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Strength & Weakness In GOP Mythology

By The Reverend Published: March 14, 2014

Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz on ABC's "This Week"....

"... I agree we should be reluctant to deploy military force aboard, but there's a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did. When Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an Evil Empire, when he stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate and said 'Tear down this wall.' Those words changed the course of history. The United States has a responsibility to defend our values."

"Those words changed the course of human history." To 21st century Republicans perhaps, but not in the real world. On June 12, 1987, .....

President and Mrs. Reagan were taken to the Reichstag, where they viewed the wall from a balcony. Reagan then made his speech at the Brandenburg Gate at 2:00 pm, in front of two panes of bulletproof glass protecting him from potential snipers in East Berlin.

Here is the "tear down" phrase in it's original context....

"We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Twenty-nine months later, on November 9, 1989.....East Germany opened the Berlin Wall for the first time.

According to Ted Cruz.....two and a half years after Mr. Reagan had spoken the words "tear down this wall" from behind bulletproof glass in Berlin....those 2 1/2 year-old words "changed the course of human history."

The idea that Barack Obama is displaying weakness in his dealings with Vlad Putin over the current Ukrainian dispute comes out of Republican mythology about Ronald Reagan singlehandedly ending the Cold War with the words "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

As the mythology of those Reagan words grew and morphed within the Republican ranks.....they became virtually divine in their effect and power. Until today people like Ted Cruz compare Reagan's words to the words of god during the biblical creation week. God said, let their be light...and it was so. Ronnie said tear down this wall....and it was so.

Only...it wasn't...so.

Two and one half years after Reagan spoke his allegedly divine words, East Germans first opened the Berlin Wall. According to Genesis (the biblical one, not the band) when god spoke....there was no waiting time for the results.

Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul, apparently, doesn't buy the Reagan mythology, which is quite a change from normal GOP presidential wannabees. Paul wrote an op-ed for.....Breitbart...the other day where he explained, to the chagrin of many Reagan mythology lovers, a few realities about Reagan and foreign policy "strength"....

Many forget today that Reagan’s decision to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev was harshly criticized by the Republican hawks of his time, some of whom would even call Reagan an appeaser. In the Middle East, Reagan strategically pulled back our forces after the tragedy in Lebanon in 1983 that killed 241 Marines, realizing the cost of American lives was too great for the mission.

Today, we forget that some of the Republican hawks of his time criticized Reagan harshly for this too, again, calling him an appeaser.

What Rand Paul was communicating was the truth that if Reagan were president today faced with the same options Obama is faced with in the Ukraine......conservative warmongers would most likely be directing critical comments at Reagan that included the word "weakness."

The fact, not the mythology, is that U.S. president's are not all-powerful gods.....who can speak just the right "projecting strength" vocabulary words and world leaders are rendered helpless to do anything other than obey.

Good on Rand Paul for calling out his Republican brethren for their un-self-aware hypocrisy and their foolish recitation of mythological Reagan moments. There is truth....and then there is political posturing to excite your hysterical political base.

Rand Paul knows the difference. Ted Cruz does not.

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