June 20, 2009

A couple of weeks ago Will Bunch, our blogging friend from Philly and the proprietor of Attytood, visited with John Amato in L.A. for a bit while on the road promoting his new book, Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future.

Will has a rundown of the book's contents at Attytood, and provided an excerpt for Salon.

Of special note, I thought, was this bit about Grover Norquist's role in shaping the Reagan Legacy project:

One of the more down-to-earth tributes was written by Norquist, who said: “Every conservative knows that we will win radical tax reform and reduction as soon as we elect a president who will sign the bill. The flow of history is with us. Our victories can be delayed, but not denied. This is the change wrought by Ronald Reagan.” Norquist all but revealed one of his missions in the coming two years — finding a presidential candidate who would assume the Reagan mantle in a way that neither Bush 41 nor Dole ever could — but not the other. His second big push was practically a guerrilla marketing campaign to make sure that the less-engaged Middle America would get the message that Reagan belonged in the pantheon of all-time greats right next to Lincoln, Washington and FDR. Norquist had learned the lessons of Normandy and of the Brandenburg Gate, which was that powerful symbols can mean a lot more than words (especially in a little-read policy journal), that a motorist under the big Sunbelt sky of Ronald Reagan Boulevard will absorb the message of the Gipper’s greatness without ever pondering if ketchup should be a vegetable in federally funded school lunches or if “the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers” in Central America were drug-dealing thugs, the kind of stubborn things that popped up in those newspaper articles ranking the presidents.

I've just gotten my copy and started reading, but it's an important book -- especially if you want to have some arguments handy for dealing with your Reagan-loving brother-in-law ...

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