Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, June 11, 2004
He Never Listened The President's eulogy at Ronald Reagan's funeral was innocuous enough, leaning heavily on the former president's biography. But one line rang horribly out of tune:
As a sports announcer on the radio, he was the friendly voice that made you see the game as he did.

The problem is, as Reagan loved to point out, he never actually saw the games. From his CNN biography:
An often repeated story recounts how he delivered play-by-play accounts of Chicago Cubs baseball games from his booth in Des Moines. His colorful reports were based solely on telegraph reports of the games in progress.

Perhaps this president, who so loves to claim his predecessor's mantle, should have paid closer attention to his stories...

The NYRA Battle Cry The official father of Mourning in America agrees with my arguments that the new Belmont Stakes theme song is interfering with modern triple-crown contenders' chances to run for glory.

Noting the fact that The Sidewalks of New York was the theme song of Al Smith's failed 1928 Presidential campaign, he coins a name for this phenomenon. Forget the Bambino -- make way for: The Curse of the Happy Warrior!

Outside the Box Marty Peretz, the increasingly marginalized co-owner of The New Republic, seizes the magazine's pages this week to deliver his nomination of Elliot Spitzer for Vice President on the Kerry ticket.

Personally, I'm not convinced. Besides, we New Yorkers need Spitzer to run for governor in 2006 and restore sanity to the NYRA, among other things. I'm also not convinced his angry-old-man rant against the other candidates is warranted or accurate. But I figured it was an interesting enough thought that you might want to read it for yourself.

I report, you decide. Hmmm, that's catchy...

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Out of the Woodwork Four days after his death, the media is clearly running out of credible Republicans to discuss the Reagan legacy. How else to explain last night's Bloomberg Radio interview with supply-side "economist" Jude Wanniski?

Wanniski, a former Wall Street Journal editorial-page writer has somehow managed to bring a patina of intellectual legitimacy to economically divisive ideas like the Laffer curve (cutting taxes, especially on the rich, magically increases government revenues) and the importance of returning to the Gold Standard (which would stop that nasty Federal Reserve from creating inflation to erode the value of the riches that the wealthiest have stockpiled). In the process, he's won a role as favorite adviser to Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes.

Last night, in the midst of an otherwise pap-filled paean to the gold standard, Wanniski began reminiscing about his talks with Reagan. He said Reagan was open to his theories because they marked a return to the "classical economics" that Reagan was taught as a student at Eureka State College in the 1920s.

Then it got fun -- he went on to contend that U.S. economic growth in the 1980s was a result of Reagan applying the lessons that "Calvin Coolidge, Warren Harding, and their Treasury Secretary, Andrew Mellon, used to unleash the Roaring 20s."

Seems like an apt comparison, given that both periods ended with ruinous stock-market crashes. Of course, Reagan's crash did not trigger a depression, largely becuase Wanniski's hated Federal Reserve was there to cushion the blow, but why give credit where it's due?