This is the doleful legacy of Reaganism. We have become a nation that believes that you can get something for nothing. We thought that the energy crisis would be solved . . . somehow, and that no one would have to suffer. We still believe in the magical qualities of America, that something about us makes us better. Yet we have a chaotic and mediocre education system that desperately needs more money and higher standards, but we think -- don't we? -- that somehow we will maintain our lifestyle anyway. Hey, is this America or what?
That paragraph is more an indictment of fiscally-conservative, laissez faire economic policy than it is specifically of Reagan, but Reagan has become the icon of that sort of flawed thinking. And that's not to say that this is all true because I think so and Richard Cohen apparently agrees with me, and it certainly doesn't mean that Dave is deluded on the subject of presidential merit (the "discussion" was more like neighbors exchanging hellos from their respective cars while paused at a traffic light than a real exploration of ideas), but I still think Carter was better than Reagan.
But I could be wrong.