Speaking Ill Of The Dead

It’s remarkable. Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson are openly trying to cast themselves as “the new Ronald Reagan.” The other Republican candidates are also trying to pick up a bit of the Gipper’s appeal, but not so obviously. Even Democrats are saying good things about Reagan and his era and accomplishments.

This election will feature many first-time voters, and these young people are the ones who weren’t even born when Reagan left office (and the public eye, as presidents used to do — take notes, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton). And the re-writing of history is getting me thoroughly and utterly disgusted.

I never voted for Ronald Reagan. I never had the chance — he crushed Walter Mondale less than two weeks after my 17th birthday. I was barely a year too young to cast my very first vote for him (and I would have). But even at those tender years, I followed politics — and I remember a whole lot of things said about Ronald Reagan by the predecessors of today’s Democrats and liberals and progressives. I’ll admit some of them were even true — particularly the ones about church and family, and the cabinet secretary one.

Since these all predate the internet, I can’t readily provide links to any of them (and don’t particularly feel like trying), but I’m sure they will bring back memories from some of my fellow old-timers.

“Ronnie Ray-gun.”

His willingness to confront the Soviet Union was going to trigger the end of the world.

He spoke about how important religion was, but never attended church. He preached family values, but had been divorced and was estranged from his children.

He was lazy — he took naps almost every day.

He once mistook one of his own cabinet secretaries for a mayor at a conference of mayors.

“Amiable dunce.”

“An actor playing the role of a lifetime.”

“My favorite thing about Reagan is the bullet hole.” (Said to me by a friend who I promptly educated the hell out of on matters of taste, propriety, and political reality.)

Supporter of thugs, tyrants, and right-wing dictators who only had to be sufficiently anti-Communist in order to court Reagan’s favor.

Constantly confused reality with movie fantasies.

Once referred to military uniforms as “costumes.”

Utterly under the sway of Nancy, whom he called “Mommy,” and who in turn was controlled by her astrologer.

Anti-intellectual.

Heartless.

Racist.

Cold-hearted conservative.

“Cowboy.” That one got a TON of mileage, almost always derogatory. (Some day I ought to do a whole posting on “cowboy as insult,” what “cowboy” really means, and what its usage as an insult implies about the insulter…)

Senile.

Doddering.

Dotty.

Stupid.

Naive.

Unreasonably idealistic and utterly unpragmatic.

Budget-buster.

Union president turned anti-union president. (Considering the circumstances, I kinda liked that one.)

Puppet.

Ghoul.

War-monger.

I could go on (and on and on and on), but I think I’ve said enough. Those who disagree and also remember the 80’s are free to contribute their own examples of Reagan hatred in the comments below.

The hatred of Ronald Reagan was almost as great as that of George W. Bush. The major difference was that Reagan was also dearly loved by a lot of people.

And a lot of us who did love Ronald Reagan at the time remember a lot more clearly the truth of his administration — and how a lot of people felt about it — and him — at the time.

Update: I just discovered that Will Franklin has once again stolen my whole idea — but this time, he was so dastardly as to do it before I even published it!

To rub even more salt in the wound, I believe Will was just entering kindergarten or so when Reagan left office, so virtually none of his knowledge is from actual memories…

Kids these days. No respect at all for their elders.

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