Whenever I hear myself crying, “Where are you when we need you, Ronnie?” I give myself a couple of smart slaps in the face and tell myself, “Naomi, get over it! A Ronald Reagan doesn’t come around every century.”
Doesn’t mean Republicans can’t have a solid, electable candidate – even one who could morph into a powerful president when the call came (think George W. Bush).
Thankfully, those two monuments to pasty-faced nerdiness, Paul Ryan and Mitch Daniels, aren’t running. Sadly, Chris Christie isn’t either. Newt is — sort of — and though it seems clear now he doesn’t have a chance at the nomination, he has managed to convince at least one voter (Callista) that he’s our next Reagan. Right. If Reagan had been a whiny, petulant kook.
I did not know Ronald Reagan; he was not a friend of mine. But I was there when he was elected, and I remember it well. In fact, one of the sweetest experiences I’ve ever had was working through election night at Newsweek, where I was on staff at the time, and witnessing the dismayed disbelief of my colleagues as the “amiable dunce” became the next president of the United States.
Note to Rick S.: Ronnie didn’t win because he was a conservative icon (though he was).
Note to Mitt R.: Ronnie didn’t win because he knew how to fix the economy (though he did).
Note to media idiots: Ronnie didn’t win because he could “‘empathize” with the poor (though he could).
He didn’t win because of his position on earmarks or healthcare or the budget or abortion. He won (in my humble, non-expert opinion) because he exuded a calm, unwavering and cheerful confidence in our goodness and our ability to overcome our national nightmare: a president who scrunched up his sourpuss (super-cautionary note to Rick Santorum) to lecture us about our moral failings, while emboldening our enemies to abuse us.
So, if we must make do with what we have, let’s hope the two remaining viable candidates can find a way to channel that spirit. Mitt shows the occasional glimmer; Rick not so much. They both need work.