I’m almost at a loss for words. Who knows whether or not Reagan actually meant what he was saying when he made the statement. My guess is that he didn’t. That was during the campaign of 1980. Candidates say a lot of things they don’t really mean. Less than a year later when as president he fired the air traffic controllers, he pretty much hammered yet another nail into the coffin of collective bargaining in this country. Still, it tells us a lot that thirty-two years ago a Republican candidate could say such a thing and not lose support of “the base”. It perfectly illustrates the devolution of “the party of Abraham Lincoln” as well.
Thirty-one years ago this coming Friday, the American people sent to the White House a corrupt, feeble-minded, failed “B” movie actor. Do you wanna hear the punchline? The Republican party has sunk so deep into the ideological cesspool since January 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan is starting to look like Theodore Roosevelt! As Jack Parr was fond of saying in his day, “I kid you not.”
Isn’t life strange?
During Ronald Reagan’s reign of error I was living in New York City. I was really into writing song parodies then. I would occasionally perform them on guitar at a place I loved which was right around the corner from where I lived – Ye Olde Tripple Inn on West 54th Street – directly across from the fabled Studio 54, a place I never frequented. One of the songs I lampooned was called “And Nixon, I Miss You”. It was sung to the tune of Bobby Goldboro’s 1968 hit, the delightfully maudlin “Honey”
One time I thought that Richard Nixon’s Presidency
Was the worst thing possible
But that was many years ago
And nowadays that sentiment seems laughable
In nineteen-eighty somehow
The electorate coughed up a brain-dead movie star
I never had faith in the voters
But I never realized how dumb they are
And Nixon I miss you
And I’m feeling blue
I’ve lost all of my senses
I’m nostalgic for you
That was then. This is now.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way reformulating my opinion of Reagan or his presidency. As I’ve said too many times to count, the damage that the hideous old freak did to this once great nation is so immense it will never be accurately assessed. It is incalculable. After all, it was the insane policies of deregulation championed by Ronald Wilson Reagan that set us upon the road toward the economic mess we find ourselves in today.
He told us he could increase spending, cut taxes and balance the budget – and that he would do it by 1982! Anyone with a remedial grasp of arithmetic knew what utter bullshit that was. The reason his successor George H.W. Bush was defeated in his reelection bid by an unknown named Bill Clinton was because he was forced to raise taxes (“revenue enhancers” he called them) in an attempt to clean up the mess he inherited from Reagan.
And I’m also not implying that I “miss” Ronald Reagan anymore than I was missing Richard Nixon when I wrote that parody in 1988. It’s just that (Jeez Louise) the two of them are starting to look pretty good – at least when placed in comparison to the insanity junkies who now populate that party. Imagine that you’re a kid who’s just arrived home from kindergarten. You switch on the TV to find that Bozo the Clown has been replaced by John Wayne Gacy. It’s kinda the same thing.
And see the debt how big it’s grown
But friends it hasn’t been to long it wasn’t big
In early nineteen-eighty one
The debt that’s now a redwood tree was just a twig
What a difference three decades makes.
This is sheer speculation on my part but I imagine that even a dirty old dingbat like Ronnie would be horrified to see where the so-called “Reagan Revolution” has taken us. Then again maybe not. It was always hard to figure out where Der Gipper was coming from. His own children could never figure the old bugger out. He was always an aloof and distant figure to them, even when he was present. I just learned something this morning that floored me. On the day his kid Michael was married, his dad and Nancy opted out of the festivities and went instead to Tricia Nixon’s wedding at the White House! It makes one seriously wonder about the man’s inner character.
When even some “liberals” are expressing a sense of teary-eyed nostalgia for the likes of Ronald Reagan, that’s all the proof you need to understand that the political wheels have come of the planet. And the fact that a Casper Milquetoast moderate like Barack Obama is viewed by many as a left wing radical is further proof that the American people have lost their bearings – to put it as mildly as possible.
The fact of the matter is that the dead conservatives of another era – Barry Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan – could not get nominated to run as sewer inspectors in the current environment of the grand old party. At the end of his life Goldwater had turned his back on the right wing movement – a movement he helped bring into being when he was nominated by the Republicans at the convention of 1964. And remember, this was a man who in his day was known as “Mr. Conservative”! That speaks volumes, doesn’t it?
Unless they succeed in stealing a whole lot of elections this November (Don’t put it past them; they’re working on it as I write these words) 2012 is not going to be a particularly good year for the Republican party. It’s a fairly safe bet that the Democrats will be able to take back the House in spite of themselves. Not that I’m jumping with joy over that little prediction. The best that can be said of these present-day Dems is that they’re not quite as incompetent as the GOP. Certainly they’re not one/tenth as corrupt as them. We can only hope that the new batch of freshmen won’t be in the pockets of corporate America. We can also pray they remember that they are in fact the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Yeah, right.
Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when this once-great nation would be reduced to such a sorry and pathetic state? Hold onto y0ur hats, kiddies! The worst is yet to come! Somewhere, Ronald Reagan must be laughing.