Political Animal


May 22, 2012 11:36 AM Holy Relic

By Ed Kilgore

It’s a running joke among progressives that conservatives have developed a cult-like movement to build shrines to the memory of Ronald Reagan, the secular saint of their Cause. Aside from the strange reverence they show him, the cult is also distinguished by a hagiographical tendency to exaggerate his accomplishments (you know, he personally won the Cold War in partnership with Pope John Paul II, and caused the economic boom of the late 1990s) and forget about his heresies against conservatism (e.g., the liberalized abortion law he signed as governor of California, the two tax increases he signed as president, his negotiations with congressional Democrats, his openness to radical arms limitation agreements).

But now comes news via Reuters that a British company is auctioning off a vial of Reagan’s blood, reportedly taken at the hospital where he was treated after the 1981 assassination attempt. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation is objecting to the auction.

Perhaps conservatives should head off future profanations of this nature by setting up an official Reagan Reliquary to house any additional remains that come to light. Perhaps it could be sponsored by Grover Norquist, who spent a good part of the 1990s harrassing state and local governments around the country to name things after the 40th president. If it’s set up by next January and things go as conservatives hope this November, Mitt Romney could be forced to make a pilgrimage just before he takes the oath of office, as one of a series of ritual acts to remind him of his ideological vows.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Hedda Peraz on May 22, 2012 11:42 AM:

    Monty Python is still searching for the Holy Foreskin.

  • hells littlest angel on May 22, 2012 11:50 AM:

    Dick Cheney's interested in the possibility that if he drinks it he'll be granted eternal life.

  • c u n d gulag on May 22, 2012 11:58 AM:

    What else do they want?

    We've already named the movement that caused America to start to spiral into a Banana Republic after him and the Banana's Republicans got a hold on power:
    "The Reagan De-evolution."

  • Mavor on May 22, 2012 12:05 PM:

    Your forgot the gun control measure he signed in response the Black Panthers appearing in public heavily armed.

  • Josef K on May 22, 2012 12:17 PM:

    I'm not sure if I want to laugh or scream.

  • Joe Friday on May 22, 2012 12:17 PM:

    "and forget about his heresies against conservatism (e.g., the two tax increases he signed as president"


    The SEVEN major tax increases he signed as president:

    Two in 1982. The 'Highway Revenue Act', and 'Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act'. According to the Treasury Department, TEFRA alone raised taxes by almost 1 percent of GDP, still maintaining it's standing as the largest peacetime tax increase in American history.

    One in 1983, raising the Social Security tax rate.

    One in 1984, the 'Deficit Reduction Act'.

    One in 1985, the 'Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act'.

    One in 1986, the 'Tax Reform Act' of 1986, which was a net tax increase.

    One in 1987, the 'Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act'.

  • ajay on May 22, 2012 12:17 PM:

    Best bit of that story:

    The seller said he or she had contacted the California-based Ronald Reagan Library and Museum, which is run by the late president's foundation, months ago and had been told that Reagan's family would like to have the vial given to them.

    "I told him that I didn't think that was something that I was going to consider ... and that I was a real fan of Reaganomics and felt that President Reagan himself would rather see me sell it rather than donating it," the statement said.

  • GC on May 22, 2012 12:23 PM:

    I just linked to this. My version of this line: "It sounds like the market is finally ready for my flakes from Reaganís shinbone and my splinters from Bonzoís True Bed."

  • martin on May 22, 2012 12:37 PM:

    They need to set up a SuperPac to sell indulgences.

  • swearyanthony on May 22, 2012 12:39 PM:

    Having recently re-read the Warren Ellis masterpiece Transmetropolitan, I'm thinking it would make for an ingredient in the most awesome cocktail. Think of the rage. Delicious delicious rage.

  • boatboy_srq on May 22, 2012 12:51 PM:

    The vial up for auction should be tested for Alzheimer's.

    Vials of future Conservatist idols' blood should be tested for rabies.

  • Daniel Kim on May 22, 2012 12:52 PM:

    So, will this vial be used to heal the sick, or to create a Ronald Reagan clone?

  • gocart mozart on May 22, 2012 1:00 PM:

    Shit, does this mean they are gonna clone an arny of future Reagans?

  • boatboy_srq on May 22, 2012 1:06 PM:

    @Martin: Already done. I believe they called it Americans For Tax Reform. No indulgences, but lots of penalties for those who ignore The Norquist's insistence on a Tax-Free Society.

  • a boy from brazil on May 22, 2012 1:06 PM:

    It is extremely important that we receive that vial of blood.

  • stevio on May 22, 2012 1:24 PM:

    I'll make the reliquary.

  • Rugosa on May 22, 2012 3:21 PM:

    If catholic history is any guide, we'll soon have gallons of Reagan blood and hundreds of his toe bones on eBay.

  • 2Manchu on May 22, 2012 3:37 PM:

    (e.g., the liberalized abortion law he signed as governor of California, the two tax increases he signed as president, his negotiations with congressional Democrats, his openness to radical arms limitation agreements).

    Don't forget that he tried to appease a terror-sponsoring nation (who supported a group responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in Beirut) with American-made arms.

    And he rarely attended church during his presidency.

  • fignaz on May 22, 2012 5:15 PM:

    This could be a bonanza for Reagan's birthplace or his presidential library just as the blood of San Gennaro is to Naples,. Think of the pilgrims, think of the boost to the local economy! No more need for primaries either. All candidates for the nomination would make the the trek in sackcloth & ashes. The one in whose hands the blood liquefied would be the nominee. If that happens to no one, the DEmocrat runs uncontested ;-)

  • Crissa on May 22, 2012 10:11 PM:

    Selling little bits of people with their names attached and without their permission is a bit creepy.

    Isn't it illegal to have stolen the vial of blood in the first place?

  • Sadly Broke on May 23, 2012 7:03 AM:

    I have a lump of melted cheese that looks like Saint Ronnie. Any buyers?