Falling Out of Love with the GOP

Just a brief comment on “Why I Gave Up Being a Republican” by Michael Stafford — It begins —

When I was young, Ronald Reagan bestrode the world like a colossus. I grew up watching the Cold War end-game play out as Reagan faced down the Soviet Union- which really was evil- and helped break the long night of communist repression in Eastern Europe. He was my hero.

The extent to which Reagan was responsible for the fall of the Iron Curtain is something most of us would, um, quibble about. Reagan was mostly good at posturing and assuming credit for events that other people were driving. However, once again we have the example of a Gen X individual who fell in love with Reagan in his youth and was a loyal Republican for decades after. For many of us who were older in the 1980s Reagan didn’t stride the world like a colossus as much as smother progress like a big, wet blanket. But the young folks sure were taken in.

The rest of Stafford’s article is mildly interesting, also.

15 thoughts on “Falling Out of Love with the GOP

  1. I think the best thing Reagan did was get out of the way. He saw that the SU was crumbling (or people told him), and he didn’t stick out his chest and become a symbol for the other side to rally against. Whether he did this on purpose is open for debate. I hate to think what would have happened if George W had been president during that time. Probably a lot more Tom Clancey novels.

  2. Unlike him, when I was younger, I thought Ronald Reagan was squatting over the world like the senile old fool he was, and with his pants still up, was trying to poop on progress.

    And he was very lucky he had kindly Mr. Gorbachev to deal with, who was a realist, and not some real Soviet hardcore @$$hole like some of his predecessors – or else we might not be here to read and comment – since we’d all be dust.

    I was finishing college when Reagan was sworn in, in 1981, and all of a sudden, within a couple of years I saw, both upstate NY, where I grew-up – and my parents still lived, and NY City, where I had moved to after graduation, newly hatched legions of “Yuppie” Republicans males like Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) of “Family Ties,” and his female counterparts. And they all looked and sounded alike, and mouthed the same platitudes written for Reagan to drop like poisonous seed corn.

    And boy, until the market crashed in late 1987, they SURE loved them some Reagan! And even then, they still worshipped him. I remember trying to tell people that Iran-Contra made Watergate look like child’s play, and almost every one of these yuppies looked at me like I was speaking in tongues. They continue to revere him to this day, and have made some sort of Conservative Golden Idol of him.
    I thought, and still do, that he was a morally bankrupt, well-scripted puppet with a friendly face, whose handlers, and he, couldn’t wait to stick a shiv in the progress made in America since he left the Democratic Party in the late 1950’s.
    Hmm… Late 50’s? I wonder what was happening then? *cough * Civil Rights! *cough

    Still, it’s nice to read another ‘Come Away From Jesus’ moment by a former Republican.
    But I still have a hard time seeing this guy pulling the lever for Obama. Third party – yeah. Obama? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  3. I pretty much agree with all of the above. I’m a bit older than Stafford, but not that much, and I loathed Reagan. He terrified me — I grew up near an obvious nuclear target and literally never expected to survive to see college, the way he kept ramping up tensions. At the time this distracted me from paying much attention to his atrocious domestic policies, though they loom much larger in memory now.

    But in fairness, giving credit where it’s due, what I saw then as enthusiastic saber rattling on Reagan’s part was apparently largely an act. Behind-the-scenes stories about the Reagan white house that have come out since paint a picture of a president who was genuinely horrified by the idea of nuclear war, and who, when fate offered him a way to reduce the threat, took the offer — and did so over the strident objections of many republicans.

    I’m fairly certain that I’d still rather live in the world where Carter beat him in 1980, but… he could’ve done worse.

  4. I don’t know if this less-than 8 minute video will make any other R’s leave their party, but it might make some of the “Centrists” and “Independents” sit-up and take notice:


    That’s the great Thom Hartmann talking about what I’ll now call, “The Caucus Room Putcsh!”
    Fourteen R’s met on Obama Inauguration Day to plan to let this country continue to die economically, and to prevent President Obama from being reelected.
    They are treasonous, seditious, traitors, and I wish the American people could learn about this (but of course, with our cowardly, compliant, and complicit, MSM, THAT ain’t gonna happen), because they should demand that those 14 R’s need to hang – alone, or in a group, THEY NEED TO HANG!

    They willingly sacrificed their country and its people, and turned against their Constitutional oath, for their party, and for power!

    Party over country and people!

    Please watch that video, and spread it around to people you know, and ask them to spread it, etc…

  5. Gulag, I liked your video. But take a look at this HuffPo story:
    and see what you think. I am an Obama voter and contributor, but this has me worried.
    I regularly read Glenn Greenwald, and yet I understand the security posture Obama has taken, so I am less upset than I might otherwise be. Hope to find some information showing this HuffPo article is more smoke than fire, but will have to work on that later this evening.

    Again, thanks for the video link.

  6. “But the young folks sure were taken in”

    Some of us weren’t, but were too young to do anything other than watch a majority of our olders-n-betters vote for him.

  7. I was in a conversation with a psychotherapist a few days ago, who credited Reagan for creating homeless people. My friend claimed that the overwhelming majority of the homeless have some kind of severe mental disorder, and Reagan merely dumped them out, onto the streets. Prior to Reagan, there were hoboes and bums, but street people as such really didn’t exist to the degree they do today.

    I’m glad Stafford finally woke up. He’s only twenty years older than me, and I realized a few years ago, that had I come of age in the 1980s as he did, I too, likely would’ve succumbed to the era’s pull and gone Reagan, along with all of my peers. Such incredibly good karma to have been born in a better time; such terrible karma to see much of it negated by what followed next.

  8. It is my point of view that for the last half of Reagans term in office that he didn’t in fact, have any clue what was going on. Please understand I don’t say that with disrespect the way I might about gw bush- he was born clueless, but I believe the alzheimers was a factor for Reagan before his second term. And that he was lost not long after. I am certain the world would be shocked if they knew their idol the president and may have not even known it. I can almost here bush sr saying “If we can pull this off, having a pres who is gone from alzheimers without anyone knowing someone else is really in charge then perhaps even my idiot son could someday be president” It showed them how easy it was to pull the wool over the eyes of Americans.
    BTW does anyone remember the interest rates on loans during the Reagan era?

  9. Jebbie has been all over the news thae last several days. He is now being promoted as centrist and pragmatic. With the convention just a “whisper” away, can a freaked-out party be preparing to throw Romney under the bus for another Bush?
    The Ron Paul-ites are sprayed bug crazy over Rand endorsing Romney, and many “other” factions are put off by Romney’s” all over the map” retoric.
    Obama has given the GOP every opportunity to embrace him, but they can’t get over the “D”, this is tribalism at it’s best (worst?).

  10. Bill B., “never smile at a crocodile” has its root in fact.
    Yesterday, I had a rare encounter with 5 reptiles, a gopher tortise crossing the street (sweet!) a black racer crossing the street next (cool!) then about a 12 ft ‘gator at a bridge (danger!, but cool), then I visited the nearby Serpentarium where I made contact with a nile crocodile and a 12 ft king cobra ( both behind glass).
    It was so strange, they HATED eye contact, the cobra got REALLY angry, the croc did not like it.
    Today, I had an encounter with a righty, everything wrong is the fault of “the government”.blacks, welfare, and unions. I’m so glad he let me know…..”

  11. I must have missed the news that day as Reagan parachuted into Moscow with the 82nd Airborne and destroyed the Soviet Union.

    This ‘Reagan Won the Cold War’ meme is a major piece of right-wing mythmaking. Like many right-wing defective ideas, it doesn’t travel much beyond America’s borders. Ask someone in other western countries and Reagan was one of the main players present as the Cold War ended, but hardly the leading or decisive role.

    The Reaganites were strong on media manipulation and tough-guy posturing to impress shallow minds. So many Americans seem to swoon over his “Tear down this wall” speech, yet Reagan was restating what had been US policy for decades, hardly an unpopular or controversial position, but ooh he sounded so tough and forceful! Give me a break.

    As a shallow mind himself, apparently Reagan woke up to the horrors of nuclear war only after watching The Day After mini-series. And he was perhaps overly impressed with Gorbachev’s western-politician-style charm and polish, just as he was overly put off by the brusque appearance of Gorbi’s predecessors.

    What I will say for him is that he was accommodative rather than playing John-Wayne-bellicose-dumbass when Gorbachev reached out to negotiate as he tried to manage the decline of the Soviet Union — over the objections of Cheney and other chickenhawks at the time. GW Bush would have done a lot worse.

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