Thursday, June 10, 2004

I Can't Believe I'm Saying This
It's 90 degrees in Washington, D.C. today, so you gotta wonder--isn't there a chance that Ron is getting a bit ripe in his box? Don Imus was speculating the other morning whether Reagan would actually be in it when it was flown back to Washington, or if his actual corpus would be on ice in Santa Barbara while thousands filed past a casket full of sandbags or something. Just as Reagan's presidency was a triumph of appearances over reality, it would be fitting if his funeral were, too.

Remember Paul Wellstone's funeral in 2002, after the plane crash, and how it turned into a partisan political rally? Nobody really believes Reagan's official Washington funeral service tomorrow (conveniently scheduled in prime time) will end up the same way, but if you watch, be sure to notice how, apart from Margaret Thatcher and Brian Mulroney, all of the speakers will be Republicans. Bill Clinton is reportedly upset that neither he nor Jimmy Carter were asked to speak--although it's hard to imagine Carter accepting the invitation if it were proffered. (Presumably both men will be admitted to the National Cathedral for the service.) It's not likely that they couldn't find a Democrat to speak--it's more likely that they didn't ask.

Of course, if we could somehow turn the service into a rally, and if it were guaranteed to have the same effect that the Wellstone rally is thought to have had on the 2002 Minnesota Senate race--costing the Democrats the seat--I'd hand out pompoms at the door.

Other funerary thoughts: Does anybody else find it moderately offensive that Reagan's flag-draped casket is one of the rare ones we've seen on television lately, even though we've been at war in one place or another for over two years? National television, that is--my suspicion is that local TV is doing a better job across the country. Certainly state governors are doing a better job than Bush at attending military funerals, although even that's getting more difficult as the number of casualties rises and the popularity of the war falls.

Recommended Reading: Holy smokes, this is great. Besides giving us a bit more insight into Capitol Hill Blue--not always the most credible of Washington sources, it turns out--the piece from Billmon's Whiskey Bar analyzes the wisdom of the Bush gang actually doing what CHB says they're ready to do: roll out campaign ads featuring Reagan, commissioned after his death, in an attempt to make him the third man on GOP the ticket this fall. Hardcore Reaganauts are reportedly incensed about the possibility, and Billmon sees plenty of opportunity for the gambit to backfire with the electorate at large. And for good reason--it's incredibly clumsy and borders on the grotesque, although it's also utterly in character for Karl Rove.

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