Admit it, we've all caught it by now. We look back fondly to Ike (who cut his spurs trampling sick, starving crippled veterans begging for the wherewithal, their promised Bonuses, to continue living and feed their families. Who overthrew numerous democracies and installed murder regimes all over the world. Who pledged an unlimited American commitment to preventing Vietnamese independence, including whatever troops would be needed, a blank check that even included the use of nuclear weapons if necessary). We take one look at the Bush administration, and suddenly Eisenhower is washed in the blood of the Lamb, all his sins cleansed, all the stains made pure.
But it doesn't stop there. Goldwater, now, there was a man of principle - not a lackey of the fundie right. A man with the courage to go to Nixon and say it was time to resign. Also, a man who ACTUALLY crafted "Nixon's" Southern strategy AND Reagan's fascist alliance of theocrats and economic royalists. A man who also wanted to use nuclear weapons on the Vietnamese, and on several other peoples. A man who spread arrant nonsense like "Give Red China our UN seat" and "a Republic, not a Democracy" - what Janeane Garofalo has rightly labeled "raw meat for the dopes." Clearly, nonetheless, he'd be too competent, sane and reasonable even to work in Bush's cabinet.
As for Nixon, well, he did have the Huston plan, COINTELPRO, blatant treason in 1968 in Vietnam, a history of ruining lives in the witch-hunts of the 50s, and a complete disregard for the law. But he also went to China, brokered a peace treaty in Vietnam and the beginnings of one in the MidEast, started detente with Russia and created (read, didn't veto) the EPA and put in "liberal" wage and price controls*. And he certainly leveled with the American people in a way W never would do. Nixon was heckled during his entire presidency. W just has people put behind barbed wire everywhere he goes, and for the most part, his feet don't touch the ground. Yes, admit it, we miss Nixon. We'd give our pinkies at least - and our comic book collection - to have Nixon back as president.
Which leads us inevitably to Reagan. One of the most evil and dishonest figures in American history. Pioneered the "vote for me, I'm stupid and mean like you" strategy for turning out the vote. A successful Goldwater with a 10th the brains and integrity. While Nixon and Johnson both put serious dents in the fiscal soundness of the United States, Reagan is the one who decided at some point the economy had to be trashed, so why not be the one to do it, and benefit from it? He stole Nikita Kruschev's thunder by burying America before the pathetic Soviets could. He also joined Nixon in the ranks of private citizens who rode blatant acts of treason to the White House, and didn't stop there, arming everyone from Al Qaida, Saddam Hussein, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah to Somoza's blackshirts and the Idi Amin-like deathsquadocracy that was El Salvador. He inspired the most massive popular protests against any president in history up to that point, by ordinary Americans, not just hippies and radicals, and never obtained more than a mediocre popularity in 8 years in office, depending solely on the skills of his legions of hate mongers and demonizers to triumph through 100% dependence on the politics of personal destruction. But Reagan at least looked sharp and didn't talk (most of the time) as if he needed residential care and a tutor. He concluded fairly serious agreements with Gorbachev and had the good sense to raise taxes nearly every year (payroll taxes first, then income taxes) to make up for his poisonous and fiscally insane tax cuts for the rich that he'd promised them to get enough bribes to float into office. Yes, we miss the Gipper. God help us all.
And I don't even feel bad about missing Bush pere. I mean, left the NRA and said trying to hold Iraq was for morons. Sure, he was a CIA villain of long antiquity, a fake Texan who rode racism into office and was the hands-on man for Reagan's treason. But most of the time, however spacily and with whatever tortured syntax, once you'd parsed a Bush Sr. utterance it usually bore some semblance of a relationship to reality. It's not for nothing that Bush Sr. and his associates are usually referred to as "grownups" in the media. Which only highlights the fact that "grownups" are not what Americans got for their votes or at least the ones that counted. Most of us would CAMPAIGN for Bush Sr. against Jr. if it came to that.
Okay, I am babbling on and on on something that's common knowledge - Bush makes all previous Republican villains look like "Saints and Scholars." But I did all this as a preamble to a really embarrassing secret:
I AM IN FACT NOSTALGIC FOR THE FIRST GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION TERM.
Yes, it's true. I didn't think we could possibly do worse than Cheney's energy scam, 9/11, the clinically, religiously insane John Ashcroft who ordered our national police to ignore terrorism and hunt down prostitutes and marijuana paraphernalia, our brutal emulation of the Soviets in Afghanistan, Hitlerian aggression against Iraq, the Mouth of Sauron, Ari Fleischer, the comic-villain-Count Cagliostro/Fu Manchu figure of Don Rumsfeld, etc. etc.
But we have, haven't we? At least theoretically, we're gearing up to tell Iran and Syria to bring it on. We got rid of Ari and got Scott, which is like being exorcised of a horde of minor imps and getting repossessed by Asmodeus. We got rid of Honest Stupid John Assclown and got a figure right out of Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - Alberto Gonzales - a degenerate hybrid of John Negroponte and - well, and Ari Fleischer. Or Joseph Goebbels. Or Felix Dzerzhezhinsky.
We now have Condaleeza Rice embarrassing us EVERY SINGLE DAY somewhere in the world. John Bolton peeing in the flower pot of the Egyptian ambassador. And somewhere along the way, the GOP decided to drop the figleaf of Rule of Law and declare themselves The Party and the United States a "moderately authoritarian" semi-military kleptocracy just like the ones Dad used to install.
And W himself has become more insufferable, not just every year but every single day. He's reached a critical mass of evil - giving off cancerous rays that wither and destroy everything living within a 100 square mile area around him and promising a devastating and disastrous blowup anytime now.
So there you have it - my Evil Republican Nostalgia Syndrome (ERNS) is terminal. I can't see it going anywhere good from this point. I'll probably look for the political equivalent of Laetrile or monkey glands at this point, as desperation sets in. But if anyone else out there is as bad off as I am, perhaps this will at least serve to let them know they're not alone. So cheer up, already!
*Nixon 's economic policies were nothing to his credit for the most part, but the principle that the government can intervene in the economy BEFORE things become utterly disastrous is a very important one, and Nixon was reinforcing that principle.