What is it with the wingnuts’ affinity for identifying with fictional characters?
Oh, I know, theirs are fictional lives pretty much anyway, but there does seem to be some sort of psychosis evident in the weird chain which stretches from Dan Quayle getting into a kerfuffle with Murphy Brown to the lionizing of the dubious moral standards of Jack Bauer to today’s all-talk-no-action John Galt warriors.
Then again, their Most Favoritest President Ever was known for having a real problem separating fact from fiction:
”Dutch” opens with Reagan’s awkward visit to Bergen-Belsen in 1985, scheduled to placate Jewish groups incensed over his tour of the Nazi military cemetery at Bitburg. Reagan was wounded by their outrage. Hadn’t he personally witnessed the liberation of the camps at Ohrdruf and Buchenwald? Well, no, actually. All he saw was footage brought to the Army training film unit where he served. Incredibly, Morris dismisses the distinction. ”What matters, surely, is that one of history’s worst truths, registered upon Ronald Reagan half a century ago, with a primacy that affected him the rest of his life,” he writes. And in a footnote, he goes on to say that ”to the extent that what he saw was ‘real’ in his mind (where RR, a highly imaginative person, in effect lived), he ‘really’ was there when the wire went down at Ohrdruf.”
The notion that it makes no difference whether Reagan experienced something in person or from film is even more outrageous than any of the fictionalized characters in this book. But the difference clearly did not matter to Reagan. His world was famously populated with welfare ”queens” who did not exist, with trees that caused pollution. If Bill Clinton’s reputation is for telling lies, Reagan’s was just for saying things that were not true. That he was able to sell this fine distinction to the public surely qualifies him as a political genius. Morris agrees: Reagan wasn’t lying, because he believed what he said, even after being told that it was false.