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Of Ronald Reagan and Russian Communists

Shortly after the fall of the Soviet regime, the Russians began renaming their streets, towns and cities. Leningrad became St. Petersburg again, Stalingrad became Volgograd, and so on. But what in Russia took a revolution appears in America only to require a new congressional majority. The Examiner reports today on “talk” on Capitol Hill about removing Ronald Reagan’s name from Washington's Reagan National Airport.

Alright, maybe my Russian-studies-major enthusiasm for historical metaphor is a little grandiose. For one thing, this probably won’t get past the vague-talk stage. And the sorts of people the Russians commemorated -- and then uncommemorated -- were often nasty mass murderers. The cult of Reagan is merely annoying.

Even the most partisan Democrat should recognize that the politics of this would be terrible. The right, which can’t agree on anything these days other than their absolute devotion to the Reagan legacy, would bring it up at every opportunity. And Americans, so many of whom have unfailingly fond memories of the Great Communicator, would be, to use a word I heard a Russian say once, unsmiling.

By Stephen Stromberg  | July 3, 2009; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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You're worried about uniting the right wing?? They already are united. All they need is a presidential candidate who can keep his zipper shut. I say rename the airport in honor of someone completely uncontroversial who's been dead at least 100 years (Abraham Lincoln maybe?). Then we can watch the right make fools of themselves screaming about it.

Posted by: dan_schein | July 3, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

It is just setting in the enormity of the harm done by the non-regulatory anti-governmental service ethic of vulture capitalism from the Reagan revulution, but when it does sink in it is no stretch to see the name removed. For now we are still in denial.

Posted by: cgillard | July 3, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I always thought that the most appropriate name for the place would be Air Traffic Controller National Airport.

Posted by: Dennis12 | July 4, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Change the name back. Please. The airport of the nation's capital should be the National Airport, not the Republican-hero national airport. Your comparison to the Soviets is particularly apt, since the so-called "Reagan legacy project" -- of which the airport's renaming was a particularly odious piece -- is redolent of nothing so much as the cults of personality which have been such a prominent part of totalitarian rule.

Posted by: rashomon | July 4, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

While I don't really think Reagan was ever deserving of having anything prominent named after him, I must agree that attempting to change the name of the DC airport on the Potomac doesn't make much sense, at least not at this time. Maybe five years down the road, if things are going well, and Democrats have ample majorities, it could be worth considering. But this is not something worth doing at this point in time.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | July 4, 2009 4:07 AM | Report abuse

A reasonable view, Mr. Stromberg. Of course, since Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth planned for an exclusive "salon" at her home where for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to "those powerful few" — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and even the paper’s own reporters and editors, I have to take your comments with a grain of salt.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | July 4, 2009 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the Soviets renamed Stalingrad to Volgograd decades before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Posted by: mlenzi | July 4, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Ronald Reagan deserves nothing, he started the whole social security mess by absorbing the social security taxes paid into the general revenue of all taxes paid in an attempt to close the huge budget deficets his administration was running. He did not bring down communism it brought itself down, it was inevitable to fail.
His administration initiated the greatest period of de-regulation ever in America's history resulting in todays financial fiasco. His administration sought to enrich the wealthy at the expense of the average American all the while playing the great communicator who sold us deception and lies. Anyone remember Iran Contra and the ties linking drugs and their importation and the CIA. If Ronald Reagan was seen as one of our great Presidents the American public are morons.
thomas mcmahon
millis ma

Posted by: tommic856 | July 4, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

As a fired PATCO controller, who went on to another successful life, I think his name should come off the airport. It was a fitting monument to a president who was the only one to destroy a labor union, (one of the few that supported his election), put over 10,000 families on the street, and kept them there with a ban on rehiring. Only a right wing nut job like Norquist could have thought it a fitting monument to his hero.

Posted by: roblevi | July 4, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Gingrich's Republicans forced the name change on us in 1995. It was the first thing they did. They did it over the objections of just about everyone in the area where the airport is located. Afterall, is Reagan truly to be honored above Washington? By the airport that services Washington, DC?!? And it now has that attrocious name 'Ronald Reagan Washington National'! They added the 'Washington' part as a peace offering!

Change it BACK, and make it National Airport, not that monstrosity 'Reagan National'.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | July 4, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

If Washington removes Ronald Reagan's name from the airport, please also remove the name of a senator who did nothing whatsoever for this country from RFK stadium.

Posted by: randy28146 | July 4, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure this is a good time to go through with changing the airport's name in view of the continuing socio-political polarization in the US. I do favor changing its name though.
I spent the Reagan years in the construction business in Texas and they were very hard years, largely due to pseudo-conservative policies that hurt nearly everyone but the wealthy and big business, and a literal flood of illegals taking away American construction jobs by the hundreds just in the area where I lived.
The collapse of the USSR was an unexpected by-product of aggressive defense policies pursued by Reagan's administration and Congress, along with a faked video of a building being destroyed by a laser. Conventional explosives were used in the video but no one in the USSR knew that at the time.
Send Reagan's memorial packing and send Newt with it...down the road to obscurity where they both belong!

Posted by: meand2 | July 4, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Ron Reagan was and is the Icon of the GOP because he could read script act sincere and interested even when he cared less. I never cease to amazed at the spin they try over Reagan defeated the USSR....not the millions who marched, went on strike, were jailed, killed and stood against the policies of the USSR...No it was a speech by Ron Reagan where he shook his almighty fist and the Berlin wall tumbled down....LOL...iconology of idiocy

Posted by: jpenergy | July 4, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Stromby; If the Reagan National Airport was renamed the Reagan Beirut National Airport, it would add to the wonderful fond memories of the Great Communicator. Yeah Right!!!!!

Posted by: scac1 | July 5, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Why do you ask for comments? then reject as too many.

Posted by: scac1 | July 5, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I would LOVE for the name to be changed back. I can never bring myself to call it by his name anyway.

Posted by: catherine3 | July 6, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I refer to the airport across the Potomac from the Mall, I always use the name "Amnesia National."

Posted by: mystic01 | July 6, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Rename the airport, B.Hussein Obama Airport. This would honor all of the Muslims who he is trying to suck up to and get their votes for 2012. And the name of a sitting President on an operational airport would tell the world what we are all about. Expanding big goverment into every and each corners of society, the banks, the automakers, health care, suppressing talk radio, appropriating 700 billion dollars to nowhere, smoking out all those pesky Inspector Generals and sending them to the gulags. BHO would be the man and maybe he deserves a high five from Biden when he is named "czar" of his own transportation hub! With the unions, acorn and as his lapdogs, BO has it made so why should he not have his own airport. Fire up a marlboro and raise a glass of vodka, you deserve it. Move over Reagan, new commissar in town.

Posted by: fairfaxfirefighteriniraq | July 6, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

You're right. Deleting Ronald Reagan's name probably is petty. And yet, the irony of naming a Washington airport can hardly be overlooked by anyone with even just the slightest knowledge of labor history. Ronald Reagain is the union busting scum who fired thousands of striking air traffic controllers, and in doing so, announced to greedy low-life CEO's that it was all right to bust unions. Not only have unions not recovered, but neither have the all the many middle class Reagan supports who looked on with glee. It's only now the white collars are paying the price.

Naming an airport after Reagan is like naming a nursery or grade school after Michael Jackson, which given the hoopla, could very well happen

Posted by: StarRiders | July 8, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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