Hertzberg was editor of The New Republic when he made his comments.
The New York Times editorialized on March 27 that the president’s speech “expresses the deepest longing of the nuclear age—for a place to hide. But it remains a pipe dream, a projection of fantasy into policy.” A New York Times news article two days prior featured the remarks of liberal Daniel Inouye, who delivered a response to President Reagan’s speech. Inouye questioned the president’s honesty about the Soviet defense advantage saying it was but a diversion from “the economic disasters brought on by his policies.”
That same day in the Times, Anthony Lewis concluded his column with the following question: “What is one to think of the seriousness of an American President who offers his people fantasies as the pass to safety?”
According to his critics, President Reagan lived in a fantasy world and based his arms negotiations on fantasy accounts of Soviet nuclear missile superiority.
And they said his solution was even more so a fantasy.
History, however, has proven Ronald Reagan’s futuristic vision the stuff of reality.
Interns from The National Journalism Center contributed research to this column.
Stephen V. Bird is academic director of The National Journalism Center in Washington D.C. The National Journalism Center is a project of The Young America's Foundation.
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