After all is said and done with the emotional knee-jerk reaction that the nation has had this past week upon the death of the 40th President, we're going to have to take a step back and review the true worth of Ronald Reagan's presidency... and it's not going to be pretty, either.
Elected in 1980, Ronald Wilson Reagan came into office when the United States was undergoing an identity crisis. Americans had been held in Iran for over a year after the fall of the Shah's government and installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini as Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the country had been suffering through an economic recession, and the peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia, apparently hadn't done enough to set our land back on its noble course in history. Now, the question is, did Ronald Reagan do that?
Ronald Reagan is credited with expediting the fall of communism, by playing hardball with the Soviet Union. We must recall, however, that in 1985 a reform-minded man by the name of Mikhail Gorbachev came into power. This is the same Gorbachev who instituted perestroika and glasnost. The same Gorbachev who began to lift the restrictions on freedom that had been in place from Stalin's years. Mikhail Gorbachev also wanted the Soviet Union to survive and, like Reagan, had the keen understanding that animosity between the two giants would benefit no one. Sure, Reagan should be credited with helping to bring the two countries together, but this is no situation where Gorbachev was an unwilling participant.
Ronald Reagan was a great cheerleader, with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed optimism that our country needs right now, but this man's policies led to what Dwight Eisenhower had warned against: the military-industrial complex. Under Reagan's administration, military spending ballooned and federal budget deficits became the norm. This fiscal irresponsibility set the path for the neo-conservatives, many of whom currently serve in the present President's administration, such as Donald Rumsfeld, Vice-President Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz.
Was Ronald Reagan a good president? Sure. Was he great? No. Eisenhower was a great president and a war hero on top of that. Reagan doesn't deserve a spot on any currency, and, if anything, Eisenhower is the one whose visage should be resurrected on our nation's currency. And this talk of replacing Alexander Hamilton with Ronald Reagan? Malarky. Hamilton was one of our great patriots in this nation's early years. To replace a great man such as Hamilton with Reagan would be the same kind of treason that Reagan's dogs accuse liberals of having.