Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Teabaggers Mock Man With Parkinson's; Chris Matthews Rewrites History

This video, shot by the Columbus Dispatch in front of Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy's district office, includes a segment in which a man with Parkinson’s is mocked and scorned by Teabaggers, one of whom throws dollar bills in his face. Chris Matthews of Hardball, in fine fettle this day (Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Chris!) offered the unfounded fantasy that Ronald Reagan “would have sat down to talk with this guy.”

Chris’s “Reagan Democrat” flirtations are not only annoying, but what’s worse, place him in the Texas Board of Re-Education fiction-over-fact camp. Chris’s promo says he’s a real tough interviewer who will notice “turbulence” and a “weakness” in the interviewees’ arguments, at which point he will pounce. Most of the time, though, I’ve seen him going over that metaphorical waterfall. He should have been tougher with that Texas Board member, the so-called “strict constructionist” who was cloyingly earnest, bemoaning the “trampling on the rights of the minority” while she had proceeded to do just that time and again. It’s not a question of “patterns” (the guy from the Dallas paper was woefully unprepared), it’s about not introducing falsehoods, such as the claim the Founding Fathers were Christians (why didn’t you ask her directly, Chris?) who did not intend there to be a “wall of separation” between church and state (Jefferson’s words) because it is not specified in the Constitution. Remember, Chris, that Board member said she was a “strict constructionist.” That’s CODE for, if it’s not in the Constitution, e.g., the separation of church and state, it doesn’t exist. Therefore, Jefferson is OUT.

That’s the bottom line. As for Ronald Reagan, the president who destroyed our nation’s industrial base and opened the door to the ascendancy of the religious extremists we see today rewriting our history in Texas, I am convinced he will go down in history as one of the worst, most destructive presidents ever. (That is, if our history is written by historians and not right wing hacks with a political and ideological agenda.) It’s one thing to exaggerate Reagan’s presidency (without the “a” to spell Don “SPEED IT UP” Regan) with false encomiums from the right, such as, he “won” the Cold War; it’s another to mythologize the man with nonsense, as Chris has done.

Here’s what I know, Chris: I have a friend who called Reagan Satan because his sister died of AIDS and Reagan did little for those afflicted with this horrible disease, much less even acknowledge it, mentioning AIDS by name only once during his entire presidency. As for your homily about him sitting down with the sick, these quotes come to mind:
“I'd like to harness their youthful energy with a strap.”--Concerning student demonstrations in California, 1966

“Welfare recipients are a faceless mass waiting for a handout.”—1966

“The time has come to stop being our brother's keeper.”--Concerning welfare budget cuts in California, 1967
Oh sure, most of these quotes were made during Reagan’s “Dark Period” as governor, not as the genial dunce who wrecked our country for generations, perhaps forever, destroyed our nation’s industrial base, depleted our middle class, and poisoned our politics with the extremism of the wingnuts. One good thing Reagan did: He radicalized Michael Moore, who was at Ground Zero, America’s rust belt, when the Reagan plagues of the 80s were unleashed on America’s working class.

Reagan didn’t change his stripes as president, he only got better speechwriters. And a cutthroat butler, Don Regan, the power behind the throne who bossed him around with astonishing disrespect, if not for the man, then for the office. This is a quote from Reagan, the president, in which he made light of AIDS:
“[M]aybe the Lord brought down this plague” because “illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments.”
This “Dark” Reagan that the Pollyanna-ish Chris Matthews, with his rose-tinted glasses, refuses to recognize would have certainly taken the side of the Teabaggers. Only in a slightly more dignified fashion, perhaps, which isn’t saying much.

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