American politics is no more absurd than politics anywhere. Honestly. Trust me on this one. No new taxes.
:: Papa Reagan ::
Reagan, by all personal accounts, was a nice person: considerate, thoughtful, and he knew who he was and what he thought. And, it was on his watch, and possibly due to his actions/policies, that the Berlin Wall finally came down.
And if we, all men, have one common enemy, it is death. So sympathies and a certain respect are due Reagan, IMO.
On the other hand, Reagan's policies demeaned the lives of the majority of Americans. We wanted opportunity but he gave us a trickle and told us to agree it was what we deserved. He skewed the American economy toward Government goods (e.g. "Defense") where compliance with bureaucratic dictates precluded innovation and a higher standard of living. The Berlin Wall may have come down, but at a price to individual Americans for whom the defense economic focus had a grave opportunity cost. One was more likely to like Reagan if one was in High School during his Presidency than if one was trying to start a career.
After the Disco 70's we felt we needed a big Papa, and Reagan was a good father: sincere, whether right or wrong; strict, but kind; he removed "unnecessary" choices... Reagan was, and remains, quite popular.
:: Stepfather Bush ::
Perhaps after the dawn of The Internet we also felt like we were somehow too free, and needed another father figure. We elected by ballot, counting (wink), and court, Bush. Enough. It's not for the children to question Mom's choice when she remarries.
Still, let's be clear: Bush is no Reagan. If Reagan was the good father, than Bush is the evil stepfather. The evil stepfather who constantly throws his weight around and tells you, anyone, what to believe; the evil stepfather whose painful punishments are without proportion to one's deeds; the evil father who wants total control over you.
Our real fathers (and mothers) taught us it's right to be loyal and Republicans seem a loyal lot, so Bush remains supported.
One might question, though, if Republicans remain loyal to Bush at the expense of their common sense? What financially conservative Republican would have pre-approved sending us from a coming surplus into a looming trillion dollar deficit that is sure to stiffle business?
It's nice that I can finally fully approve the Democrats, now that they are the more financially conservative lot.
With Presidents like Bush we can all be a little nostaglic for Reagan, even if his Defense build-up and economic policies cost us personally and stalled progress toward the brighter future he characterized, like a line from a "B" movie, "the shining city on the hill."