We Should’ve Cloned Ronald Reagan

If he had lived, Ronald Reagan would’ve turned 100 years old today. I’ve been looking at the various Facebook statuses, Tweets, blog posts and articles dedicated to the late president, and I gotta tell you: we should’ve cloned Ronald Reagan when we had the chance.

I mean, the stuff I’ve been reading – no disrespect to FDR or Washington – tells me that Reagan was our greatest president. He promised to cut taxes in ’81, and he did – the single largest tax cut in U.S. history (of course, he also raised taxes seven times after that initial cut so that in the end, the tax rate was exactly the same as it had been prior to the ’81 slash). He promised to spend the Soviet Union into bankruptcy and collapse, and he did. He promised to give the American people someone they could believe in, and he did. With Reagan, we knew exactly where we stood: with a man capable of getting things done, of reading the political climate and adjusting accordingly so that the American people bought in to his ideas. And he did all of this with the same calm and good looks that made him such a Hollywood figure.

In short, Reagan was a heckuva president. One of the best.

So we should’ve cloned him. I mean, could you imagine how he’d have handled Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden? How about the economic crisis of the last few years? I would have been mesmerized by his response to 9/11 – guarantee you he wouldn’t have been reading “Goodnight Moon” to a bunch of first graders.

I mean, it’s not like we didn’t develop the technology before his passing. We could’ve collected a grade-DNA genetic sample from Ronnie and been able to cook something up in the lab tout de suite. Imagine a world where Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama were never president. I can hear the combination sobs of joy and regret from the G.O.P. even now.

This is firmly tongue-in-cheek, folks – lest any of you think that I’m either serious or being disrespectful of Mr. Reagan’s legacy, let me say that I do have an admiration for what he was able to accomplish and the singular strength of his presidency. He’s the last president I really remember making me feel truly safeguarded by his administration. But he wasn’t a saint, and the people on the conservative right who want to make him out to be Jesus 2.0 need a heavy dose of oxygen. He had his faults (astrology, anyone?) and the 80s were the Me Decade, the Trickle Down/Reaganomics era, a fact best summed up in the character of Gordon Gekko, whose infamous motto was, after all, “Greed is good.”

That rings a little hollow now, don’t it?

I celebrate the centenary of Ronald Reagan and fondly remember his accomplishments and his legacy. But forgive me if I stop short of immortalizing him as our greatest president. For all he did, he can’t claim that title.

That Lincoln fella kind of stands in his way…

An Open Letter to Rep. John Boehner and the Rest of the G.O.P.

Dear John –

I know you’re busy with the Lame Duck session of Congress, but as I’ve heard a lot lately about your plans as newly elected Speaker of the House, I thought I’d just take a moment and write you and your G.O.P. friends a letter. Sure, you’ll probably never read it, or if you do, you’ll find in it only those things you want to see (which seems to be a theme with many of you political types), but I want to go ahead and get a few things off my chest.


This past election was historic for your party. You turned over the House by getting 61 Republicans into office through some harsh campaigning and truly epic spending by third parties that don’t have to disclose a thing. Personally, I don’t care about the ads and the money behind them (unless we’re talking about the quality of life issue–which is to say, that while those stupid ads were burning up air time on my television, I felt that my quality of life decreased with each passing second), so my issue isn’t with the how you got elected. My issue is with the why.

I’ve heard you and many other Republicans (and I include the Tea Partiers in the same group as regular Republicans) claiming that this election was a mandate for your party. As a voter, let me say emphatically: NO, IT WAS NOT. This election swung your way because there wasn’t any other way for it to swing. Americans were tired of the Democratic party, sure, but they are equally as tired of the G.O.P.–though since you’ve become the only games in town, it’s sort of a non-starter. You got in because we couldn’t find anyone better to fill the seats. We didn’t necessarily think that much of your ideas or platforms.

It’s kind of like when your ex hooks up with the first person they meet on the rebound. Generally, it’s got less to do with who the hook-up actually is and more to do with the fact that the hook-up isn’t you. Let’s be honest: you are the rebound, John. You’re the semi-hottie at the corner of the bar just before closing and though you’re not quite what the voters have been looking for, you’ll do. But who knows what will happen in the cold, clear light of the morning after?

Here’s what I’d like to say to you, John, and to any other Republican out there who’s foaming out of both sides of their mouth: shut up about your partisan ideas. In fact, take the whole notion of Party Politics and cram it into the same dead space that commonsense tax reform got sucked into, because We The People don’t give a rat’s patookie about your G.O.P. (Grand Old Plan) for our lives. We just want to be able to find a job and keep it, buy a house and keep it, and have health insurance that doesn’t bankrupt us as individuals. That’s it. That’s why you’re in office, John–to hear our voice and get those things done. If that means you have bend towards the center, so be it.

But don’t you or your buddies for one minute believe that we won’t be keeping an eye and ear on everything you say and do between now and the next election cycle. If you so much as step out of line once we’ll cut you next election and try someone else on for size. We don’t want even one pointless filibuster or any endless posturing on the House floor to get in the way of commonsense, practical solutions to the very real problems we all face. You said you could get things done if you were given the chance–well, here you go. Don’t blow it–especially since you’ll potentially have to deal with Sarah Palin as your 2012 G.O.P. presidential candidate. Don’t make it harder on yourselves by screwing this up.

And one last thing, John: please stop yapping about repealing the Health Care Reform Act. I know it’s a freaking monstrosity of a bill, and it probably needs quite a bit of overhaul, but when I hear you say that your first order of business is to get that thing repealed,  my skin crawls. See, when you come out and say things like that, it makes us voters think that you won’t really do what you promised and that makes us feel cheap and used.

They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, John. But actually, hell has no fury like the voters scorned.

Just thought you needed to be reminded.

All the best,