I would argue that we (the North) ceded the narrative on the Civil War, the part of war that wins the peace. That was, indeed, a grave error because the history has been twisted out of all recognition. Though the ‘noble, lost cause’ is a thing within certain circles, those sentiments are not that of the majority and have lost their luster with each generation.
The fact that we’re seeing the seeds of the Daughters of the Confederacy–all those Confederate statues decorating the landscape–begin to be seriously questioned is a very good sign. Has it taken too long? Without a doubt. But then myths, the fiery, passionate sort, can be very hard to stamp out. That’s why strangling them in the crib is the best antidote.
Yes, Nixon and his legacy was somewhat restored but the stink of the man’s faults, paranoia and resignation (to avoid an ouster) still fouls the air. Reagan is/was a saint only in Republican eyes. As for the rest? They’ll be forgotten, dispensed to the waste bin of memory. Maybe raise their heads in a footnote on the era, not much more. And that disregard? Richly deserved.
That’s not to argue that Republicans often appear to have the upper hand in writing the script in the moment. Honestly? They’re just better at lying, meme making and propaganda. As Dems, we really need to step it up!