announcer, General Electric
, 40th President
of the United States
. A liberal Democrat
in his youth, he became a conservative Republican
some time after taking his job with G.E.
His economic policies (known as supply-side economics, or as then-rival George Bush described them, "voodoo economics") were based on the idea that increasing military expenditures and cutting nondefense spending while simultaneously lowering taxes would stimulate the economy and thus increase government revenue. Unfortunately, this didn't happen. Whereas in 1980 the United States was a creditor nation, by the late 1980s it was the world's largest debtor nation.
He often told anecdotes, presented as true events, that later turned out to be scenes from movies. Even after he was made aware of this he would tell the same stories later, again presenting them as truth, again seemingly unaware that they weren't.
He also told stories to support his policies that were complete fabrications - the Cadillac-driving "Welfare Queen" he often referred to in his attacks on Aid to Families with Dependent Children did not exist, and the particulars of her lifestyle that he described were not even possible under the existing welfare system.
Was played up as a warrior against terrorism yet supported the government of El Salvador (which engaged in acts of terror against its own people), illegally supported a terrorist war against the Nicaraguan government (which often involved attacks on innocent Nicaraguan citizens), illegally sold arms to the terrorist state of Iran, and himself ordered a terrorist action against another country in his bombing of Libya. (I'm sorry, but bombing people in order to "send a message" is the very definition of a terrorist act.)
Was indicted by the World Court for his mining of Nicaraguan harbors, yet refused to stop.
The only ass he truly kicked was that of the tiny island nation of Grenada, whom we invaded in order to get some American medical students out after they (Grenada, not the students) allied with Cuba. Encouraged the idea, widespread in the 1980s, that it was America's right and responsibility to kick ass overseas.
Though not a churchgoer, courted and won the support of the Religious Right, some of his strongest allies.
Believed himself to be an instrument of God's wrath against the Soviet Union and often wondered aloud if it were his duty to unleash America's nuclear stockpile against them in the war of Armageddon.
Hired people like James Watt, Edwin Meese, and former CIA director George Bush.
Joked on the air, at a time when U.S.-Soviet relations were extremely tense, that he had outlawed Russia forever and would begin bombing them in five minutes.
Cut government funding of mental hospitals so they were forced to release thousands of mentally ill people onto the streets - almost single-handedly creating the homeless problem as we know it today.
Justified increased defense spending by portraying the Soviet Union as an unstoppable juggernaut that was ready to invade at any moment, a picture we now know to be completely false.
The oldest-ever President. Even my grandmother thought he was too old.
Cut the American people out of participation in their own government by classifying more government documents Top Secret than any administration in history.
Though constantly speechifying about family values, Reagan divorced his first wife. Ron and Nancy's own children didn't even seem to like them, and when he was shot none of them visited him in the hospital.
When bombing Libya, cited "Rambo" as an inspiration.
On the plus side, he signed the first nuclear treaty with the Soviet Union that resulted in the actual destruction of nuclear weapons. And I always said I would support him totally if he ever learned to break dance.