Tip, &c.

by Jay Nordlinger

All your life, I bet, Democrats and their friends in the media have told you that Republicans are extreme, angry, and mean. In my experience, these things are more characteristic of the Left, but in any case . . . On the homepage today, I have a “blowout,” or expansion, of a piece I had in the magazine: “Good Ol’ Tip: Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. and national myth.” Here on the Corner, let me give you just a tiny taste of what he said about Reagan:

“It’s sinful that this man is president of the United States.” “The evil is in the White House at the present time. And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and the future generations of America, and who likes to ride a horse. He’s cold. He’s mean. He’s got ice water for blood.”

Can you imagine John Boehner’s ever saying similar things about the current president? When Joe Wilson said “You lie!” and Justice Alito mouthed “Not true,” the media wet their pants, declaring the Republican party the reincarnation of the SS.

Have received some mail, as you can imagine, and would like to share a quick letter with you:

Jay,

I graduated from Boston College in 1981 [barely missed Flutie!], and Speaker O’Neill was our commencement speaker. I looked forward to the speech by our most prominent alumnus, but was left very disappointed when he used the occasion to bash — in the most partisan terms — President Reagan. One was left with the impression that the president wanted to starve little kids, throw Grandma to the curb, redistribute money from the poor and middle class to the rich, and bomb the rest of the world into oblivion. Making it worse, in my mind, was that the president was still recovering from an assassination attempt.

JFK’s comment about Nixon, which you so often cite, sure applied then: “No class.”

Well, good thing Democratic rhetoric has changed over the years . . .

While I have you on the line, I’d like to share with you a letter responding to my Impromptus of Wednesday. In that column, I said something about “dekulakization,” the process by which the Soviets murdered peasants whom they considered too industrious and well off. A reader writes,

You have reminded me of my wife’s story about her great-grandfather in the Soviet Union. When the Soviets marched into Moldova in 1940, they immediately sought to arrest anyone with two sticks to rub together for fire. Her great-grandfather liked to tinker and had cobbled together a motorcycle and had become a comparatively prosperous farmer in his village — he even owned a pair of horses. Tipped off by a friendly policeman, he fled the house just before the Russians came and hid in the woods.

Until his death some years after WWII, he kept the bridles to his confiscated horses because he was convinced that some day the Americans would come liberate the country and he would get his horses back. Fifty years later, his grandson (my father-in-law) signed the country’s Declaration of Independence from the USSR.