Although he left office nearly 20 years ago, Ronald Reagan remains a potent symbol for the conservative movement. The Bush administration frequently invokes his legacy as it formulates and promotes its fiscal, domestic, and foreign policies. His name is watchword for campus conservatives who regard him in a way that borders on hero worship. Conservative media pundits often equate the term "Reagan-esque" with personal honor, fiscal rectitude, and unqualified success in dealing with foreign threats. But how much of the Reagan legacy is based on fact, how much on idealized myth? And what are the reasons - political and otherwise - behind the mythmaking? "Deconstructing Reagan" is a fascinating study of the interplay of politics and memory concerning our fortieth president. While giving credit where credit is due, the authors scrutinize key aspects of the Reagan legacy and the conservative mythology that surrounds it.
Introduction: American Conservatism; 1. Reagan and the Cold War, Michael Schaller; 2. The Economic Costs of Reagan Mythology, John Sloan; 3. Reagan and Race: Prophet of Colorblindness, Baiter of the Backlash, Jeremy Mayer; 4. When Character Was King? Ronald Reagan and the Issues of Ethics and Morality, Kyle Longley; Epilogue: Contemporary Politics and the Myths of Reagan.