REAGAN AND BUSH….I spent part of this week reacquainting myself with all those old Reaganisms that used to scare the crap out of us back in the 80s but don’t anymore because, hell, he didn’t blow up the world, did he? The fact that the leader of the free world used to be a doddering old guy completely out of touch with reality seems more cute than menacing these days.

Memories, memories. But all this also reminded me of what a small world this has become, and what a pale imitation of Reagan our current president is. Even his lies are smaller and his dimwittery a bit less dim. I mean, sure, Bush got gentlemen’s Cs, but at least he got them at Yale. How can you compare that to a guy who got gentlemen’s Cs at Eureka College?

And lying about torture or WMDs? It’s almost vulgar. Reagan told lies like that too, but he went further, routinely answering questions by telling us that, say, most pollution was caused by trees. Or that South Africa had eliminated segregation. Or that the Contras were the equivalent of America’s founding fathers. There’s a sort of ethereal majesty to these kinds of statements that removes them from the earthbound realm of mere cluelessness and makes them the stuff of legends.

So, yes, both Bush and Reagan are conservatives, they both loved tax cuts and tough talk, and they both had ranches and wore cowboy hats. But Bush would never dare tell us that most pollution is caused by trees. He just wouldn’t have the vision or the guts.

A pale imitation, George Bush is. There is, by contrast, something Munchausian about Ronald Reagan, something that, for better or worse, the smallminded George Bush can only dream of matching. When it comes to the high art of ignoring the real world in favor of a fantasy world of your own making, Ronald Reagan truly is the father of modern conservatism.

And, after all, he didn’t get us all blown up in the end, did he?

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