Monday, May 27

I Never Thought I'd See The Day When I'd Say "Gee, I Miss Bob Dole". And I Still Don't.

Daniel Politi, "Bob Dole: Ronald Reagan Wouldn't Make it in Today’s GOP". May 26

I LOVE this construction. Absolutely cannot get enough of it, whether it comes from Reagantots like Davids Brooks and Frum, who somehow went from late adolescence through middle age imagining that they were the sort of people running the Republican party, or guys like Dole, who watched from the distant vantage point of the United States Congress as Barry Goldwater took over his party, Richard Nixon marched it Southward, and Ronald Reagan booted his ass out of the primaries in 1980.
“I doubt it,” said Dole when Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked him whether “your generation as Eisenhower Republicans, moderate Republicans” could “make it in today’s Republican Party.” In fact, said Dole, “Reagan couldn’t have made it."

Whose work d'ya think Congressional Republicans imagine they're advancing? What, exactly, would Reagan be standing athwart these days, saying Stop? He wouldn't be an incontinent tax cutter today because political realities in the 80s forced him to raise some? Bullshit. He wouldn't have already spent a political lifetime delivering anti-immigrant one-liners? All he'd have to do is change "hippie" to "wetback" to update his material. He's the shining star of Anti-Government Patriotism; you mean to tell me he wouldn't be on the front lines now, just because he quadrupled the Debt in eight years back then? He did that by spending lavishly on big-ticket military items and reducing the size of the middle class. What, he'd be fucking shunned today?

I'm sorry, but if Reagan survived an assassination attempt today he'd have been photographed in his hospital bed waving George Patton's ivory-handled Colt. I will grant you this: he might well have managed to change his tune at some point on marriage equality, assuming he discovered he had a gay son or something.

But then Dole manages somehow to double down. (I guess that's in a Republican's blood):
"Certainly Nixon couldn’t have made it, because he had ideas."

Yup. Give the man his due, he was chockablock with ideas. None of which a Midwesterner would mention in front of his grandma. Except the ones involving blacks and Jews.

Still, ya know what? I have a feeling both of 'em would have found a way to adapt.

And I still wanna know one thing: where were all of you while this great change was occurring?


heydave said...

Nothing to see here, just keep moving along... they'd say.

Anonymous said...

Where was Bob Dole? Cheering on the Newticle, that's where.

These guys scrimped and saved to buy their vandals cans of spray paint and sledge hammers. And now they're simply shocked to find everything smashed and spray painted.

Jonathan said...

The post-modern way to become a statesman... ensuring that those who follow behind you are raving fucking lunatics.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob: Remember when you were the Republican Senate leader, desperate to regain the majority?

And Ollie North was running for the Senate in Virginia?

And even though (according to people close to you) it disgusted you to do it, you endorsed him and campaigned for him?

Well, a million little such compromises with the loonies to gain power made the Republican party what it is today.

DiTurno said...

I agree with pretty much everything in the piece, but I still think it misses the point. The question is not whether Reagan would be a garden variety wingnut if he were alive now (he would), nor is it whether he helped to foster this type of wingnuttia when he was president (he did). Instead, the real issue is whether St. Ronnie's actual policies and initiatives as president would fit with the modern conservative movement. A lot of them would not, and that shows how insane the right is.

larry davis said...

Reagan did sign the 1986 amnesty law that started the Latino participation boom the Republicans fear in 2013. Reagan did campaign against anti-gay proposition 6 in 1978. Reagan did work with Democrats and Republicans in the great tax reform of 1986.

Overall I think you were a bit cruel to Dole, who is really old.