Who started a national conversation about what?

Hillary Clinton showed up at Nancy Reagan’s funeral today and delivered some praise that could most generously be described as…odd.

In an interview with MSNBC, Clinton highlighted the former first lady’s use of her office to promote AIDS awareness, saying that “Because of both President and Mrs. Reagan — in particularly Mrs. Reagan — we started a national conversation, when, before nobody would talk about [the AIDS epidemic], nobody wanted to do anything about it.”

This depiction of Reagan’s legacy is revisionist, to say the least. Within hours, Clinton issued a correction and apology:

by default 2016-03-11 at 7.00.59 PM

As Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner pointed out, “it is widely accepted that the Reagans were very late in acknowledging HIV/AIDS.” As he continued:

The Reagans, via Wikimedia Commons

The Reagans, via Wikimedia Commons

President Reagan did not give a major public speech about HIV/AIDS until May 1987, nearly six years after the Centers for Disease Control first began noting the emergence of the disease.

By the time Reagan spoke, Randy Shilts reported in his book, And the Band Played On, it was known that more than 36,000 Americans had been diagnosed with AIDS — more than 20,000 of whom had died. Later data would show the numbers were significantly higher, with more than 41,000 dead by the end of 1987.

In 2015, BuzzFeed News published documentation showing, for the first time, that Nancy Reagan had, in 1985, declined to provide assistance requested by Rock Hudson to help fight the disease in France, with officials directing him instead to the U.S. Embassy there. Hudson died nine weeks later.

Saying that Nancy Reagan helped start a national conversation about AIDS is like saying that Richard Nixon helped start a national conversation about the abuse of executive power. Or that Philip Morris helped start a national conversation about nicotine addiction. Or that Marco Rubio is helping start a national conversation about climate change. Or that Goldman Sachs has helped start a national conversation about economic inequality. To the extent that it’s true, it’s not exactly what these folks are hoping to be remembered for at their funerals.

Since it apparently bears repeating, here’s how the Reagan White House actually felt about the AIDS epidemic. To they extent that they “started a national conversation,” that conversation was a black comedy:

[iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/yAzDn7tE1lU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

Share This Post

  • Mkmee

    I really didn’t think there were any readers out there who might think that Hillary meant she hadn’t praised the Reagans enough when she said

    Cheers
    http://elbanatgames.com

  • Gwendolynaellis


    “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….


    two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereo!387➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsJobs/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:::::o!387………..

  • Mike in NC

    Ewwwwww!

  • Ruthsarndt


    “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….


    two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereo!284➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsJobs/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:::::o!284…………

  • FLL

    As in my replies to kladinvt and Nicho below, please note that I was adding updated information that was not (and still is not) in the blogger’s post. When I used the word “apology,” I was using it reasonably because Hillary’s tweet ends with the sentence “I’m sorry.” I didn’t assume that the readers wouldn’t know the circumstances because the entire firestorm of criticism was all over the Internet… and also, readers are commenting on Jon’s blog post, which clearly explains all of the “circumstances.” Soooo… I really didn’t think there were any readers out there who might think that Hillary meant she hadn’t praised the Reagans enough when she said “I’m sorry.” I think that’s pretty reasonable.

  • Maybe if she took the time to explain in what way she ‘misspoke’ she could start undoing some of the damage. On the face of this ‘apology’ one could look at it and, not knowing the circumstance, say, I guess she didn’t praise them enough.

  • The HRC, which propped her up, couldn’t even be bothered to comment about it Well, their CEO re-tweeted her 30 word, non-apology. But nothing from the porganizaiton itself. Then again, HRC just endorsed a Republican Senator in Illinois. Please do not give them your money.

  • Here’s a clue. You can buy a vowel if you’d like: P_ND_R_NG.
    Here’s another clue. It’s not ‘pondering.’

  • FLL

    Why don’t I use your choice of words instead of my own? Because I’m just adding relevant updated information that was missing in the blogger’s post. I’m not exhorting anyone on how to vote.

  • FLL

    I posted that comment just after Jon Green uploaded his post. The information in my comment was included on other blogs as an update, which is the standard practice. If Jon had included as update, I wouldn’t have posted the comment.

    The comment was only informative, which Becca noted in her own comment. As far as you asking me to explain Hillary’s motives… um… that’s up to Hillary, not me. Just because I post updated information that the blogger didn’t include in an update doesn’t mean that I’m taking sides in any argument because I’m not. Don’t you think it’s always better for readers to have more information before they decide what to think? There is such an annoyed, angry tone to your response. Why? Because I added relevant information that was not (and still is not) included in the blogger’s post?

  • 2karmanot

    The Reagan’s tenure, built on a ‘Morning in America’ from a ‘Shining City on a Hill,’ turned out to be a rumbling sewer of tragedy and deceit that is still unfolding its toxic damage on our dear old Republic. The Reagan duo is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD and that’s good thing. Like our brother’s and sister’s of the Holocaust, we will not forget, nor many of us, forgive. We who lived the truth and survived will continue to tell the stories until the last of us is finally gone. By doing so we control the narration unfolding the horrors and calumniating slanders of dreadnoughts like the Reagan’s that will forever pierce the fanciful bullshit of revisionist history and reveal them for the immoral monsters they were.

    I can’t buy for a moment that Hillary Clinton was unaware of this history and yes, perhaps campaign exhaustion played a part, but these remarks were prepared and her ‘misspeak’ tone deaf and offensive. Long years of carrying the truth of the plague as we do, hearing our leader sociopaths babble and proclaim their brilliant and compassionate plans for unity, rings as hollow as DOMA and DADT. Don’t even get me started on Der Dtrumpenfuhrer.

  • 2karmanot

    Something nice like: she’s DEAD, DEAD, DEAD

  • nicho

    You forgot the last line. And in light of so many serious lapses in judgment, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president.

  • nicho

    She was otherwise occupied — helping Walmart bust unions.

  • 2karmanot

    Catching my breath

  • 2karmanot

    The Reagan’s tenure build on a ‘morning in America’ from a ‘shining City on a Hill’ turned out to be a sewer of tragedy that is still unfolding in the collapse of our dear old Republic. The Reagan’s are
    DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, and that’s a good thing. Like our brother’s and sister’s of the Holocaust, we will not forgive by conscious decision and not forget. We who lived the truth will tell the stories until the last
    of us is finally gone and hope that the stories we told of the horrors and calumniating slanders of dreadnoughts like the Reagan’s will forever pierce the fanciful bullshit of revisionist history and reveal them for the immoral monsters they were.
    I can’t buy for a moment that Hillary Clinton was unaware of this history and yes, perhaps campaign
    exhaustion made her ‘misspeak’, but long years of hearing our leader sociopaths proclaim their brilliant and compassionate plans for unity and diversity rings as hollow as DOMA and DADT.

  • kladinvt

    Maybe you can explain, “why” did Hillary misspeak? Mental lapse? Amnesia? Or just that she didn’t care for the LGBT community back in the 80s & 90s?

  • kladinvt

    So has Hillary been asked “why she misspoke”? Was it amnesia or some other mental lapse, or is it just that she wasn’t “into” the LGBT community back in the 80’s & 90’s?

  • hiker_sf

    Here is what an apology looks like:

    “I apologize for my remarks about the Reagans and AIDS. The truth is that both Ronald and Nancy Reagan were terrible on gay issues in general and on AIDS specifically. They ignored the disease until more than 25,000 died from it.

    That was despicable and shouldn’t be lauded by anyone, especially me.”

  • hiker_sf

    Saying you are “sorry” for misspeaking is almost the same as saying “I apologize if I offended you”. Neither are apologies.

    And then she further misspoke, praising the Reagans for their advocacy for “stem cell” research for Alzheimer’s, which was a 100% selfish act. If Ronnie didn’t have the disease, they wouldn’t have been advocates, PERIOD.

    Fuck the Reagans and shame on Clinton. I do not accept her “apology.” And yes, if Clinton is in the election against Trump or Cruz in November, I will vote for her, assuming doesn’t again say truly offensive stuff.

  • nicho

    You can say nice things without lying about something that hurt so many people.

  • nicho

    You say “mistaken statement.” I say “blatant and insulting lie.” She is a liar and has no moral center.

  • I just wonder how anyone who was alive at the time could get that so badly wrong.

  • The_Fixer

    The best thing you can do if you don’t know what the hell you are talking about is to speak in generalities. Things like “Leadership” and other intangible, immeasurable concepts. It’s especially true when you’re talking about a dead person that you probably don’t like and to whom you are pretending to show respect.

    This was incompetence – both on the part of Hillary Clinton and on her staff. Dumb move.

  • Mark McCarty

    HIllary did not “misspeak” – she mis-remembered. And she didn’t remember because, like most other “religious” Americans in the 1980s, she didn’t care. Meanwhile, Bernie was sponsoring Gay Pride Days in Burlington. Way to go, Human Rights Campaign!

  • Bill_Perdue

    I guess she’ll have to hire new aides to tell her what to say. Aides who have some idea about history as seen from a non-homophobic point of view.

    Reagan was a monster who promoted the spread of the plague.

  • The details of Nancy Reagan’s death are actually really sad…

    She and Phyllis Schlafly were scissoring, and when the moth balls mixed with the Pine-Sol, it created an even more noxious cloud.

  • FLL

    I do not trust politicians, period. They all need a watchful eye. However, for other commenters (not you, Nathan, but others) to exhort progressive voters not to endanger Republican victory by voting is laughable and dissuades no one from voting. A Republican administration (from among the current crop) would be madness, and a failure to vote in the general election would be dereliction of duty on the part of progressives.

  • Nathan

    The Reagan’s didn’t even do that. Nancy Reagan didn’t even help her friend Rock Hudson when he asked for help. Google it!

  • Nathan

    These were prepared remarks. If Clinton’s team had any knowledge of the facts they could have easily left out anything about AIDS. Instead, they tried to link Nancy Reagan with some sort of moral high ground regarding the AIDS epidemic. This cannot be easily glossed over and shows that Hilary is not a progressive, does not surround herself with people who have roots in the progressive movement, and simply cannot be trusted. It’s appauling that people are so willing to accept her BS apology as a mispeak when these were PREPARED remarks. Anyone who knows anything about AIDS in the 1980s knows that the Reagans were out to lunch on this issue. For crying out loud they wouldn’t even help their own friend Rock Hudson.

  • I think Clinton was just trying to follow the adage of being polite towards the dead, not for the dead person’s sake, but for their relatives who don’t need to be made feel shittier because they’ve just lost a loved one. Glad FLL found the follow-up correction, because the Reagan record on HIV was identical to just about every other time they wake up and start doing the decent thing: Only when it directly affects someone they know and care about.

    Prior to that, Reagan and the Republicans were literally laughing at the idea of Americans dying from this new unknown virus.

  • FLL

    Hillary apologized for her mistaken statement quickly after. (See her tweet below.) Ironically, the public (especially younger generations) might have learned something about Reagan’s criminal neglect of AIDS as a result of the mainstream media coverage of Hillary’s mistaken statement and subsequent apology:

  • marknc

    Damn shame. I think Hillary was just trying to be nice and say something positive among slim pickings.

© 2016 AMERICAblog News. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS
CLOSE
CLOSE