“… I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. …” – Barack Obama, 1-16-08

Ronald Reagan. Oh yeah, that guy.

Reagan turned thousands of mentally ill institutional patients out into the street, among his other crimes against humanity. How is a future president who’s hailed Reagan’s tradition of laying waste to useful government services that had “grown and grown”, while demonizing both those services and those who partook of them, supposed to fix health care? How is this quote going to sound on Press the Meat when Tim Russert trots it out on the hypothetical eve of the rollout of Obama’s health care legislation?

And it’s rich to complain about racism but then praise the policies of a man who created the myth of the Welfare Queen and started his campaign for president in a place of infamy. Or to complain about people mentioning one’s youthful drug use and then embrace someone who gave us a war on drugs that’s been a full on witch hunt against minorities and the poor, ever since.

A statement like this would have finished either Clinton or Edwards as candidates because of what Reagan’s legacy did to the lower income and minority voters that are the base of the party. It would have finished either of them with the creative class voters flocking to Obama now, the final ‘proof’ that they were phonies and establishment sock puppets, everyone’s worst suspicions confirmed at last. Hillary Clinton isn’t worth voting for because of something a supporter said, but Obama will get a pass for something that came out of his own mouth.

But that’s the way of it. These sorts of telling moments never hurt the party’s many conservative-coddling Lieberdems.

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