Let's look at this for a minute: for at least half of Reagan's term, the chief executive was incompetent to be President, though perhaps only at times. The country was rudderless. And there were plenty of people in the government who liked it just fine. They could do whatever they wanted and know that they would never be called to account for it.
When the histories are written, perhaps Reagan will be the mad president. I am put in mind of the history of mad kings and emperors. A quick consult with my wife, something of an expert, gives me the names of Henry VIII and George III. And, yes, the people around them were quick to take advantage, implementing self-serving, often disastrous policies.
On Reagan's dementia:
- Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, "Worrying About Reagan," http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/worrying-about-reagan
- David Corn at Mother Jones, "How Close Did Lesley Stahl Come to Reporting Reagan Had Alzheimer's While in Office? Very Close," http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/reagan-alzheimers-family-feud-lesley-stahl
- Blogger Avedon Carol, it may have been for all his Presidency, http://sideshow.me.uk/sjun02.htm#12at1524