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Reagan-Not

WFB ombudsman: A conservative reality check

Ronald Reagan / AP
• October 31, 2013 12:00 pm

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The conservative movement needs a reality check. I typically enjoy reader letters and emails, the postcards especially (thinking of you, Shawnette from "Paradise, U.S.A."). Lately, though, sifting through my correspondence has been like listening to one of those dreadful "jam band" songs that skoo-dat-wah-deedle-wop on and on, without end or purpose.

"TED cRUZ IS THE NEXT RONALD REGAAN!!!" writes Fredrake P., of Shillington, Ohio. He’s not alone.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) is a fine young Republican. He’s no Louis Gohmert by any means—not by a country mile—but he does know a fair amount about politics and says the right things. The people of Texas could do a lot worse.

However, as I was telling my good buddy Ken the other night over a handle of sloe gin, Ted Cruz went to Harvard Law School and wears a suit to work. Barry Soetoro aka Barack Obama went to Harvard Law School and wears a suit to work. One signed Obamacare into law, the other failed to defund it. Forgive me if I have a hard time telling the difference.

Cruz recently declined to defend his own father, a Cuban immigrant who has drawn similarities between President Obama and Fidel Castro. During an interview with the Fusion network, Cruz surrendered. "Obviously there are enormous differences between" the two leaders, he said. I call that pandering. Enormous differences? Really? In fairness to Castro, he’s not a Harvard Law School grad (yet) and doesn’t wear a suit to work.

If I had a buck for every time I heard someone describe a politician or actor as the second coming of Ronald Reagan, I wouldn’t still be making lease payments on my gorgeous, Romanian-crafted upright bass. Is Reagan the best we can do?

I never met Reagan, but I did serve under him as a Marine during the invasion of Grenada in 1983. I understand the appeal. Reagan talked tough, wasn’t Ivy League, and didn’t look unnatural in a pair of jeans. But why lavish praise on a politician with ties to the Technicolor orgy that is Hollywood? I don’t want to send the message that it’s acceptable for actors to run for public office. If one day President Jaden Smith criminalizes the use of mirrors and establishes tree worship as a national religion, we’ll have only ourselves to blame.

I’m puzzled as to why Republicans feel compelled to bathe themselves in Reagan’s legacy. The man raised taxes, compromised with liberals, and presided over only eight government shutdowns during his two terms. How many times did Reagan attempt to defund Medicare, Social Security, and the Department of Education? He was a tolerable liberal, at best. Let’s not whitewash history.

Some say Reagan won the Cold War. Well, if I recall, it wasn’t over by the time Reagan left office. I know. I was there, on the ground in West Berlin, stuffing Hungarian double agents into makeshift cello cases and smuggling them out through Checkpoint Bravo. I was there, on the ground in Bucharest, under orders to seduce and/or recruit Elena Ceaușescu. A spry vixen even at the age of 70, she was executed by firing squad in 1989. Shot through the heart, they said. So was I.

I do have some fond memories of the Reagan administration. There was that wild night in the summer of 1982 when Paul Reubens and I were thrown out of the Traverse City Denny’s. There was the time I played back-up bass guitar for Lou Reed, may he rest in peace after a suitable period of atonement for his sins. I saw the world, fought America’s enemies, and loved some gentle women along the way. Biff was alive.

Published under: Humor, Parody