The Other Eighties

March 9th, 2011

Much as we might like it to be otherwise, our times are often defined by our leaders. Certainly in contemporary times, we remember the post war 50’s, reflected by Ike. The country moving forward again under Kennedy. The chaos of the Great Society and Vietnam under Johnson and then Nixon. We've talked a lot recently of the prosperity of the 90’s under Bill Clinton, and certainly the nation's shift to the right under Reagan in many ways, even more then disco, defined the 80’s.

Even though history is already kind to the Reagan legacy, perhaps because he seems so moderate by the Republican standards of today, it’s important to remember the impact of Reagan on the nation and more importantly of his polarizing presence and the opposition that Reagan gave rise to. An opposition that sought to consolidate the progressive gains of the 60’s and 70’s, even as the nation was lurching rightward. It truly was the political equivalent of the irresistible force vs. the immovable object. That’s the social and political backdrop of Bradford Martin's look at the Reagan years, The Other Eighties: A Secret History of America in the Age of Reagan. My conversation with Bradford Martin: