PDF Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future

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  1. Society & Social Sciences on Simon & Schuster India | Available For Sale Now
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  3. The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/23/14

Here is my recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times on how Obama can use Reagan's tactics to undo his harmful legacy.

Society & Social Sciences on Simon & Schuster India | Available For Sale Now

Here's my Q-and-A with Buzzflash. Earlier publicity for the book has included this Q-and-A with Vanity Fair.

I will continue to update this section as more becomes available. Skip to content. Tear Down This Myth. Will Bunch.

Several excerpts of the book have been posted online:. Inquirer Morning Newsletter. Sign Up Inquirer Morning Newsletter. Finally, here's a video I recorded for Free Press:. Never Miss a Story. We Recommend. And certainly it seems like a number of conservatives were looking for clues in the Sarah Palin story that would show that she was another Ronald Reagan. Even things that you might take as a negative about Sarah Palin—that she's a total outsider, that she doesn't have a lot of experience in government.

The Reagan legacy is going to loom over that fight, in terms of: Does the party really need to go back to Reagan, and what does going back to Reagan really mean?

How newly discovered audio is reviving debate over Reagan's legacy on race

Do you see Reagan as being the beginning of that anti-rational strain of Republicanism? Yes, absolutely I do. The one area where that particularly stands out is energy policy. This is something that I get into in the book. Jimmy Carter made energy policy a forefront of his administration. He had to—there were horrible gas lines in '78 and '79, and gas prices were almost as high, on an inflation-adjusted value, back then as they were this past summer. He put millions into alternative-fuel programs and shale oil, and he really pushed solar energy.

There's a famous story about how one of the things that Carter did—he put solar panels on the roof of the White House. It wasn't a huge energy saver; it was just the symbolism of the thing. And when Reagan took office after a couple of years, he had the solar panels taken right off.

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That was symbolic, but the reality was Reagan did cut the actual alternative-fuel, solar, and wind programs that Carter had put in place. At the end of the book, you propose that liberals can take away some positive lessons from Reagan. One thing—and I think Obama is trying to do this a little bit, although with mixed results—is that Reagan was smart enough to know that the American people are basically an optimistic people, and they want to hear an optimistic message. What undid Carter was that Carter came across as such a pessimist.

Another thing I wanted to ask you about is Reagan setting the template for actors and entertainers transitioning into politics. That's true!

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I didn't really get into that in the book and I haven't thought about it, but obviously the idea that somebody like Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming governor was much more believable because of Reagan. I think Reagan showed the path for people who can communicate a message. Make no mistake: you have to have a message. And I think Reagan did.


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And it was this great training ground for honing his message into a simple message that audiences could really relate to, which he really had down pat by the time he became president. And he had this amazing actor's talent of delivering that message.

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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/23/14

So you can see why, in this day and age, that's something that others are able to adapt successfully. By Rachel Dodes. By Yohana Desta. By Kenzie Bryant.