Reagan Worshippers Celebrate Centennial

Reagan Worshippers Celebrate Centennial

If Ronald Reagan were alive this February 6th, he would have been a very senile 100 years old. “No surprise, perhaps, that the American president who came to fame in Hollywood would have a centennial celebration with splash,” writes Susan Page. “He’s become a folklore president,” says historian Douglas Brinkley, “”He’s as much Buffalo Bill or Kit Carson as he is Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson.”

The comparison with Buffalo Bill is apt. William Cody became “Buffalo Bill” through massive doses of showmanship and press agentry, the same way Mr. Reagan became president. Leslie Janka, Reagan’s deputy White House press secretary, said the Reagan administration “was a PR outfit that became president and took over the country. And to the degree that the Constitution forced them to do things like make a budget, run foreign policy and all that, they sort of did it. But their first, last and overarching activity was public relations.”

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show went bankrupt, and President Reagan destroyed the Federal tax base while borrowing against the future.  His chief legacy is not Ronald Reagan National Airport, Ronald Reagan Parkway, the Reagan statue in the Capitol, the USS Ronald ReaganRonald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Ronald Reagan High School(s), the Ronald Reagan Building, the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Test Site, or the Ronald Reagan Action Figure. It was tax cuts for the rich and budget policies that tripled the Federal deficit as well as financial deregulation that paved the hellish road to our current economic situation.

But it’s Reagan birthday party time. There will be two years of symposiums, a Reagan statue in London, a Reagan Catholic Mass in Poland, a Reagan art exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, and a Reagan tribute at the Super Bowl. High school football games will begin with the toss of a Ronnie Reagan coin. There is a Federal Reagan Centennial Commission, and the and its National Youth Leadership Committee includes one of the Jonas Brothers and a teen American Idol winnerSarah Palin will headline the Reagan Ranch birthday bash, Newt Gingrich will speak at the Illinois Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Birthday Gala. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library has been exorcised renovated. There will be prayers and jelly beans.

You can find a comprehensive schedule here.

 More fond memories of the Reagan Presidency:

“The era of big spending and massive deficits,” Andrew Leonard, Salon.

“Reagan’s Legacy,” Jim Rice, God’s Politics

“We fought a war on lies, and lies won,” Joan Walsh, Salon.

 

Image (“Adoration of the Caddies”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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One Response to “Reagan Worshippers Celebrate Centennial”

  1. Dog Gone Says:

    I love this – your post was apt and clever, but the image was the best part; placing the Reagan idol on a golfcourse was inspired!

    My compliments accompanied by a standing ovation of applause.

    I used your graphic in a post of my own on the divergence from fact by the right regarding the Reagan legacy, ‘Raggin on Reagun’, (with full attribution, and a link to your post here) on penigma.blogspot.com. My special thanks to you for allowing it to be used by others! It is appreciated.

    I’m delighted to have found your site, and hope to return often.

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