Reagan the 'Moses of...Greedy White Men'; Beat Reagan Statue with Shoe Like Saddam's?

Catching up with Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, guest D.L. Hughley -- the actor/comedian who until recently had a show on CNN -- insisted “you never saw drugs or drive-byes or homeless people” in inner-cities before Reagan “cut” social programs and became “the Moses of...greedy white men.” Left-wing blogger Jeremy Scahill predicted “some guys” will pull down the new Capitol rotunda Reagan statue “and drag it through the street like the Saddam statue with some kid hitting it with a shoe.”

Pegged to the placement of the new statute of Ronald Reagan, Hughley declared: “I didn't love Ronald Reagan.” Maher echoed “I didn't either,” and then Hughley launched a rant with distortions of quotes from Ronald Reagan, as he recalled:
I grew up in Los Angeles inner city -- you never saw drugs or drive-byes or homeless people or anything like that. All the social programs that were cut as a result of Reagan coming into office and greed just became a hobby....I remember watching...him say people in America who are homeless are homeless because they want to be. That seemed to be one of the most-- and I was a kid -- I knew how cruel that was and I would never, you know, ascribe any level of greatness to somebody who would say, you know, if somebody's hungry in America it's because they're on a diet. Like that, to me, made greedy white men feel good about being greedy white men. He was the kind of the Moses of leading them to feeling good about being greedy white men. So to me he wasn't a great man.

Audio: MP3 clip (1:00)

Of course, social spending rose in the 1980s and has soared since. And LA was a quiet, safe city with no rioting before 1981?

Another guest panelist, Scahill, who writes for the far-left The Nation and runs the RebelReports blog, soon interjected: “Some guys are going to go and pull that statue down and drag it through the street like the Saddam statue with some kid hitting it with a shoe.”

From the Friday, June 5 Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO:

BILL MAHER: Nancy Reagan was on Capitol Hill unveiling this statue of Reagan. Should we have a statue of Reagan? I know Americans love Ronald Reagan. There was a Gallup poll in 2005 of the “Top Ten Greatest Americans.” He came in one. Washington was four, Lincoln was two.

D.L. HUGHLEY: I didn't love Ronald Reagan.

MAHER: I didn't either. I don't get why he is thought to be-

HUGHLEY: And I tell you why, it's a matter of perspective. You didn't see in my community -- I grew up in Los Angeles inner city -- you never saw drugs or drive-byes or homeless people or anything like that. All the social programs that were cut as a result of Reagan coming into office and greed just became a hobby. Really, you never saw drugs or drive byes. You never even saw homeless people. I remember watching it -- and I was a kid -- watching him say people in America who are homeless are homeless because they want to be. That seemed to be one of the most-- and I was a kid -- I knew how cruel that was and I would never, you know, ascribe any level of greatness to somebody who would say, you know, if somebody's hungry in America it's because they're on a diet. Like that, to me, made greedy white men feel good about being greedy white men. He was the kind of the Moses of leading them to feeling good about being greedy white men. So to me he wasn't a great man.

MAHER: And, you know, we went into debt, deregulation, all the thing that have come back to haunt us.

HUGHLEY: Even the border, even the border. He led, he opened the borders so that the illegal immigrants that Republicans are arguing about now -- Reagan spearheaded that.

JEREMY SCAHILL, REBELREPORTS.COM: Some guys are going to go and pull that statue down and drag it through the street like the Saddam statue with some kid hitting it with a shoe.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center