Monday, February 07, 2011

Reagan Lives!

Today, everyone is justified in being sick of "seams in the zone", advances to the "red zone" and calculations of quarterback efficiency. They've played the last football game until July. I was too caught up in the commercials to actually watch it. Anybody know who won?
Here's my favorite sports story from the past weekend. One of the high schools of the area, a pretty small school, took their girls basketball team on a road trip. The first half didn't go so well, but a second half rally enabled them to dig all the way out of a 13-point deficit to force overtime. But there was a problem. All the varsity players who had taken the trip except three had already fouled out, so they were forced to go three-on-five for the entire overtime. It would be nice to say that they triumphed against all odds, but, not this time. The home team ran off with the overtime period by 20-0, winning the final score by, yes, 20 points. I guess it's one of those stories you can tell your kids and feel good knowing it's actually true.

In the years following the Civil War, the Republican Party had no qualms about what became known as "waving the bloody shirt" to remind folks that "every rebel" had been a Democrat during the war, and that it was Republican leaders who had preserved the Union, earning in the process the right to continue in office. I'm not saying this was wrong, although elections are supposed to be about the future. What the tactic was was - very effective.
Today's GOP has to reach back pretty far to try to replicate this tactic. We saw that this weekend, which marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan. On hand to join the party were the Beach Boys, two of whom Reagan actually outlived, and whose remaining performers must be pushing 70 years old unless they've got a deeper bench than the basketball team referred to above. Sarah Palin was there adjusting the spotlight to show her best side while she pretended to be an historian. Any real historians, who could have shown any number of ways The Gipper was unlike those dopey Tea Party slobs incapable of holding more than one thought in their heads at a time, had to check their credentials at the door and swear an oath of ignorance so as to keep the TPers minds uncluttered
Yes, it's a little unfair to attack Mr. Reagan. We have the advantage of hindsight, while he had to depend on his business pals to assure him that only good could come from deregulating a stuffy industry like saving and loans or starting up a plan called "Star Wars" that would "shield" us from incoming nuclear warheads. Ditto for selling missiles to Iranian "moderates", then using the proceeds to finance an illegal revolution in Nicaragua. Heck, the man's own Secretary of the Interior told him that improving the quality of the air and water was a waste of time since Jesus was coming back soon, and He would set all that right. Reagan wasn't really a churchgoer, but he made it a point to wave on camera to antiabortion activists gathered each year.
Oops. Did I get off on a rant of some kind? Well, there I go again.


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