Circa 1949

Here’s a little video in honor of St. Ronnie’s 100th birthday. As far as I’m concerned, this is pretty much a documentary of the Reagan attitude, plus or minus Grenada and cocktails with Tip. His presidency marked the beginning of the nostalgic, “America fuck yeah” non-response to real problems. Even so, he’d be called a RINO today, because he governed as a center-right President who raised taxes and signed an amnesty bill for undocumented immigrants.

34 replies
  1. 1
    Rick Taylor says:

    During Reagan’s presidency, there was a bumper sticker that read, “You know, I miss Jimmy. . . . Hell, I miss Dick!” The scary thing is that now Reagan is looking good compared to the Republicans we have today.

  2. 2
    DougJ® says:

    Well put.

  3. 3
    El Cid says:

    Actually, it was a beginning of an attack on responses to real problems.

    We would have been much better off if the Reaganoids had merely focused on “non-responses”.

  4. 4
    stuckinred says:

    David is teaching at UGA! I was born in 1949! Woo hoo! Wow, I just checked and I have 19 mutual facebook friends with his wife. . . amazin.

  5. 5
    gnomedad says:

    His presidency marked the beginning of the nostalgic, “America fuck yeah” non-response to real problems.

    @El Cid:

    Actually, it was a beginning of an attack on responses to real problems.

    Also, too.

    Actually, next time Rick Perlstein is around, it would be interesting to see if he thinks this was really something new.

  6. 6
    terraformer says:

    Because shut up, that’s why.

  7. 7
    BR says:

    And not only did our leaders take that approach since Reagan’s time, the media has followed along – becoming more and more incapable of facing things head on. As my friend said about CNN (specifically at the airport):

    The airport TV situation is so fucking intolerable. TVs everywhere, loud as fuck, blathering the same inane 15-minute CNN loop on repeat. It’s like some juvenile installation art piece: “I glean telemedia detritus from coporate news sources, using it to create bricolage which, by its repetitive elements and juxtaposition of alarming subject-matter and reassuring tone, distills within the viewer an awareness of contemporary society’s abject unreadiness to face its collective problems.” Goddamnit I am getting annoyed just thinking about being there.

  8. 8
    stuckinred says:

    @BR: I ain’t got no fucking “leaders”!

  9. 9
    BR says:


    I wasn’t alive then, but I’d like to think folks thought of FDR or JFK as leaders. But yeah, I agree with you now.

  10. 10
    chopper says:

    don’t forget ‘laughing at the AIDS epidemic’. that was all in good fun tho.

  11. 11
    stuckinred says:

    @BR: I never bought the JFK thing but that’s just me.

    From Halberstam’s “The Coldest Winter:

    In addition, the Kennedy administration had done something extremely dangerous when it increased the larger mission to Vietnam: it corrupted the truth to suit its political needs for short term political profit-in effect buying time to get through the 1964 election. Because in the process it planted the flag even more deeply, it needed even greater results, for appearances were everything, and it needed them faster. But those results were not forthcoming, because the policy never worked. Never. Therefore, to compensate for the failure to produce the desired results in the field, the Kennedy administration soon created something quite extraordinary, a giant lying machine, one based in Washington, with its major affiliate in Saigon, and machine that not only systematically rejected all pessimistic reports from the field, and punished those who tried to tell the truth, but created it’s own illusion of victories and successes, victories and successes that never existed. It was a great exercise in self-deception: what the great lying machine did in that period was delay the arrival of the truth in Washington by some three years, and of course it also began the process of diminishing the credibility of the government of the United States. What was also lost in those three years was the ability to make wiser judgments about whether the commitment worked.. . .

    One day when he came out of an NSC meeting in which they had discussed some disastrous problem handed down by the previous administrations he said, “Oh well, think of what we’ll pass on to the poor fellow who comes after me”.

  12. 12
    Suck It Up! says:

    Seriously though, that amnesty kept my mother here in the US which made it easier to bring us kids to America.

  13. 13
    El Cid says:

    @stuckinred: Well, the Spanish American War in which the US (sticking for the moment to the Cuban aspect) capitalized on the victory by domestic Cuban forces in throwing out the Spanish imperial rulers by attacking the victorious forces at their weakest to take the island.

    The US didn’t drive Spain out — that had already been done by Cubans. The US *used* the Cuban victory to conquer Cubans and take it from the Cubans, not from the Spanish.

    That entire war was based on a fraudulent attack on the US by Spain and the hyping of that offense and threat. “Remember the Maine, To Hell with Spain” represented a battle cry based on a case in which a US battleship sent to Cuba exploded in the harbor, for reasons unknown to this day. At the time a pro-war Congressional-backed commission concluded the ship’s magazine exploded from a sea mine lain by the Spanish.

    (The Reagan administration was found by the International Court of Justice in the Hague to have committed the war crime of aggression by mining Nicaragua’s harbors; the charge was withdrawn when Nicaraguans voted out the Sandinistas as the only way of getting the US to stop destroying their country and paying terrorists to attack civilians and civilian infrastructure.)

    This was a useful occasion for the Fox News and pro-warhawk press to mobilize a grand propaganda campaign to support a march to war, alongside the openly imperialist McKinley administration. At that time the private propagandist was publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.

    It’s not just the economic upper class anti-regulatory anarchy which gets the ideological and pundit right wing so infatuated with the McKinley years of 1898. Nor the complete reconquering of the South by white supremist forces by that year. It was the open and crudely celebrated imperialism.

    Gulf of Tonkin fraud, anyone?

    It is fair to note that the taking of Cuba from the Cubans and imposition of laws giving US interests rule (Guantanamo’s retention based upon those imperial laws) did not constitute a burden like the attack on North & South Vietnam (the civilian population of the South) did for the following (LBJ) administration and its gigantic escalation.

    But it was the same process of lying and deception by an administration and its media allies, which was a corruption of truth to favor the short term political gains of a US President.

    Abraham Lincoln himself accused the US justifications for the US-Mexican war resulting in the conquering of Mexican territory (i.e., Texas) as being fraudulent. “Show me the spot” where a supposed Mexican attack against US forces was supposed to have occurred. At the time politicians and abolitionists from the North viewed the move to war as a move by slave states to increase their power by an added state.

    An even earlier corruption of the truth for short-term political gain, at least, if you listen to politicians such as Abraham Lincoln, and writers such as Henry David Thoreau — who launched his famous campaign of ‘civil disobedience’ (and his essay on the subject) in response.

  14. 14
    stuckinred says:

    @El Cid: The point being?

  15. 15

    Please never forget to mention the tariffs issue as well. Reagan reduced the tariffs that we levy on imported goods, basically exploding our trade imbalance with other nations and helping to lead to the loss of our manufacturing base.

    If we’re protecting our manufacturing base here with tariffs (as other nations still do, including India and China), corporations don’t have much reason to go elsewhere. One of the reasons we don’t make things here anymore is that Reagan gave the green light to companies to go ahead and move their production elsewhere by reducing the tariffs.

  16. 16
    Violet says:

    Reagan would not even qualify as a Democrat these days. Not even a Blue Dog.

  17. 17
    DanF says:

    He also signed the “United Nations Convention Against Torture” which doesn’t allow any exceptions for torture. This is just how insane the current GOP has become. The Reagan administration was amongst the most corrupt and criminally indicted and convicted administrations ever (like 130 convictions or something crazy like that), and even he looks good compared to anything the Republicans have in front of us now.

  18. 18
    Chris says:

    His presidency marked the beginning of the nostalgic, “America fuck yeah” non-response to real problems.

    That’s pretty well put, actually.


    Actually, next time Rick Perlstein is around, it would be interesting to see if he thinks this was really something new.

    I’m sure “America fuck yeah” as an ethic has been around forever, but it didn’t used to be quite as big an obstacle to problem-solving. If anything, reformers in politics often co-opted the patriotic ethic to support their reforms (civil rights movement, New Deal movement, Progressive movement). Obama tried to do the same with his grand inclusive “no red states and blue states” vision.

    @El Cid:

    Interesting point about the Spanish-American war being us moving swooping in to take the Cubans’ revolution away from them. Same could be said of the Texas war of independence (which really was supported by a lot of the locals before being completely co-opted by American immigrants who ten years later brought it into the Union – probably not what the Tejanos had in mind).

  19. 19
    Redshirt says:

    One of my, if not the, favorite bands/songs/albums of all time. Here are the full lyrics, which I know mostly by heart:

    Cause he’s always living back in Dixon
    Circa 1949
    And we’re all sitting at the fountain, at the five and dime
    ‘Cause he’s living in some B-movie
    The lines they are so clearly drawn
    In black and white life is so easy
    And we’re all coming along on this one
    ‘Cause he’s on a secret mission
    Headquarters just radioed in
    He left his baby at the dancehall
    While the band plays on some sweet song
    And on a mission over China
    The lady opens up her arms
    The flowers bloom where you haved placed them
    And the lady smiles, just like mom
    Angels wings are icing over
    McDonnell-Douglas olive drab
    They bear the names of our sweethearts
    And the captain smiles, as we crash
    ‘Cause in the mind of Ronald Reagan
    Wheels they turn and gears they grind
    Buildings collapse in slow motion
    And trains collide, everything is fine
    Everything is fine
    Everything is fine

  20. 20
    IP Guy says:

    Any excuse for a camper van beethoven video is fine by me. They were truly one of the great underrated bands of the era. By the way, their song “Civil Disobedience” is best song ever written about Glenn Greenwald’s point of view.

  21. 21
    Chad N Freude says:

    Edwin Meese has been quoted as saying that today Reagan would be a Tea Partier. This was in the context of a discussion/debate between two R operatives as to whether Reagan would today be a RINO or not. The most fun part of the discussion was one guy saying “Today this is what would do,” with the other guy saying “I don’t know what he would do today, but this is what he actually did.”

  22. 22
    jinxtigr says:

    I think that’s a very good meme. “All right then! Let’s have Reagan taxes and immigration. Right now!”

    It would be a hefty tax increase and incomparably more sane and decent immigrant treatment than what’s being demanded.

    Which is not to say it’s great, but how often do you get a chance to nail someone to the cross they brought for you?

  23. 23
    Maude says:

    @Chad N Freude:
    Today, Beck would be Reagan’s speech writer.

  24. 24
    debbie says:

    I think it’s safe to say there’s been deception and fraud since the very beginning of society. And it’s not just with politicians. Look at Glenn Beck’s “history” lessons. This morning, he insisted that the N@zi and the Communist ideologies had the same goal: to support workers. In fact, according to Beck, the reason the N@zis used the color red in their flag was because they thought it would attract Communists to their party.

  25. 25
    gene108 says:

    Even so, he’d be called a RINO today, because he governed as a center-right President who raised taxes and signed an amnesty bill for undocumented immigrants.

    Don’t forget getting the Senate to unanimously ratify the U.N. Convention against torture.

    What really sets Reagan apart from the neo-con, Bush & Co. Republicans, is he did really believe in a certain amount of American idealism, which is absent in the modern Republican Party. A modern GOP that only wants to win elections at all costs and not govern in serious way.

  26. 26
    zzyzx says:

    I hate that they change the words “Ronald Reagan” to “the president” in the versions they’ve played since they’ve come back. You’re Camper Van Beethoven. You’re going to be playing to people who remember Reagan. Deal with it.

  27. 27
    gene108 says:


    If we’re protecting our manufacturing base here with tariffs (as other nations still do, including India and China), corporations don’t have much reason to go elsewhere.

    What India did with tariffs is stagnate the holy shit out of its industries, creating a situation where Indian companies had very little competition and very little reason to improve, in terms of quality and efficiency.

    If India hadn’t waited till the country was bankrupt in 1991, to really throw open its economy, it’d be in a better position today.

  28. 28
    Redshirt says:

    @zzyzx: Really? I’ve seen them several times and never noticed that. I’m rather appalled! All Presidents do not equal Regan, and with the “Dixon” line, you’re kinda focusing on one President.

    Has CVB succumbed to Imperial pressure?

  29. 29
    Beauzeaux says:

    I would have picked this video in “honor” of Reagan’s birthday.

  30. 30
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    Oh! One of my fave CVB songs. Top marks, mistermix.

  31. 31
    walt, ex-dittohead says:

    He would also be called a RINO today because of these:

    He expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit from its origins as a small program begun by Richard Nixon with the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

    He also “apologized for America ” by paying reparations to the survivors of the Japanese-American internment program.

    He also believed that treating terrorism as a responsibility of civilian law enforcement agencies rather than a military mission was a more effective way of dealing with it.

    So if this were any other Republican,the Tea Party, Limbaugh & Co would have ran him out of the party years ago.

  32. 32
    tworivers says:

    CVB still sounding pretty damn good 20 years later. Love the lead guitar line on this one – hits the pretty / melancholy sweet spot.

  33. 33
    Jason says:

    The Krummenacher is lookin’ stylish

  34. 34
    Jeff Stone says:

    Simply Red summed up Reagan pretty well- “Money’s Too Tight to Mention”

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