Wow. Last night, Bill Maher absolutely eviscerated the fond memory too many people in America have today of Ronald Reagan.
And finally, New Rule: when Bob Dole, a guy so Republican his adult diaper has a flagpin (audience groaning laughter), when he says his party has become a bunch of idea-free ideologues who obstruct too much, people should listen. But they should also question his other statement that Ronald Reagan himself couldn't have made it today as a Republican.Video below the fold.
This has become a kind of conventional wisdom, that the Republican Party has gone so far right, Reagan himself wouldn't fit in. But I'm here tonight to call bullshit on that. Ronald Reagan was an anti-government, union-busting, race-baiting, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-intellectual, who cut rich people's taxes in half, had an incurable case for the military-industrial complex, and said Medicare was socialism that would destroy our freedom. Sounds to me like he would fit in just fine. (audience applause)
Now, I know over at Fox News right now, they're already putting out a fatwa on me, for committing the cardinal sin of taking in vain the sacred name of Ronald Reagan. It's a name like Jesus Christ — you can say it, but only in a good way. Like, "Jesus Christ, bless this chili dog." Not like, "Jesus Christ, look at the ass on Rihanna!" No, can't do that.
But what they cannot contest is that even though Reagan did a few things today's GOP would not like, he wrote the playbook for them on every issue of consequence. Sure, he raised taxes a few times, but when you look at where he started with taxes and where he ended, this is where our income inequality problems began. He invented voodoo economics.
On race, his ideas couldn't have been more Tea Party if he shouted them from a rascal scooter. He ran on states' rights. He invented the notion that black people get all the breaks, constantly telling the story of the Chicago woman — wink, wink — who has "80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards", and her tax-free cash income is over $150,000. And that woman today is RuPaul. Actually, that woman never existed. Reagan just made shit up, something else he pioneered for his party of today. (audience applause)
He described the New Deal as "fascism", Medicaid recipients as "waiting for handouts", unemployment insurance as "pre-paid vacation for freeloaders", and once said, "a tree's a tree, how many more do you need to look at?" He was the original official pitchman for batshit. When they hold up signs that say "no socialized medicine", where do you think they got it from? We got it from you, dad, we got it from you.RONALD REAGAN: If you don't do this and if I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in American when men were free.Drama queen much? (audience laughter)
Worst of all, Reagan inspired a whole generation of people who hate government to get into government. Both sides really should stop pretending he was something other than the man most responsible for our decline. (wild audience cheering and applause) And I do mean both sides.
You know, I get why Republicans worship Reagan, they're the religious party. Worship is in their DNA. They can't help it. They love him beyond logic. Last year, they tried to elect his haircut.
They want him on a stamp so they can lick his backside. (audience groaning laughter)
But why are Democrats conceding the argument on Reagan? Obama talks about him like he's a brother from another mother! "He changed the trajectory of America." Yes, but not for the better! When you mainstream Reagan, the far-right becomes the new middle.
He wasn't a friend to all Americans. He was Patient Zero for everything you're fighting against now. He was the original teabagger. Stop agreeing he was a saint. Especially when his two miracles were turning water into polluted water and walking on the poor.