Blogger Charles Pierce: Reagan Established GOP Tradition of Being ‘As Full of Crap As the Christmas Goose’

“There'll be scary ghost stories,” sang Andy Williams on a Christmas album of long, long ago. In a Monday post, Esquire’s Charles Pierce suggested that “ghost stories” of a sort -- “obvious lies,” as he also put it -- have become part and parcel of Republican campaigning, and that “as with so many things, this all began with Ronald Reagan.”

Pierce argued that Donald Trump is “the logical end product of almost 40 years of conservative politics. Reagan was as full of crap as the Christmas goose, and in the same way that Trump and [Ben] Carson are. Trump has dancing Muslims. Reagan had the fictitious welfare queen in Chicago…Trump has weaponized Reagan's fabulism and that seems to make a difference to some people. But nothing that has happened in this campaign, up to and including the latest spasm of outright bigotry and fear-mongering, is new in the recent history of Republican politics. It always is the person who tells the best ghost stories who wins.”

From Pierce’s post (bolding added):

[W]e seem to have crossed over an invisible border from the ordinary narrative bullshit that is customary to presidential campaigns into a strange shadowland in which bizarre (and easily—and, occasionally, previously—debunked) tales have come to define candidates, and to define them, if not positively, then not entirely in a negative way, either. To stick with your story about Muslims on the rooftops in the face of all the available evidence is a way to demonstrate that you "won't back down" or that you're not "politically correct." The logic seems to be that, if you stand firmly behind your hogwash, and the wilder the hogwash the better, then you will face down Vladimir Putin before breakfast and frighten Daesh to death just after lunch. Apparently, if you're bold enough to tell obvious lies in public, and then stick to those lies when you get called on them, you are brave enough to be president.

As with so many things, this all began with Ronald Reagan. Those people who claim that Donald Trump is sui generis in this regard are very much the same as those people who find him a unique political phenomenon, instead of the logical end product of almost 40 years of conservative politics. Reagan was as full of crap as the Christmas goose, and in the same way that Trump and Carson are. Trump has dancing Muslims. Reagan had the fictitious welfare queen in Chicago. Carson had his attempt to stab a classmate. Reagan had his march into Auschwitz to liberate the death camp there. The difference is that Reagan slung his hooey with a smile and a wink. Trump has weaponized Reagan's fabulism and that seems to make a difference to some people. But nothing that has happened in this campaign, up to and including the latest spasm of outright bigotry and fear-mongering, is new in the recent history of Republican politics. It always is the person who tells the best ghost stories who wins…

…American politics has been slouching toward the supernatural for three decades now, since Ronald Reagan marched into Auschwitz in his mind. The whole system is clogged now with corporate money and ectoplasm.

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Conservatives & Republicans Esquire Charles Pierce Ronald Reagan Donald Trump Ben Carson


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