The GOP Candidates' Love Affair with Reagan
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Thinning the Republican herd in this year's Presidential Sweepstakes is proving to be harder than 3-D chess with transparent pieces. In their first three primaries, the GOP has mounted three different heads on their electoral wall. And yeah, that means I'm disregarding the great state of Wyoming, for the simple reason they're responsible for Dick Cheney, and deserve to be ignored, if not flogged en masse and shipped to China to be coated in a lead based paint then towed to sea by the FDA.
But the exciting part is if Fred Thompson breaks out of his somnambulant trance and wins South Carolina and Rudy Giuliani reminds enough withered transplanted Floridians of the post-squeegee wonder years up north, the GOP could roll into Minneapolis for their National Convention this September with an entire starting basketball team of prospective candidates posing as Ronald Reagan.
Because that, apparently, is the current fashion. Parading around as spitting images of the 40th President, with an emphasis on the saliva. The problem is they can't find the whole package in one guy. They've Balkanized the Gipper. The Christian Right is genuflecting towards Mike Huckabee. The charm contingent is sidling up to his Rudyness, while the Screen Actors Guild wing is Clapping For Fred, Mr. Law & Order himself.
Reagan Democrats are big fans of John McCain, and the conservative money boys from Wall Street love that Mitt Romney character. Romney went so far as to appropriate Reagan's bulletproof hair, undoubtedly garnering the Secret Service's endorsement due to the added protection his hard candy shell would provide in the unlikely event he adopts a single position long enough to get a bead on. One has to consider Ronald Reagan lucky he's in the ground and doesn't have to watch these poseurs go through their paces or he'd be spinning in his grave like a rotisserie chicken during a power surge. Not to mention being royally pissed off about being buried alive and all.
Curiously, two names you never hear mentioned in these celebrity look- a-like pageants are "George" and "Bush." The President is studiously being avoided like a broken pallet of eight penny nails in the center lane of the Beltway. It's a vacuum almost big enough to suck an elephant through. They hope.
Among the names that do crop up on the campaign trail more often than that of Herbert Walker's son, are Barry Goldwater, John Wayne Gacy and Bjork. And the Prez is returning the favor by ducking out of town whenever possible, leaving the field wide open for whichever of the Dutch wannabees can best assume the mantle of looking Presidential. Of course, the impact of that little trick has diminished somewhat due to seven years of exposure to it.
Playing the "Reagan- Good, Bush- Bad" game has become so popular, candidates are clambering over each other like blind lemmings outrunning a dam burst, with their claims to be the ONLY one TRULY capable of bringing CHANGE to Washington. Living in the shadow of the last year of consecutive Republican Presidential terms (5 out of the last 7: 7 out of the last 10) and all the Republicans can talk about is... change.
You know what, that can't be good. Must be considered a back handed slap at Dubyah. Unfortunately, it's just a figurative slap and not a real one upside the head. With a chain mail glove. Which might be more cathartic of an experience for the nation. And more deserved too.
Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability.