Ronnie Reagan and the Godzooky Syndrome

A kind of corruption of both intellect and language, he [Murray Rothbard] explained, led people to believe Reagan’s promises about freedom and reduction of government, but luckily all of that was limited, thanks to the presidency’s two-term limit- in Rothbard’s view the Republicans’ only wise measure since World War II.

‘Otherwise Reagan would have been there forever, they could have mummified him like Lenin in the tomb, prop him up, have a ventriloquist, shake his head and imitate his voice.’

Ulrike Heider Anarchism: Left, Right and Green (1994: City Light Books), p.94.

Ronald Reagan was born 100 years ago today. I had no time for him when he was US President and time hasn’t softened my opinions of him. However, I have revised my opinion in that I know see him starting the rise of the Godzooky Syndrome in  Republican Presidential campaigns.

‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!’

Up to Reagan becoming  the Republican candidate for President in 1980 the Republicans always seemed to stand men for the posts of President and Vice-President who, whatever you thought of their politics, were Serious People. Then Reagan came along, full of quips and one-liners, the comic side-kick and light relief of the Republican’s Presidential ticket (George Bush I, former director of the CIA and US ambassador to the UN, was not that, as Russ Baker’s Family of Secrets makes clear). A bit like Godzooky was in the Godzilla cartoons that came out in the late 1970s. Look at the funny cartoon character! Ignore the big beast smashing and burning everything that gets in his way!

Since then the Republicans seem to have been gripped by the Godzooky Syndrome when it comes to picking their Presidential candidate and running mate. George Bush 1 chose as his Vice-President Dan ‘Potatoe’ Quayle, a comic side-kick if ever there was one.

After Dan and his boss lost to Bill Clinton in ’92, the Republicans chose Bob Dole and Jack Kemp for ’96. Whatever you think of their politics, they were not Godzooky characters. They were well beaten by Clinton. After that the Republicans seem to have decided: ‘In Godzooky candidates we trust’. Dubya was pure Godzooky (‘They Saved Reagan’s Brain’ is another phrase that comes to mind), as was Sarah Palin in ’08 (and could well be again. We might well get a pair of them…).

Heck, he’s almost as cute as Godzooky, and he remembers saying hello to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden too!’

Anyway, enough Godzooky Syndrome. For some good material on why Reagan was an utter political fraud, try here, here and here.  Some facts, ‘stupid’ or not, are worth keeping from the Memory Hole.

Update: Greg Palast also sticks the boot in.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Brilliant post. Even when LBJ characterized Barry Goldwater as a nut, he was still a principled, serious nut. Indeed, his seeming seriousness for (what were seen by many as) nutty ideas doomed him.

    Other respectable Republican presidents in the post-war era, such as Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford weren’t really all that “conservative” in the sense of being fierce opponents of the New Deal consensus system that emerged victorious after World War II.

    Today, the Republicans have made Godzooky politics an art form, although now I wonder if they might be moving away from the Godzookies in favor of “serious business people” like Mitt Romney.

    When the Republicans emphasize social/cultural issues and foreign policy issues, they bring out the dinosaur-riders and the cowboys, but now that economic issues dominate the discussion, I would not be surprised if the GOP tries to develop a more “respectable” imagine, putting up candidates that look and speak like CEOs


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