This popular post was originally published February 7, 2011.
Leftists are generally happy to get a hold of so-called conservatives who are willing to bash the Right, but their favorite mouthpieces are the relatives of high-profile Republicans who are willing to go against the grain. A couple weeks ago, they paraded Ron Reagan Jr. around to suggest his father’s Alzheimer’s began in the Oval Office, and one of the Gipper’s other left-wing kids, Patti Davis, recently sat down for an interview with The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, in which she tried to argue that Reagan wouldn’t be much of a Sarah Palin fan if he were alive today:
When I tell her that Sarah Palin will be headlining one of the Reagan birthday celebrations, as keynote speaker of a lavish dinner at the former family ranch, Davis exclaims. “Are you kidding me?” She adds, “As far as Sarah Palin is concerned, I think he would be completely baffled at her fondness for shooting animals.”
Wait a minute—Reagan was against hunting? If that sounds surprising, that’s because Davis simply made it up. In a May 1983 speech before the National Rifle Association, the president called “America’s sportsmen, hunters, and fishermen” the nation’s “foremost conservationists of our national resources,” and said he “deeply appreciate[d]” the NRA’s efforts to teach children “marksmanship, firearms safety, and some of the values and ethics of hunting and the outdoors.” In the same speech, Reagan also laments “a kind of elitist attitude in Washington that vast natural resources must be locked up to save the planet from mankind.” Reagan would most likely say that, by hunting, Palin was participating in a proud, valuable American tradition; if he would find anything “baffling,” it would more likely be how little his own daughter understands his views.
In the meantime, Davis is watching the current political scene with a mixture of fascination and horror. Of right-wing superstars Palin and Michele Bachmann, who constantly invoke Reagan as their political love-object, “my father was a Rhodes Scholar compared to them.”
Of course, as we’ve been over before, the latest Republicans are always stupider than the ones that came before. Reagan, conventional wisdom held at the time, was a dunce who thought Jesus spoke to him and got his simplistic ideas about how to handle “bad guys” (which itself was a simplistic concept) from his Hollywood background, rather than reality, with his cowboy sensibilities threatening to trigger nuclear Armageddon. Hmm, that sounds familiar…
The similarities between the former Governor of California and the former Governor of Alaska don’t end there. He and she both advocate reducing the size and scope of the federal government, and trust in the power of the free market. He and she both understand that America is only safe when our enemies see that we have both the ability and the will to punish aggression. He and she both call on the United States to stand for the right to life.
In fact, part of Reagan’s appeal was that he spoke directly to the American people and demonstrated that he understood life in much the same way as the average American. Through his time with General Electric Theater Reagan learned the ins and outs of Corporate America, from both the perspective of the boardroom and the factory floor, and he discussed many pressing issues with the nation through the series of radio addresses he delivered in the years following his governorship. It’s not hard to see the parallels between these projects and Sarah Palin’s Alaska, in which Palin’s family values and nature-lover streak are on full display, and her Facebook page, which brings her take on current events to well over two million people.
Naturally, none of this is to say that we can know whether or not Ronald Reagan would want Sarah Palin to be the next president. But as to whether or not he would consider her an ally who shared his values, the answer seems to be a resounding yes.