Reagan got a rose garden Bush got thorns

ROGER SIMON

August 17, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

HOUSTON -- You know what really burns George Bush up? What really gets his goat?

How easy Ronald Reagan had it.

For eight years, George watched Ron get away with murder.

Remember Reagan's promise to balance the federal budget while he was president?

You don't? Of course you don't! That's the whole point!

Nobody remembers any of the promises that Ronald Reagan broke.

But let George Bush make one little promise -- not even a promise, if you ask him, it was more like a letter of intent -- about "no new taxes" -- and everybody jumps down his throat with their boots on.

And does anybody give him credit for winning that war? Ha!

George Bush kicks some real butt in the Gulf and today it's like a national amnesia has set in: War? What war?

But Ronald Reagan sends the Marines to Beirut, gets them blown up in their sleep and then quickly invades Grenada to make everybody feel better and it works!

Grenada! That dagger pointed at the heart of Antarctica! Way to go, Ron!

That's another thing that burns Bush up: George was a real military hero in World War II. Volunteered the day he got out of prep school, became the youngest naval aviator ever, got shot down, decorated, the whole thing.

And you know where Ronald Reagan spent World War II? In Hollywood. The greatest danger he faced was having a starlet fall on him.

But in the public mind, which president started out as John Wayne and which started out as the Wimp?

And you want to talk about scandal?

Let's see: Under Reagan there was the HUD scandal and the S&L scandal and the Iran-contra scandal, to name but three, and who got blamed? Not Ron Reagan.

It's enough to make George Bush grind his molars in his sleep.

And when he wakes up, he thinks about the economy. And he grinds his teeth some more.

The economy had a real fine little run under Ron Reagan. And you know what made it run so fast? A gigantic, burgeoning deficit that we all are paying for now.

In other words, many of the economic problems George Bush is wrestling with now were created by Ronald Reagan.

And how does Ron help out? Well, he will make a nice little speech at the Republican Convention tonight. But a few months ago, he said of George Bush: "I don't know where he stands."

Thanks Ron. Bush kissed your mistletoe for eight years for that?

When you get right down to it, George's real problem is this: Ronald Reagan was loved and he is not.

Ronald Reagan was the Great Communicator and he communicated one thing: The Good Life.

Everything was possible in America. He could cut taxes and balance the budget and we could all live like kings and queens. And when you asked him a tricky economic question, you know what he would reply?

"The solution to inflation and to unemployment and to all the rest is to get government out of things," he said. "My first priority is to clean up the welfare system."

And the public loved him for it. Even if it made no sense, even if it didn't seem grounded in reality, the public loved him.

"For Ronald Reagan, the world of legend and myth is a real world," Patrick J. Buchanan, his communications director, said. "He visits it regularly and he's happy there."

George Bush, however, lives in the real world. He is forced to. And he is not that happy there.

Nor do the people of his own party seem all that happy with him. What do his people want?

"They want Ronald Reagan," Richard Taylor, a Republican National Committeeman from Maryland said Saturday. "They want to feel good again."

Oh. Is that all?

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