March 13, 2015

A couple of months ago, Scott Walker crafted a piece of Ronald Reagan fan fiction, claiming that Reagan's firing of the air traffic controllers helped bring Russia to its knees. Unsurprisingly, it turned out that Walker was lying through his weasel teeth.

Walker has another piece of Reagan fan fiction he likes to tell. This other story is just as false and much more disturbing than the one with the air traffic controllers.

In this new confabulation, Walker tries to enmesh himself in the Reagan legend by pointing out that he was married on Reagan's birthday and won the recall election on the anniversary of Reagan's death. Walker further tries to tie himself into the cult-like worship of Reagan by proudly announcing that Nancy Reagan was so much in awe of Walker's reelection that she invited him to speak at the Reagan Library.

Walker went even further by saying that Nancy Reagan was so enthralled with Walker, that she asked him to hold the Bible that Reagan used to be sworn into office, and which no one has touched since Reagan used it, just so she could have his picture taken with it.

Geez, the only thing he is missing is that the spirit of St. Ronnie appeared and told him that he would be president someday and people would call him the second coming of the Gipper.

Jud Lounsbury, writing at The Progressive, reports that he looked into Walker's fan fiction.

He found that Walker did get invited to speak at the Reagan Library, like scads of other conservatives. Walker also did get to meet with Nancy Reagan, again, like scads of other conservatives.

So far, nothing too special.

Lounsbury also found that Walker did hold the Reagan Bible, but that is where Walker's tale takes a wild turn away from reality:

In other news—wait, there's more to this story? Shut the front door!—I got in touch with Jennifer Torres, who is the artifacts curator at the Reagan Library. Torres said Walker did in fact, get his picture taken with the Reagan inauguration Bible, but that is the only part of the story that is true.

When asked specifically if Nancy Reagan had arranged for Walker to hold the Reagan Bible, Torres said in a email that it was Walker, not Nancy Reagan, that made the request to have his picture taken with the Bible—and that Walker made the request before he visited with Nancy Reagan or even flew out to California:

Gov. Walker requested to view the Bible while he was at the Library for a speaking engagement. The Bible is periodically removed from exhibit in order to rotate the pages on display. We decided to remove the Bible the day Gov. Walker was in town to comply with his request, took the Bible back to collections after the photo, and re-installed it on exhibit a few days later.

What about the stuff about Reagan being the last person to touch it? Eh, not so much:

Since the President's passing, several staff members and conservators have handled the Bible, all while wearing gloves. It is unknown if President Reagan was the last to have to have touched the Bible without gloves, but it is doubtful. It may have been handled by family or staff before it was brought to the Library. Once the Bible was at the Library, it would only be handled with gloves per collections management practices. The Bible was brought to the Library in 1992, and was placed on exhibit at some point. It was removed from exhibit in 2010 during the renovation, and re-installed in 2011.

When asked if Walker is the only visiting dignitary to have handled the Bible since the library opened, Torres said that he was, but he is also likely the only visiting dignitary to have ever made such a request.

There you have it folks: there was nothing special about Walker holding and getting his picture take with the Reagan Bible. Except, of course, in Walker's mind.

The scariest part of this piece of fiction is not that Walker is obviously trying to tie himself into the irrational hero-worship that conservatives have for their fantasy of who Reagan was. There's a lot of nut jobs that invoke the spirit of Reagan to try to enforce their conservative street creds.

No, the scary part of this is that Walker actually believes the stuff he comes up with.

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