I became politically aware under his tenure as president. The first time I was eligible to vote was the '84 election. I voted Mondale, thank you very much. I suppose having a friend in the local neo-Nazi (I mean college Republicans) group didn't help in making me detest the man. College should be about exploring new ideas, philosophies, and lifestyles, not hating everyone who was different than you and not "normal."
Reagan will be remembered as the president who won the Cold War. Perhaps he did. From what I have heard, the Soviets were scared shitless of him because he was the new sheriff in town with nukes. As their own empire was crumbling from within, here was this cowboy who was willing to gamble billions of dollars on Star Wars and the MX Missle System while the Ruskies could barely keep their own troops fed and full of vodka.
Let us not forget that this was the president of huge deficits who awarded the wealthy with tremendous privilege. I agreed with his philosophy of smaller government and that people should stand on their own. That doesn't mean you empty mental institutions and turn everyone out onto the streets. Let us not forget his infamous Secretary of the Interior, James Watt. He took Ronnie's, "you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all" philosophy to heart. When I went in search of Mt St Helens back in '82, I was horrified to see the destruction of the forests around the volcano. I then realized that what I was seeing was nothing more than ordinary clearcuts.
I'm sure that now that he is dead, the truth about his administration will slowly come to the light of day. Like Nixon, all of the dirty little secrets will be known, like who was running the White House in the last year and just exactly what did he know about Iran/Contra and such. But yes, compared to what we have in the Oval Office right now, Reagan would be up there with Washington and Lincoln.