The Real Imaginary Gipper

It’s not so much what’s in the new Reagan bio that chaps our man Durst; it’s what’s missing.

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The big biography, “Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan,” is out and the Republican powers that be are madder than a bunch of roosters in a henhouse after vasectomy surgery. In the perfectly ironic ending to the bizarre Reagan legacy, conservatives are wringing their hands raw and headbutting marble monuments because Edmund Morris’ long awaited new tome on Ronnie provides little or no insight into the man.

Hello! People, you can’t high dive into a sidewalk puddle. Face it, most Presidents are figureheads, Reagan was a hood ornament. He had the intellectual depth of an ashtray. The guy was an actor, for christ’s sake. Trained to read other people’s lines. If he had been good at writing and delivering his own lines, he would have aspired to a higher calling (like becoming a comic, heh heh heh).

Hell, Ron wasn’t even a halfway decent actor. Like, say, President Rory Calhoun. Turned down Bogart’s part in the movie “Casablanca.” Imagine how history would have changed if he had taken it: Bogart might have been President. Of course, “Casablanca” would have been a crappy movie. I mean, you have to have priorities.

I’m pissed because of all the stuff that didn’t make it into the book. Remember when the old man blamed pollution on trees, implying that Yosemite was responsible for smog? Right after he said ketchup was a vegetable. Takes one to know one.

What happened to those telling tales? We’re talking about the guy who vetoed the clean water bill. Vetoed the clean water bill! What was going through his tiny little mind? “Clean water, hmmm. Well, I don’t know. Better have Nancy sacrifice a goat and paw through the entrails.”

The man took naps during Cabinet meetings. The Gipper was so out of it, after Hinckley’s assassination attempt, he didn’t even know he was shot. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer our future Commanders in Chief come fully equipped with central nervous systems. Even a single-celled animal knows when it’s been injured.

People give him credit for ending the Cold War, but nobody mentions the fact he was the very same nuclear cowboy responsible for heating up the damn thing by talking about “limited engagment” nuclear warfare, which is a lot like saying “partial total destruction.”

In fact, I never really worried that ol’ Lizard Neck was going to push the button, but I gotta admit I was a mite trepidatious he would nod out and fall on it. Then after he retires, he writes this letter to the press admitting he has Alzheimer’s Disease. My theory is he wrote the letter in 1979 and just forgot to mail it.

And then Congress renamed Washington’s National Airport after him. The guy who fired all the air traffic controllers and decommissioned PATCO got an airport named after him. You can’t make stuff up like this. What’s next?

  • The Gerald Ford Treasury Building Escalator Guardrail

  • The Jimmy Carter Place Where Real Nice Things Happen Shaded Veranda

  • The Henry Kissinger District of Colombia Memorial Home For The Criminally Insane

  • The Ronald Reagan Airport George Bush Air Traffic Control Tower Vision Thing

  • The Spiro Agnew Brown Bag Banking Deposit Slot

  • The Rita Jenrette United States Capitol Marble Staircase Handicapped Ramp

  • The Congressional Library Richard Nixon Audio Tape Wing Bulk Eraser

  • The Robert C. Byrd Barrel of Pork Design Center

  • The Bob Packwood Sexually Transmitted Disease Building Stairwell Cul De Sac Drain

  • The Dan Quayle Storage Warehouse

Will Durst’s theory is the public wants a fraud they can believe in. His column appears on the MoJo Wire every Tuesday.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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