Talk About Scandal—Remember When Conservative Hero Ronald Reagan Sold Illegal Arms To Iran?

irancontraYou know, I’ll be the first to admit Democrats have flaws, huge flaws in some instances.  If you follow my writing at all, or my page Right Off A Cliff, you know I often call out liberals when I think they’re acting ridiculous.

But in my back and forth with conservatives, the one trait I see most often is their inability to be honest with themselves.  Now they can spout off any number of right-wing media driven talking points, or bash President Obama at the drop of a hat, but most seem in absolute denial about the facts within their own party.

Take for instance these “scandals.”  From their made up Benghazi one, to “umbrellagate” and now the IRS situation, Republicans are “shocked” by what they call the absolute corruption within the Obama administration.

But let’s look at a couple from their own party.

Who’s old enough to remember Iran-Contra?  For those who don’t remember it, I’ll give you a quick summary of the details.  Basically, several Reagan Senior Administration officials were caught selling illegal arms to Iran in the hopes of freeing 7 American hostages.

So not only did the Reagan administration sell illegal arms to an enemy, they negotiated with terrorists.

Of course, President Reagan “knew nothing about this.”

So if Reagan claims he knew nothing about the illegal arms being sold, either:

  • He admitted to being incompetent as a leader
  • He lied

There were, however, several convictions from the Iran-Contra fallout, with a few being overturned on appeal.  But for those whose convictions did get upheld, they were eventually pardoned by President George H. Bush right before he left the White House.

You know George H. Bush right?  The Vice President during the selling of illegal arms to Iran—and the man Republicans still elected in 1988.

Could you imagine if Obama was caught selling illegal arms to Iran and negotiating with terrorists?  Some Republicans have talked about impeaching him for “talking points” following Benghazi, just imagine if he was the President during Iran-Contra.

Or maybe we should look at the Beirut attack in 1983 that took the lives of 241 Americans, 238 military and 3 civilians. For those who don’t know what this is, it was an attack by a terrorist group with a truck bomb. The Marines on location were ordered by President Reagan not to load their weapons so they would look more like “peacekeepers” rather than armed hostels. Nothing quite like ordering the military into a hostile area, then telling them not to load their weapons. But hey, I’m sure if Obama did that, Republicans wouldn’t have any problem with that, would they? After all, they re-elected Reagan in 1984.

Then what about the Iraq War?  Remember when their President campaigned for months about the dire need to invade Iraq and get those WMD’s?  How many did we find exactly?  Zero?  Over 4,400 Americans dead—zero WMD’s.  But yes, let’s get “outraged” over 4 American deaths in Libya.

Can you imagine if Obama started a war in search of WMD’s, which led to the deaths of 4,400 Americans, and found exactly zero.

Then even if you want to focus on these “scandals,” there’s an even bigger one we should be looking at which just developed — who was it that edited those Benghazi emails, then “leaked” them to the press to try and artificially inflate this story in the first place?  Republicans have spent millions upon millions in taxpayer money based on emails which were edited to make Hillary Clinton and President Obama look bad.  That is the real scandal.

It’s just amazing how badly Republicans want bring down President Obama (and Hillary Clinton) that they’ll fake this outrage over their own made up “conspiracies,” yet:

  • They love a man in Ronald Reagan who sold illegal arms to Iran
  • Elected George H. Bush, who was the Vice President when we sold those illegal arms to Iran
  • Elected, then re-elected, George W. Bush who sent thousands of Americans off to die in Iraq, and found exactly zero WMD’s

But please, Republicans—tell me more about a Marine holding up an umbrella, the “conspiracy” in Benghazi which is based on edited emails and the IRS situation which occurred while a man appointed by George W. Bush was in charge of the IRS.

I really care what you have to say.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • SouthCakC23 Gamecock

    You Forgot About Oliver North Shipping Cocaine On Military Aircraft From Nicaragua To The US…….

    • John Gavel

      And having ricky ross as the fall guy

    • Ray

      Didn’t happen.

  • I totally agree with you Allen. I personally was in law enforcement back when Reagan was President. I was investigating corruption on a local level that went through a governor’s office all the way to the White House. This was in the middle of Reagan’s 2nd term. Bush Sr. was going to run for President. My attorney received a phone call from John Poindexter to tell me to back off or harm was going to come to me and my family. My attorney had Poindexter’s personal phone number that went straight to his office outside the Oval Office. Poindexter was waiting for my attorney’s return phone call with my reply. I told my attorney to tell Poindexter to f…off. I don’t make deals with crooks. This is the God’s honest truth. I am not making of this up or some “nut” running his mouth. So anytime I hear some Republican talking about Obama and his so called “scandals” is bulls…t. The conservative news media has got many Americans brain washed with lies.

  • TruthSeeker

    Iran-Contra was so much worse than the description above. Selling arms to Iran was a violation of an embargo. The sale of arms was not just to free hostages – but the “Contra” part refers to the fact that the money from this sale of arms to “terrorists” was funneled to the Nicaraguan Contras. This was an illegal circumvention of the Boland Amendment by which Congress voted to outlaw U.S. assistance to the Contras, who were
    ​rebels fighting a ​guerrilla war
    against the Nicaraguan government. So the Reagan Administration, was secretly violating an embargo, by selling arms to terrorists – to give those arms to a revolutionary group that was trying to overthrow the elected government in Nicaragua.
    In addition, when the scandal became public, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North (who now has a TV show on the Fox News channel), who was a staff member of the National Security Council , and who was very actively involved in the diversion of these funds from Iran to the Contras, shredded and removed official United States National Security Council(NSC) documents from the White House. North was indicted on 16 felony counts, and convicted on 3 that were later overturned with the help of the ACLU in defense of his Fifth Amendment rights. Thirteen members of the Reagan Administration were indicted including such high ranking officials as Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense; William Casey, Head of the CIA; Robert C. McFarlane, National Security Adviser and Elliott Abrams, Assistant Secretary of State.

    As is stated above, In 1992 then-president
    George H. W. Bush
    ​(V​ice-President under Ronald Reagan) pardoned Weinberger and other officials who had been indicted or convicted for withholding information on or obstructing investigation of the affair.

  • Why isn’t Oliver North in prison?

    • because he’s a republican. They don’t pay for their crimes. They profit from them. They call it a “free market capitalism”

      • John Gavel

        Ehhh chicago is pretty bad

      • You are just like the guy that ran the football the wrong way for a safety instead of a touch down! Democrats kill children even after they are born, spend other people’s money In foolish or corrupt ways, enrich themselves with millions of dollars plus benefit their buddies with crony insider trading deals, etc…! If a republican does something wrong they are censored and driven out of office! If a democrat does something wrong they are protected or promoted !

      • Doy Bowers




        What a TROLL!!! You really should change your name to “Talking Points Memo” because you’re totally devoid of any truth/facts Just regurgitating what the Corporate Media tells you too.
        I only have one question for you,

        “Polly Want a Cracker”???

      • Phil Ramsey

        You seem to have drank the Cool-Ade.
        Republicans had a Vice President resigned for problems with the law
        We also had a President resigned for taking part in the Watergate affair
        Your knowledge of how politics work is according to Fox News

      • Jeff Anspach

        Oh and you know that dems kill children HOW – do you stand at the entrance to abortion clinics and ask the women entering to show you their voter id cards???

    • JY

      He was indicted on 16 counts and convicted of only 3 of them. Because all of the charges were reversed in 1991 no thanks to the ALCU. I remember the trial as a kid.

    • Because he was not found guilty ! The military follow orders and frankly the democrats of that era never should have put the military in that bad position in the first place! It was the democrats that lost the Vietnam war as well by defunding as we were winning it just five years earlier! Democrats are the Hogan’s goats of our time!

      • chollie

        Huh?!? Are you too young to remember Iran-Contra or just don’t know your history? North was found guilty but got off on a technicality. And Vietnam? Perhaps you should sit down with a couple of books.

      • Linda Shaw Godwin

        Ollie also told back then that there was only 1 man on earth he was afraid of and that was Ben Ladin……..he should have been taken out back then

      • DCochran

        North mentioned Abu Nidal not bin Ladin in testimony, and was afraid for his family, not himself. Bin Ladin was receiving training and arms at the time from the US in the struggle to expel the Russians from Afghanistan. This is off topic, but, since you brought him up, yes, bin Ladin was another serious miscalculation from the Reagan era.

      • Phil Ramsey

        I’m 76 yo and never heard that before, how about a reference please

      • Vann Wilson

        it doesn’t matter an un constitunal order is your duty not to obey

      • Vann Wilson

        north violated his oath along with most of the reagain gang bush paroded him along with the rest got over 100000 pesants killed in centeral America how do you justify that waiting for a response cause I used to do a little flying myself

  • Nick

    Ok so Reagan SELLS arms (Meaning we received compensation for them) in the hopes of saving 7 american lives. and he’s a piece of shit asshole scumwad.

    Obama GIVES (As in…here! Free guns!) Arms to Mexican Drug cartels in the hopes of “Finding out where the Mexican Drug Cartels get their weapons” And one of the free guns they gave to this criminal organization (At least Iran was an established country ffs.) ends up killing a border patrol agent…and Obama is the best president we’ve ever had?

    How the hell can you even compare the two?

    • Daniel McCay

      Your right. Comparing selling arms to Iranian terrorists so as to circumvent Congress and arming Mexican cartels for law enforcement purposes can only be done in the conservative bubble. Arming Iranians, our enemy, so the profits can go to the Contras, which Congress specifically outlawed, is treasonous. Giving guns to drug lords for the purpose of following their trail may seem crazy in the aftermath, but it wasn’t circumventing Congress.

    • Because that’s not AT ALL what happened.

      1) no weapons were ‘given’ to anyone. Transactions were allowed to happen with the idea of watching them rather than going after the little guy. No different than any other sting operation done in law enforcement all the time.

      2) THe idea originated under Republicans. THe best you can say about it being a democratic failure is that they didn’t find out about it. OBAMA, had NOTHING to do with it whatsoever, my question is how can you compare the two? You’ve completely proved the author’s point, the two events are NOTHING alike and yet you think Obama is worse. Amazing lack of self awareness.

      3) And seriously Republicans: Obama is killing American citizens with flying robots. That’s a real scandal and yet you’re bent out of shape that a marine is holding an umbrella.

      • dtsinidaho

        In what way is Obama killing children from the sky? Don’t Spout if ya can’t Route.

      • Keith

        Aaron, if you research, the program that you refer to that was started under Bush was terminated by the President when it was determined that the weapons could not be tracked. Fast and Furious, started under his Eminence, was a seperate program, not associated with Bush.

      • Michael DeWald

        Nope, but run by the same rogue agents out of the same office. Gee, I wonder how that happened. Let’s see, take advantage ’cause the new boss wasn’t clued in on what happened?

      • Keith


      • Keith


    • I wouldnt compare the too Nick selling arms to Iran was alot worse no need to tango here your just an idiot!!

    • Michael DeWald

      Seriously? Fast and Furious was a botched operation by one branch office. It was conducted by the same office and agents as a similar operation under Bush. There is no evidence that the tactic was co-ordiinated by the White House. It was an attempt to track and arrest drug lords, not make a deal with them. How can you possibly find the two to be similar?

  • And he wasn’t impeached.

    Saying “acts of terror” instead of “terrorist attack,” though – now that’s impeachable.

  • Truth

    Or what about just letting the Benghazi Embassy inhabitants die to cover up the arms sold to the Syrian Rebels…. Look that one up. Wow, you Dems are really blind.

    • James P. Sullivan

      Sure. Cos no-one outside the Benghazi embassy knew anything about arms sales to the Syrians. Really smart you are.
      Say, I have a bridge you might want to invest in.

  • Recoloniser

    The most important difference between liberals and conservatives is the policies they stand for. Everyone is fallible, liberals as well as conservatives, but the policies of the conservatives are abominable.

  • Michael

    Iran-Contra was just the tip of the iceberg. It was an extension of the deal they made with Iran to hold the hostages until after the 1980 election, in order to insure a Reagan/Bush victory. GHW Bush probably made the deal through his CIA connections from his tenure as CIA director. The hostages were symbolically freed on January 20th as part of the deal. After they succeeded at that, they kept open the lines of communication between them and the Iranians, ultimately leading to the Iran-Contra deal.

    • Michael

      So, in other words, they not only negotiated with terrorists but also committed high treason by conspiring against the efforts of the President and the government of the US.

      • TheKaisho42


    • Ray

      Never happened.

  • Michael Siever

    They say a broken clock is right twice a day. But, when it comes to Michele
    Bachmann, I don’t think anything that comes out of her mouth is at either of those two times on any day.

    • dtsinidaho

      what, you don’t think it is 13 o’clock in her .. and I use the term loosely…. mind.

  • Michael Siever

    Obama lies…less than the Republicans lie.

    • James P. Sullivan

      Obama and Hillary are both lying dooshbags. Problem is, thanks to the Tea Party, they’ve become untouchable. Instead of having an adult debate about real issues, the minute I open my mouth I’m barraged about Benghazi and the birth certificate.
      Good going Republicans. Obama told me to say thanks.

      • notabobblehead

        I’m guessing you can’t read.

  • On March 4, 1987, Reagan returned to the airwaves in a nationally televised address, taking full responsibility for any actions that he was unaware of, and admitting that “what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages”

    At least Reagan admitted to the debacle on national tv and took responsibility for the things that happened on his watch. I can’t say the same for Obama or his administration.

    There is some real hypocrisy floating around on this page.

    • Keith

      Word up Charles. The bashers never bring that up when speaking about Iran-Contra, that the Gipper had the courage to admit to us that he had mislead us. Obama will never do this because he has no integrity.

      • Michael DeWald

        He also never admitted that the release of the hostages in Iran was connected to shipping them arms, or that the release was deliberately delayed until after Reagan took office.

      • Charles Vincent

        Did you miss the quote about how the whole thing degenerated in to trading arms for hostages?

      • Michael DeWald

        Nope. He never said that the release was delayed until after the election for political purposes. Some still won’t.

      • Charles Vincent

        You need to go back and watch his address to the nation on the Iran contra affair because he most assuredly did take responsibility for the whole thing and if you read the tower report you would know that. You can look his address up on you tube it’s a 2 part video the first part is ~6 minutes long.

      • Michael DeWald

        Nope, not for the timing, not for who did it, There was a massive cover up. That is not taking responsibility, those are just words. in any case, saying you take responsibility does not make a gross abrogation of the constitution ok. Ronnie and his administration were a bunch of criminals. He was named the teflon president for a reason.

      • Charles Vincent

        If what you assert is true why did four different investigations assert that he had no knowledge of the money and guns changing hands from us to the contra rebels? It’s a fact that thenreagan administration released on the order of 200,000 documents to those committees doing the investigations and Reagan himself released information from his own personal diaries that he kept. I bet Obama nor Clinton did that.

      • Michael DeWald

        What are they doing that is far worse than Iran Contra? You are delusional. The conclusions of the committees were hardly unequivocal in saying Reagan had no knowledge, just that they had no proof that he did. Actually, I always felt that by this point in his administration, he was senile, and Bush was running things. There is also evidence that the Iranians felt quite comfortable in taking hostages again, as Reagan offered them a better deal than Carter did.

      • Charles Vincent

        The second part of this post is nothing more than speculation on your part. So you’re saying that Benghazi, the IRS blunder, the ap case and the NSA spy program all together are not worse than Iran contra? And you’re calling me delusional….
        If there had been any shred of evidence that Reagan had known the democrat controlled legislature would have made it a point to bring it out to the front but they didn’t.

      • Michael DeWald

        The second part is not speculation on my part. Start looking around. No, the “scandals” of the Obama administration are not worse. The IRS “scandal” was instituted by a conservative Republican. The AP case, while overzealous, is a lot of crying by a press used to feeling immune for their actions. It is the only one that I would lay at the feet of someone in the Obama administration. The NSA? I surely don’t like it, but at least under Obama, there is at least some control. Under Bush, it was done without even the potentially sham FISA court, it was entirely warrantless. You act like Iran-Contra was the only Reagan scandal. Start reading some history. What are you, 30? It was a new scandal a month under Reagan. Like I said, he was nicknamed the teflon president for a reason.
        It’s an interesting freudian slip that you used “shred of evidence” because that is exactly what was done. Also, the scandal occurred late enough in Reagan’s administration that a lot of the investigation was done under Bush I, and all evidence that he was involved was lost.

      • Charles Vincent

        I would certainly like to see references to the things you’re asserting. You also have no proof bush 2 used the patriot act to spy on civilians or to take mass amounts of data from Internet or cell phone providers. Under control that’s a joke it’s more rampant than before. And the fact that Obama has ordered drone strikes against an killed at least three American citizens and ff killed another. Reagan may have done some stuff but he never ordered the killing of us citizens and totally flushing the rights of American citizens.

      • Vann Wilson


      • Charles Vincent

        “…the board is convinced that the president does indeed want the full story to be told.” That is a direct quote from the tower report and it sounds pretty unequivocal to me.

      • Charles Vincent

        Are we suppose to believe that Eric holder cooked up fast a furious by himself as well or that the IRS cooked up what they did by themselves, or perhaps that the NSA did what they did all with out Obama having any knowledge of it? I was not talking about whether or not they delayed the hostage release nor was I implying that Reagan had done nothing wrong. My point was that he(reagan) provided transparency and all four investigations support that. This is something that the Obama administration has failed to do period I fact they have done more to cause confusion and distraction to avoid taking the blame for all the crap that’s been going wrong under his administration.

    • Tony E

      Mr. Vincent, you are absolutely right. Unlike Benghazi and Hillary Clinton telling people, “What difference does it make?” Reagan had enough courage to say he made a mistake. That is the difference between a politician and a LEADER!

  • splicernyc

    One of the main flaws of Democrats and liberals is that they have an uncanny disability to attack when it’s time to attack. They’d rather “be fair”. Good way to lose.

    • dtsinidaho

      In the short term yes. An unprovoked attack like Iraq, is wrong. Dem or Rep, it was flat out wrong. For Obama to keep Holder in his job is wrong. But while Reagan rebuilt a nation staggering from the Ford – Carter isolationism by using his proven ability to “sell” people on his ideas, he was just being the consummate actor.

      This is NOT an insult.

      He really could get you to feel good about being an American, and that he was a conservative so he was cutting spending. That has been proven false, but the Ronald “Ray-GUN” era left George I in a hell of a mess as he spent money like a drunken sailor on the military in order to play check writing war against Russia. It bankrupt Russia, and messed ours up totally. Do you remember Clinton’s “IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID” campaign quote. So America only gave George Sr, 4 years, but he stabilized some of the damage from the wanton spending of the Reagan years. Because of that, he was put in a disadvantage against Slick Willie.

      President Clinton (notice how I change the Address in historical perspective.) struggled a lot until the last three years when the DOT COM bubble grew as all of the hoarded monies of the rich were put into the Job markets as adventure capitalists threw money at computer software companies who were hiring ANYBODY and then train them, in something there was no way to do yet. The bubble was bound to burst.

      So, because of the Republican Congress that is much more willing to talk than today’s dysfunctional congress, the President and the Speaker (Newt Gingrich) at the time came up with a balanced budget, which called for BOTH higher taxes for the upper incomes, and some belt tightening in some social programs.

      George the II was voted into office on a Tough Guy ticket opposing a very liberal ex-Vice President Al Gore. It was a very contested election.

      However, Obama took on one of the worst and getting more worse everyday economy from the moment he stood on the podium giving his Oath of Office. America believed that he had indeed turned the corner on the economy, that he had passed a major Medical Health Care Passage (Something ol’ Billy Boy couldn’t do, and something that actually, factually, and provable SAVED MY LIFE. See: Removing Caps.) and that he withstood a heavily financed opponent, all while dealing with unwanted wars and their devastating economic continuing damage. So yes, mistakes have been made by all presidents. So? As I used to taunt my opponents ( in the days when we actually kept score (oh BTW that was facetious )) LOOK AT THE SCOREBOARD. Right now. Obama’s economy is winning. Obamacare is still in the first quarter. He has easily deflected two scandals. Ok, he did have one fumble. I think if Boehner and McConnell and Reid would just sit down like men have a couple shots of Fireball, and hash this shit out with Obama around a pool table, maybe we would be a lot better off. PS: I gotta bar we can do this in.

      • Doy Bowers

        Newtler and his Fascist Buddies had nothing to do with Clinton’s “Balanced Budget” it passed without a SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTE remember silly??? They still brag about it today while taking credit for the balanced budget that resulted from it. Once again proving this article right.

  • This site is hilarious left wing propaganda! If you believe this biased baloney you deserve to lose your freedom! Who is paying for this propaganda anyways? George Soros?

    • Doy Bowers

      George Soros???
      Now we are back to the “Polly Want a Cracker” question.
      Just another “KOCH SUCKA” spewing the Koch Brothers Talking Points.
      How’s that name change going anyway???

  • djallyn

    Great piece. I showed it to one of my rabid Conservative friends and his only remark concerned the fact that you mentioned “armed hostels” instead of “armed hostiles”.

    For him, he took the classic Conservative view: he ignored everything you said and focused on your misspelling.

    This is the kind of crap we are up against.

  • Vegas Girl

    To Mr. Helm: If you don’t agree with this column, or care for this Web site, there is a really, really simple solution: You don’t have to read anything here. Imagine that.

  • Vegas Girl

    And to all the conservatives here ranting about the column: Whether any of you like it or not, the author is factually correct about the Reagan Administration and what took place then. Reagan is a revered president, and that’s fine — but he also made some very, very flawed decisions (just as Obama has) — and his admirers are just going to have to deal with that.

  • doughpro

    They’re not “scandals”. They are abuses of power.

  • Vann Wilson


  • Ray

    Nonsense. Iran-Contra was a non-scandal. Clinton made China a nuclear power and helped North Korea on it’s way, just as Obama is doing for Iran. Real scandals. And thousands of lbs. of chemical weapons material was found in Iraq.

  • Woody

    “Could you imagine if Obama was caught selling illegal arms to Iran and negotiating with terrorists?” …

    How about $400,000 in laundered money to Iran for hostages, money which will be used to export more terrorism and to accelerate nuclear weapon development — and, then President Obama knowing about it and lying to Congress and the American people?

    No outrage from the Left on that, though.