Liberals rarely hesitate to express their disdain for Ronald Reagan, except when it's convenient to compare him to Barack Obama.
Now comes a novel criticism of Reagan from radio host and environmental lawyer Mike Papantonio -- the Great Communicator as Almost A Mass Killer.
Here's Papantonio explaining this while guest hosting on Ed Schultz's radio show yesterday, to a caller skeptical of demands for nationwide strikes in support of public-sector unions (audio) --
CALLER: You have all these people talking about unemployment, wondering where the jobs are. I say if 300,000 people want to walk, go out on strike because of collective bargaining rights and all this other stuff, fine. We just created 300,000 jobs.
PAPANTONIO: Well, not really. Let me ask you, no, this is interesting, Brad. Do you think, you think you're going to replace those teachers with National Guard armory? You think you're going to bring in the National Guard to teach physics and biology? It was like, it's like the PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) strike. Do you realize how many deaths there almost were because of the PATCO strike because you had an old senile man who was owned by corporate America wanting to prove that he was the toughest guy on the block, wanting to bust strikers?
Do tell, how many, Mike? Not surprisingly, Papantonio doesn't say.
In fairness to Papantonio, his claim would be true except for that inconvenient absence of casualties. As a New York Post headline proclaimed after Clinton was acquitted by the Senate -- Close But No Cigar.
While we're on the subject, think of all those people who "almost" drowned while young Reagan was a lifeguard in Dixon, Ill.
That "old senile man," by the way -- defeated much younger Democratic opponents for president, in 1980 and 1984. Also survived an assassination attempt, the only sitting president who ever has, despite losing half his blood and the bullet lodging within inches of his heart. Who prayed for the soul of the man who shot him. Who lived more than two decades after taking office, despite his alleged decrepitude.
Papantonio's PATCO gem wasn't the only one he coughed up while filling in for Schultz. Here's what he said after a caller praised the "Ring of Fire" radio show that Papantonio cohosts with Robert Kennedy Jr. and Sam Seder (audio) --
I appreciate that a lot, but you know where we learned everything we know? From Ed Schultz. I'd like, that's just truth. I was listening to Ed Schultz before I ever said the first word on a radio and I understood, Bobby Kennedy understood, Sam Seder understood, that you don't go to a knifefight with a gun.
Also known, in the enlightened era before an "old senile man" took office, as the Carter Doctrine.
(Correction -- for me to describe Reagan as "the only sitting president" who ever survived an assassination attempt is inaccurate. Several others, including Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford, also survived attempts to kill them. More accurately, Reagan was the only sitting president who was struck by a bullet and survived.)