News & Politics


Frequently asked questions about Ronald Reagan's funeral.
Q. Isn't there some sort of time limit on these things? A. You're right, it seemed like about a year. But Reagan-Palooza has wound down, and they finally put the old man in the ground. Reluctantly. I mean, c'mon, JFK only got 4 days.

Q. Is it really over over, or is this just an intermission? A. Well, if Karl Rove had his way, they'd still be dragging the body back and forth across the country in the bed of a Ford F-150 pickup, stopping at county fairs, right up till the election. He probably approached the widow with a contingency plan to dig up the carcass of conservatism in case Bush's prospects head South later this summer.

Q. Why did the networks go so crazy with non-stop footage? A. This is going to sound silly, but they went crazy because they could. Eight years as President piled on top of eight years as governor added to 20 years in film and TV: they had footage up the wazoo.

Q. Still, don't you think it was kind of overdone? A. You think so? I switched on the national news on Thursday and they cut from another unctuous paean to Reagan to a story on the Laci Peterson trial and I actually heard myself mutter out loud, "Thank God."

Q. Does Reagan get frequent flyer miles for all those cross-country coffin trips? A. Probably not, but then the chances of him cashing them in are pretty slim anyway.

Q. Is this going to help Bush? A. What a repugnant suggestion. To sully the death and mourning of a national legend by raising the ugly specter of partisan politics.

Q. Does that mean yes? A. A 168-hour commercial on the ideals of conservatism? Yeah, you could say this is going to help Bush. You could also say wolverines make lousy crib toys.

Q. What long-term repercussions are expected? A. Well, if this unfortunate demise and subsequent memorial buoys Bush, and Kerry falls behind in the polls, you know his people are going to have to consider taking out Clinton in October. If they don't need that big of a bounce, Carter.

Q. Any advice for the former Presidents? A. I've heard Gstaad is nice in the fall.

Q. Do you really think they'll put Ronnie's face on the 10 dollar bill? A. I'm thinking the ten thousand dollar bill would be much more appropriate.

Q. Wasn't it a mite cruel to honor a man who suffered through the throes of Alzheimer's for more than ten years with logos entitled "Remembering Ronald Reagan"? A. I refuse to dignify that question with an answer.

Q. Okay, moving on. What was that whole "they've been planning this deal for over 10 years" crap? A. Settle down, after you've fossilized into a beloved institution for a couple decades, you get the same free pass to arrange your burial for maximum press coverage.

Q. Does Nancy Reagan get to take a nap now? A. Hopefully. As the week wore on, the poor lady looked more like a Pez Dispenser every day.

Q. What do you think of Kerry's decision to suspend his campaign during Reagan Death Week? A. It might help in that the people who are aware he suspended his campaign are also now aware that he at one time had one -- and might again someday.
Will Durst is planning his burial already. It involves a drinking game and empty bottles.
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