Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ronald Reagan And The Democratic Party-- Who Really Left Who?


Blue Dog scum spend their time in Congress voting with the Republicans. They are the foundation, along with the Wall Street-owned New Dems, of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. And sooner or later, the Blue Dogs tend to jump the fence and officially become Republicans-- though not before the DCCC wastes millions and millions of dollars trying to prop them up. Steve Israel, a Blue Dog himself, recruits Blue Dogs and advises them to vote with the Republicans on core issues and them pours money into their districts… and then feel badly when they switch to the GOP. The most recent Blue Dogs who went over to the Republicans were Parker Griffith and Artur Davis in Alabama and Gene Taylor in Mississippi, all three of whom were rejected by the voters in primaries. In 1995 Taylor was one of the founders of the Blue Dogs but he wasn't the only founder who jumped the fence to embrace the GOP. Nathan Deal, now the right-wing governor of Georgia was one of the founding members of the Blue Dogs as were Bill Tauzin (LA), Jimmy Hayes (LA), Mike Parker (MS) and Ralph Hall (TX), who voted to impeach President Clinton and then joined the GOP in 2004 and was just defeated in a Republican primary lat the end of May. Other recent Blue Dogs who finally confessed they were Republicans and made it official include Rodney Alexander (LA) and Virgil Goode (VA). Some, like Steve Israel himself as well as Harold Ford (TN), Ed Case (HI), Joe Donnelly (IN), Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Ellen Tauscher (CA), have gone semi-undercover and work against Democratic principles and core values from inside the Democratic Party.

You know who else left the Democratic Party and joined the Republicans? That's right-- Ronnie Reagan, who, for his entire life, always sucked up to whomever he was trying to impress and eventually figured out the most benefit that could accrue to him would be coming from the Mob, the studio bosses and corporate plutocrats. The story of his transformation from a liberal Democrat to a conservative Democrat to a Republican to, in effect, a John Bircher, is part of the amazing narrative in historian Rick Perlstein's fantastic new book, The Invisible Bridge.

When Jane Wyman divorced Reagan for being an insufferable bore and an embarrassing social climber, her attorney was Loyd Wright, who, incongruously, became close with Reagan. Speaking together at an Orange County anti-Communism rally, Wright sounded like the Republican warmongers of today who are demanding Obama wipe Muslim terrorists off the face of the earth with every weapon (nukes) at our disposal, "demanding a 'preventative war': issue an ultimatum to the Soviet Union to leave eastern Europe by a certain date, he proposed; and if they didn't, unleash the nuclear arsenal. 'If we have to blow up Moscow, that's too bad.' … The following summer Loyd Wright ran in a three-way Republican senatorial nomination contest, becoming known as the 'John Birch Society' candidate; Reagan served as his campaign chair. Also that summer, according to Reagan, he got a call asking him to limit his talks to commercial pitches for GE products-- no politics. Shortly thereafter, he got twenty-four hours' notice that General Electric Theater was canceled."
"I didn't leave the Democratic Party," Ronald Reagan used to like to say. "The Democratic Party left me." It was another Reagan story that dissolved the more closely it was examined. The platform JFK ran on in 1960 was well to the right of the one Reagan eagerly boomed on the radio in 1948. (Kennedy just wanted government health insurance for the aged; Truman [and 1948 Reagan] wanted it to be universal.) Another major difference, however between Democrats then and Democrats beginning with Joe McCarthy's fall in the middle of the 1950s, when Reagan was joining up with GE, was that they largely abandoned the good-versus-evil narrative of an invisible Bolshevik bacillus insinuating itself into a great but complacent nation's bloodstream. Respectable Democrats by Kennedy's day (those, at least, outside the reactionary Deep South) considered that an embarrassing relic of a too-paranoid time.

Ronald Reagan did not. And it is hard to see how Reagan could feel at home in a party that had abandoned a core tenet in his moral vision of the world and his own heroic place in it. Instead, his was now the sort of conservatism now associated with the John Birch Society, whose McCarthy-like claim that Dwight D. Eisenhower has been a "conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy" had made that organization a national scandal, denounced by both Democrats and Republicans like Richard Nixon. But Reagan said he could find no "moral justification for repudiating" the Birchers. Indeed, he had adopted many of their nostrums as favorite speech lines. One was "The inescapable truth is that we are at war, and we are losing that war simply because we donator won't realize we are in it. We have ten years. Not ten years to make up our mind, but ten years to win or lose-- by 1970 the world will be all slave or all free." Another was a bogus quote attributed to Nikita Khrushchev: "You Americans are so gullible. No, you won't accept communism outright. But we'll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you finally wake up and find you already have communism. We won't have to fight you; we'll so weaken your economy until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands." Reagan gave one speech in 1961 insisting communists were still "infiltrating all phases of the government."
No, the Democratic Party had not left Ronald Reagan; Ronald Reagan had left a state of rationality and political sanity. Unfortunately, he used his skills as an actor and disingenuous pitchman to bring an awful lot of paranoid, low-info voters, predisposed to the kind of simplistic, dishonest, extremist claptrap he was spouting, along with him.

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