Former President Ronald Reagan should be given credit for his work in bringing down the Berlin Wall, but his presidential legacy in domestic policies likely will be debated between liberals and conservatives.
That was the consensus of two local Reagan observers during a taping of The Editors television program.
Gerald Bazer, a retired dean at Owens Community College, and radio news journalist Greg Franke were interviewed by Thomas Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade.
Mr. Franke hailed Mr. Reagan as one of the nation's top presidents. Mr. Bazer countered, saying that if the public separates the former president's policies from the person, he would not fare so well in the sphere of public opinion.
"My fear is that we're going to evaluate the individual rather than evaluating the policies," Mr. Bazer said.
"I have often quipped about the fact if he were my next door neighbor, he would probably give me, literally, the shirt off his back. But I'm not sure the policies that he put into place would provide shirts for much of our population."
The Editors will be broadcast at 8:30 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.
The two men offered differing opinions on Mr. Reagan's involvement in the end of the Soviet Union, the Iran-contra affair, the president's Reaganomics economic policies, and how his fight with Alzheimer's disease may influence President Bush's stand on stem-cell research.
Mr. Franke, a self-professed Reagan admirer, said the former president inherited a country full of "excesses," so his domestic policies that included cuts to various programs were in response to that.
In particular, Mr. Franke mentioned the money spent on the "war on poverty" and how little it achieved.
"What Reagan wanted to do, and I think was successful at, was call attention to some of the excesses," he said.