- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2002

After seemingly endless delay, Metro has finally relented and unveiled the "Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport" signs it should have put up more than a year ago.

Congress officially honored the former president back in 1998 by renaming Washington National Reagan National, but Metro and local politicians, most of them Democrats, did all in their power to prevent Metro from changing its signs and maps. Metro, for its part, ginned up the bureaucratic excuse that local officials had to formally request the name change before it could be implemented and since the Democrats in charge in Arlington had not requested the name change, they could not lawfully proceed. Metro officials knew, of course, that Arlington Democrats would never request the name change. Congress finally had to intervene and in December ordered the name change.

The efforts to honor Mr. Reagan have caused some of these Democrats especially the ever-pugilistic Rep. Jim Moran to come nearly unhinged. "These guys, in this perverted attempt to give [Mr. Reagan] credit, are undermining what he stood for," the partisan Democrat fulminated Sunday. He then denounced the name change as "in-your-face, smash-mouth politics" and "lousy."

Of course, renaming landmarks such as New York's John F. Kennedy Airport or the many parks and edifices that have been dedicated to patron Democratic saint Franklin D. Roosevelt doesn't qualify for such outrage. Mr. Reagan, after all, only presided over the collapse of America's most dangerous enemy ever and has been ranked among the best American presidents by eminent historians. None of that matters; the name-change effort is illegitimate in the eyes of Mr. Moran, who told reporters that he would continue to refer to Reagan National as "National Airport" clearly a means of expressing his defiance and contempt.

But by any objective measure, Mr. Reagan and his presidency are deserving of the honor Congress has bestowed. It is rather embarrassing to witness the seething pettiness of such as Mr. Moran, who, even 14 years after Mr. Reagan's presidency came to an end, cannot abide the thought of Mr. Reagan's success or accept the idea of paying him due respect.

Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, the Republican lawmaker who led the fight to honor Mr. Reagan by renaming Washington National, yesterday expressed happiness that this battle is finally over. Hear, hear.

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