Ronald Reagan’s Patriotism No Longer Part Of Republican Party

As we approach the first anniversary of the insurrection and rioting at the United States Capitol, which was fomented by Donald Trump and his strategists and carried out by his thuggish supporters, I thought about another political event from the Republican Party.

Though it occurred in 1980 and was vastly different from the January 6, 2021 events of death, bloodshed, and attacks on law enforcement shown on national television, it does lend itself to better understanding the gravity of the situation today. Our democracy is under attack.

I recall the excitement from July 1980 when CBS’ Walter Cronkite interviewed former President Gerald Ford. There was an electrifying buzz that reached from the convention hall to the home in Hancock where I was thrilled by the unfolding political drama. It was broadly speculated that Ronald Reagan had selected Ford as his vice-presidential running mate. The constitutional questions were talked about among correspondents and guests concerning Ford reportedly wanting more authority than any other vice president had ever been given.

That episode remains the most exciting convention moment of my life, which also underscores the diminishing role such gatherings play in the presidential nomination process.

That memory, however, also serves as a reminder of what the Republican Party once was, the timber of the people center stage who wished to serve and be elected. No one doubted the patriotic mindset of Reagan, the moderate and process-minded character of Ford. So much since then has changed in the Republican Party that it now can be reported with a vivid image of what that party now represents.

This is how The Economist framed the issue.

The Republican Party has been consumed by grievance politics–recall how conservatives once used that term on liberals and swore to be above such behavior? The modern GOP also has proven to have a stunning degree of swallowing capacity for conspiracy theories.

True to form they have continued to attack Jews, be it George Soros or an outlandish notion of space lasers used by Jews to start forest fires. In the process, the party has catered to a base of voters not concerned with institutional norms, and let’s be frank, not the ones completing the reading assignments in civics or history classes.

The issue at hand, the survival of our democracy, should not be a partisan contest. Tax policy, education funding, and transportation infrastructure can and should create partisan coalitions. But the procedure for counting Electoral College votes, the availability of places to cast a ballot without undue burdens, the need for an end to gerrymandered political districts, and not placing in statutes undemocratic restrictions to fundamental rights should all be broadly accepted.

But, as we sadly are all too aware, they are not.

The Big Lie about a ‘stolen election’ that Trump spawned and continues to repeat has found a wide range of converts within the GOP. The threat of more violence in the years ahead from those who might lose an election is a very plausible possibility. Especially, if the laws and penalties for taking such actions, like that occurring almost a year ago, are not put into effect.

There was plenty of room to argue with Reagan in the 1980s over policy moves regarding unions, tax cuts, and massive defense spending. But no one doubted for a nanosecond that Reagan was not immersed in the love of country and abiding faith in democracy. When was the first time anyone accused Trump of being like-minded?

Today, the Republican Party has reversed course on many philosophical underpinnings that were at their core (free trade and international alliances), and instead openly and deeply embraces an autocrat who shuns morals and openly cheats and lies. How far removed the Republican Party is from the days of Ronald Reagan.

Let us be honest, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford would find it hard to even be elected delegates to a national Republican convention today. Much less be national nominees.

And so it goes.

Great Analogy: Pride Parades And Belarus

The mass demonstrations for fair elections and democratic principles has played out for the past month in Belarus. It has been uplifting to see the average citizen take to the streets in favor of truth and fairness when it comes to the election returns.  Along with the needed ouster of their dictator.

In the most recent addition of the The Economist (August 29) comes one of those masterful lines about the demonstrators that underscores the skill of the writers at this international publication.

“The atmosphere had an odd resemblance to that of an early Pride parade: some thing repressed was coming out, surprised and delighted to recognize itself.“

The international community can only hope the people of Belarus will be as successful with their march for rights as gay men and women have had with their struggles over the past years.

Profanity In Journalism Growing


I post about this matter as I care about journalism.  As a daily user of newspapers and magazines, I have come to expect professionalism when it comes to reporting news and providing analysis.  I have a desire to be respected as a reader and subscriber. (You should too!)

I read an article in the July 4th edition of The Economist, a publication I have subscribed to for nearly 20 years.  It has a  sterling worldwide reputation both with reporting as well as well-honed writing.   But as this blog has noted, over time, the lowest common denominators have even impacted this weekly publication.

In an article about capital punishment, Cruel, Unusual, And Costly it was the very last line that irritated me.  In quoting a Republican lawmaker from Ohio this was what was published.   The spelling reflects the home country of the publishers.

“People just realise it’s inhumane as s****”

Nothing whatsoever is so conveyed in that quote that an alternate sentence could not have been inserted.  This was a choice made by a reporter and allowed by an editor. And then printed in a mass volume for the subscribers to read.

I am so very tired of the shallow end of the pool getting deeper and impacting the rest of us who have standards.  Those standards might seem old-fashioned, but only to those with a limited vocabulary when it comes to talking—-or as in this case–reporting.

And so it goes.

After 12 Covers Of The Pandemic The Economist “Is Free”

I enjoy watching HOW stories are reported as much as WHAT is reported. For instance, I like to see what the first story on the three main networks is each evening. What aspect of COVID-19, for example over the past 8 weeks, led the news. With that in mind it was interesting to see what topic broke the series of front cover images about the pandemic in The Economist this week.

From a newsletter this weekend from the magazine.

The cover this week deserves a drumroll. After 12 consecutive issues when the pandemic or its direct consequences have muscled themselves onto the front, we have broken free. We are calling for a global effort to tackle climate change. Covid-19 has created a unique chance to steer the economy away from carbon. The world should seize the moment.

When you face something as all-encompassing as a pandemic, it is hard to change the subject. The risk is of seeming tasteless or beside the point—like talking about politics when there has been a death in the family. The task for the cover was to make our shift feel natural.

That phrase, “Seize the moment”, which we lit upon before our cover designer put pencil to paper, was a big help. It pivots on the pandemic at the same time as being a call to action. It was the inspiration for the sketches we pored over during our Monday-afternoon cover hangout.


Our Changing Times


A delightful winter day has unfolded across Wisconsin.  Snow and bitter cold were felt by most of the state this week but sunshine and warming temps today make any window you sit by a reason to smile.  While reading this week’s magazines (with mugs of coffee) it struck me not only how the recent headlines change and stories evolve but also how much we, as a country, are changing.

As noted in a letter to the editor in The Economist “a recent survey found that a third of millennial dads do not even own a hammer.”  Meanwhile, in Time the Conversation column is nothing more than a few words from tweets by readers which allows us the chance to read a selected phrase of their thoughts. The British publication, it should be noted, devoted a full page to letters.

The truncated style of writing is troubling for two reasons.  Most people are not adept at using a limited number of words to convey a thought.  ( I know how creating headlines for blog posts takes more than a fleeting thought, as an example.)  Secondly, most readers of magazines wish to have a broader perspective than that which is contained in a tweet.   Time wants to be ‘modern’ and meet readers ‘where they are’ as opposed to The Economist which values a readership who desires well-crafted sentences and fleshed-out ideas.

And then there was this large-font statement in an advertisement for Oatly Oat Milk.

“This tastes like (expletive)! Blah!”

In The New Yorker (page 13) appeared what I am seeing more and more.  The allowance for words that not so long ago would not have been permitted in these types of publications.  I am not the word police, or nor want to be one.  But there is a lowering of standards and foundations that do catch my attention and concerns me.

Words matter and how they are used does reflect on the person using them.  Trash talk just gives the perception of a lower-educated and less serious-minded person.  That is true if on the printed page of a magazine or made by the leader of a nation.

Perhaps there is marketing that shows younger demographics will try oat milk because it used an advertising gimmick.  But those of us who have a hammer in the house, and know how to use it, understand the necessity of drinking cows milk for muscles and good health.

And choosing word usage that reflects well on who we are.

And so it goes.

(Now get off my lawn…)

Summing Up Trump’s Impeachment Trial

From The Economist.

The mail arrived minutes ago and this caught my attention in the magazine as it is all too true.


What Message We Are Sending To The World…

…as shown by the covers of two prominent international publications.





How World Sees The United States This Weekend

Two magazines that are read worldwide had front covers and lead stories that are not only powerful but most troubling.

Time had a cover presented in a way that no words were even necessary.  The reporting inside was devastating.

If the accusations are true, Trump’s behavior would be an abuse of power unseen since the Nixon era: using the presidency and the powers of the U.S. government to conscript foreign help in a domestic political campaign. “These allegations are stunning, both in the national-security threat they pose and the potential corruption they represent,” Spanberger and six other Democratic freshman members wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post.

The implications go beyond the fate of a presidency to the heart of our democracy. Trump stands accused of using America’s vast wealth and the presidency’s unmatched sway to hold onto power for himself. In this era of hyperpartisan politics, the impeachment process will test the mechanisms of accountability built into our system of government by the Founders, who anticipated many things–but could not have envisioned Trump.

Meanwhile, The Economist had a truly creative cover that demonstrated what happens when elections are won by those with illiberal convictions.