During his presidency, Ronald Reagan was attacked from the left as a dangerous Cold Warrior whose belligerence and likely senility would kill us all in a fiery hail of atoms.
Today, in light of Reagan’s enduring popularity, liberals have taken a different approach, using the deceased Republican’s famous optimism to attack living Republicans.
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This line of attack is based on a two-dimensional understanding of Reagan, a Free Beacon SuperCut shows.
While Reagan was optimistic that the U.S. was built on a stronger foundation than its enemies, he saw nothing inevitable about U.S. victory in the Cold War.
From the mid-1960s through the fall of the Soviet Union, Reagan darkly cautioned against government-induced malaise at home and communism abroad.
Reagan's assessment of the threats facing the U.S. set him apart from the coalition of liberals invoking his memory today for political gain.
AL-JAZEERA ANCHOR: Is there a Republican candidate that Ronald Reagan would say was the Republican candidate?
BILL SCHNEIDER: Ronald Reagan was an optimist. He was cheerful. He believed it was morning in America.
PERRY BACON, JR.: They were not sunny. This was definitely, like, not Morning in America.
JOSH EARNEST: What we didn’t see was a lot of the sunny optimism that was typical of the president whose library they stood in.
RONALD REAGAN: The emergency is upon us.
Disasters are overtaking our nation without any real response from Washington.
Grave threats to our very existence, any one of which could destroy us.
We see totalitarian forces in the world who seek subversion and conflict around the globe to further their barbarous assault on the human spirit.
Freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.
We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars.
A Soviet combat brigade trains in Cuba just 90 miles from our shores. A Soviet army of invasion occupies Afghanistan. America’s defense strength is at its lowest ebb in a generation.
The Soviets have built up a massive arsenal of new strategic weapons—weapons that can strike directly at the United States.
Optimism comes less easily today, not because democracy is less vigorous, but because the enemies of democracy have refined their instruments of repression.
(Joking) I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.