Today marks the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, a centennial to surpass all centennials, complete with a new 44 cent stamp and a two-year long General Electric celebration of their former ambassador cum 40th president.
The contrived event — what other president have we held centennial celebrations for?? — couldn’t come at a better time. The three factions of conservative America, the neo-, social and fiscal conservatives, have been desperately looking for a leader in time for the 2012 election. Reagan was and is their unifying father. As an ecstatic Fox News states, “Love him or hate him, Reagan had a major impact on the course of events that the world is still feeling today.” True enough. The Ronald Reagan centennial campaign reached it’s goal of raising $100 million dollars in just two years. The Super Bowl will feature a two minute video tribute to Reagan. And don’t forget the jelly beans.
The list of event participants reads like the evening news from my childhood years: Newt Gingrich, Edwin Meese, George Schultz and, as the GE website notes, “and ambassadors from several Eastern European countries, including Hungary, Serbia, Estonia, and Lithuania.” That would be the countries that, as the story goes, Reagan single-handedly wrested from hideous Communism. From AIDS funding to funding tyrants, to tax policy and trickle down economics, from labor rights to deregulation, most of Reagan’s policies have been long debunked as ineffective and damaging.
The Gipper dropped the ball for most of the rest of us and we’re still fumbling to recover.