In June 1964, I graduated from Allen Park High School, in Allen Park, Michigan. I was an outstanding student, a star athlete, one of the most popular members of my graduating class, and everything subsequent of the school’s location is a myth, a total fabrication, a lie I confected here for a purpose. You see, I’m rewriting my history to make me look better, exactly as the GOP has rewritten from some pretty shabby burlap the tale of Ronald Reagan, to make both him and the Party look better than either he or they ever were.
Word is out that Fred Thompson, late of NBC’s “Law & Order” television series, has entered the GOP race for the presidential nomination on the premise of donning the Reagan mantle.
There are some similarities between the two. Aside from the ages in which both men entered the top post fray, both were bit-part actors. As DA Arthur Branch, I can’t recall Thompson’s lines going much beyond, “Well, Jack how do you intend to handle this case?” as he was headed, closed briefcase in hand — exeunt. stage-right — out the door.
Second, both men seem to believe they are the roles they played as actors. Ronald Reagan seemed to genuinely believe he was George “the Gipper” (The ‘G’ pronounced as in gastro-intestinal distress) Gipp of Knute Rockne and Notre Dame fame. And Fred wants us to believe he is the temperate, sagacious, paternal, New York district attorney. (As an aside, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve known more than a few New Yawkahs and I just cannot imagine anyone with a good ol’ boy, down home Tennessee accent getting elected to any post in the rough and tough that is the Big Apple!)
Third, a lot of Americans not only believe(d) the ruse(s), but actually endeavor hard to believe it/them. And that is precisely why we need to smash them now! In the case of Fred Thompson, in its pre-partum infancy. And how I intend to lend the cudgel to the faux crystal is with a brief outline of facts — remember, per Reagan, no one is entitled to one’s own — that proves, a la DA Branch, Reagan was not a good president, or even a fair president, but a terrible president who wrought the most excruciating damage on the country.
For starters, on the assumption that the 40th president was not a buffoon, but that the 40th president knew exactly what he was doing, he was thus either an out-and-out racist or childishly naïve. In the mid-60s, he sided with Senator Goldwater in opposing the federal civil rights legislation that gave black US citizens the rights to vote and to public and private services equal with their Caucasian counterparts, which means dining at the same restaurant counters.
That underpinning of racial bigotry was, by the way, the byline that shot through the “conservative” Southern strategy, and remains as conservativism’s vestigial, propelling force. Only now, it’s to an economic slight of hand road show that gets the gullible to believe what ain’t so, and the perversion that is far-right evangelical fundamentalism that cherry-picks which transgressions (homosexuality?) really piss off God.
Reagan opened his 1980 presidential bid in Nashtoba, Mississippi. Don’t remember the town? It where three civil rights volunteers from the North were murdered in 1964, and which became the grist for the movie “Mississippi Burning.” It was there that Ronald Reagan opined how “Government is not the solution, government is the problem.” In other words, before an all-white throng of supporters, all that was absent from his dicta was Alabama Governor Wallace’s suthen drawl and the insertion of a sympathetic note opposing the “fid-ruhl gov-mint’s mehd-lin in states rites mattahs.” Or, “Ya-all kinda lahked the way things wuh, an’ by GAHD! ya-all ahta be eble tah dis-krim’nate however ya’all woent.”
(PS — For any/all who prefer to contend otherwise, that rampant racism is not part and parcel of conservatism’s base, I offer as evidence the fact that George Bush 43 defeated Senator John McCain by making sure all the whites in backwater South Carolina knew that McCain’s adopted Bangladesh daughter was really his “black ‘love-child.’”)
As to other tidbits, not of his campaign for it, but of the Reagan presidency, I cite the following (“facts”):
Not restricted to Iran-Contra, more members of his administration were criminally investigated, indicted, and tried and found guilty than any other in American history.
Not including the current Bush 43, since FDR, only 3 presidents had lower overall approval ratings; Johnson, Nixon, and Carter.
From 1981 through 1986, in absolute violation of US law, the Reagan administration composed the world’s largest trafficker in both illegal weaponry and drugs.
Contrary to being either a fiscal conservative or the executive presiding over a smaller government, the number of federal government employees, as well as the federal budget itself, swelled to bloating under Reagan, the annual budget deficits were greater than ever in American history, and the national debt tripled; three times greater in size than the aggregate of all previous 39 administrations.
Reagan presided over the two deepest and longest recessions since the Great Depression; 7 months in 1983 and 13 months in 1987.
The national unemployment rates — 10.2% in 1983 and 11.3% in 1987 — were higher under Reagan than under any other president since World War II.