March 5, 2001
10:54 AM   Subscribe

First, National Airport was renamed for him. Then, the International Trade Center in downtown DC was christened in his honor.

Now the powers that be have named a new naval aircraft carrier the USS Reagan.

I realize people are trying to honor the old bastard. But doesn't this seem inappropriate (even rude) considering he's not quite dead yet? Or is Alzheimer's close enough? *sheesh*
posted by ratbastard (38 comments total)

USS Ratbastard. I like the sound of that.

(Personally, I think it would kick ass to have my own aircraft carrier. Don’t you?)
posted by gleemax at 11:10 AM on March 5, 2001

I realize people are trying to honor the old bastard. But doesn't this seem inappropriate (even rude) considering he's not quite dead yet?

We can only keep a wishin', and a hopin'. Maybe this will speed up his demise.
posted by bgluckman at 11:16 AM on March 5, 2001

And a new memorial. It just gets worse and worse. I don't have that much of a problem with the aircraft carrier, given the huge military buildup the Gipper birthed. But a memorial? On the mall? Yikes. I think conservatives are afraid that RR won't look so good in the harsh light of history, so they're trying to ram things through while they control the legislature as well as the White House.
posted by anapestic at 11:17 AM on March 5, 2001

I thought naming things for a pres was norm, dead or not. The Federal Courthouse I'm sitting in was named for a very-much-alive ex-senator.

Personally, I think we should be more creative about these things. USS Mojo Rising sounds like fun.
posted by frykitty at 11:18 AM on March 5, 2001

Don: It only gets worse. They also want a memorial on the Mall. Plus I understand there is an actual group whose mission it is to have a Ronnie Ray-gun memorial, statue, etc in *every* freakin' state in the US!

I wonder how many of these people are of the Christian bent. You know all that "Thou shalt not worship false idols" stuff? Probably the same ones who also forget that it is "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Bring on the tax cut ;)

Still, I love the irony that the biggest and most expensive government building in US history is the Ronnie Ray-gun building. Not to mention that it houses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which Ray-gun wanted to get rid of.

Lastly, I think it is an absolute shame that Nancy hides Ronnie away in that house and won't even allow visitors or trained medical assistance for him. What a horrible way to live out one's last days.

But as much as I dislike(d) RR—and I was dismissed from class for smiling when he was shot—, I still wouldn't wish him dead.
posted by terrapin at 11:24 AM on March 5, 2001

Actually, there are several naval warships named after living persons, and even one after Jimmy Carter.

John found a naval warships FAQ which lists them.

posted by mikewas at 11:27 AM on March 5, 2001

Even worse, they renamed the turnpike in Florida , and they wanted to add him to Mount Rushmore.
posted by owillis at 11:28 AM on March 5, 2001

I hope this isn't against the rules, but apparently I even commented on this last September. I'm sure it won't be the last time.
posted by terrapin at 11:29 AM on March 5, 2001

Yet another list of Presidential Ships, this time fom the U.S. Merchant Marine. Not willing to go through all the politics required to become President? Take a hint from our current National Security Advisor, and try the oil company route.
posted by iceberg273 at 11:40 AM on March 5, 2001

Ghod! Imagine the shame of serving aboard the U.S.S Jimmy Carter. (sound of trumpet) wah whaw
posted by thirteen at 11:41 AM on March 5, 2001

Have they ever named anything after Richard Nixon?
posted by Mekon at 11:47 AM on March 5, 2001

Jimmy Carter is the best ex-president this country has ever had. He has done more as a citizen of this country than most people (president or not) have ever done. Don't be dissin' Jimmy!
posted by terrapin at 11:57 AM on March 5, 2001

Have they ever named anything after Richard Nixon?
Richard Nixon Memorial Run
(On a more serious note, there is a Richard Nixon Library. But I think eveybody get one of those.)

posted by iceberg273 at 11:59 AM on March 5, 2001

I believe there's a part of the male anatomy that's named after Nixon.
posted by anapestic at 12:05 PM on March 5, 2001

Terrapin: I agree he has been a wonderful EX-president, and a genuinely nice man. Still as a president he was fifth-rate, and his name is anti-climactic on a fighting vessel. It is a fighting ship isn't it? It would be okay for a laundry boat or something similar.
posted by thirteen at 12:11 PM on March 5, 2001

Take it with a grain of salt. There's plenty of ideological groups in DC that say they want something renamed, or a memorial built. But just because they want it, doesn't mean they'll get it. Notice, however, that they still get free press coverage, which is valuable and worthwhile.

The real question is: does RR get free rides?
posted by Witold at 12:13 PM on March 5, 2001

Plus I understand there is an actual group whose mission it is to have a Ronnie Ray-gun memorial, statue, etc in *every* freakin' state in the US!

Kinda makes you long for the Taliban, don't it...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 12:15 PM on March 5, 2001

USS Mojo Rising sounds like fun &
a part of the male anatomy that's named after Nixon
Let's do both!
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:19 PM on March 5, 2001

An aircraft carrier is small potatoes compared to his nearly-completed pyramid.
posted by Skot at 12:20 PM on March 5, 2001

Jeez sonofsam, I was worried you were going to link Dick Nixon & Mojo Rising in another, less wholesome way.
posted by zempf at 12:23 PM on March 5, 2001

A year after renaming National Airport in DC after Reagan, there was a Republican outcry to then alter the name of the Metro station that serves the airport -- as if anyone would possibly confuse National Airport for, say, National Zoo. Here's a hilarious article from the Washington Post around the time this came out. I had trouble finding it at first, thinking it was from the Washington City Paper because it's so candidly against the Republican's point-of-view.
posted by legibility at 12:41 PM on March 5, 2001

Carter also notably served in the Navy on a nuclear submarine.

That ship-naming thing shows you that this didn't start until the 1970s. I mean, sure, Reagan isn't alone by far anymore, but we used to have a decent interval. Nowadays the naming is rushed through because they're about to die (e.g. a few years ago they named the Cook County Coroner's building after a former office-holder on his deathbed). I find the whole thing distasteful, but call me old-fashioned. You want a namesake, die already!

There's a bunch of schools out there named Reagan, but I belatedly discovered a number of them are named for John H. Reagan, some sort of eminence in the Confederacy.
posted by dhartung at 12:47 PM on March 5, 2001

Has anyone noticed that CNN seems to be profiling, featuring, lauding and trumpeting Reagan and everything Reaganesque, these days? They've had Nancy Reagan on Larry King several times in the past couple of months. I saw two of these appearances, and they were pretty horrifying.
posted by websavvy at 12:56 PM on March 5, 2001

The Alzheimer's joke brought back happy memories of my Mom dying from that disease over eight years.

I didn't like Reagan. But I can't laugh at Alzheimer's, and it pains me that the disease continues to destroy people.

And, hey, I know no offense was intended (none taken, really) and I know I'm oversensitive about it. But I think anyone who's lost someone they love to something like that is going to feel a chill from those words.
posted by Zeldman at 12:59 PM on March 5, 2001

Is this the aircraft carrier that the Pentagon didn't want but esteemed Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) pushed through anyway due to the billion-dollar pork-barrel benefit to the Mississippi ship-building industry?

If so, then I can't think of a better name for such a monument to hideous overspending on questionably useful military equipment than Ronald Reagan. Go, Gipper, Go!
posted by daveadams at 1:18 PM on March 5, 2001

Wow, not a lot of love in the room for old Ronnie, eh? I can't say I was a huge fan, but he did a lot of things right. Here's some balance.
posted by mw at 1:35 PM on March 5, 2001

Dear MW: I enjoyed your link. But I have to say that it gets to be mighty tiresome to hear every conservative writer/thinker suggest endlessly that wnenever the economy is in decent shape that it dervives from Ronnie's days as president. Used to be sufficient for GOP to say that the Clinton decent economy goes back to Bush, the Daddy. But why not push it back to Lincoln. Can't go back beyond that.
posted by Postroad at 4:14 PM on March 5, 2001

Sorry, MW, but when the first thing I see on a link to an aticle praising Ronald Reagan is a "loading article" preload, forget it.
posted by solistrato at 4:17 PM on March 5, 2001

Someone mentioned earlier that Jimmy Carter served on a nuclear submarine. He was also a graduate of the Naval Academy. He served in the Navy from 1946 until 1953, leaving only when his father died and someone was needed to run the family peanut farming biz back in Plains. They named a ship after him? He was one of their (the Navy's, that is) own.
posted by raysmj at 6:00 PM on March 5, 2001

Andrew Sullivan may be a person of the Right five days out of seven, but he's not a conservative.
posted by drothgery at 6:08 PM on March 5, 2001

Andrew Sullivan would sound like a person of the right to most people, given his latest column on how Reagan "gave a purpose" to the lives of millions of Americans. (His anti-drug war stuff, which Ronnie would've utterly despised, to the contrary -- that makes him a libertarian, I suppose, but who cares really.) Of course, thinking a government official gave your life a purpose is not very conservative, but . . . Methinks Andrew Sullivan is more of a brown-nosing novelty act who dresses awful, on the whole. Goodness, he is really begging folks for money at his site. It's awful. I've made donations, but wouldn't after that pitch even if it weren't Andrew's. What an a-hole.
posted by raysmj at 6:17 PM on March 5, 2001

The campaign to name more and more things after Reagan is appalling. There is neither historical justification nor, more importantly, sufficient critical distance from his presidency. Such efforts are shameless, self-serving party vanity that abuse the public trust in government as the measured historical voice of the nation.

It is a very bad thing.
posted by Joe Hutch at 10:00 PM on March 5, 2001

I am anything but a Reagan supporter, but Alzheimer's is a rotten way to go. I wouldn't wish it on anyone and I can't get myself to laugh about it.
posted by pracowity at 12:17 AM on March 6, 2001

Reagan is pretty much the only Republican in anyone's memory to have support outside of the party-- which is pretty much the main reason they're ramming him down our throats, as someone said.

The question is, will the Dems want (or be allowed to) do the same for Clinton in 10 years?
posted by chaz at 4:01 AM on March 6, 2001

The question is, will the Dems want (or be allowed to) do the same for Clinton in 10 years?

I'd guess that Clinton's age mitigates against it: remember, he's a couple of months younger than GWB, so he's still got a few decades to go before he can assume the mantle of "elder statesman". Reagan had the advantage of being elected at an age when he'd have been forced to retire from most jobs.

As for Ronnie: it's a horrible, drawn-out way to die. In fact, you wouldn't be accused of much callousness to suggest that "President Reagan" is already a figure of posterity. One thought, if it's not too morbid: where are they going to bury him?
posted by holgate at 5:02 AM on March 6, 2001

Holgate -- as it happens, at the Reagan Library. By the way, there was a brief movement last year to "establish a site" for a Reagan memorial on the National Mall, but it turned out that authorizing legislation precluded any commission action until 25 years after death. Though a Republican Congress could, of course, override its own law.
posted by dhartung at 10:32 AM on March 6, 2001

Whoah. Thanks, dhartung.

That mausoleum is really quite something to behold. Et in Arcadia Ego.
posted by holgate at 12:32 PM on March 6, 2001

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