Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Let the worshiping begin

Remember how I said that Ronald Reagan is the GOP's Kennedy, a man idolized and almost worshiped? Well, now we are getting closer towards worship.

OH state Rep. Ron Young (R) introduced a resolution requesting Congress add Reagan to Mount Rushmore.

Ex-Reagan speechwriter/Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who wants to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 said he has "no qualms about replacing Jackson, whom he said "is 'not standing up to the scrutiny' of time." But Senate Maj. Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) spokesperson Bob Stevenson said Frist "wants to keep Jackson on the currency": "Obviously, folks in Tennessee view Ronald Reagan as having accomplished so much for this generation of Americans, he deserves a much higher denomination than the $20" (Friedman, Long Beach Press-Telegram, 6/7). Higher than $20? Does that mean that Grant is on the chopping block? Or will it be Franklin?

Actually it is John F. Kennedy, who some GOPers consider a "comunist." Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) will propose to replace JFK on the half-dollar with Reagan. Miller spokesperson Dan McFaul noted that JFK replaced Benjamin Franklin on the coin in '63," and Miller "merely felt it was time for a change." Said McFaul: "Nothing's wrong with Kennedy. ... The tradition at the U.S. Mint was for coins to remain unaltered for 25 years, and we're looking at about 41 years." A Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) aide said Kennedy "had no comment" (Long Beach Press-Telegram, 6/7). Meanwhile, a House GOP aide said: "Having a living member of the Kennedy family in a prominent role on the Senate side is an assured death sentence for any effort to remove JFK from the 50-cent piece" (Roll Call, 6/8).

Not to be out done, "Once Reagan's body has been interred" on 6/11, Americans for Tax Reform pres./Ronald Reagan Legacy Project pres. (and over crazy right-wing nut) Grover Norquist "will launch a campaign in Congress" to put Reagan on the $10 bill in place of Alexander Hamilton. Said Norquist: "Hamilton was a nice guy and everything, but he wasn't president." He added: "As a board member of the NRA, I can also tell you that he was a bad shot." (Oh, that's witty. Did you know that Hamilton is my ancestor? You best not be steppin')

USA Today's Page writes, unlike Reagan, "Hamilton lacks a modern-day political constituency -- one reason the $10 bill is being targeted." Hamilton's Federalist Party is "defunct," whereas Reagan's GOP controls the WH, House and Senate.

Majority Whip Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he will "sponsor the proposal when the time is right," and Frist spokesperson Stevenson said there "'could be a head of steam behind the idea.'" But Dems "aren't quite ready" to go along; Senate Min. Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) spokesperson Todd Webster said: "Ronald Reagan did many things during his presidency that deserve to be remembered, and Democrats and Republicans will discuss how best to honor his legacy." Ultimately the decision is "up to" Hamilton's "successors," currently Treas. Sec. John Snow. Norquist said he "already has met with Snow" and senior WH officials, saying: "Everybody thought it was a good idea, and nobody thought it was a bad idea."

GOPers ran into "resistance in recent years" when they tried to replace FDR on the dime with Reagan. Dems "flipped," and even Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY), whose CD "includes Roosevelt's Hyde Park home, fought it." The effort "fizzled after Nancy Reagan said she wouldn't endorse" it (Long Beach Press-Telegram, 6/7). Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) said on 6/7 "he's reconsidering the fight he led in Congress to block" GOPers from putting Reagan on the dime. Said McGovern spokesperson Michael Mershon: "we're reviewing the situation. No decisions have been made. This week is a time for mourning and celebrating Ronald Reagan. We will come back to this later." Mershon did note that FDR has "always been associated with the dime due to his fundraising work" for polio with an org. that "came to be known as the popular 'March of Dimes' campaign."

Also, some have "suggested a compromise of putting Roosevelt and Reagan on alternating sides of the coin" (Miga, Boston Herald, 6/8). Enough with the coinage and currency!

At the same time, they are going to have state mourning for about a week and basically do the Lenin thing to his poor body so that all worshipful "movement" conservatives can pay homage to Dear Leader.

I think the Daily Show's Jon Stewart best summs up the hidden angle on the Reagan coverage: "The people I really sorry for here are Carter and Ford. Because, you know they're watching this and thinking, 'I'm not getting that'" By the way, President Ford and former First Lady Betty will be on Lary King Live tonight. I pity him sometimes.

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