By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2004, 2:58pm PT  

Sadly, I was on appointments during the afternoon and evening of Reagan's funeral (the final one) back at the Library, and only caught pieces of it later in various recaps.

The clips I saw from Ron Reagan Jr's moving eulogy to his father, however, certainly jumped out at me, and I had intended to try and review the transcript in full before posting to make certain that what I thought I'd heard, I actually did hear.

And it seems I heard correctly. Ronny took a not-in-anyway veiled shot at the current "President" in this passage:

"Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man, but he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians - wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference."

Message received.

As the story on the controversy stirred by his remarks in today's NY Times points out, young Reagan has been much more pointed in the past, as he was when he referred to the boy Bush after a Reagan Tribute at the 2000 Republican Convention when he said: "What's his accomplishment? That he's no longer an obnoxious drunk?"

Ouch. And then again in a Salon.com interview a few years ago:

"The Bush people have no right to speak for my father, particularly because of the position he's in now. Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the 80's. But the overall thrust of this administration is not my father's - these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people."

Reagan's daughter Patti was equally unequivocal about the mis-comparisons between Reagan and Bush Jr. when she opined to Newsweek:

"A messy, horrible war that has spun out of control could very well determine the next election," Ms. Davis wrote before her father's death. "So should the miracle of stem-cell research - a miracle the Bush White House thinks it can block."

None the less, it won't stop the Right from doing whatever they can to gain personal political benefit from the dead man they claim to admire, as Newt Gingrich made clear in the Times piece:

"Ronald Reagan has to be looking down from heaven and smiling at the way the current president, generally speaking, stands and the things he's doing, even though they might well disagree on some specifics."

There has been no explanation so far for Newt's ability to receive Divine Messages from his dead hero. None the less, let the piranhic scavenging press on...