Ronald Reagan at 100: Is He The “Rubber Bustier” of the Republican Party? His Son Thinks So!

Ronald Reagan played The Gipper in the 1940 movie "Knute Rockne, All American.' Ronald Reagan was co-star of the 1951 movie "Bedtime for Bonzo."

Today is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, an august occasion to be sure. So leave it to Beaver to upset the apple cart. Ron Reagan, irreverent son of the 40th President, says Republicans venerate his old man like a fetish. Ron still thinks of him fondly as “Dad” –  the sunny 50s-60s type who could groan like Ward Cleaver when he caught the Beav smoking dope in the bedroom. Now Ron’s making the grand book tour to promote his piece of the legend, My Father at 100. In an NPR interview:

GUY RAZ: I’m curious to know what you make of the sort of veneration of Ronald Reagan. You call it a fetish in the book… Everybody loves Ronald Reagan… does it make you uncomfortable, or do you sort of distance yourself from that?

RON REAGAN: Oh, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I understand it. I mean, if you’re a Republican candidate for president, or any other office for that matter, who are you going to venerate in the Republican Party, George W. Bush? No, I don’t think so. H.W. Bush? Eh, not so inspiring. Nixon? No, that’s not going to work for you. You know, Ronald Reagan’s pretty much it. So yes…

GUY RAZ: But nonetheless, you call it a fetish.

RON REAGAN: Well, I think as you just demonstrated, it becomes so reflexive and so almost fetishistic that really, he’s like the rubber bustier of the Republican Party. I mean, they’re so all over him. [transcript]

About the images: (left) Ronald Reagan played The Gipper in the 1940 movie Knute Rockne, All American; (right) and he was co-star of the 1951 movie Bedtime for Bonzo.

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