There’s more to the 40th president than the kinder, gentler version even many conservatives portray.
What a lovely, lovely man.
Never a pointed word. Always soothing. Just one big kumbaya lug of a president.
Can’t we all be as civil and wonderful and eternally non-radically sweet in our political dialogue as Ronald Reagan?
Snap out of it!
For reasons that appear unfathomable other than the clamor from GOP consultants selling their how-to-attract-Independents-Minorities-and-The Women’s Vote sure-fire soap suds — and that would be for a pretty penny not to mention in vain — a strange fate has befallen the former president.
Ronald Reagan has been bland-ed. By the Right.
The man Rush Limbaugh fondly refers to as “Ronaldus Maximus” is being recast by some Republicans as “Ronaldus Vanillus.”
Like Washington in all those bronzed statues everywhere, like Lincoln sitting immortalized in the big chair in the big stone temple on the Mall, Ronald Reagan has been marbleized.
Right before the eyes of those who know better, not to mention all those miles of videotape, the 40th president has ceased to be a real person when cited by some Republicans. Stripped of his considerable real-life capacity for straight talk, his uncanny knack for zeroing in on exactly the heart of his opponent’s real message, complete with a pithy dispatching of modern liberalism and its practitioners — the real Ronald Reagan has ceased to exist in the minds of those who lovingly summon his name at election time.
There’s no other possible reason for former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, incredibly once a Reagan staffer himself, to set himself up for such a public fall with his own presidential announcement speech. Going to elaborate lengths to re-create the 1980 Reagan campaign kickoff against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty, Huntsman did everything but, apparently, the obvious: go back and read what candidate Reagan actually said while he was standing there.
It took the redoubtable Rush Limbaugh exactly microseconds of air time that day to find an audio of Reagan delivering that very speech. The contrast between Huntsman solemnly preaching his promises of civility towards the incumbent while Reagan dispatched then-incumbent Jimmy Carter with a series of brisk verbal volleys was like night and day. It made the new candidate seem weak, confused and not the smart man his followers insist him to be.
But Huntsman certainly isn’t alone in purveying the image of a brand-new blanded Ronald Reagan.
Earlier this year, Mitt Romney took to the pages of USA Today to praise Reagan’s “legacy of optimism.” He touches all the familiar bases of the Reagan record — yet seems mysteriously unable to demonstrate in his own campaign the very quality that Reagan had in spades — a fearless willingness to challenge the status quo.
Not long after this article, for example, Romney refused to take the Susan B. Anthony pledge on abortion. A refusal that in fact has nothing to do with abortion at all. The former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate explained himself at National Review Online using this reasoning:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online