You may remember Ronald Reagan, whose centenary was celebrated last weekend, as former Secretary of State James Baker does — as the man who “taught us how to love”; or, as Arizona GOP Congressman Ben Quayle does, as “the nice man who gave us jelly beans when we visited the White House” and “shrank the scope of government,” somehow, with his escalating deficits; or, with Bush White House torture enthusiast John Yoo, as the reviver of the “presidency’s constitutional prerogatives.”
Rightbloggers incline toward the former view, as their hilarious birthday tributes show. Plus, they see a second Reagan in Sarah Palin. (Reagan’s actual son? They hate him plus he’s gay!)
Many rightblogger Reagan reminiscences were free-associative, perhaps in formal tribute to the Oval Office’s most famous Alzheimer’s sufferer.
At Right Wing News, Warner Todd Huston called Reagan “Father of the Tea Party.” Hmm, we thought those guys were for cutting the deficit; how does the budget-busting Reagan qualify?
Emotionally, it seems; when Huston was young, he said, he and his fellow youths had it rough — they “endured Watergate, the end of the Nixon presidency, saw the media turn his successor into a pratfalling, buffoon,” etc.
This rough treatment of Jerry Ford and all that’s holy impacted Huston’s patriotic spirit — so much so that “I even passed on joining the armed forces at the time because I couldn’t imagine serving under the hated Carter regime.” No laughing in the back, there.
Then “Reagan made us believe in America again,” said Huston. “Ronald Reagan believed in America and he made us believe in her, too. This is the essence of the Tea Party movement.” Wow, you mean cutting entitlements is optional? No wonder the Tea Party is so popular!
One “mustango” at RedState recalled that as a teenager he’d heard Reagan paying tribute to Martin Luther King. (This must have been after Reagan was forced to accept the MLK holiday.) That “was the first time,” claimed mustango, “I felt actually addressed as an independent person with a say, or at least future say, in the course of this nation.”
Today mustango is “heartbroken” to see “an entire industry exists to combat this mystical advantage that having a paler shade of skin supposedly grants people.” He also says one of his greatest fears “is that someday we will get pushed too hard and that there will be a backlash against affirmative action…” Please don’t tell him about this, or this, or, really, anything Republican on race for the past 35 years.
Also at RedState, Poster E Pluribus Unum disapproved of 100th-birthday tributes to Reagan by General Electric. That at first may seem off, as GE was the company that sent Reagan around the nation to both preach and absorb conservative gospel in the 50s and early 60s. But EPU was mad that GE head Jeff Immelt is now working with the Obama Administration, and also because the traitors of GE “profit hugely from government implementation of policies responding to the Global Warming Hoax.” (EPU added, “Not that they actually make a profit, because they do not,” which would be news to Wall Street analysts.)
In his encomium, Tom Donelson of Texas GOP Vote asserted, “Reagan looked to the future whether it was Strategic Defense or the computer age, he understood that there were ideas and products that were trapped inside the minds of individuals unknown to us and just waiting for the right time to explode.” As no other coherent meaning can be deduced from this, we’re guessing he meant Reagan foresaw suicide bombers, but was wrong about where they would store the explosives. (Donelson also observed that, thanks to Reagan, “the average America worker is now a capitalist as nearly half of Americans now own stock,” though we’re not sure why he wants to spread that around right about now.)
Alas, some discouraging words were also passed about The Gipper, which enraged his flame-keepers.
“I can’t imagine the Washington Post running an article on five myths about Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter,” snarled This Ain’t Hell, “yet on Reagan’s 100th birthday, they have the gall to run an article entitled ‘Five myths about Ronald Reagan’s legacy.'” This Ain’t Hell answered the Post’s gall with enraged non-sequiturs. For example, when the Post‘s Will Bunch noted that Reagan’s aggregate poll number was not so amazing, TAH recalled that when Reagan’s body lay in state at the Capitol, “The Metro ridership record was shattered that day — the record it shattered was Bill Clinton’s inauguration.” Live Reagan may have drawn a mere 52.8 percent approval rating, but people really loved Dead Reagan, and that’s what counts! (Also among TAH’s laugh lines: “If we had gone to Desert Storm with Jimmy Carter’s army, we’d have won, but just barely.”)
And when someone pointed out that Osama bin Laden was among the Afghan rebels Reagan supported in the 1980s, hoo boy: “Lefty Douchebags: Reagan Created the Taliban or Something,” said JammieWearingFool. “So I guess we should all hate Reagan now… This is how the left celebrates Reagan’s birthday. By distorting history to try and get Republicans to suddenly hate the guy.” And after JammieWearingFool had been so nice to them!
JWF added, “I can’t wait for some celebration of Bill Clinton where Think Progress details how he let bin Laden get away time after time leading up to 9/11” — though we can’t guess why Think Progress would pick this theme up, as the conservative press has been on that story for nine years.
Every rightblogger had his or her flower to lay at Reagan’s bier — but for Reagan’s own son, Ronald Jr., they had only homophobic wrath. Reagan Jr.’s thoughts on the subject of his father don’t always conform with conservative gospel — for instance, he thinks his dad didn’t really have much in common with Sarah Palin. And where does this guy get off telling rightbloggers what Reagan was really like?
“Little Ronnie Gets His Tutu in a Wad Over Sarah Palin,” guffawed HolyCoast. Left Coast Ledger showed a picture of Reagan fils practicing ballet and asserted, “Ron Jr. disgraced his father by hanging out in teen gay bars like Hollywood’s Odyssey 1, probably doing dope with the locals,” etc.
If you’re confused that Bungalow Bill would equate support for Sarah Palin with filial devotion to Ronald Reagan, be aware that Palin did her utmost last weekend to cement that impression, bringing her spotlight-grabbing skills to a big Republican 100th birthday party for the Gipper. Several conservative outlets jumped on it, some just making goo-goo eyes at the self-defenestrated Governor, others yelling some more at Ronald Reagan Jr.
An apotheosis was achieved by Andrew Coffin at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism, who offered a kind of Daily Double of conservative persecution mania by complaining, “New York Times Commemorates Reagan Centennial by Misrepresenting Palin at Celebration.” Not one, but two rightwing icons suffering Christ-like at the hands of the Lieberal Media!
The Times, Coffin said, had wronged Palin by concentrating on her brief speech at the event and disappearance shortly thereafter. That, said Coffin, was “simply not accurate”; Palin had also walked around the ranch with her family and a friendly photographer. She got on a horse and, “confident in the saddle… road the very same trails the President loved…” Also, at one point “she walked a few feet away from the rest of the group to take in more of this dramatic California Central Coast vista, and, I think, to reflect on the experiences she had at the Ranch that day.”
Normal people might imagine these activities were actually for publicity purposes — indeed, Coffin reproduced handsome photos thereof. But Coffin claimed Palin had only “reluctantly agreed” to the pictures, which proved “that Governor Palin is a leader cut from the same cloth [as Reagan]”; if you needed a further explanation, he added, “it is these great western ideals, and the way they could be seen at the Ranch in small but telling details, that she viscerally connected with.”
And so Reagan 100 Day passed into history, but his holy name will be invoked wherever Republican Presidential candidates gather, and complaints that ungrateful sons and other traitors didn’t show him enough respect will not perish from the earth. For instance, Pajamas Media told us about “liberal Washingtonians” many of whom “refuse to call the D.C. airport by its real name, Reagan National Airport. Instead, they like to call it by its old shortened name, ‘National Airport.'” Patriots, you know what to do! Haunt that Cinnabon and tell those bastards, “It’s Reagan Airport, dammit!”