Last night, Bill Maher closed his final show of 2013 with a final New Rule commemorating John F. Kennedy, and with a comparison of JFK with Ronald Reagan.
And finally, New Rule: on this solemn anniversary, Republicans must be given some credit today for not saying out loud what they're really thinking — that he wasn't all that great. Now I disagree, but in the interest of reaching across the aisle, let me admit, I get that. I do. You just don't get a lump in your throat for John F. Kennedy. You get a lump in your throat for Ronald Reagan. He's the Republicans' Kennedy, the one they have unconditional love for.Video below the fold.
Just last week, Sarah Palin said, "There is no Ronald Reagan on the scene today. If he was, that's who I would put my faith in." That's quite a hold on someone. After all, when Reagan was elected, Sarah Palin was barely 16, probably pregnant, but still in 3rd grade. (audience laughter and applause)
Now, I don't know if all politics is local, but I do think all politics is tribal. And just as some people are dog people, and others are cat people, some have a chip in their brain to be Democrats, and others to be Republicans. We have Kennedy, you have Reagan. We have marijuana, you have Metamucil. (audience laughter) We want gays in the military, you want them in the airport restroom. (shocked audience laughter and applause)
Now I get this, because you know what? In my house, you could never say a bad word about the Kennedys. My father was Irish-American like Kennedy, same age, fought in the same war. I think I got my love of politics at that formative age because my parents loved him so much. As did, and do, millions of Americans for whom this day will always suck, and never be forgotten. Historians will argue forever about whether Kennedy and Reagan were good Presidents, and never settle it. But can we on this day at least agree that Kennedy was cooler?
I mean, sorry, but our liberal icon was a smart sexy war hero who said he wanted to go to the Moon. Yours was an old fuddy-duddy who tried to rock denim.
Our guy was Don Draper. Yours was Rooster Cogburn. And don't tell me Reagan had Hollywood glamour. He wasn't a star, and in 1980 he was 30 years past his prime, which was never much. It would be like in 2016, if the Republicans nominated Judd Nelson. I mean, Kennedy hung out with the Rat Pack in its prime, before Frank got cranky, before Sammy hugged Nixon, and DeanO started wearing old Jewish guy glasses.
Here's Reagan's idea of a Rat Pack — Kirk Cameron, Phyllis Diller, Lucy, and Webster.
(audience laughter and applause)
You know, when they named an airport after JFK, flying was sexy and fun. You dressed up, drank a martini, and flight attendants performed oral sex in first class. When they named an airport after Reagan, it was purgatory with a food court.
Everything JFK wore is still cool today. Look at him, he looks like a J Crew model.
When he was President, everyone looked like Rob and Laura Petrie. When Reagan was President, everyone looked like this.
(audience laughter and applause)
Was there ever a more garish decade than the '80s? Neon clothing; big hair; spandex; blazers with shoulder pads... for men; a jacket that anyone could buy for $25 bucks called "Members Only". The '80s were so ugly, even beautiful people looked ridiculous.
(That's Brad Pitt, folks.)
Everyone looked awful. Look at me in the 1980s!
(wild and shocked audience laughter and cheering)
Honestly, I tried to find a good picture from then, it doesn't exist! But wait, look how debonair I looked in the '60s.
Now, as you can see, I was in the NRA back then, as I'm wearing a gun with a suit. But hey, it was an important day, cuz apparently I was marrying my sister. (audience laughter and applause)
But one reason we looked uglier in the '80s is cuz we were uglier. It was when the Baby Boomers, the generation that was supposed to be different, just gave up and sold out completely. Kennedy's time was the time of, "Ask not what your country can do for you." Reagan's was the time of, "Greed is good."
JFK was far from perfect, but he was a true wit and a sex machine, and he knew how to wear a pair of shades. Reagan was an amiable square in a cowboy hat who had sex with a woman he called "Mommy". (audience gasps in laughter)
Kennedy was James Bond. Reagan was Matlock. Love him or hate him, we win. Republicans can call Reagan "their Kennedy" all they want, but it's like calling Miller High Life the champagne of beers. It's why calling some "your Kennedy" will never really cut it, because our Kennedy... is Kennedy.