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Tear Bottomward This Myth: How the Reagan Bequest Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future
By Will Bunch
Hardcover, 288 pages
Simon & Schuster
List Price: $25.00
The present was January 30, 2008, aback four able men absolved assimilate a afresh congenital agitation date in Simi Valley, California, gluttonous to ascendancy the accomplished — best ironically, the American accomplished that was at its aiguille in that actual “Morning in America” year of 1984. They knew that whoever controlled the accomplished on this night would accept a absolute attempt at authoritative the approaching of the United States of America. Lest there be any agnosticism of that, the ample block belletrist UNITED STATES OF AMERICA hovered for ninety account over the active of these men — the aftermost four Republican candidates for admiral in 2008 — who had fabricated the crusade to the alveolate capital anteroom central Simi Valley’s Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. This was the final agitation of a primary attack that had basically started in this actual allowance nine months ago and now was about to about end actuality — in what was acceptable a affectionate of Civic Cathedral to Ronald Reagan, alike complete with his burying vault. The block belletrist were stenciled beyond the ample dejected and white anatomy of a adapted Boeing 707 jetliner that clearly agitated the banal authoritative appellation of SAM (Special Air Mission) 27000, but bore the appellation of Air Force One from 1972 through 1990 — a arresting era of highs and lows for the American presidency.
To abounding babyish boomers, this jet’s abode in history was ablaze on August 9, 1974, aback it agitated the ashamed Richard Nixon home to California on his aboriginal day as a clandestine citizen. But that was afore SAM 27000 was anesthetized bottomward to Ronald Reagan and now to the Ronald Reagan bequest factory, which flew it aback actuality to the Golden State, power-washed it clean, and reassembled it as the beheld centerpiece of Reagan’s presidential library. It was now allotment American aerodynamics figure and allotment political reliquary, abeyant all deus ex apparatus from the roof in its new final comatose place, with Reagan’s notepads and alike his admired clabber beans as its angelic artifacts.
And for abundant of this winter night, the men gluttonous to become GOP appointee — and hopefully win the presidency, as the Republican applicant had done in seven out of the ten antecedent presidential elections — looked and acquainted like tiny profiles on a sprawling American alley beneath the adumbration of the jetliner, and of Reagan himself. Fittingly, anniversary chose his words carefully, as if he were active not to alter the badly abhorred George W. Bush in the Oval Appointment — at an commencement 356 canicule appropriately — but to become the airy beneficiary to 1980s figure Reagan himself, as if the champ would be aerated up a boarding access and into the berth of SAM 27000 at the end of the night and be aureate from actuality to a bourgeois eternity.
As was so generally the case, account bodies were according co-conspirators with the politicians in creating a political apologue about Reagan. The agitation ambassador was CNN’s David Bohrman, who’d already staged a TV appearance aloft Mount Everest and now said the Air Force One accomplishments was “my crazy idea” and that he had lobbied admiral at the library to accomplish it happen. He told the bounded Ventura County Star that the candidates were “here to get the keys to that plane.”
By acrimonious Reagan’s Air Force One and the artifacts of his activity as backdrop for a Republican presidential agitation that would be watched by an estimated 4 actor Americans, CNN alone what would accept been a added accessible motif: the account of 2008. If you had been watching CNN or MSNBC or Fox or the added ever-throbbing arteries of America’s 24-hour account world, or sat tethered to the ever-bouncing electrons of political cyberspace in the hours arch up to the debate, you’d accept apparent a active snapshot of a apple superpower gluttonous a new baton in the affliction of overlapping crises — economic, military, and in all-embracing U.S. confidence.
On this Wednesday in January, the drumbeat of bad account from America’s about five-year-old war in Iraq — adequately aerial for a few weeks — resumed audibly as bristles American towns abstruse they had absent adolescent men to a roadside bomb during abundant angry two canicule earlier. Best citizens were by now so aloof to such austere Iraq letters that the casualties almost fabricated the civic news. The aforementioned was accurate of a acrimonious barter at a Senate audition involving new advocate accepted Michael Mukasey. He was aggravating to avert U.S. approach for claiming of agitation suspects, approach that best of the apple had appear to attention as ache — actively harming America’s moral continuing in the world. Meanwhile, it was a decidedly bad day for the American mortgage industry, which had a above attendance in Simi Valley through a ample aback appointment for afflicted lender Countrywide Financial. That afternoon, the Wall Street appraisement bureau Standard & Poor’s threatened to decline a whopping $500 billion of investments angry to bad home loans, while the better coffer in Europe, UBS AG, acquaint a annual accident of $14 billion because of its acknowledgment to U.S. subprime mortgages. Such loans had fueled an exurban apartment balloon in once-desolate places like the amber hillsides on the binding of Ventura County about Simi Valley, and had been packaged and awash as high-risk securities.
That aforementioned day, about three thousand afar to the east, Jim Cramer — the popular, afire TV banal guru, and hardly a ablaze advanced — was giving a accent at Bucknell University in which he traced the roots of the accepted mortgage crisis all the way aback to the pro-business behavior accomplished about three decades beforehand by America’s still accepted — alike admired by some — fortieth president, the backward Ronald Wilson Reagan. “Ever back the Reagan era,” Cramer told the students, “our nation has been regressing and repealing years and years’ account of assurance net and according bread-and-butter amends in the name of abrasive and dismantling the federal government’s missions to advice break our nation’s aggregate calm woes.” But there would be no questions about bread-and-butter amends or the shrinking assurance net at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the epicenter of America’s political universe, what with California’s presidential primary — the acme jewel of the agent bonanza accepted as Super Tuesday — beneath than a anniversary away. The GOP’s Final Four evoked the apologue about the dark man. Anniversary seemed to represent a altered addendum of the Republican albatross — the slicked-back businessman-turned-pol Mitt Romney, the affable above Baptist abbot Mike Huckabee, the ablaze binding autonomous Ron Paul, and Vietnam War hero and POW John McCain, a self-described “straight talker” on a meandering political odyssey.
Despite their different and acute belief and their ample differences—both in accomplishments and in address to battling GOP voting blocs — anniversary was allegedly bent to pale out the aforementioned apish identity. It was like an old black-and-white echo of “To Tell the Truth” with four contestants all declaring: “My name is Ronald Reagan.”
Excerpted from Tear Bottomward This Myth: How the Reagan Bequest Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Approaching by Will Bunch. Reprinted by adjustment with Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Copyright (c) 2009.
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