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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

A Week of Comparisons Between Bush and Reagan

June 12, 2004

Re "A Week That Could Bolster Bush," June 8: Oh, puhleeze! George W. Bush as the second coming of Ronald Reagan?

Excuse me, but I was around when Reagan was the governor of California, and I was around when he was president. Reagan may have been a conservative ideologue, but he knew that progress requires compromise, not condemnation of the opposition. He may have believed in cutting taxes, but he recognized a budget-busting mistake when he saw one and altered course accordingly.

Reagan may have been a military hawk, but when things went wrong, he assumed full responsibility. And he may have had deep religious beliefs, but he understood the proper relationship between religion and government, and refrained from imposing his personal religious views on public policy.

Simply put (and to borrow that legendary campaign debate phrase): Mr. Bush, I knew Mr. Reagan. You, sir, are no Ronald Reagan.

Marcy M. Rothenberg

Porter Ranch

My impression of the passing of "the Great Communicator" is simple. He lowered the intellectual bar for all future presidents and George W. Bush proceeded to limbo under it. A sad, but true, commentary on the Republican Party.

Mark S. Roth

Los Angeles

Any GOP insider who thinks this week of mourning Reagan might lift Bush's waning popularity and sagging poll numbers is delusional. Reagan gave the Republicans new hope and lifted their spirits after they had been pummeled by the Nixon scandals. Who in their right mind would confuse nostalgia for Reagan with good feelings about Bush, when he has committed atrocities and shamed his supporters in ways that even Richard Nixon could not have dreamed of?

Sheila Fenton

West Hollywood

I am a Democrat, so I am not eager to give Republicans any good ideas, but it seems to me the best way for Bush to make political capital out of Reagan's death is to reverse himself on stem cell research.

It would be a worthy memorial to Reagan, benefit current and future generations and give Bush the opportunity to admit a mistake, something he seems loath to do about other issues plaguing him.

Joan Evans

Altadena

Epitaph for Ronald Reagan: He was in all respects the greatest president of my lifetime: a good and honorable man who changed the world and the course of history. I am glad that death has released Reagan from the shadow of his last years, and that he has now, in one sense or another, entered into the company of immortals.

Richard Healey

Seal Beach

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