Oliver Willis misses Ronnie:
Godspeed Ronald Reagan [Oliver Willis: Like Kryptonite To Stupid]: Is there anyone in this Republican field who will protect us from aliens the way that conservative ubergod Ronald Reagan would? I think not.
I wrote about this before http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2004_archives/001002.html:
Klaatu Barada Nitko!
Life was certainly interesting when Ronald Reagan was president. For the neoconservative Cold Warriors who largely staffed the foreign policy side of his administration, it became most interesting when Reagan began wandering around the White House saying, "Klaatu Barada Nitko!" and asking people whether they had seen The Day the Earth Stood Still. "Here come the Little Green Men again!" Colin Powell would say.
Rotten.com has a timeline of some of this:
4 Dec 1985: Anticipating arms control discussions with his Soviet counterpart, President Reagan draws on an extraterrestrial analogy: "[H]ow easy his task and mine might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this world from some other species from another planet outside in the universe. We'd forget all the little local differences that we have between our countries ..."
17 Feb 1987: Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev reveals Reagan's preoccupation with space aliens: "At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestials, the United States and the Soviet Union would join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the hypothesis, though I think it's early yet to worry about such an intrusion..."
15 Sep 1987: During a luncheon with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnatze in the White House, President Reagan once again wondered what would happen if the Earth were under attack from an external threat: "Don't you think the United States and the Soviet Union would be together?"
4 May 1988: During a question-and-answer session in Chicago, President Reagan revisits his 'invaders from space' notion: "I've often wondered, what if all of us in the world discovered that we were threatened by an outer -- a power from outer space, from another planet. Wouldn't we all of a sudden find that we didn't have any differences between us at all, we were all human beings, citizens of the world, and wouldn't we come together to fight that particular threat?"
The Cold Warriors thought that they had a man who hated Communism and was eager for an expensive and bloody crusade against the Evil Empire. And they did. But there was also another Reagan roaming around inside Ronald's head: A Reagan who wanted SDI not to gain the U.S. an advantage in the Cold War but to protect people against the horrors of death-by-nuke--and who sincerely wanted to give SDI technology away for free to all nations so that no one would have to fear nuclear destruction. A Reagan who genuinely hoped to eliminate nuclear weapons from the face of the earth. A Reagan who thought that the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still" carried a powerful message about how small were the differences that divided the world's nations when seen from the right point of view. A Reagan who was definitely willing and eager to give peace--and Gorbachev--a chance.
This Reagan freaked his National Security Council staff out. But he proved remarkably powerful when pitted singlehanded against virtually his whole administration in 1987 and 1988. And we should not forget that Nancy Reagan was a powerful voice backing Ronald-the-Peacemaker in the waning days of the administration.
For that, thanks.