and an unnamed Bush aide in 2oo3:
“[People like you are] in what we call the reality-based community…people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
It was from that latter remark that I took the “life in a post-rational world” slogan of this website. Taken together they reveal how deliberately those in power chose to ignore reality in favor of their own visions of how the world should be.
It seemed funny at the time.
In the Tea Party era where politicians can say “that was not intended to be a factual statement” and get away with it, when one of our two major political parties appears to be rapidly losing its mind and currently has as its leading contender for the 2012 presidential nomination a charlatan who is riding “birtherism” into the hearts of the least informed and most susceptible of the electorate and he’s not even the most insane among a motley collection of wingnuts, when praise for being “courageous” are heaped upon a budget which cannot stand up under the most fundamental evaluation by a press corps which seems to have taken a vow to never, ever deal with the substance of anything?
Not so much.