Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

May 3, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SAINT RONNIE....I note that tonight's Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan library has provoked an even greater gusher than usual of Reagan nostalgia among GOP hopefuls. A few days ago, for example, Tom Bevan wrote that the search for a new Reagan is "hanging especially heavy over the current presidential race."

No surprise there. After all, what choice do they have? Bush Jr. is radioactive; Bush Sr. was an apostate; Ford was an accident; Nixon was a crook; Eisenhower was practically a socialist by modern Republican standards; and Hoover was....

Well, let's not even go there. The less said about Hoover the better. But the bottom line is that aside from Reagan, there's literally no Republican president in the past 70 years that Republicans really feel comfortable with. The unpopular ones (Hoover, Nixon, Bush Sr., Bush Jr.) are toxic and the popular ones (Eisenhower, Ford) are far too moderate for today's crew. So Reagan worship is in full swing because, really, they don't have any other choice, do they?

Kevin Drum 4:53 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (104)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Shrub: from darling to starling in just six years.

Posted by: anonymous on May 3, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: The less said about Hoover the better.

I'll say it before some right-wing troll does - Herb wasn't so bad. He's even eligible for another term. But if you have to reach back over 70 years ...

Posted by: alex on May 3, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Hoover gets a bad rap. He had the misfortune of inheriting the collapse from Coolidge's economic program of tax cuts, tax cuts and more tax cuts, and being too slow to react.

Posted by: Otto Man on May 3, 2007 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Keeping in mind that today is a National Day of Prayer, I think we should note this about Hoover:

President Hoover was a Quaker he did not take an oath of office; he affirmed his presidency.

Amen!

Posted by: oyster on May 3, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the religious right will offer some of those prayers for the reporters being held hostage in war zones? It is also World Press Freedom Day.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 3, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind that you're NOT seeing all the candidates if you only watch the debates. The "powers that be" have dictated that some letitimate candidates should not be heard. For a list of ALL the candidates, you'll need to search online. For example...

http://www.ExpertVoter.org

gary

Posted by: gary on May 3, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

President Hoover was a Quaker

So was Nixon.

Posted by: Disputo on May 3, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I kind of think of Hoover as the Carter of the GOP. Not such a bad guy really, just not up to the crises of his day. Interestingly they were both he and Carter were engineers by training. Although Carters certainly outshines Hoover in his post presidential career.

Ike was practically a socialist by modern Democrat standards for that matter. Warning of the military industrial complex and all.

You'd think that the lack of competent and uncorrupted Republican presidents would give the GOP faithful pause, but unfortunately I believe corruption and disdain for democracy has become a core value in their party.

Posted by: Adventuregeek on May 3, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Why do the Republicans worship Reagan. He didn't stand for anything he claimed to: big spender, biggest deficits ever, hardly a model of family values or religious, allowed his staff to engage in criminal conduct in international affairs.

That's not conservative and those who worship Reagan need to admit that they aren't either.

Posted by: freelunch on May 3, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

#41 was looking good back in '99, until he caved under the VP offer from Ronnie. He's the one that coined "Voo-doo Economics" describing Reagan's plan.

If I recall, recanting the "voo-doo" charge was part of the pricetag for the VP offer.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on May 3, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Although Carters certainly outshines Hoover in his post presidential career.

Didn't Hoover do many of the same things before he became president (WWI relief, etc.)? I do understand that, like Churchill, Hoover could be difficult to work with and not always easy to like. That, of course, isn't Carter's reputation.

Posted by: freelunch on May 3, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Ronnie knew his profit centers. He tried to get ketchup declared a legal veggie for school lunch programs.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on May 3, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Why stop at 70 years, Kevin? Is there something about Harding or Coolidge that would get modern Republicans excited?

Going back a full 100 years would get them Teddy Roosevelt, a president whom all the chickenhawk candidates secretly imagine themselves to be. But prior to TR there was just a string of rather bland Republican presidents dating all the way back to the Civil War.

And even though Bush sees himself as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln, I can't see the Republican party faithful today embracing a presidential hopeful who would be willing to go to war against the South to end a racist institution.

History-wise, they got nuthin.

Posted by: Rob_in_Hawaii on May 3, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ronnie was a great marketing whiz, probably because he wasn't that bad of an actor. If he hadn't seemed so likeable and conveniently out of the loop, there would have been a number of excellent charges of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Posted by: freelunch on May 3, 2007 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

In "Bedtime for Bonzo", did Reagan star or co-star?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on May 3, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Well there's always JFK, Truman, FDR, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The GOP invokes those guys so much that you'd think that they were Republicans too.

Posted by: rk on May 3, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Going back a full 100 years would get them Teddy Roosevelt, a president whom all the chickenhawk candidates secretly imagine themselves to be. But prior to TR there was just a string of rather bland Republican presidents dating all the way back to the Civil War.

And even though Bush sees himself as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln, I can't see the Republican party faithful today embracing a presidential hopeful who would be willing to go to war against the South to end a racist institution.

The Republicans wouldn't allow Lincoln or TR to consider running for anything more important that New England legislator these days. They were far too progressive to be tolerated by the people who brought us W. W, of course, is betraying everything that both men did.

Posted by: freelunch on May 3, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

As I see it, the real problem isn't that they worship Reagan, or that they don't have anyone but Reagan to worship, it's that they WORSHIP, period. Presidents, good, bad, or, mostly, indifferent, are human beings tackling a tough job. The best of them are only moderately successful, and all of them are flawed human beings, or they wouldn't have gotten the job in the first place. How many of us on the other side of the political ledger get anywhere near as sappy or worshipful about FDR, HST, JFK, LBJ, JEC, or WJC as our counterparts do about St. Ron? Even those of "ours" we most admire we regard with a cooler, drier eye. Just seems like grown-up behavior to me.

Posted by: CJColucci on May 3, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

And witty?? Let me tell you -

During one of the 1980 debates with Carter, Jimbo had just finished his answer. Reagan responded "That answer reminds me of what a witch doctor would say when a REAL doctor comes along."

I know, it's almost too subtle to pick up. But the man just had a touch...

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on May 3, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't make any sense to compare modern Republicans to the Pre-Hoover era. In many ways, prior to FDR, Democratics were the 'conservative' party and Republicans the 'progressives'. Also, there's some difficulty comparing the modern parties to their pre-1965 ancestors - the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act significantly altered the character of both parties.

Looking at today's modern parties, Eisenhower probably wouldn't be a Republican. I don't know that he would be a Democrat either, but he was barely a Republican to begin with.

Posted by: Everblue Stater on May 3, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

How about McKinley? Spanish-American war, annexation of Hawaii, protectionism, anti-union, pro-trust. It was a Golden Age for the Republicans.

Posted by: ArkPanda on May 3, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Adventuregeek: I kind of think of Hoover as the Carter of the GOP. Not such a bad guy really, just not up to the crises of his day.

How was Carter not up to the crises of his day? In many ways he was a pretty good president, but both won and lost on the basis of image. Then came St. Ronnie - the ultimate image president.

Interestingly they were both he and Carter were engineers by training.

Interestingly so are a lot of terrorists. So am I. Please don't apply faulty logic.

Although Carters certainly outshines Hoover in his post presidential career.

While Carter has certainly done a lot of good things after his presidency, Hoover didn't just fade away either. For instance, Truman tapped him to head the Hoover Commission.

Ike was practically a socialist by modern Democrat standards for that matter. Warning of the military industrial complex and all.

Socialist? Come on, comrade, by modern standards he was a full fledged commie. Forget the Cambridge Five, Ike was the ultimate commie mole.

Posted by: alex on May 3, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

'Why do the Republicans worship Reagan. '

Every republican politician, especially presidents, are GREAT MEN! Its a part of their love of aristocracy that they hold up poiticians as better people than the rest of us. That's why its just plain wrong to question them.

Posted by: jg on May 3, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

President Hoover was a Quaker

So was Nixon.

Millard Fillmore was a Unitarian!

Imagine that happening in the modern GOP...

Posted by: Xenos on May 3, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

And now the candidates are naming their favorite ways to exercise!

Mostly fluff, but note:
* Only Obama chose a team sport
* Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo go straight for the NRA contingent
* But they all missed their chance to name-drop the Ronald Reagan Sports Park

Posted by: Tom Veil on May 3, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

coolidge should have gotten the rap for the depression. warren was a crook, taft was a zero, t.r. was a pinko commie reformer (though on the positive side, he was a war monger) mckinley was a zero, harrison was less than zero, arthur was, well, who?, garfield got shot; hayes, forget it; grant was an embarassment; lincoln? well old abe favored equality and social justice and just ask mhr how evil that is. i guess that really does just leave reagan.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on May 3, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

the equivalent of the real reagan wouldn't be too hard to find, but the one enshrined in gop mythology in a land distant from reality where the sun always shines, deficits don't matter, indictments are never handed down and pardons erase all crimes...not so easy. imagine the soaring wingnut rhetoric if a democrat during the republican revolution had done all the same things as reagan.

Posted by: supersaurus on May 3, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

'Why do the Republicans worship Reagan. '

Simple: what other Republican president since Ike was not either a one-termer or forced out in disgrace? I think that except for Ford, and Reagan, all the recent Republican presidents were actively disliked when they left office. Ford seems to have been a decent enough fellow, but nobody called him "great" while he was still alive.

They worship Reagan because they don't have anyone else.

Posted by: thersites on May 3, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Otto Man (the Umpire): "He had the misfortune of inheriting the collapse from Coolidge's economic program of tax cuts, tax cuts and more tax cuts, and being too slow to react."

Sub Bush for Coolidge and you have the next President of the United States.

Posted by: Kenji on May 3, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Nixon was a crook"

So was Reagan. Selling weapons to the Iranians to fund south american nun rapers should automatically disqualify you from saint hood.

Oh well, I guess if the nun rapers promise to kill some commies in between the nun rapings then it's all good.

Posted by: Tlaloc on May 3, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Pre-Debate reflections on Reagan:

"I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at the point of a bayonet, if necessary." (Los Angeles Times, October 20, 1965)

"I would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964." (Los Angeles Times, June 17, 1966)

"...a faceless mass, waiting for handouts." (Description of Medicaid recipients, 1965)

"Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders." (Sacramento Bee, April 28, 1966)

"[Not] until now has there ever been a time in which so many of the prophecies are coming together. There have been times in the past when people thought the end of the world was coming, and so forth, but never anything like this." (December 6, 1983)

"...the moral equal of our Founding Fathers." (Describing the Nicaraguan contras, March 1, 1985)

"I know all the bad things that happened in that war. I was in uniform four years myself." (Reagan spent World War II making Army training films at Hal Roach Studios in Hollywood)


Posted by: AngryOne on May 3, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

As opposed to all those universally beloved Democratic Presidents of the last 40 years...

Posted by: Steve Sailer on May 3, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Tlaloc: So was Reagan. Selling weapons to the Iranians to fund south american nun rapers ...

Not a criminal in the ordinary sense, but a traitor.

Posted by: alex on May 3, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Not a criminal in the ordinary sense, but a traitor.

Boland Amendment.

Posted by: Disputo on May 3, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Would they settle for a "Regan"?

http://allpatriots.com/

Posted by: Joshua Norton on May 3, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

I love the wingnut trolls who claim to have been former libs in order to generate cred. It's like they subconsciously understand that wingnuts have no cred.

Posted by: Disputo on May 3, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Those maneuvers of his led to the demise of one of the world's great tyrannies.

Dream on. Ever heard of Boris Yeltsin or Pope John Paul? They did more to end Communism than any cliche pocked hack speech by St. Ronnie of Raygun.

Posted by: Mrs. Peel on May 3, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: I have read several books
Excellent. Name them. I poke fun at you, sometimes, but I'm genuinely curious about what you've read.

AngryOne:"I know all the bad things that happened in that war. I was in uniform four years myself." (Reagan spent World War II making Army training films at Hal Roach Studios in Hollywood)
Yeah but he did wear a uniform while making them. Don't be so damn fussy.


Posted by: thersites on May 3, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

As for TR, we should remember that he would likely never been elected, if even nominated, and was more of an accident than Mr. Ford.

That being as it may, I wonder if the real lesson of Mr. Reagan is absent from this post and mostly lost on Republican candidates. Reagan won, and is revered, largely by being different than previous candidates, not by emulating them. Hagiography will likely do little more than remind voters how much these candidates are different than Reagan, but in a negative way, not in a refreshing or inspiring way (for those who are fans of Mr. Reagan, of whom I am most assuredly not one).

Posted by: jhm on May 3, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Is Bush really "radioactive"?

Betcha a nickel most if not all the debaters praise him profusely tonight. After all, the base is still in full Bush cult mode and the base is what the debaters are going after.

Posted by: mkultra on May 3, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Ronald Reagan = Crazy old coot who armed Saddam with Chemical Weapons.
Simi Valley = Charles Manson.

Are they sure they want to go down that path?

Posted by: Joshua Norton on May 3, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

And during those 70 years, the democrats also have one president to laud, but they have to go back a full 70 years and cite one who was chased out of office and unelectable at the time. To the extent pointing to past presidents makes any difference, the republicans are in better shape.

Posted by: brian on May 3, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

You, sir, are an idiot.

Posted by: Kenji on May 3, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

In one sense, whoever gets the Republican nod will never be able to shake the shade that is GwB. By the 2008 election, what happens in Iraq will dominate the rhetoric of that election based on the # of troops withdrawn. If US troops are under 75,000, the odds of a Republican candidate winning go from not a chance in hell to well, he won 2 states, which is more than McGovern whine, whine; wait until 2020.

Posted by: TJM on May 3, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

freelunch wrote: Why do the Republicans worship Reagan.

Because they are into worship and into "Daddy" figures. The things you point out about Reagan? They don't even know those things. They are as shallow as Reagan was.

Reagan was totally unprepared to be President. He was lost and he was on his way to being very unpopular until he got shot. And then oil prices finally leveled off and the recession ended, which had nothing to do with Reagan.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on May 3, 2007 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Let me get this straight.

Republican Presidents are either crooks, incompetents and apostates to the Republican ideology or victims of organic mental disease.

What a party!

Posted by: gregor on May 3, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

As opposed to all those universally beloved Democratic Presidents of the last 40 years...

Let's see...Why did you stop at 40 years? 2007, minus 40...you carry the 3...Oh, so that leaves us with LBJ's last year and a half, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Still, let's check the record Steve-o!

Universally-beloved would best describe Clinton, actually. Just not with the 25% of the dead-end losers that make up the cindered remains of the GOP. And while he's still incredibly popular here in the US, he's more popular nearly everywhere else.

And Carter? Globally admired and respected as both an honest broker and peace monger. Obviously, he's history's greatest monster.

LBJ was destroyed by an insane, illegal and immoral war -- but that's a reason you assholes should like him. I respect the guy because he did the right thing domestically, and affected positive change here in the States that outstripped even Lincoln's impact, but I don't idolize any of them.

Posted by: noltf on May 3, 2007 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

I just realized that at 5:59 I pretty much parroted what Kevin said in the main post. Must be closer to Reagan than I thought...

Posted by: thersites on May 3, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

And during those 70 years, the democrats also have one president to laud, but they have to go back a full 70 years and cite one who was chased out of office and unelectable at the time.

Uh, what? That's incomprehensible even by your low standards of thought, grammar and intellect.

Posted by: Jay b on May 3, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

even though Bush sees himself as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln,


He sees himself as the second coming of King John, I think he's made that clear.

Posted by: cld on May 3, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

The more said about Hoover the better--Hoover was a smart man blinded by ideology and incapable of confronting the misery that was becoming wide-spread in America. He was a big believer in small government, laissez-faire capitalism, and private charities. Surely, I couldn't have been the only one who saw the ghost of Hoover in Bush Sr's 'thousand points of light' campaign?

There was a reason why Hoover and the Republican party were so thoroughly trounced: they were completely out of touch with the needs, hopes, and dreams of ordinary americans... and when crisis struck, the emperor and his court were without clothes.

Posted by: sdh on May 3, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Has there ever been an air tight resolution of the rumors about the secret deals between Republicans and our enemies, i.e. Nixon and Viet Cong, and Reagan/Bush and Iranians re. hostages?

Posted by: gregor on May 3, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

but they have to go back a full 70 years and cite one who was chased out of office and unelectable at the time.

I think he is referring to Truman. But the question wasn't "Name a Dem president whose public persona is grudgingly admired by extreme reactionaries", but, simply, modern Dem presidents that Democrats can be proud of.

And the answer to that question is, all of them.

Posted by: kth on May 3, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm really quite surprised that they didn't embalm him and put him on permanent display. The only possible reason for this lapse is that, at the time, they thought Bush was going to turn out even better than Reagan. And, considering the Little Prince's fragile ego, he might have been insulted at too much fetishism over someone-not-him.

Posted by: Raenelle on May 3, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the sad state of affairs is that neither party has a recent President that they can look back upon with any great positive feelings. The Republicans have been noted above, and even Reagan is overrated in my book. On the other hands, the Dems have Clinton, who whatever his political skills, was a moral reprobate in office, Carter, who was only slightly less incompetent than Bush Jr., and Johnson, who let Vietnam define what otherwise might have been a great Presidency. JFK is the Dems Reagan - more myth perhaps than substance. Of course, Truman, and particularly FDR are treasures for the Dems.

Posted by: Jim on May 3, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Now, how hard is it for the republicans to find an old guy with a full head of hair and advanced Alzheimer's?

Posted by: Aris on May 3, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still at a lose as to what Carter did that was so incompetent.

The attempted rescue of the embassy hostages? The attempt was botched because of weather, not because of any paticular decision Carter made. And I'm not aware that he ignored warnings about the weather either.


The economy was suffering from the oil embargo shocks. And what did Carter do wrong that Ford did right? I mean Carter inherited Ford's (and Nixon's economy) and according to the rightards, that excuses Saint Ronnie's first years in office. So why doesn't Carter get a pass too?

Anyone, why is the Carter administration looked on with such disappointment by even many liberals?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on May 3, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Jim,

But that's kind of the point. Democrats weigh pros and cons. The Kennedy-style hero worship was obviously more because of his assassination than his program. Still, by now, I think his humanity, his flaws, are well documented and assessed (the Cuban Missle Crisis, in particular, was the mark of a real leader) with an honesty that isn't approached when it comes to Reagan and the GOP.

There are things, obviously, to admire about Reagan -- but its preposterous to give him fulll-credit on liberating Eastern Europe from communism without admitting that communism's worst enemy was communism itself. Ignoring Walensa, Havel, Keenan, John Paul II, Gorbachev and the literally millions of others who played key roles over the course of 40 years -- while granting Reagan the halo is the mark of an unserious mind. Moreover, to ignore the rest of Reagan's bad-to-illegal record is intellectual cowardice.

Democrats do judge LBJ and Clinton by their overall records. LBJ, in particular, will always be a tragic figure because he did truly heroic things for Civil Rights -- but unforgivably railroaded the country on Vietnam. Worse, the object lesson of Vietnam -- something that should have lasted for generations -- was so quickly unlearned.

Posted by: jay b on May 3, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

jim - carter only slightly less incompetent than bush? let's compare foreign policy accomplishments: camp david on the one hand iraq war on the other. hmmmm. oh, a real toss-up that one.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on May 3, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

I sometimes find it comical that the only administration to have ever hired uber-liberal Paul Krugman as part of their council of economic advisors was Reagan's. What does that do to Ronnie's conservative credential.

Personally the hiring of Krugman is one of the few positive things I can find in Reagan's administration.

Posted by: majun on May 3, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wonder Boy has thrown out The Decider, which seemed too much like he might have a solution to something, in favor of The Commander Guy, which doesn't beg the question quite so much.

Posted by: cld on May 3, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

A shot of the ten men participating in tonite's debate could well be captioned:

"The 9/11 Highjackers."

Think that's in bad taste? Wait til they start speaking...

Posted by: lampwick on May 3, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Well, as a President, Hoover was not the finest. But, as a Humanitarian, he was far more of a human being than any Repug today. He was a tremendous force in Europe following the First World War - In addition, it was his success in aiding, not only the people of Louisiana, but many others on the Mississippi, following the 1927 massive floods, that propelled him into the White House.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on May 3, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

The attempted rescue of the embassy hostages? The attempt was botched because of weather, not because of any paticular decision Carter made. And I'm not aware that he ignored warnings about the weather either.

Well, Carter did put Ollie North in charge of planning the rescue attempt. He should have known that a Reagan mole would never come up with a successful plan. That's like LBJ sending Kissinger to negotiate peace with VN.

Posted by: Disputo on May 3, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan was in full AD by 1984. He was an imbecile, but Repukeliscum love those controllable figureheads.

Posted by: POed Lib on May 3, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Too moderate, too toxic, too this, too that. Kevin, that doesn't demonstrate weakness. It demonstrates that the Republican party is a big tent that welcomes diversity.

Posted by: Al on May 3, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

'the Republican party is a big tent that welcomes diversity'

I can't think of a single republican that cares at all about diversity. Most see it as some kind of pc liberal crap that goes hand in hand with affirmative action. But thats reality and of course you were speaking of political reality so feel free to express whatever you feel will get you through the moment. It doesn't have to be true later anyway.

Posted by: jg on May 3, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

In a word "pitiful".

Wonder what the ratings were?

Posted by: Cheryl on May 3, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

cld: He sees himself as the second coming of King John, I think he's made that clear.

Err, not really fair on King John really - don't believe the Robin Hood hype.

The poor sod spent most of his life raising funds to pay for his elder more charismatic brother Richard Coeur de Lion to bugger off to the Middle East on Crusades. After the fair brother was dead he had to find the money from somewhere to run the country.

Bit like the next Democratic Party President when you think about it.

Also unlike Richard the Lionheart he actually spoke English, liked England and spent most of his life there. Corfe Castle in Dorset was his fabourite home.

He wasn't dyslexic or a cocaine and alcohol abuser either. (And he had a decent understanding of the legislative and executive process.)

Comapring Dubya to either King/Prince John or Churchill (another comparison I've heard with alarming frequency) is hardly fair.

Now if you'd said, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Mussolini (although he could read and write very well) or even Mabuto...

Posted by: Bad Rabbit on May 3, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

A perfect post to speak about the Republican debates on MSNBC this evening.
Harold Fineman says Guiliani did not dominate it.
Romney may have been too calculating and fine on issues...
McCain was Popeye, for better or worse.
Olbermann notes we expected much about Iraq, and there were slams.
A lot of the candidates stood apart from Bush:
critical of the handling of the war, the execution, the finesse.
McCain had said we were on the right track then went into mistakes made, books written. Kind of contradictory and out of it, I thought...
Dave Gregory says it is all about enthusiasm to generate more money. Most notable, Gregory says, McCain came out firing early.
Too bad McCain supported the surge. Now it will depend upon events in Iraq if he can sustain his positions, Gregory surmises.
Guiliani was not able to expand on his successes in New York, touched on them. Time limited him noticeably--I thought too. But I was glad about that, in a partisan way.
Brownback said there is a need for a political solution but his wife stood by grinning ridiculosly, admiring him almost--my opinion.
Fineman thought there was saber-rattling on Iran--McCain, Hunter, Guiliani--playing to the base.
Yuck. Olbermannn called it a depth of emotion.
Tancredo was asked and said that Ben Franklin said its a republic if you can keep it. Speaking of Iraq, radical Islam, a clash of civilizations...does see threats....he wanted to get into the immigration debate with his nine colleagues.
Republicans will send the message they want military solutions with Iran. Hunter was hawkish, scared me.


I am leaving the debate thinking Democrats have the presidency coming as I had hoped

Posted by: consider wisely always on May 3, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan also cut and run from terrorists after the bombing in Lebanon.

Teddy Roosevelt said, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." That's the opposite of contemporary Republican values.

Posted by: croatoan on May 3, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

For the Democrats - who would you take pride in over the last 70 years?

Posted by: orion on May 3, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Too moderate, too toxic, too this, too that. Kevin, that doesn't demonstrate weakness. It demonstrates that the Republican party is a big tent that welcomes diversity.
Posted by: Al on May 3, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK"

Eisenhower - the model of Republican moderate thought of old - would no longer be in the party. His descendants left the party, became independents and voted for Kerry because they felt that the GOP had betrayed Eisenhower's values and had become radicals. Even Goldwater, once considered a radical, remarked in the 1990's that he was now one of the liberal Republicans.

Posted by: Reality Man on May 3, 2007 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Truman, for starters. But no fair asking me. I live in the county with his Library.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 3, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe I am naive and simplistic.
FDR for his humanistic agenda; Carter for his populist approach and realism, Johnson for the Great Society programs, civil rights, womens' rights, care for the poor. Clinton for being a baby boomer from the 60's with his heart in the right place. And touching the world with his grace. No wonder women fell all over him--I understood it perfectly.
I have a hard time relating to others, but I certainly respected the wisdom of Eisenhower, with the military industrial complex/congress/the military. Was he a fortune teller?

Posted by: consider wisely always on May 3, 2007 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

Bad Rabbit,

I was just thinking about the Magna Carta the Great Deciders malice toward habeas corpus.

I thought that debate was the most extraordinary wallow in prostate juice I've seen in quite a while.

And from the most charismatically challenged group of candidates ever assembled.

In real life Tommy Thompson would have been the ugliest guy on stage, but in this crowd he's normal!

Posted by: cld on May 3, 2007 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Giuliani actually seemed muted by the ugliness.

Posted by: cld on May 3, 2007 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

cld - no foul matey.
I'm partial to King John because he's a bit like Macbeth victim of really bad image smearing. Which also makes him another potential democrat against Gerogie boy!

Posted by: Bad Rabbit on May 3, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

I seem to remember Shakespeare's King John came off rather well, a character rather like Henry IV.

Posted by: cld on May 3, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

"And even though Bush sees himself as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln, I can't see the Republican party faithful today embracing a presidential hopeful who would be willing to go to war against the South to end a racist institution."

well, no. Lincoln was willing to go to war against the South to keep the union together. He was willing to end a racist institution as a means to end that war successfully. In fact, he pledged not to interfere with southern slavery in his first inaugural address, & event he emancipation proclomation only ended slavery in the states in rebellion, leaving, for instance, Missouri and Maryland as slaveholding union states.

Posted by: URK on May 3, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow this article seems appropriate.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on May 3, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

"...the only administration to have ever hired uber-liberal Paul Krugman..."

This comment right here shows how little so many people are aware of actual policy positions compared to political media sound-bites. I suppose that if you believe economic neoliberalism is essentially liberal (which, actually, I do) then from that perspective Krugman is an "uber-liberal". But to the portion of the left that is the netroots, and which prefers the terms "leftist" and "progressive" to "liberal", being an economic neoliberal is being Republican-lite. Yet so many of these folks, like the commenter I quote above, venerate Krugman for his relentless (and correct) attacks on the Bush administration and are either unaware of his economic neoliberalism or ignore it. Regardless, Krugman is nothing at all like a real leftist economist and his work advising a Republican administration just isn't that surprising. His appointment doesn't say much at all about the competency of the Reagan administration because, basically, before this administration Presidents of both parties generally picked professionally well-regarded center-right economists for these posts. Hell, you can even say the same with BushCo with regard to Mankiw if you ignore the fact that, once on the job, he was apparently permanently brainwashed by some Igor in Cheney's world domination lair's basement at the Naval Observatory .

Posted by: Keith M Ellis on May 3, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Herbert Hoover was one of those folks--like Grant, like Harding--who whatever their personal virtue, relied on their completely unethical party handlers to guide them and take care of them, with disastrous results. (Harding was just an affable Good-Time Charlie--the quintessential Guy You'd Like To Have A Beer With.)
Hoover really tried to come up with a solution to the '29 crash--but in the end listened to the 'grown-ups' around him.
Hoover was a forgotten man when Truman tapped him for the Commission. His gratitude to Truman knew no bounds.

Posted by: pbg on May 3, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

And a great choice Reagan is if you are a Republican. After all he is the one who sold America on the supply-side con job that fooled many Americans and diverted literally TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS into the pockets of the rich without any measurable gains in revenues (lol) or growth or general welfare. Republicans LOVE that shit. Of course it led to gigantic deficits, but Republicans only pretend to care about that when a Democrat is in the White House.

Posted by: Disturbance on May 3, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

The deficits are good, too, because they prove that government doesn't work. It's all win-win with these guys--except that they are miserable whethere they are winning and losing.

Posted by: Kenji on May 4, 2007 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Kenji, I wouldn't mind if they kept their damned misery to themselves, but they are some contagious mother fuckers.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 4, 2007 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

It's the lack of blow jobs, for one thing. They all go to doms to get beaten and then scream they about gays and god, etc.

Susie Bright posits that the whole Bush Experience (no pun intended) is an extended episode in sexual hysteria. I really don't think she's exaggerating.

Posted by: Kenji on May 4, 2007 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

POed Lib:

After you read Reagan's DAILY diaries, let me know if your diagnosis stands.

http://www.amazon.com/Reagan-Diaries-Ronald/dp/006087600X/ref=sr_1_4/103-3416092-0305437?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1178258801&sr=1-4

Posted by: Al on May 4, 2007 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Why don't they just embalm him and run Zombie Reagan. Most of the mouth breathers would vote for that Hollywood Actor.

Posted by: merlallen on May 4, 2007 at 6:05 AM | PERMALINK

"embalm him"

Yeah, and go up to Apple Valley and take Trigger as his running mate.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on May 4, 2007 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Then, they could croon "Happy Trails to You" all the way to the White House.

Posted by: stupid git on May 4, 2007 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Should have passed out Ronnie masks and be done with it...re-title it: 'Best Impersonation of a Fraud by a Bunch of Other Frauds'.

'Ronald Reagan’s destruction of our political system is now complete. Never mind the staggering national debt, the rise of the Christian Right, the gap between rich and poor, environmental chaos, the spread of AIDS or world Imperialism – “looking like a president” is the real legacy of Reagan. Reagan was the first president who, as a former actor, perfected the art of performing presidential, qualifications be damned, resembling a cross between John Wayne and Bob Barker. Reagan was a ruinous president, but he was a very good Host.' - America's Top Presidential Model/ Jim David

Posted by: MsNThrope on May 4, 2007 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

I'm almost surprised more people haven't mentioned, you know, that whole "presided over the end of won the Cold War" thing in explaining Reagan's charm. I mean, I see that people have mentioned it, but I'm half surprised there is anything more to mention than that. Standoffish, belligerent, self-righteous and willing to play with ethical shades of gray, and yet in the end, it didn't cause a disaster worked.

In fact, it's seemed to me that the only difference between Reagan and Bush the Younger is the enemy. The USSR, for all that they supported guerilla movements here and there, was a conventional military and political power overall. Specific terrorist groups are not, and "terrorism" in general, even less so. Bush's general incompetence is a phenomenon pretty well proven, but I have a hard time thinking of what general programs or plans Bush has done that Reagan would not have.

Then again, bear in mind that I'm 24. This means that when Reagan was elected, I hadn't been born yet. Just FWIW.

Posted by: Cyrus on May 4, 2007 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Irony: Remember that Reagan kept saying that we should all get rid of our nuclear weapons? Why don't we hear more about that, etc?

Posted by: Neil B. on May 4, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Neil, how about another irony? Reagan ran against the Federal budget deficit. I don't think any of them even mentioned it.

If they want to invoke the shade of Reagan, Dems should air Reagans old speeches on the deficit. Hang them with their own icons words. Let Guliani and St. John run against the icon.

Posted by: zak822 on May 4, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Yeah, I kind of think of Hoover as the Carter of the GOP. Not such a bad guy really, just not up to the crises of his day. Interestingly they were both he and Carter were engineers by training. Although Carters certainly outshines Hoover in his post presidential career."

As mentioned above, Hoover did a *lot* of relief work prior to entering the WH, including the American Relief Agency, which saved tens, if not hundreds, of thousands from starvation from Lenin's agricultural policies in the USSR in the 1920s. Supposedly even decades later you could go into many peasants' huts in the affected areas and find a picture of Hoover next to Lenin's.

So Hoover and Carter do have a lot of parallels.

Posted by: No Longer a Urinated State of America on May 4, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, Hoover could read and write and speak in coherent sentences, too. Quaint.

Posted by: Kenji on May 4, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK
.... aiding,...others on the Mississippi, following the 1927 massive floods... thethirdPaul at 7:51 PM
That is true for white refugees, but if you had the misfortune to be non-white, the story was different [expanded here]

It's amusing that the only good Republican presidents since the foundation of the party would now be subjected to the current party's practice of smear&lie. That is what happens with a party panders to the politics of racism, resentment and religiosity while having no moral core aside from its old standbys of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted.

Posted by: Mike on May 4, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

theThirdPaul (7:51) - Yeah, Hoover did do some good work. On the other hand, the same guy gave General MacArthur a free hand to use tanks and tear gas against the Bonus Army demonstrators a few years later. "Blinded by ideology" is a good description; he had no time for people who were unsatisfied with his solutions.

Posted by: Hob on May 4, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hoover had his good points but he was one of the worst Presidents in history. In the face of a major crisis his failure was catastrophic and his statement of "nobody's actually starving" shows he was as out of touch as Bush II during Katrina. His administration has too much of a "let them eat cake" vibe to it.

Others I would consider to be among the worst ever are: Warren Harding, Nixon and Bush II.

Posted by: Ogre Mage on May 5, 2007 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

IMMEDIATELY following Reagan's term, he went to Japan to collect $2,000,000 for 10 speeches to get a little retirement nest egg -- it looked exactly like a payoff for opening the floodgates of imports -- and Reagan's popularity tanked. His approval rating didn't rebound until he was acknowledged non compos.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on May 5, 2007 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

McKinley was a zero

Actually he was the perfect Republican president. An affable front man for the all powerful trusts.
The perfect cheerleader to usher in the age of American imperialism.

I don't know if this country could have survived eight years of McKinley.

Posted by: Daryl on May 6, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Holy Nancy, I thought by now rdw would have left at least one steaming pile of Reagan hagiography better suited for the Penthouse Forum. Must be a busy day out on the horse farm.

Posted by: sweaty guy on May 6, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly