Quote of the Day
“For Ronald Reagan, Taylor was a tool to convince voters that the government was in crisis. For Reagan’s detractors, she personified the candidate’s penchant for willful exaggeration. For Illinois politicians and prosecutors, the war against Linda Taylor and her ilk was a chance to vent some populist outrage and maybe launch a career. A murder in Chicago is mundane. A sumptuously attired woman stealing from John Q. Taxpayer is a menace, the kind of criminal who victimizes absolutely everyone.”
-- Josh Levin, “The Welfare Queen: In the 1970s, Ronald Reagan villainized a Chicago woman for bilking the government. Her other sins—including possible kidnappings and murders—were far worse,” on Slate.
Seriously, read this piece. It's insane. It should be a movie.
I was completely wrong on this story, by the way. I thought Reagan exaggerated things for political reasons but it was the opposite. In effect, he downplayed things for political reasons. He focused on the lesser crime of welfare cheating because it fit his small-government ideology and fostered the politics of resentment that led to his presidency. I'm sure he didn't even know there were other crimes. But it appears there were other crimes.
Seriously, read it.