Saturday, June 9, 2012

Conspiracy Theory?

I've come to the conclusion that the partisan political situation as it exists in the U.S. currently may be pushing me over the edge into full-blown paranoia. I just got back from driving down to Florida to spend some time with my kids and on that trip, I drove on at least two Ronald Reagan Memorial Highways and passed at least one Ronald Reagan Elementary School. Of course, I've known for the last 30 years that the Republicans have had an agenda to name as many things after their hero as they possibly can so I believe these three examples are a drop in the bucket of Ronald Reagan-named governmental entities across the country. At one time, they even wanted to put Sir Ronald on one of our coins (as I recall, it was the dime but I may be wrong about that). Thankfully, that effort failed (partly because RR was still alive at the time and it was considered somewhat premature) but I have no doubt that the idea was only put on the back burner and will boil up again someday.

....Because the Republicans are long-range thinkers. While Democrats dance along reacting to the moment, I'm sure Republican think tanks have fully developed five and ten and twenty and fifty year plans. And Republicans are more devious than Democrats. While we Dems believe we are playing by a fixed set of rules, the R's aren't even playing the same game.

While I was cruising along on my trip, I was thinking that Bill Clinton is the equivalent of Ronald Reagan for the Democrats but, by so tarnishing his reputation through impeachment, the Republicans ensured that we will likely never see a Bill Clinton International Airport or a Bill Clinton Memorial Highway or a Bill Clinton High School. It was kind of an "aha!" moment for me. I thought, "so that's part of what impeachment was all about."

While I'm sure the Republicans would have been happy if they'd succeeded in booting Bill out of office, perhaps that wasn't even the end game. Instead, it's this: that a beloved Democrat president will never, ever be able to threaten the sainted Reagan's standing at the top of the Previous Presidents' Pedestal.

We could have done the same to their guy, of course. Iran-Contra provided more than enough ammunition to bring impeachment proceedings against Reagan but Democrats just don't have that killer instinct. We pull out our little paring knives now and then and nick someone but at the first side of blood, we become nauseated and retreat. Meanwhile, Republicans go for the throat. Democrats have Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi on our family tree; the Republicans have Attila the Hun and Vlad the Impaler on theirs.

A recent survey showed that Bill Clinton has by far the highest favorability ratings of our last four former presidents - Jimmie Carter, himself, George Bush, Sr. and George Bush, Jr. Democrat ex-presidents tend to be activists after they leave the White House. Both Carter and Clinton have put themselves out there on the world stage to try to bring about positive changes. Bill Clinton has the stature to pull together powerful and important people of all stripes to contribute both money and time through the Clinton Foundation for the benefit of those less fortunate. So Bill has managed to rehabilitate himself to a large degree.

Still, can you imagine an elementary school naming itself after a president who was impeached over a blow job (rather than colluding with both Iran and the Nicaraguan contras, thus breaking two laws at the same time)? No, me either.

So, mission accomplished for the Republicans. Clinton's theme song was Can't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Republican signature song should be Tomorrow Is Forever.