A Rogue Thanksgiving

Negotiations for my new contract were going on when I received a telephone call from my brother on a Sunday morning telling me that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Very shortly I started another picture costarring with Errol Flynn.

- Ronald Reagan, An American Life

I don't know if your family is as patriotic as mine -- you might not be real Americans; that's your business -- but if they are patriots, your Thanksgiving dinner ends like ours does, with the women clearing the dishes while the men loosen their pants, and the children make me recite their favorite whiny passages from Republican political memoirs.

Our eldest, Prem, always wants to hear the part where they lose the election and blame the economy, call their opponents Un-American, and kick down at the campaign staff. The twins, Bonox and Treet, like the part where they blame the press.

It doesn't matter how many times they've heard it before. Kids.

"Daddy, do the time Reagan said reporters were always trying to make him look stupid by asking him questions."

Do you mean the one from An American Life, page 210, where he says:

As far as I could tell, when we started on the campaign trail each morning, the goal of many of the reporters traveling with his us was simply to catch me fouling up my speech or trap me into a minor error about an obscure or inconsequential topic that had nothing to do with the substance of the campaign... I thought it was all pretty superficial.

Or page 394:

It bothered me, too, that, from time to time, some in the press seemed anxious to catch me making a mistake... Some in the press corps seemed to make a special effort to play "gotcha" with me... But isn't it a little petty to point out every time a t isn't crossed or an i isn't dotted?

"Daddy, didn't he just write the exact same thing twice?"

That's because he was a hump, sweetie. Stop kicking your sister.

"I get scared when old people say the same thing over and over."

Hush. And remember what he says on page 393: It doesn't matter if newspapers think you've lost your marbles or you're waging a secret war, it's just like when a gossip columnist doesn't like your movie.

"I'm tired of Reagan. Can't we hear about something no one's talking about, like that new Sarah Palin book?"

You mean the totally rogue one, where she completely breaks with Republican political tradition by calling her opponent Un-American and blaming the election on the press, the economy and the incompetents who ran the campaign?

"Yeah, that one."

Okay, but remember what she says on page 348:

I don't like to hear people complain.

"We're tired of politics as usual, daddy! We want the rogue! Tell us the part where she says it doesn't matter what she did, because they would have lost anyway because of the economy!"

You mean...

In all this setting, demand for change in Administration was natural. And it was easily promoted by great promises on the part of the opposition... My defeat would no doubt taken place anyway. But it might have taken place without such defilement of American life.

"Yeah! They were wasting their time picking on her! Or even voting! It hurt America!"

Right. And the economy wasn't even the Republicans fault, they...

... had urged a revision of the banking laws and supported specific legislation which had been defeated by the Democratic Congress.

"They never let Republicans regulate Wall Street like they want!"

I know, Treet. It's very sad. So how could Democrats change the subject, since they were the ones who screwed up? They couldn't win on the issues, so...

It became the Democratic strategy to substitute attack on me personally for attacks on any policies or even the Republican party... a continuous campaign of misrepresentation... a continuous flood of press releases... hundreds of attacks... (and even my own party) did not exert themselves energetically in their traditional duty to counterattack and expose misrepresentations... smears... blows below the belt... magnifying my misfortunes and minimizing my achievements... assaults on my personal honesty... financial support by some of the publishers of the sensational press... fabrication of smearing lies... for political purposes surpassed any similar action in American history.

"Wait a second, dad. Does it really say that?"

I'm skimming. I need to take a nap. On the floor of the bathroom.

"Is there anything about the Democrats hating America?"

Lemme see. There was...

... "something in the air far more sinister" than "a political campaign." A "planned economy" "paraded as liberalism" "pouring a mixture of socialism and fascism into the American system." And, uh, "class hate," "appealing to people in their fears and distress" by "proposing changes" "which would destroy the very foundations of our American system."

"Daddy, I'm scared."

"Shut up you baby."

Don't say "shut up," Bonox. Scream, "I'm going to have to cut you off."

"Get to the part where she says Obama only won by combining radicals and corrupt city machines."

Obama won by combining...

"radicals and corrupt city machines" with "one central theme -- to get into office." And then "This discontented group found a large leadership in the Intellectuals with a capital I, who had embraced some form or parts of collectivism."

"Wow! What do real Americans think about that?"

These disclosures have shocked and shamed all real Americans.

"Wait a second. Dad... none of those quotes are from Sarah Palin."

You got me there, Treet. They're all from The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: The Great Depression 1929-1941.

"Gosh! It's like even the one thing that's supposed to be different about Sarah Palin -- that she's a paranoid malcontent who might say anything -- is really just the same old crap."

That's right kids.

"I hate you dad."

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.