CNN continued “The Eighties” tonight with “The Age of Reagan”, summarizing Ronald Reagan’s presidency. It started with the release of the Iran hostages on the day of his Inauguration.
The episode quickly covers the assignation attempt by John Hinckley on March 30, 1981, right after he have a speech in a hotel near Dupont Circle. It recreates the news reports on the bullet that missed his heart.
It moves on to cover the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 and the taking of American civilian hostages in Lebanon, especially journalists. That would lead to underground deals that would connect to Oliver North and the Iran Hostage crisis, which never quite became another Watergate because it didn’t happen for political gain.
The episode covers his firing of air traffic controllers for illegal strikes.
The episode also covered Reganomics, or “supply side economics”, or “trickle down”, as the nation slid into recession in 1982, as inflation (from Jimmy Carter’s days) began to subside. In 1983, the business cycle started to turn around as it was “morning in America”.
The episode noted Reagan's apparent mental slowness in the 1984 debates with Mondale (though he hit one of Mondale's comments out of the park, as Bentsen did with Dan Quayle in 1988). There was some question of his sharpness in the last years at the White House. But the episode doesn't mention that Reagan would be diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1994 and die slowly in 2004. Nancy Reagan's dedication to "Ronnie" is a matter of legend.
I had moved to Texas in January 1979 and lived there until June 1988, almost the end of the Reagan term, before Bush was elected to “Reagan’s third term”. I did well economically myself during this period.
It appears that the broadcast of “The Age of AIDS” will occur on April 28.