The re-emergence of Reagan-lamprey Ed Meese figureheading the latest Koch Brothers assault on our democracy inspired some pre-Internet nostalgia from TNR‘s Michael Schaeffer:
… For people who followed politics, of course, Meese was the guy behind some of Reagan’s most divisive policies. But ordinary commuters also experienced the Meese-bashing in ways they didn’t with other officials: During the last couple years of the Reagan administration, walls, construction sites, traffic signal boxes, and highway overpasses throughout the Washington area were festooned with giant posters that read “Meese is a Pig.” Soon afterwards, a second series of the poster appeared, with an additional two words: “Experts Agree!”
The campaign, in turn, drew ample national media coverage and represented something of a cultural moment—a pre-web meme of sorts. Stores began selling T-shirts bearing the same message.
Now, with Meese’s allegedly porcine mug gracing the front of the paper of record again, I reached out to Jeff Nelson, the man behind the original poster campaign. “Meese did all he could to obstruct justice in the Iran-Contra scandal, and he also helped block action to ban plastic guns, which could pass undetected through metal detectors,” Nelson, now 51, recalls. ” I was so angry, and as a lone citizen I felt so powerless.”
t’s the sort of sentiment that sends people to their laptops nowadays. Nelson and his cohort had to work a bit harder at it. “There were no things such as blogs and tweets,” he says. “Things were much more regional and getting in the National news was a really big deal. At that point I had been silk-screening posters for several years, mostly for bands I played in, using rudimentary homemade equipment in the leaky garage of our rented house. I was so angry that I decided to do a big poster campaign against Meese, and bought the largest paper I could find.”
Smaller print on the posters included a lengthy list of reasons for the declaration, which included ill-treatment of AIDS patients and efforts to weaken Miranda rights, as well as Meese’s role in the Iran-Contra affair….
An inspiration for us all, Mr. Nelson.