Last night, Jon Stewart ripped into how the GOP is attacking Obama for his response to Russia over the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 by invoking a mythical version of Ronald Reagan.
Yes, Reagan was in deep mourning for losing the final 12% of his vacation. In fact, in 1988, when the U.S. accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner, also under Reagan's watch, Reagan refused to end that vacation early.Video and full transcript below the fold.
In the wake of the Ukraine plane crash, one thing is certain. Barack Obama isn't going to do anything. He stopped presidenting like a year and a half ago. Now he just sits around in his underwear, eating cheese doodles, growing his fingernails out, and watching the same episode of The Golden Girls over and over again. It's true.He began the show by unsuccessfully trying to talk about Israel, before pivoting to Russia's bad excuses for what happened to MH17.
(shocked audience reaction)
Oh Jesus. All right, I should look at these in rehearsal. And apparently, he's white and has the same body that we used for a bit we did with Steve Carell like 12 years ago.
Anyway, my point is this. What are we going to do about Russia?SEN. RON JOHNSON, R-WI (7/21/2014): What we need to do is we have to match strength against strength. ... We really need to show Russia that we will match their military buildup. ... And we'll help Ukraine match that so they can defend themselves.Smart, we send their guys weapons, then Russia sends their guys more weapons, so we send more weapons, yadda yadda yadda, world peace. (audience laughter)
OK. One of you idiots has to have a better idea.REP. PETER KING, R-NY (7/20/2014): I think we should talk about cancelling the World Cup. Why should countries be going in the World Cup to Moscow?Ah, nice. So now you want to take on the one group more corrupt and thuggish than Russia. Yeah, OK, that's real smart. (audience cheering and applause)
So those are all actions, but actions are not going to do anything. Because there's one thing that speaks louder than actions.7/20/2014:Yes! Sticks and stones may break his bones, but names.... (in Russian accent) "Is that how I seem to people? They think I'm thuggish? I've wrestled alligators and bears, but none of them ever hurt me like words." (audience laughter)
DAVID GREGORY: What is the administration not yet prepared to do that you think must be done?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SC: One, he didn't call Putin the thug that he is.
So the question is this. What's the right model for a President in this situation? And the answer be....MARIA BARTIROMO (7/20/2014): We saw how Reagan responded to the Soviets back then.Yes, Reagan! St. Ronnie dealt with a very similar situation in 1983, when the Soviet Union shot down a Korean passenger plane off the coast of Japan. I'll never forget how he responded. How did he respond?
KT McFARLAND (7/19/2014): Reagan was at the ranch in California. He immediately came back.Immediately! Plane crashes, they go to tell Reagan about it, and they're like, "Wha....?" He's already gone! The scent of aftershave and jelly beans, the only thing lingering in the air. (audience laughter) How did he spring into action so fast? To this day, nobody knows, but we know what happened next. Reagan took all of Russia's missiles, twirled them up single-handedly and threw them into the Sun.
KATE OBENSHAIN (7/17/2014): Rushed home from Santa Barbara vacation.
JOE SCARBOROUGH (7/21/2014): He immediately came home ... immediately be briefed ... immediately get moving forward and condemned the Soviet Union in the strongest terms possible.
Wait a minute, I'm sorry, that last part wasn't Reagan, it was Superman, but there's no difference. The point is, Reagan acted without delay.CHRIS WALLACE (7/18/2014): I was covering Ronald Reagan at that time. He was in Santa Barbara at his ranch when this happened. And quite frankly, he didn't want to leave. And his advisers realized how terrible this looked and eventually persuaded him he had to fly back to Washington and had to make the speech to the nation. But it did take him four days.What?! (audience laughter) Yes, Reagan's response to that catastrophe was so special, so remarkable, it was enough to make us forget what actually happened. (audience laughter) Which is that Reagan grudgingly cut short his 25-day vacation after being caught on camera riding a horse. (audience laughter)
But you know what? Don't take my word for it, let's read from his actual diary about the incident.Friday, September 2nd(audience groaning)
The Soviets shot down a Korean airliner with 269 passengers, 53 of them Americans, including Congressman Larry McDonald. We were due to return to Washington on Labor Day, but realized we couldn't wait. We left on Friday. It was heartbreaking — I had really looked forward to those last three days.
Punctuation, Reagan's. Yes, Reagan was in deep mourning for losing the final 12% of his vacation. In fact, in 1988, when the U.S. accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner, also under Reagan's watch, Reagan refused to end that vacation early.
We'll be right back.