On the dubious question of ‘mis-remembering Reagan’
A quotation from his notorious ‘States Rights’ speech that opened his 1980 campaign, see this quotation that leaves no doubt, in terms of content and place, that Reagan was a Southern Strategist completely in the mold of Nixon :
I believe in state’s rights; I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level. And I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the constitution to that federal establishment. And if I do get the job I’m looking for, I’m going to devote myself to trying to reorder those priorities and to restore to the states and local communities those functions which properly belong there.
On the question of Central America see these two books, one a political polemic and the other a ‘dispassionate reassessment’ according to Benjamin Schwarz of the Atlantic :
Weakness and Deceit: US Policy and El Salvador by Raymond Bonner
Hamish Hamilton, 408 pp, £13.95, February 1985, ISBN 0 241 11392 X