Liberal icon Stephen Colbert: “We miss” right-wing fanatic Ronald Reagan, a “good man” (oh yes, and war criminal)

Celebrity comedian and liberal icon Stephen Colbert paid homage to right-wing fanatic Ronald Reagan on his popular CBS program The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

“We miss you, Ronnie. We miss you,” Colbert said of Reagan, calling the seasoned war criminal a “good man.”

(This excerpt can be heard at 2:50 in the Late Show with Stephen Colbert video clip “In Asia, Trump Might Meet ‘Pen Pineapple Apple Pen’ Guy,” which was published on YouTube on November 4.)

Ronald Reagan, war criminal

Reagan was, of course, a staunch right-wing zealot and the father of American neoliberalism. He paved the way for hyper-capitalist reforms in the US — and the world at large — joining fellow neoliberal leaders like Britain’s Margaret Thatcher (another right-wing fanatic whom Democrats have whitewashed) in dismantling the Keynesian hegemony liberals claimed to defend.

Even worse, Reagan was a blood-soaked cold warrior, who helped give birth to al-Qaeda and the Taliban by supporting the extremist Mujahideen against Afghanistan’s Marxist government and the Soviet Union (building on the work started by Democratic President Jimmy Carter). Reagan’s administration likewise armed, trained, and supported Nicaragua’s Contras and other fascist anti-communist death squads in Latin America that massacred civilians.

Reagan also propped up an autocratic ultra-rightist military regime in Guatemala that waged a campaign of genocidal extermination against Marxists and the indigenous population. Scholar Noam Chomsky noted that the US did this in alliance with “a network of client states … including Taiwan and South Korea, still under U.S.-backed dictatorships, as well as apartheid South Africa and the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships. At the forefront was Israel, which became the major arms supplier to Guatemala. It provided instructors for the killers and participated in counterinsurgency operations.”

This is just a small sampling of Reagan’s unspeakable crimes.

Democrats whitewashing right-wing leaders

Stephen Colbert, a highly influential liberal pundit and erstwhile satirical presidential candidate, made these comments with the utmost seriousness. Although he formerly played a fictitious character of the same name, in The Late Show with Stephen Colbert he is speaking for himself and espousing his actual political views.

Like many US liberals, Colbert has simply decided to rewrite Reagan’s ultra-reactionary and grotesquely violent legacy in order to score easy political points against far-right President Donald Trump.

This phenomenon is part of a much larger trend, in which Democrats have systematically rehabilitated past right-wing figures, like fellow blood-soaked war criminal George Bush and arch-neoconservative John McCain, in order to portray the billionaire bigot-in-chief as somehow uniquely “un-American.”

Once again, US Democrats continue to put the “liberal” in “neoliberal.”