It’s fun to live in a zip code that politicos view as split between Republicans and Democrats. I get phone calls, door knocks and mailings from both sides. And this week, I got a doozy: the 2015 Reagan Ranch calendar.
Each month features a photo of saint Ronald himself engaged in a ranch-y activity: Reagan cutting a log with a chain-saw. Reagan paddling a canoe. Reagan riding a horse. If I hang this on the wall, I can relive those wonderful days of yesteryear, when all was right with the world, before the evil interloper Barack Obama took away our freedoms, became a dictator and simultaneously didn’t do his job.
Sadly, there are no pictures of Reagan killing PATCO, the air-traffic-controllers’ union—a very visible opening salvo in the continuing war on working people and collective bargaining. No pictures of him tripling the national debt, or of the giant Reagan Office Building in Washington DC that gives the lie to Reagan’s espousal of smaller government. And no pictures of Reagan’s closest advisors sabotaging Jimmy Carter’s efforts to release the hostages held by Iran, or of Iran-Contra. That he worked on some of these issues and crises at the Ranch—also known as the Western White House during his term in office—makes me cringe even more.
The four-page letter accompanying the calendar comes “from the desk of Michael Reagan,” Ronnie’s son, to whom has fallen the job of preserving the former president’s saintly image and his 688-acre ranch in southern California. You see, gripes Michael, “the Clinton administration had no interest in saving the site. The California assembly passed up the opportunity to preserve it,” too.
That should tell us something. But Michael presses on.
“Thankfully, Young America’s Foundation—the premier conservative student outreach organization in America—stepped in to save the Ranch…They recognized the powerful impact the Ranch could have in teaching our nation’s youth about conservative principles.”
“…In these days when the leftists in Washington are expanding government and radically transforming our nation, it is vitally important that America’s youth understand my dad’s vision of freedom, so they can fight back against socialism.”
Let’s see: I seem to recall that when Ronald Reagan was a “young American,” he was a Democrat and a union leader–in fact, a six-term president of the AFL-CIO affiliated Screen Actors Guild. As late as 1980, early in his presidency, he spoke out against Poland’s crackdown on labor unions, saying,” one of the most elemental human rights [is] the right to belong to a trade union.”
Reagan also expanded Medicaid several times during his presidency and signed legislation that laid the foundation for what is now the Affordable Care Act.
Ignoring these facts, Michael wants me to donate so that young people can go to the ranch for seminars led by “top conservative speakers, such as: “Ted Cruz. Rand Paul. Dr. Ben Carson. Senator Mike Lee. Steve Forbes. Michelle Malkin. Gov. Scott Walker. Ed Meese, and Senator Rick Santorum.”
That’s a rogue’s gallery of some of the worst right-wing conservatives, whose policies hurt young people [especially if they are non-white and/or economically disadvantaged], and restrict their freedoms, such as voting. The young Ronald Reagan—maybe even the older one—would have been shocked.
So, sorry Michael. I know you loved your daddy. But I won’t be contributing $15, $25, $50, $100, $500, or$1,000 “to ensure that President Reagan’s freedom philosophy and accomplishments are passed on to today’s youth and future generations.” Even if I have to pass up the opportunity, for $1,000, to have my name “engraved on the Freedom Wall at the Reagan Ranch.”