Ok, can we bury him now?

Seriously. Can’t we get back to arguing about politics and religion? Can CNN and MSNBC put something else on?

Ah, but the deification process of St. Ronnie has just begun!

Even “liberal” CNN had a total BS story about how his economic policies helped the country, citing the economy in 1981 vs. 1988. And kind of ignoring the on-and-off recession and job loss during most of the 7 years in-between…

In passing, I saw a bit on CNN about how 80% of blacks thought St. Ron was not a friend of black people. (At the end of his 2nd term, so they knew of what they spoke by then.)

I asked if I could have off on Friday because it’s a National Day of Mourning.



And a personal little aside, as a liberal arts major who has gay friends I just love how Reagan never publically spoke of AIDS or HIV until '86. How many Americans died by then from the disease? Oh, wait, they don’t count since they putted from the rough.

I kinda agree with you(!), but then I ask myself how much I really care about J. Lo’s marriage, or the Scott Peterson case, and then I just don’t know, ya know?

The Reagan administrations spent $5.7 billion on AIDS research.

From www.andrewsullivan.com:

REAGAN AND AIDS: I have been upbraided for not mentioning Ronald Reagan’s AIDS legacy in describing him as my hero. The basic argument from the gay left is that Reagan was single-handedly responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people by negligence. This, however, borders on loopy. Reagan should indeed be faulted for not doing more to warn people of the dangers of infection early enough (Thatcher was far better). But the truth is that it was pretty obvious very early on that something dangerous was afoot as AIDS first surfaced. Just read Larry Kramer at the time. Many people most at risk were aware - mostly too late, alas - that unprotected sex had become fatal in the late 1970s and still was. You can read Randy Shilts’ bracing “And The Band Played On,” to see how some of the resistance to those warnings came from within the gay movement itself. In the polarized atmosphere of the beleaguered gay ghettoes of the 1980s, one also wonders what an instruction from Ronald Reagan to wear condoms would have accomplished. As for research, we didn’t even know what HIV was until 1983. Nevertheless, the Reagan presidency spent some $5.7 billion on HIV in its two terms - not peanuts. The resources increased by 450 percent in 1983, 134 percent in 1984, 99 percent the next year and 148 percent the year after. Yes, the Congress was critical in this. But by 1986, Reagan had endorsed a large prevention and research effort and declared in his budget message that AIDS “remains the highest public health priority of the Department of Health and Human Services.” In September 1985, Reagan said:
“[I]ncluding what we have in the budget for '86, it will amount to over a half a billion dollars that we have provided for research on AIDS in addition to what I’m sure other medical groups are doing. And we have $100 million in the budget this year; it’ll be 126 million next year. So, this is a top priority with us. Yes, there’s no question about the seriousness of this and the need to find an answer.”
But the sad truth is also that there was never going to be an easy answer to HIV in the Reagan years. Throwing even more money at research in those days would not have helped much. Anthony Fauci’s NIH, goaded by heroes like Larry Kramer, was already pushing for focus and resources; FDA red tape was loosened considerably; and the painfully slow scientific process continued. The fact that we got revolutionary drugs in trials by the early 1990s was itself an heroic scientific achievement - arguably the most miraculous progress in a medical emergency since the polio vaccine. Should Reagan have done more? Yes. Were people like Bill Bennett and Gary Bauer responsible for delaying a real prevention response because only gays were dying? You bet. But was Reagan ultimately responsible for so many tragic, early deaths? No. HIV was. Viruses happen. It’s a blemish on his record, but not as profound as some, with understandable grief, want to make it out to be.

I am of the opinion that the gay community at the time was much more concerned about being branded disease carriers than saving lives.

Note: Andrew Sullivan is HIV+.

And yet still full of shit.

Here’s a UPI article (pre moonie!) that covers the first time that Reagan actually said the word AIDS in 1987.

A choice quote:

[i]Speaking to reporters following the president’s speech Wednesday, Weicker said, ''The most damaging piece of deception as far as the president is concerned is that he says, ‘I’m asking for $100 million more in AIDS research.’

‘‘That sounds very good until you hear that he is asking for a $600 million cut in the funds to go to the National Institutes of Health for basic biomedical research. The net of all that is he has cut $500 million for AIDS.’’

The National Academy of Sciences, in a special report last October, urged expenditure of $1 billion for AIDS education and $1 billion for research annually by 1990. The report chastised the administration for a lackluster education effort.

Until last week, Reagan delegated visibility on AIDS policy to four physicians at the Department of Health and Human Services: Secretary Otis Bowen, Assistant Secretary Robert Windom, FDA Commissioner Frank Young and Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. [/i]

AM quotes:

The National Academy of Sciences, in a special report last October, urged expenditure of $1 billion for AIDS education and $1 billion for research annually by 1990. The report chastised the administration for a lackluster education effort.

Maybe it was because I was a pre-op transsexual at the time, and had a number of gay friends, but I was aware that the spread of AIDS could be prevented either by abstinence, the use of condoms, or the judicious choosing of one’s partner. The news was covering it, I don’t know how much more effective PSA’s would have been.

Gee Andrew, why didn’t your quote go a little farther?

James Brown, spokesman for Windom, said that Reagan’s low profile did not mean that he is unconcerned with the issue. Brown pointed to medical advances, such as the discovery of the AIDS virus, the rapid development of blood tests and the drug AZT, the budget increase for AIDS and the surgeon general’s report on AIDS as major administration victories.

‘‘These were all done under appointees of President Reagan,’’ Brown said. ‘‘He would get the blame if things weren’t done; he should get the credit when they are done.’’

Dr. Edward Brandt, chancellor of the University of Maryland in Baltimore and former assistant secretary of health, agreed that research progress on AIDS was ‘‘unparalleled.’’ He said he was generally satisfied with progress against the disease but said he had not seen Reagan’s speech.

I really liked this part:

Osborn was most critical of a vow Reagan made in his speech: ‘‘I am determined that we’ll find a cure for AIDS. … We’ll find a way or make one.’’

Damn that Reagan guy to being determined to find a cure for the disease.

Because the previous paragraph pointed out that Reagan was effectively cutting the aids budget, and Reagan didn’t invent AZT or the Boold Tests.

I’m not entirely sure I buy the previous paragraph. The articles say that Reagan asked for $100 million earmarked for AIDS, but asked for a $600 million cut in “basic biomedical research.” Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I doubt all $600 million in basic biomedical research was targeted on AIDS. And, to listen to Reagan’s opponents, Reagan didn’t do anything on AIDS, so I’m also left wondering how you can cut $500 million from nothing.

I kinda agree with you(!), but then I ask myself how much I really care about J. Lo’s marriage, or the Scott Peterson case, and then I just don’t know, ya know?[/quote]

good point. It’s amazing what passes for news nowadays. I bet the Bush campaign is happy though. Sympathy for Reagan has created a nice romanticism about his policies. That can only help Replubicans. Plus, it might just deflect Bush criticism long enough to enable the economy to recover enough so that even democrats (who are always painfully slow to recognize such recovery) will acknowledge it.

Yeah, waiting for actual people to start doing better is a bitch, ain’t it?

You’re not suggesting that the GOP had him killed are you? Or do you think that the current administration worked alone?

It sounds like you shouldn’t read the National Inquirer so much.

I’m actually starting to see some backlash. (And nothing but, on Air America Radio. :-) )

Lots of people who didn’t feel like they could criticize him as the Alzheimer’s took hold are now feeling like the reins are off.

In 1983?

Hah. In Texas it’s been declared a holiday for state employees. So I get to celebrate his death (or something).

That’s totally hilarious. Yes, Reagan’s close ties to Texas!

This Friday has been declared a federal holiday.