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To anyone who actually remembers the Reagan presidency, the news that President Reagan's youngest son Ron disagreed with his policies and his political philosophy will hardly be shocking. However, Knight-Ridder newspapers and some apparently young punditeers are squealing with delight to have Ron the Lesser speaking at the Democratic National Convention as an expert on stem-cell research:
In a move sure to embarrass Republicans, Ron Reagan will address the Democratic National Convention this month.
Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration, will be at the podium on the second night of the four-day event in Boston, July 27, in support of stem-cell research, he said Sunday in an interview here. ... "This gives me a platform to educate people about stem-cell research," Reagan said. "The conservative right has a rather simplistic way of characterizing it as baby killing. We're not talking about fingers and toes and brains. This is a mass of a couple hundred undifferentiated cells."
Reagan, who will cover the Democratic and Republican conventions for "Hardball," said he expected criticism from many Republicans for his five-to-eight-minute speech to the Democrats.
"The Republican Party now is not the Republican Party of my father, not that it would be of great concern to me, one way or the other," he said. "I'm not a Republican and I never have been. My father wouldn't expect me to be a Republican just to emulate him. He raised his kids to be independent thinkers. ... I'm not terribly popular, apparently, with a lot of Republicans. I imagine some of them are pretty angry about what I've said about the Bush administration."
Should he be asked, Reagan said he would not attend the planned tribute to his father at the Republican convention, which is Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in New York.
I suppose we can assume that Ron Jr. doesn't share Kerry's opinion that life begins at conception, but then, Ron's never been the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, either. He's taking the "opportunity" to speak out on stem-cell research, but in fact will be nothing more than a Democratic side-show geek at the nominating circus. Reagan speaks to no constituency other than those who want to rub some of the Reagan lustre from his death and state funeral onto John Kerry's campaign. Regardless of whatever he thinks of George Bush, Ron Jr has to know how his father would have felt about that, and certainly how his father would have viewed Kerry's politics -- after all, Kerry served in the Senate during Reagan's second term of office.
I hope Ron Reagan enjoys his time in front of the cameras at the DNC. He's buying it with his father's political capital, even though his father would have hated what this Democratic party has come to represent -- the Stalinist apologists, the Michael Moore contingent of America-haters, and those who would sell out our national security policies to the whims of "friends" like France, who lined their pockets with Saddam's money.
The DNC should remember one thing: Ron the Lesser isn't Zell Miller. If that's the best they can do for a crossover, it explains a lot about their party.
UPDATE: Joe Gandelman asserts that "if you weigh Miller against Reagan the one who is most certainly to have greater impact on independent voters (they still exist and experts say they will be important) it most certainly will be Ron Reagan Jr." Yeah, sure. Zell Miller has stood for numerous elections, has a political following, and has managed to build up his own reputation as an independent-minded politician, with wide appeal in the South. Ron the Lesser has ... the same name as his father. If Gandelman thinks that will have the greater political impact, I'd submit that either Gandelman engages in wishful thinking or he's allowed his partisanship to completely delude him.
UPDATE: James Taranto was kind enough to e-mail me that Kerry didn't serve in the House during Reagan's first term; he was the lieutenant governor under Michael Dukakis during that period. I've updated my post accordingly.Sphere It View blog reactions
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