Skip to comments.Democrats in Congress pay tepid tribute to Reagan
Posted on 06/08/2004 6:55:37 PM PDT by Kaslin
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Democrats paid tepid homage to Ronald Reagan (news - web sites), the man most political observers credit for the steady rise of the rival Republican party during the past two decades.
Since Reagan's death Saturday at age 93, Democrats have been in a quandary, needing to pay at least token tribute to the late president, praised by his admirers as one of their country's greatest leaders ever.
But Democrats see in Reagan the figure whose social policies contributed to an epidemic of homelessness and the decline in prowess of labor unions, and whose economic policies led to widespread unemployment and a dramatic rise in the number of working poor.
Reagan is also seen as the driving force in the rise of conservatism in the United States, which has supplanted liberalism as the overriding American political view.
So rather than lauding his policies or ideology, many Democrats opted to weakly praise the late president's storied optimism or pointed out how his abundant energy belied his advanced years.
Typical were remarks made on the floor of the Senate Tuesday by Harry Reid, the second most powerful Democrat in that chamber.
"I join the procession to praise president Ronald Reagan as a great leader and a great man," said Reid.
"As a young man growing up in Nevada, how could I not admire a man who was host of the TV program Death Valley Days?" he said.
"And of course, his adopted home of California and my native state of Nevada are neighbors," Reid's tribute continued.
"Nevada and California share a national treasure called Lake Tahoe. I have tried to describe the beauty of this lake many times, but words cannot do it justice. I hope every one of you has a chance to see Lake Tahoe," Reid's tribute to the late president continued.
On Monday, Republican lawmakers tripped over themselves in their race to the dais to lavish praise on Reagan, but not a single Democrat took to the Senate floor to pay tribute to the late president.
On Tuesday, a trickle of Democrats praised Reagan, most offering admiration of the late president's sunny outlook and affable manner.
"I remember president Reagan as someone who exuded extraordinary optimism and who was a very accessible president," Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said at a press conference Tuesday.
"As a junior member of Congress, I had the opportunity to meet with him on many occasions and we always appreciated that accessibility and his good nature every time I had occasion to visit with him."
"I also remember ... how appreciative many of us were of his willingness to compromise with us. His advocacy of compromise and his willingness to accept halves of loaves marked him as a successful president in many respects."
Like their counterparts in the Senate, Democrats in the House by and large offered expressions of sadness and condolences to former first lady Nancy Reagan -- but few made mention of any of Reagan's accomplishments.
Republicans in Congress meanwhile -- who credited Reagan for everything from single-handedly ending the Cold War to reviving the US economy -- mulled putting the late president's image on the ten-cent piece or ten-dollar bill, among a number of other tributes.
Daschle had a different suggestion for paying homage to the late president, however.
"I can't think of a way with which we could honor president Reagan more than ... by passing meaningful support for Alzheimer's research and specific support for stem cell research that so far has eluded our ability because of administration opposition," the South Dakota Democrat said.
"I think that's the best tribute we could pay to him."
To be polite, Harry Reid is the south end of a north bound horse...
Screw these Democrats who live in a fool's paradise. I'ts all about the pocketbook, and as my Austrian German immigrant grandfather said, "something good to eat, and a warm place to sleep."
So is almost everyone of the rats
The best way Daschle could show tribute is to forgo calculating partisan politics for just one week.
Scum of the 3rd planet from the Sun.
Lies, lies, and lies.
What...they forgot to mention black churches being burned to the ground and old people starving so they could pay for their meds...
This week it's Reagan's fault.
Absolutely. Liberal do-gooders shutting down inpatient psychiatric treatment facilities are responsible for that "epidemic", but of course they can never admit a mistake!
Surprisingly, one of the best tributes paid to Reagan by any liberal was from Ted Kennedy. It was expansive, gracious, and seemingly devoid of any back-handed subtext. I'm still trying to figure out what's going on...
I wonder how many of the Dims that DID get up and pay their respects, are up for re-election?