I’m fed up hearing how the right lionizes Ronald Reagan.
The fact that he and his policies would never pass muster with the extreme right ideologues who run the Republican Party is not the issue. Rather, I’m referring to the myth that he was such a great leader and patriot. If he was, why was he, arguably, complicit in an act of treason in order to sandbag Jimmy Carter’s reelection bid?
I refer to a series of events reported on by Barbara Honegger in her book entitled October Surprise. In it she discloses information that she uncovered while working as a researcher for the Reagan Administration. It implicates both George H. W. Bush and soon-to-be CIA head William Casey in a pre-election plot to encourage the Iranian government to release the U.S. Embassy hostages after the after the 1980 election so as not to improve Jimmy Carter’s standing in the polls (the polls had Reagan and Carter neck-in-neck at the time).
The Carter administration was, in fact, actively negotiating the release of the hostages, and had Constitutional authority to do so, while similar, back-channel conversations taking place between the Reagan team of Bush, Casey et al and the Iranians had no legal standing, whatsoever. One way of another, the hostages were released minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president and beatified all at the same time.
Obviously, Ms. Honegger’s allegations were vigorously denied by the Reagan administration. Nonetheless, the relationship between Iran’s propitious release of the hostages and the soon-to-unravel Iran Contra scandal involving the U.S., Israel, Iran and Nicaragua raises serious questions as to the veracity of the denials, especially a 1993 communication from Moscow (The Russian Report) that could have blown the lid off the whole affair.
I recently posted a piece entitled What Standing Do the People Have in the Dirty Game of Politics? to a wonderful blog called Borderless News and Views. It looks at pre- and post-October Surprise dirty tricks. While they were of the cloak and dagger variety, the Republican Party, I guess, deserves some credit for going public with their current evolution of election-shaping hijinks: voter suppression legislation.