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Channeling Ronald Reagan

By       Message Jayne Lyn Stahl       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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Given that she made not one, but two references to Ronald Reagan, during Thursday night's debate, clearly one of her script writers seems to think she might squeak by if she piles on that smile, and "Gosh darn it," or "Come on, Joe" schtick, all the while laying on the Reaganesque charm.

But, whether we agree with Reagan or not, Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan. Reagan only needed to read from a script when he was in Hollywood. Reagan didn't need to go to a prep. camp for future presidents. Reagan courted the press, and didn't condemn the press. Palin's idea of folksy is a euphemism for trashy.

Her coaches may think it wise to play the Reagan card, but the only way in which Sarah Palin resembles Ronald Reagan is when it comes to economics, and the only thing that trickles down is evasion when it comes to subjects about which she knows little; the issues that most concern us during these hard times.

If given the chance, she will embarrass this country with her intellectual agoraphobia when it comes to foreign policy; with her deliberate mispronunciation of words like Iran, Iraq, and what she calls nu-cu-lar power.

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Remember, Reagan started out as a Democrat. It was only as he was approaching his later years that he switched parties. Some might argue that Reagan's switch to Republican was evidence that he was in the first stages of Alzheimer's, but no one would argue that Ronald Reagan had a heart. The governor of Alaska has a Ford Explorer.

Sarah Palin's pathetic attempt to channel Reagan does a disservice not just to her party, not just to history, but the truth of who Ronald Reagan was. Her attempt to feign tolerance, despite her record of intolerance when it comes to choice, gay marriage, and animal rights, shows contempt for the audience at which she repeatedly winks. It's the kind of grizzly contempt that only someone heartless enough to shoot wolves from 20,000 feet can display.

Whether you agreed with him or not, Ronald Reagan wasn't an embarrassment to his country when it came to foreign policy.

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So, while Tina Fey, and others, entertain with a terrific parody of her, anyone who finds Palin's winks, nods, and references to six pack soccer moms charming, or amusing, is in for a big surprise come November if she is, gawd forbid, second in command of our military and our country.

Ronald Reagan is, no doubt, rolling over in his grave from this comparison and, if Palin really wanted to "score one for the gipper," she'd exit stage right.

Those who call Palin "feisty" can't distinguish between feisty and arrogant.

While there are some who might find her ignorance and contempt for history quaint, the prospect of somebody like Sarah Palin ever finding her way to the Oval Office should trigger outrage from anyone with a pulse, and a passport.

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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.

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