I thought I'd seen everything, but this really takes the cake. You've probably all heard of Grover Norquist's crackpot Reagan Legacy Project. This is a group dedicated to honoring President Reagan by making sure that some public facility -- a post office, courthouse, road, school -- in every county of the United States bears Ronald Reagan's name. (I voted for the Reagan Memorial Sewage Plant but nobody's followed that suggestion yet.) But now the House Republicans, flush with their November triumph and feeling invincible, are doing what Republicans ascendant always do; they're getting ready to overplay their hand. Inside DC sources reveal that they, working hand in hand with Norquist, are going to announce on Friday a $780 billion Reagan Visage Project to reshape the Moon into Reagan's image, so everyone on Earth will have the sainted Reagan beaming down on them at night. More details below.
Here's the plan, from a confidential memo leaked by a staffer:
We estimate that approximately 180 strategically-targeted nuclear devices would be sufficient to modify the Moon’s geologic features to bear a likeness of President Reagan. The Reagan Visage would cover the entire visible surface of the Moon, and thus we anticipate the Moon would come to be called "the Reagan Visage." We can view this as simply an improvement on nature; unlike the illusory Man in the Moon, the Reagan Visage would be an unmistakable likeness of Our Greatest President.
The memo goes on to discuss costs and how this can be sold to the American people:
To be sure, the cost of 180 missiles carrying sufficient nuclear explosive payload to the moon will not be trivial; a NASA estimate performed at our request indicates the cost, in constant 2010 dollars, at $780 billion. But that cost will be partially offset, as NASA is in the midst of developing a new missile for manned missions to the Moon and Mars in any event, and the Regan Visage Project can be integrated with that research and development. Moreover, our polling indicates that President Reagan is still quite popular, and we are confident that the American people will rally around this effort to honor the Greatest American of the 20th Century. Indeed, we believe that we could succesfully attack President Obama and/or Democratic members as mean-spirited and miserly, were they to object to the Reagan Visage Project. Any complaints about cost could easily be ascribed to petty political calculations, particularly as we are timing our announcement to coincide with the Reagan centenniel birthday celebrations being conducted around the globe.
People, I don't know where to start. I'm beside myself. At the same time the Republicans are whining about deficits and wasteful government spending, we're supposed to come up with $780 billion to honor a mediocre (to be charitable) President? Do I really have to face looking up at the night sky for the rest of my life and seeing "the Reagan Visage"? This makes me sick.
But here's what's really galling. My sources tell me that President Obama has been briefed on this project and approves. His take, I am told, is that perhaps this isn't how he would spend $780 billion, but it will have some economically stimulative effect. In addition, he believes that if he enthusiastically supports the Reagan Visage Project, the Republicans will finally realize that he is reasonable, and will from now on negotiate in good faith with him on matters like cutting social security, lowering taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals, and depriving more Americans of their civil liberties in order to fight terrorism.
Don't you think the Republicans have finally gone too far? We need to get on the phones to the White House and our Senators and Congressmen and tell them we want no part of the Reagan Visage Project!