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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

 
Reagan as electro-schock therapy

by digby

Back during the 2008 campaign you may recall that there was a major blogospheric dust-up over Senator Obama's comments about Ronald Reagan and his transformational abilities. A lot of us older folks were upset by the evocation of someone we had loathed with every fiber of our being for decades, but Rick Perlstein made an excellent point at the time about how it could be useful at times and explained the wrong and right ways to do it:

Reagan didn't praise FDR. He stole from him. As in, "This generation has a rendez vous with destiny." We should steal from Reagan too. As in: "There is no left and right. Only up or down." He would then use that intro to frame some outrageously right-wing notion as "common sense." We should do the same for left-wing ideas.

Also, use Reagan to mess with righties' heads. As in: I agree we need a Reaganite foreign policy. When Reagan realized we were caught in the crossfire of a religious civil war in Lebanon, he got the hell out. He would have done the same thing in Iraq.The rule isn't "never say anything nice about Reagan." It's "use Reagan for progressive ends."


It looks as thought the House liberals are following that advice and it's a beautiful thing. Here's Greg Sargent:

Dana Milbank had a provocative column this morning arguing that on the debt ceiling, Dems have become the new party of Ronald Reagan, and that Republicans only honor their alleged hero Reagan in the breach and not the observance. After all, Reagan presided over 18 debt ceiling hikes as President. But for a large swath of today’s House conservatives, the drive to prevent the debt ceiling from being hiked has replaced the now-forgotten push to repeal Obamacare as their number one ideological cause celebre.

Now House liberals have hit on a fun new way of emphasizing this point: They are sending a letter today to every House Republican asking them to raise the debt limit. Only the letter wasn’t written by House liberals. It was written by Reagan himself.


Here's the letter to Minority Leader Howard Baker:

Dear Howard:
This letter is to ask for your help and support, and that of your colleagues, in the passage of an increase in the limit on the public debt.

As Secretary Regan has told you, the Treasury’s cash balances have reached a dangerously low point. Henceforth, the Treasury Department cannot guarantee that the Federal Government will have sufficient cash on any one day to meet all of its mandated expenses, and thus the United States could be forced to default on its obligations for the first time in its history.

This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default or even the serious prospect of default by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the cost, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns.

I want to thank you for your immediate attention to this urgent problem and for your assistance in passing an extension of the debt ceiling.

Sincerely,

Ronald Reagan


Greg thinks they are doing this to help persuade the public since the tea partiers are beyond hope. But I also think they are doing what Rick outlined above --- messing with their minds. And that's a good thing. Maybe a little dissonance of this type will serve as political electro-shock therapy and bring one or two of them out of their Orange Pekoe fugue state. It could happen.


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