He Who Must Not Be Named

May 6, 2007

A few years after the death of Chicago political boss Richard Daley, the late great columnist Mike Royko wrote a piece in which the city Democrats, faced with the prospect of heavy losses at the polls, conduct a seance to ask Daley’s advice on what to do. The seance works and Daley’s voice fills the room — “Who’s dat? Who’s callin’ me back from duh grave?” — but after hearing about the troubles his once-invincible machine faces, Daley concludes that even in his current state, he’s in better shape than his old party.

Substitute the name of Ronald Reagan for Richard Daley and you’d pretty much have the tenor of last week’s GOP debate. The Gipper was name-checked about as often as Jesus at a revival meeting, and with the same intent — if there was ever a bunch in need of a miracle, it’s these frauds.

Funny thing, it was easy to overlook the fact that there is currently a Republican in the White House, judging from the number of times his name was mentioned. A Republican, moreover, who enjoyed a benefit Saint Ronnie never had: complete party control of all three branches of government. Imagine the glittering record of achievement a Republican president could accrue with that kind of power — whoops, never mind.

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