ChrisWeigant.com

Presidential Mythmaking

[ Posted Monday, February 19th, 2018 – 18:23 PST ]

Since it's fun to do, and since today's a good day for it, let's take a look at one particular moment in American history. A Republican president sits in the White House. His very presence terrifies liberals, who consider him an intellectual lightweight (and even that's being polite) and not up to the job in any way. He cares more for his television presence than actual policy matters, it seems. Both the president and his wife seem elitist to the core and disdainful of reining in their excesses after moving to the White House. He is seen as a total puppet, and the only question members of the media have to explore is who the puppetmaster pulling his strings currently is. He packed his White House with his buddies, and they spend a lot of time fighting with Washington insiders. The rest of the world is horrified that we elected such a man president. There are even rumors that his campaign cut a deal with a tyrannical foreign government in order to help him get elected. In fact, there are very real fears he could start a nuclear war at any time, since his foreign policy is both erratic and belligerent. About the only thing he can get done in Congress is to pass a massive tax cut. That's what the prevailing opinion was at the time, inside the Beltway. His name? Ronald Reagan.

I draw this parallel for a reason, but allow me to sidle up to it rather than lay it out immediately. Reagan was indeed seen as a lightweight in the White House, even if he had been governor of California previously. The rest of the world thought we were crazy for electing a B-grade actor to the highest job in the land. Nancy Reagan's decision to buy new White House china settings was seen as close to a Marie Antoinette level of elitism. Reagan was derided for not knowing policy matters in any depth, and was ridiculed for using a TelePrompTer. But he certainly did know how to read his lines well on television, even liberals had to admit. His persona as a grandfatherly presence was tempered by his image as a staunch anti-communist. Everyone wondered who was pulling his strings -- his ambitious wife? His "kitchen cabinet" he had brought along from California? His vice president? Al Haig?

Reagan's campaign was rumored to have sent George H. W. Bush to negotiate in secret with Iran so they wouldn't release the Americans they were holding hostage until after the election. In fact, they released them on the day Reagan was sworn in. People were seriously worried Reagan would start World War III, except not with a rinky-dink country with a couple of nukes but with the Soviet Union, which had thousands of them. That was a lot more terrifying -- ask anyone who lived through the era.

Reagan's popularity, by the time he left office, wasn't all that high. He had had to admit to the nation that he had lied about the Iran/Contra arms scandal, and that members of his administration had broken the law. This was a huge blow to his job approval, and he finished with rather mediocre ratings.

Unlike Donald Trump, however, Reagan was never all that personally insecure about his position. His two electoral victories were both within the top ten of the largest landslides in American history, after all. His 1984 win was the fifth-largest of all time, when he won a whopping 525 Electoral College votes out of a possible 538.

But none of that stopped him from getting mercilessly mocked, for his lack of intelligence and (as he neared the end of his second term) his age and senility. This image had taken root by the time he left office, which was another reason why his approval ratings at the end weren't all that great.

In 1989, when Reagan retired, the right-wing media and think tank complex was still in its infancy. After George H. W. Bush turned out to be rather disappointing, the election of Bill Clinton caused a massive effort in either historical revisionism or presidential mythmaking (take your pick). By the mid-1990s, right-wing talk radio was ascendant and Fox News was just getting started. Plus, there was the shadowy world of what Hillary Clinton would later call the "vast, right-wing conspiracy," which was busily manufacturing all the anti-Clinton dirt it could. Richard Mellon Scaife was seen by liberals in much the same way the Koch brothers are seen today.

The mythmaking efforts surrounding Reagan's legacy were astoundingly successful. He was built up to Republican demigod status, to the point where he now is seen as some sort of Titan who strode the Earth. There was a concerted effort to rename all sorts of things after Reagan, which included wanting such a monument in all 50 states, as well as possibly carving his face onto Mount Rushmore. That last one, thankfully, failed, although plenty of buildings and one notable airport now bear Reagan's name.

This entire story is much better told in the book Tear Down This Myth: The Right-Wing Distortion Of The Reagan Legacy, by Will Bunch. It shows how the Reagan myth did not spring fully-formed in Republicans' minds, but instead was the result of a concerted effort by those who wanted to define conservatism in their own way.

Having taking the long way around, this finally brings me to today's Presidents' Day point. Presidential mythmaking is as old as our nation. The lionizing (indeed, almost deifying) of George Washington began while he was still alive. "The Father Of Our Country" and the "man who would not tell a lie" and all the rest of it happened because Washington's example was needed for a newly-born nation. We needed an "origin story" that put people up on pedestals. Washington was perfect for the role.

In Reagan's case, if you had told your average liberal voter in the late 1980s that Ronald Reagan would be similarly lionized by the right, the very idea would have been pretty laughable. Historians were smarter than that, liberals told themselves, and the real story would endure. This, obviously, did not happen. But a key point is that Reagan himself wasn't involved much in all this mythmaking. His ego wasn't driving the effort. Instead, others were building him up to mythic proportions to serve their own ends.

That's what is going to be different about the legacy Trump leaves behind him. In Trump's case, he will quite likely bankroll the effort to boost his presidency to mythic proportions. Trump's entire life has been about protecting his brand, after all, so why should anyone expect him to do any differently after he leaves the White House?

Liberals now expect Donald Trump to be nothing short of a laughingstock in future history books. At some point, they believe, the country will come to its senses and the Trump era will come to a crashing halt. After this point, history will reset itself and heap scorn on Trump for all the idiocies he produces seemingly on a daily basis. He will doubtlessly go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever, if not at the absolute bottom of the list.

This all seems pretty reasonable, sitting as we do in 2018. How could any sane person consider Trump's presidency a success, after all? He's gotten fewer things done than almost all the rest, and his bumbling and tweeting is nothing short of legendary.

But legends can change, over time. Either Trump will finish two terms as president after winning re-election, or he will be a one-term president who loses in 2020, or he will be ousted from office at some point (by either the Twenty-Fifth Amendment or impeachment). In any of these cases, however, it will certainly be in Trump's best interest to try to convince everyone that his side of the story is the only correct one and everything else is "fake history." Books will be ghostwritten. Think tanks may spring up to protect and glorify Trump's legacy. Facts will be rewritten (indeed, Trump already has shown his massive disdain for both facts and the truth, so why would this change?).

All I'm saying is don't be surprised when it happens, that's all. Whether Trump will be as successful in rewriting his legacy to fit a superhuman mold as the Reagan mythmakers were is an open question, of course. But what seems pretty certain is that the attempt will indeed be made. The theme of this mythmaking can already be discerned, in fact: "Why Trump was right about everything, and everybody else was completely wrong." Presidents have always had their mythmakers after they leave office, after all. The only thing different with Trump is that he may be the first one in history to take a personal hand in this mythmaking, to the tune of bankrolling the entire effort. As I said, Donald Trump has spent his entire career trying to build his last name into a brand name. So why would anyone expect anything different after he leaves office?

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

79 Comments on “Presidential Mythmaking”

  1. [1] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    "There were rumors that his campaign cut a deal with a tyrannical foreign government to help him get elected."

    If the rumor is true, I certainly find that dismaying, but what I find far, far MORE dismaying is the concept that causes it to BE dismaying, meaning the belief that the American electorate is so stupid, so asinine, so gullible, so (fill in your own worst adjective) that something posted to 'social media' (aka collective insanity) could be as much as a meaningful, much less a a determining, factor in a U.S. presidential election!

    I actually believe that we're NOT that stupid, but I'm saying if we really ARE that stupid, we deserve whatever we get.

  2. [2] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    So, the fondness of the American people for Reagan was "The result of a concerted effort by those who wanted to define conservatism in their own way."

    So Chris, who might that have been? Was that specific individuals, or just the nameless millions who make up Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy"?

    Hey, I'm betting it was the Russkies! I'll wager they started interfering in our elections clear back then, and it took us this long to catch on, right?

    Sweet Jesus, maybe I'll have to re-think that "We're not really that stupid" thing from my previous post.

  3. [3] 
    neilm wrote:

    It was a mass delusion on the right that elevated Reagan from charming mouthpiece to minor deity, and it continues to this day.

    But I think that the current clown might be overseeing the fall from high places for the right wing in this country. If so, the knives will be out for him from his own party. Let's face it, the people who are inflicting most harm on him are from his own party, and there is a pretender in the wings who is coming back on to center stage.

    Also the right are watching America topple from the pinnacle on the World stage because of the ineptitude of the White House, and the right wing of the country has been the most jingoistic in the past - again they are going to look for a scapegoat when China's soft power exceeds ours (it already has in the South China Sea region - the abandonment of the TPP was a significant own goal).

    Stupidity has consequences, but sadly the stupid don't understand those consequences.

  4. [4] 
    neilm wrote:

    Reagan was forgiven Iran-Contra because he was regarded as a bit slow and thus didn't really know what was going on, so not really responsible - more like let down by people he trusted.

    The current erse is also obviously even more deficient between the ears than Reagan, but unlike Reagan he has put himself center stage by continuously telling everybody that there was "no collusion" - even though he specifically asked the Russians to hack and distribute "Hillary's 30,000 emails" (what - he thinks we don't remember?)

    If history is a guide, we are only at the start of the Mueller investigation (see chart below) and thus there will be more and more dirt, more and more denials, and less and less credibility when the real dirt about money laundering and RICO hits.

    http://ritholtz.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/atd-indictments-0216.png

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    All I'm saying is don't be surprised when it happens, that's all. Whether Trump will be as successful in rewriting his legacy to fit a superhuman mold as the Reagan mythmakers were is an open question, of course. But what seems pretty certain is that the attempt will indeed be made. The theme of this mythmaking can already be discerned, in fact: "Why Trump was right about everything, and everybody else was completely wrong." Presidents have always had their mythmakers after they leave office, after all. The only thing different with Trump is that he may be the first one in history to take a personal hand in this mythmaking, to the tune of bankrolling the entire effort. As I said, Donald Trump has spent his entire career trying to build his last name into a brand name. So why would anyone expect anything different after he leaves office?

    Yep... Yep... Yep...

    I expect that President Trump will be remembered as the first truly INDEPENDENT POTUS who wasn't beholden completely to either Party...

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    https://youtu.be/keXx0zxTarE

    THERE is proof positive of Russian Collusion...

    Yet, you hysterical NeverTrumpers are completely silent about it..

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Wooops.. Apologies.. #6 should have been posted to the FTP commentary...

    My sincerest apologies...

  8. [8] 
    TheStig wrote:

    The Founders of the USA were heavily influenced by the Roman Republic. The Roman Rebublic turned into the Roman Empire. The Emperors were routinely deified, with temples, priesrts, sacrifices and such.

    An imperial presidency, a near constant state the of war, presidential libraries and demi-deified presidents should not exactly surprise. We were warned, by George!

  9. [9] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I always felt the Republication lionization of Reagan was deliberate Republican overcompensation for the fall of Nixon. Never Again! A lackluster Ford and Carter made the task very easy. So did recent memories of Vietnam.

  10. [10] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    George Washington not telling a lie reminded me of an old joke. My apologies if I have posted it before.

    The Indian chief called his three sons into his teepee and said "Someone pushed my outhouse off the cliff and I think it was one of you three."

    Chief: Running Bear, did you push my outhouse off the cliff?
    R.B.: No, father.
    Chief: Running deer, did you push my outhouse off the cliff?
    R.D.: No, father.
    Chief: Hiawatha, did you push my outhouse off the cliff?
    Hiawatha: No, father.

    The chief then told the boys the story of George Washington chopping down his father's cherry tree and didn't get in trouble because he told the truth.

    Hiawatha then admitted that he was the one that pushed the outhouse off the cliff.

    The chief sent the other two boys out of the teepee and started punching, kicking, biting, scratching and generally beating the crap out of Hiawatha.

    When Hiawatha got away for a minute he said "But dad, you said George Washington told the truth and didn't get in trouble!"

    The chief said "Yeah, but his father wasn't in the cherry tree when he chopped it down."

  11. [11] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: There was a concerted effort to rename all sorts of things after Reagan, which included wanting such a monument in all 50 states, as well as possibly carving his face onto Mount Rushmore.

    This re-branding effort continues today unabated: The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, special project of Americans for Tax Reform and Chairman Grover Norquist, lobbyist and anti-tax activist.

    But CW, you wrote an entire article about Ronald Reagan without including the term "genuflect"?! That is some kind of restraint you got there. ;)

  12. [12] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm Your [3]

    So, I'd be interested to have you tell us, what it is driving that "mass delusion" (Reagan deification) that continues to this day"?

    That's an awful lot of delusion over a very long time span! You'd think in that much time, you Dems/Libs would have clarified for us where it is we've gone wrong, and we'd have recognized the error of our ways, right?

  13. [13] 
    neilm wrote:

    So, I'd be interested to have you tell us, what it is driving that "mass delusion" (Reagan deification) that continues to this day"

    I don't know - it is a mystery to me - the man was obviously a very mediocre president at best that was lucky enough to have a Democratic House for most of his term so sensible things happened on the home front, and Gorbachov's reforms revolutionized the old Soviet block (that the right gave Reagan credit for for Pete's sake).

    Look at who is leading the charge to canonize Reagan at the moment: Grover Norquist - despite the fact that Reagan raised taxes to try to offset the hole he blew in the deficit.

    The ability of the right to live an a delusional bubble is something I observe, but can't comprehend.

    It does not surprise me that residents who are firmly inside the bubble can't even see it.

  14. [14] 
    neilm wrote:

    That's an awful lot of delusion over a very long time span! You'd think in that much time, you Dems/Libs would have clarified for us where it is we've gone wrong, and we'd have recognized the error of our ways, right?

    You are so sure you are right, and you frequently tell us how you are only here to carry the burden of bringing light to the ignorant - do you think your total closed mindedness might have something to do with your inability to hear the message?

  15. [15] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm

    Could it be possible that the delusional bubble you perceive and I do not exists only in your fevered mind?

  16. [16] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm

    Where do you see that "closed mindedness" in me? Perhaps in my unwillingness to honor bogus Dem/Lib economic analysis?

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Where do you see that "closed mindedness" in me? Perhaps in my unwillingness to honor bogus Dem/Lib economic analysis?

    Yep... You're close-minded because you don't swallow the whole hysterical Dumbocrat Party line, hook line and sinker..

    Reminds me of the charge of insanity in the old Soviet Union...

    People who wanted to leave the Soviet Union were charged with insanity because ONLY THE INSANE would want to leave the paradise that is the Soviet Union...

    In the here and now, you are close-minded if you don't swallow the totality of the Dumbocrat Party BS....

    It's a self-fulfilling delusion...

  18. [18] 
    TheStig wrote:

    neilm 4

    "If history is a guide, we are only at the start of the Mueller investigation..."

    Yes, and Mueller was up and running very early in the Trump tenure. Plus, information technology advances. Searches are much more automated today. As I was just typing this, my speaker went "bing" and I got a short summary of Mueller's latest "find." Nixon was in the analog reel to reel tape age. When slide rules still ruled.

    Trump seems to me a large, lumbering target with the cover of treeline far, far away.

    I think Russia will be doubly delighted if Trump goes down in flames - I think they may even push this outcome by leaking clues when it suits them. "We made Trump, then we broke Trump. Dasvidaniya, MOFOs. We own you."

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think Russia will be doubly delighted if Trump goes down in flames - I think they may even push this outcome by leaking clues when it suits them. "We made Trump, then we broke Trump. Dasvidaniya, MOFOs. We own you."

    And it's YOU hysterical Trumpers who are giving the Russians EXACTLY what they want..

    Thanks for your confession that ya'all *ARE* working with the Russians..

    I will use that often...

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    The indictment against Alex Van der Zwaan also accuses him of deleting or otherwise not producing emails sought by the Special Counsel's office, which is investigating possible ties between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia.

    Mueller charges attorney with deleting emails.

    Oh the irony is just DRIPPING like Niagara Falls here...

  21. [21] 
    neilm wrote:

    Could it be possible that the delusional bubble you perceive and I do not exists only in your fevered mind?

    No. The right wing has created a bubble that acts as an echo chamber. I do't expect you to see it any more than I expect a fish to understand water.

    Where do you see that "closed mindedness" in me? Perhaps in my unwillingness to honor bogus Dem/Lib economic analysis?

    Well your frequent announcements that you are intelligent and everybody else here is stupid doesn't exactly put you on the medal podium of the open-mindedness Olympics. In fact I'd demand a drug test if this were South Korea.

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    No. The right wing has created a bubble that acts as an echo chamber. I do't expect you to see it any more than I expect a fish to understand water.

    In other words, NEIL's delusions are facts and everyone else's FACTS are delusions.. :D

    Like I said.. Party Slavery...

    Well your frequent announcements that you are intelligent and everybody else here is stupid doesn't exactly put you on the medal podium of the open-mindedness Olympics.

    Oh... But the fact that YA'ALL claim ya'all are the smart ones and everyone who disagrees with ya'all are the stupid ones doesn't affect ya'all's so-called "Open Mindedness" at all??

    I wish you could step back away from your Party slavery and see how utterly corrupt you sound...

  23. [23] 
    neilm wrote:

    And it's YOU hysterical Trumpers who are giving the Russians EXACTLY what they want..

    Michale logic: 45 is part of a criminal enterprise engaged in fraud and money laundering with the Russian mob and it is the honest people's fault.

  24. [24] 
    neilm wrote:

    In other words, NEIL's delusions are facts and everyone else's FACTS are delusions.. :D

    You're catching on at last Michale. Do you ever notice that you continually have to make up "quotes" that "we'all" say so you can rail against them?

    Sad.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale logic: 45 is part of a criminal enterprise engaged in fraud and money laundering with the Russian mob and it is the honest people's fault.

    Don't blame me.. STIG said it..

    So typical of you.....

  26. [26] 
    neilm wrote:

    I wish you could step back away from your Party slavery and see how utterly corrupt you sound...

    Of course you can't accept reality - look how many times we have presented scientific studies to you based on decades if not centuries of accepted science and you assume it is left wing talking points.

    You are lucky - when I try to comment in right wing web sites I get blocked within a day.

    Try taking science to almost any right wing comment section and see if you get to hang around for years.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    You're catching on at last Michale.

    Yes, I am catching on..

    Everyone else is wrong and delusional, but YOU are correct and factual...

    :D

    The fact that you see nothing wrong with such an egotistically WRONG attitude is very telling...

  28. [28] 
    neilm wrote:

    Everyone else is wrong and delusional, but YOU are correct and factual...

    No, most people are correct and factual and you are delusional and in a bubble.

    You are miles away from reality on guns, climate science and the fact that 45 lies almost constantly. And this isn't my reality and everybody else thinks like you do. The vast, vast majority of humanity think you are in the wrong, yet you convince yourself you and a small cadre think only you can see clearly.

    Who is in the bubble? You are Michale. And CRS is trying to troll us by encouraging you because he thinks he is clever.

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Russians have been manipulating the likes of Michael Moore, CNN, MSNBC and the entire #resist movement!!!

    You hysterical NeverTrumpers are nothing but Russian pawns, helping to attack the United States..

    Congrats... Morons...

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    Who is in the bubble? You are Michale.

    Yes, that's your claim..

    But I have all the facts on my side and you have nothing but hysterical delusions...

  31. [31] 
    neilm wrote:

    But I have all the facts on my side and you have nothing but hysterical delusions...

    Yet when we ask for facts we get crickets or links to hysterical opinions.

    You display no signs of ever having had deep expertise in any subject. You conflate your opinions and life experience with real knowledge and throw a patina of feel-good emotion on top.

  32. [32] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    With apologies to Don Ho:

    Tiny bubbles
    in my mind.
    I see yours
    but don't see mine.

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    You display no signs of ever having had deep expertise in any subject. You conflate your opinions and life experience with real knowledge and throw a patina of feel-good emotion on top.

    Whatever you have to tell yourself to make it thru your day and confirm your hysterical Party slavery :D

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    With apologies to Don Ho:

    "Best H.O. money can buy!"
    "Oh, you don't have to spell it out, Herb. They know what they are.."

    -TWO AND A HALF MEN

    :D

  35. [35] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    How about:

    Mythmaker, mythymaker make me a myth,
    tell me a lie
    I can live with
    Mythmaker mythmaker make up some crap
    and make me a perfect myth.

    For momma pretend he's a scholar,
    For poppa make him rich as a king,
    For me well I wouldn't holler if he were to promise me everything!

    As evidenced by the bubbles here the mythmaking is not confined to presidents.

  36. [36] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm your[21]

    Sorry, I don't recall ever calling you or your Dem/Lib buddies stupid. I may have somewhere characterized some misconceptions, misinterpretations, cockamamie concepts (things that are reflections of ignorance) as "stupid", but that's not the same as calling the person stupid.

    Nor have I ever characterized myself as "intelligent". Perhaps something along the lines of "more knowledgeable" about a specific economic principle, or maybe "better informed", but never "more intelligent".

    I'm guessing your doing your hypersensitivity routine again. Sorry if your tender feelings are so quick to take offense, but don't know how to help.

  37. [37] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Oops, make that "your doing" read "you're doing".

  38. [38] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm your [13]

    Reagan sent a balanced budget to a Dem congress suggesting more $ for defense, to be offset by welfare reform (fewer $ for the welfare queens).

    The Dem Congress (which has sole control of spending) responded by boosting defense spending (they loved the defense jobs in their districts), but leaving welfare intact, and you describe the result as "Reagan having blown a hole in the deficit"!!

    Perhaps that's the very sort of "Delusional Bubble" that explains the 'Reagan Reverance' phenomenon which you can't understand?

  39. [39] 
    neilm wrote:

    It never occurs to Dems/Libs - CRS, 1/28/18

    Believe me, I am fully aware that the economically ignorant perceive my 'textbooky' lectures as something they cannot understand and don't really want to hear about, because they contradict personal concepts that the ignorant wish were reality. - CRS, 11/15/17

    Sorry, I don't recall ever calling you or your Dem/Lib buddies stupid. - CRS, 2.20.18

    Just a couple of reminders ...

  40. [40] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm [39]

    What is your point with that quote? Sounds like you belive I equate Dems/Libs being "economically ignorant" (i.e. lacking knowledge of principles of economics) with stupidity, right?

    Maybe "ignorance" has a different meaning in Limeytalk, I wouldn't know. Otherwise, again, unjustified hypersensitivity, right?

  41. [41] 
    neilm wrote:

    something they cannot understand

    Does your definition of "ignorance" stretch to "not able to understand"?

  42. [42] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Yeah, in that context I guess it does.

  43. [43] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    My favorite Reagan Myth? That he caused the break-up of the Soviet Union - two years after leaving office.

    I can't tell you how many hours I spent arguing this point with my Republicant friends.

    The worst part of it, I think, is that poor Daddy Bush got rolled by his own friends on this one, receiving no credit at all for how he handled this dramatic change in world affairs that happened, after all, on HIS watch.

    Sorta like baby Bush never got credit for not constantly walking into doors, as he was inclined to do.

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just a couple of reminders ...

    Don't see the word "stupid" in there..

    So, looks like you ARE stupid.. :D

  45. [45] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Not that papa Bush did everything right re Soviet break-up, either.

    At a time when the Russians needed a government that they could depend on, Bush sent a bunch of free-market enthusiasts, including Grover Norquist, to advise the Russians on how to transition to democracy.

    The team that Bush sent advised the Russians not to worry about regulating the marketplace - the 'invisible hand' of capitalism would do that, and not to levee taxes on the rich: that would just slow down the markets.

    The result of the Russians taking that advice was that corrupt oligarchs took over the Russian economy, turning it into a haven for gangsterism.

    Clinton tried to back-fill, encouraging the Russians to build institutions that would restrain and regulate, but by then the damage was done, and Putin instead rebuilt the Russian military intelligence complex, and then, once in office and President, used it to put himself at the top of the corruption pyramid.

    This cautionary tale comes courtesy of George F. Will, who repeated it while discussing the GOP's current efforts to dismantle our own regulatory infrastructure here in the US.

  46. [46] 
    neilm wrote:

    Don't see the word "stupid" in there.

    You can read a sentence! Time for a lap of honor and a podium place on the "Right Wing Brainiacs" Olympics ;)

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    You can read a sentence! Time for a lap of honor and a podium place on the "Right Wing Brainiacs" Olympics ;)

    TRANSLATION:

    "Yep, there is no 'stupid' in there. I am a moron."
    -NeilM

    :D

  48. [48] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Balthy

    You say that (about the Soviet breakup) because you don't understand the time-line of the breakup. The Soviet Union was already a 'house of cards' goner when the first brick of the Berlin wall hit the ground in '89, not years later when the final speck of dust settled.

    Your "Baby Bush" thing makes no sense. Do YOU get credit for "not constantly walking into doors"? (Or maybe you DO constantly walk into doors?) I don't follow.

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    Your "Baby Bush" thing makes no sense. Do YOU get credit for "not constantly walking into doors"? (Or maybe you DO constantly walk into doors?) I don't follow.

    heh...

    "There is mimicry and there is mockery and THAT was definitely mockery!"
    -Dr Leonard McCoy

    :D

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    AUG 28, 2009
    Ted Kennedy's Soviet Gambit

    By Peter Robinson
    Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.

    "On 9-10 May of this year," the May 14 memorandum explained, "Sen. Edward Kennedy's close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow." (Tunney was Kennedy's law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) "The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov."

    Kennedy's message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. "The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations," the memorandum stated. "These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign."

    I guess it's OK if DEMOCRATS collude with Russians.. :^/

  51. [51] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    You say that (about the Soviet breakup) because you don't understand the time-line of the breakup.

    Here's a timeline of the breakup: USSR fail timeline

    Not only had Reagan been out of office 3 years before the USSR finally fell, The first brick of the Berlin wall fell on Bush's watch, and the Solidarity movement in Poland happened before even that.

    Giving Reagan credit for all that is like awarding credit to James Buchanan for ending slavery in the south. After all, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was the first domino, all Lincoln did was mop up the inevitable mess it left behind.

  52. [52] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    "There is mimicry and there is mockery and THAT was definitely mockery!"
    -Dr Leonard McCoy

    ding ding ding!

  53. [53] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    I guess it's OK if DEMOCRATS collude with Russians.. :^/

    No, it wouldn't be, and if such an offer had become known back when it was made (allegedly), it would have ended Kennedy's career.

    But if we should be outraged about a thirty year old story without a second source, where is the GOP outrage over the Trump family's shenanigans with the Russians?

    Is this a 'do as I say, not as I do' moment?

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    No, it wouldn't be, and if such an offer had become known back when it was made (allegedly), it would have ended Kennedy's career.

    So, you admit that Kennedy was as bad as you accuse Trump of being???

  55. [55] 
    John M wrote:

    [38] C. R. Stucki

    "Reagan sent a balanced budget to a Dem congress suggesting more $ for defense, to be offset by welfare reform (fewer $ for the welfare queens)."

    Yet it was Bill Clinton who got welfare reform through Congress, not Ronald Reagan. There is also no such thing as "welfare queens" and never was. That's just a convenient made up boogeyman, like Nixon administration officials admitting after the fact they targeted hippies and African Americans as scapegoats for their anti-marijuana campaign.

    "The Dem Congress (which has sole control of spending) responded by boosting defense spending (they loved the defense jobs in their districts), but leaving welfare intact, and you describe the result as "Reagan having blown a hole in the deficit"!!

    Perhaps that's the very sort of "Delusional Bubble" that explains the 'Reagan Reverance' phenomenon which you can't understand?"

    Reagan DID blow a hole in the deficit with his first major tax cut and ill conceived following of Laffer and his economic myth. During the rest of his two terms Reagan then went on to sign FOUR major tax increases to try to get the deficit back under control.

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    But if we should be outraged about a thirty year old story without a second source, where is the GOP outrage over the Trump family's shenanigans with the Russians?

    And yet, Mueller has completely exonerated the Trump family of ANY "shenanigans" with the Russians.. :D

  57. [57] 
    Aloysius McG wrote:

    "And yet, Mueller has completely exonerated the Trump family of ANY "shenanigans" with the Russians."

    Really??? The noose is tightening. White House staff and Republicans, e.g., Devin Nunes, increasingly risk complicity in obstruction.

  58. [58] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    56

    And yet, Mueller has completely exonerated the Trump family of ANY "shenanigans" with the Russians.. :D

    Indictments are used to charge... NOT to exonerate. As I have said many times: There are indictments under seal and more coming.

    INDICTMENTS: 19
    GUILTY PLEAS: 4 (1 coming soon)

    Sung to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas

    13 Russian nationals
    4 Trump advisors
    1 London lawyer
    and the guy selling fake IDs. :) *LOL*

  59. [59] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    And yet, Mueller has completely exonerated the Trump family of ANY "shenanigans" with the Russians.

    Too late. Mueller CAN'T exonerate Junior since his email exchange with the Russians has been confirmed to be authentically transcribed by all parties:

    Rob Goldstone: The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

    This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump- helped along by Aras and Emin.

    What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?

    I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.

    Best
    Rob Goldstone

    Don Junior: Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?

    Best,
    Don

    And then they had a meeting with the 'government' lawyer from Russia, and a bunch of other Russians, and some top folks from the Trump campaign including Manafort and Kushner.

    So if you freeze that scene, and include the email exchange with Don Junior that precedes it, you have an open-and-shut case of conspiracy to break campaign finance laws, and plain-as-day collusion with the Russian government, which even Steve Bannon likened to Treason.

    And if any of them told Trump about it, or received his consent for it, then he to is a co-conspirator.
    They would have us believe for the time being that this meeting with Russians arranged by his family in his building with his campaign manager and his son in law was never mentioned to him at all.

    Even Mueller can't change those facts. They colluded, and we have proof.

    Only a matter of time before they have to answer for it, too.

  60. [60] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Kick [58}: that is now my favorite Christmas song.

    I guess I'll dust off my copy of "Every Day is Christmas" by Eric Idle as well.

  61. [61] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CW,

    Let’s look at reasons for why Reagan was the GOP’s choice to make into a legend:

    * Nixon had pretty much killed the party’s reputation by associating it with being a bunch of “crooks”
    * Reagan had been very popular at some points of his presidency, even if his popularity polls at the end weren’t that great
    *He suffered from Alzheimer’s and died fairly soon after leaving office - both will get you big sympathy points from the public and who wants to talk bad about the dead (which is why it has taken decades before the public has finally been willing to talk about how not-so-great Reagan actually was!)
    * Reagan’s presidency included major world events: the fall of the Berlin Wall, the start of the fall of the Soviet Union and the “end” of the Cold War, (most people associate Reagan with this, not G.H. Bush who was actually president when the Soviet Union collapsed), NASA’s space shuttle launches, etc.
    *Reagan was President for almost all of the 80’s. We tend to separate society in this country in terms of what generation they are associated with. Reagan WAS the 80’s in most people’s minds.

    Reagan made for the best candidate for the GOP to turn into a much needed party hero.

  62. [62] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    LWYH: And Republicants thought he looked the role. Mike Pence's career survives for the same reason, I think, though he's an even emptier vessel.

    "No wonder your president has to be an actor, he's gotta look good on television." - Doc Brown

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    AMG,

    Really??? The noose is tightening.

    By claiming that NO AMERICANS were knowingly involved??

    How do you figure that??

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    Too late. Mueller CAN'T exonerate Junior since his email exchange with the Russians has been confirmed to be authentically transcribed by all parties:

    So, Jr exchanged emails with Russians..

    So???

    What part of NO AMERICANS WERE KNOWINGLY INVOLVED is unclear to you??

    It's over, Balthy..

    You are not going to get a Trump impeachment..

  65. [65] 
    Michale wrote:

    INDICTMENTS: 19
    GUILTY PLEAS: 4 (1 coming soon)

    Sung to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas

    13 Russian nationals
    4 Trump advisors
    1 London lawyer
    and the guy selling fake IDs. :) *LOL*

    And NONE of those have ANYTHING to do with President Trump or Collusion... :D

    Once again, the FACTS clearly show that ya'all lost...

    NO AMERICANS WERE KNOWINGLY INVOLVED

    THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTION WAS NOT AFFECTED IN ANY WAY

    Ya'all's ONLY talking points for the year have just been rendered totally and unequivocally fact-less...

    Take yer lumps, swallow yer egos and move on...

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:
  67. [67] 
    Michale wrote:

    LAST MAN STANDING!!! :D

  68. [68] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Or, better still, "last rat standing".

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    Or, better still, "last rat standing".

    That was beneath you, Liz....

  70. [70] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That was a favourite movie quote, Michale.

    Lighten up!

  71. [71] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Why so hypersensitive?

    Will I have to start wondering if you're actually a girl?

    :-)

    What movie was that, anyway?

  72. [72] 
    Michale wrote:

    It was name calling, pure and simple...

    Why so hypersensitive?

    It's not hypersensitive when friends attack other friends..

    It's... disappointing..

  73. [73] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think I may actually be DONE with this site.

  74. [74] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, OK....

    As a movie quote, that was fairly funny... :D

    But you should have noted it as such...

    It still would have hurt, but I would have laughed it off then.. :D

    OK, no harm no foul.. I rescind my comments..

    Peace out...

  75. [75] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think I may actually be DONE with this site.

    I made a mistake.. My sincerest apologies..

  76. [76] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think I may actually be DONE with this site.

    I made a mistake.. My sincerest apologies..

    Do you REALLY want to leave me as the ONLY Founder here?? :D

  77. [77] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    No, and I did put quotes around the, you know, quote ...

  78. [78] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Should I have clicked on the link in [66]? Because I haven't done that yet ...

  79. [79] 
    Michale wrote:

    Should I have clicked on the link in [66]? Because I haven't done that yet ...

    Yes, by all means.. Click on it..

    And, rest assured, I am admitting it.. :D

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