Ronald Reagan: Live The Fantasy!

Republican Tinkerbell

The thoughtful press peepers at Media Matters For America [just typing it gives a tingle!] have detected a pattern in Republican affairs:  free-floating New Reagan naming, often not tied to any visible speaking skill or charisma.

Christie On A Stick! 

They run down the usual names named, your Palins, Rubios and the like, but several of the reborn seem to have escaped their view.

Lest we forget, some have imagined the mantel falling on Rubio’s leathery opponent, Charlie Crist.  Before his auditioning to become the Robert Byrd of the desert wastelands,  John McCain was considered amoung the Reagan Undead. Until he stumbled into a cracker history morass Virginia Governor Robert F. “Bob” McDonnell was seen, at least in Pat Robertson’s alternative universe, as Reaganesque. And South Korean hard man President Lee Myung-bak was Reagan walking until it was discovered voters didn’t thrill to the prospect of confrontation with the North.

But our favorite New Reagan of Today lives in South Africa:

zuma-dances.jpg  step forward President Zuma!

Viewing Richard Nixon’s Grave In Ease & Comfort

Oh, Don’t Get Up

With Obama Till The End [& Beyond]

Stuffed And Mounted?
Via Wonkette, deeply disturbing news on the “how may I take my unhealthy interest in all Obama-licious to troubling new heights” front.

George W. Bush: Scene Of The Last Roundup?

        Grave Importance   

Fancy color sketches and models of the George W. Bush Presidential Library have been loosed upon an anxious world, and must be mined for clues.

Like, where will they bury him?

Assuming Bush follows the pharaoh-ic path of FDR, Truman, Ike, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and his father’s plan at College Station, he’ll have to be buried on site. If the “Texas Rose Garden” above is a little too outdoorsy, there is the Freedom Tractor Beam inside.


The careful viewer will note a presidential quote on the wall behind the generic assembled white folks.

It’s a line from Bush’s 2004 Republican Convention acceptance speech, in which he claimed we are summoned by a “calling from beyond the stars.“  Here on Earth Bush had begun the year attempting a call to greatness with a vague drumbeat for Mars exploration, then buried the exciting initiative by the time of his State of The Union address.

The convention speech itself was delivered with a spaceport motif.

A model of the George W. Bush Presidential Center is displayed Wednesday in Dallas. This view shows the north facade along SMU Boulevard.   SPECIAL TO THE STAR-TELEGRAM/DAVID WOO   The Library grounds are touted as a Bush gift to the nation, or at least SMU, providing “numerous spaces for events and gatherings,” but don’t plan your protest rally just yet.

… unlike the formal, tree-lined landscape of the main campus, this garden contains hills and draws and winding paths that conceal surveillance cameras and other security equipment.

       View from southeast of the Bush presidential library

This President’s Day, Stay Home!

As You Were  presidential_address.gif

A hardy perennial as President’s Day approaches is the nation’s great editorial voices lamenting the sad spectacle of Americans swarming the malls rather than making pilgrimage to stately presidential homes and memorials.

The economy should knock out retail worries this year, and pilgrimages have their own troubles.


President’s Day’s origin, such as it is, lies in Seventies legislation to standardize Federal holidays and shove as many as possible into three day weekends.

In days of yore February was the setting for George Washington’s Birthday Day sales, as well as Congress’s annual reading of his Farewell Address.  That part of the country which won the Civil War [you know who you are] observed Lincoln’s Birthday. Congress sort of fudged on what they were doing, apostrophes have wandered, and for elementary school civics and retail purposes the thing has become a catchall day for all presidents.

Let’s go to the shrines!  presidential-libraries-us-map.jpg

The pan-presidential holiday has opened the field to our unique American marketing genius.  Every crossing of the road once graced by a former Great spruces up for the expected masses.

Many of them are house museums, where  generations of captured audience school children learn the furniture preferences of former Americans, insofar as we can reconstruct them.

Woodrow Wilson’s Augusta Georgia childhood home is typical of the genre’s limitations.  This President’s Day it will feature free admission and actors playing Wilson and spouses.  Americans may never know how Wilson led us in war, launched massive repression of war opponents, or cemented segregation in Washington DC, but thanks to re-enactors we will know he married twice!


What ever is the point of these places?

Their guardians seem to miss it. The William McKinley complex in Canton Ohio is typical.

mckinley-administration-promises.jpg   The McKinley era had real consequence, launching us into an exciting new century of imperial adventure, defeating populism at home, and not least boosting the career of McKinley’s successor Teddy Roosevelt, role model for generations of reactionaries who wished to be seen as both forceful and thoughtful.

You’d never know it in Canton, but for the size of his tomb.


The McKinley museum has run out or never had anything to say about our martyred president, now featuring a science museum,  model trains, and fire-poles for the kids.

Franklin Roosevelt launched our glorious tradition of pharaoh-fication, famously parking the first presidential library in his yard and having himself buried there for the full experience.

The special local-ness of these little bits o’ greatness scattered over the landscape are celebrated by America’s leading purveyor of thoughtful presidential historian mush, mccullough-with-presicc960.jpg David  McCullough:

” it is valuable for anyone trying to understand the life of a particular president should come to the place that produced that human being, where his memory is part of the story of that place.“


Stirring words, except Reagan’s location is an accident of real estate after Stanford, where he had no ties, turned him down. Nixon crawled back to Yorba Linda after numerous rejections elsewhere, and Bush Sr is in College Station for ideological congruity, not any local ties.

The great tradition is coming to its logical end at the FDR Library, where the seventy-five year old structure’s roof leaks, the wiring is shot, and damp threatens the Roosevelt papers. A $17 million fix is requested.

Just why this national collection of randomly sited mini-archives must be maintained and expanded into perpetuity even as they are pilfered from within is unclear.