During the one-and-only Vice Presidential Debate for the 2016 Election held in Farmville, Virginia on 4 October, Senator Tim Kaine did a fine job against the late former President Ronald Reagan.
Perhaps you didn’t notice, but there were several hints that Kaine’s opponent Governor Mike Pence pulled a fast one and conjured The Gipper from the dead in order to take his place.
Oldies but goodies
The most obvious clue came twenty-three minutes into the debate, after Kaine described how he and Hillary Clinton would protect Social Security from being privatised.
The Gipper awoke and shot off the famous quip from his 1980 debate with President Jimmy Carter, boldly retorting, “There you go again.”
Of course one trademark witty remark by itself does not prove the active participation of POTUS number 40. No, you would need a ‘mountain range’ of proof to demonstrate such a claim. And oh boy, such a huge mountain range it was.
The Empire Strikes Back
Kids of the 80s will remember that Reagan wanted to protect the US from nuclear attack by developing a Strategic Defense Initiative. This was referred to as a Peace Shield by some and Star Wars by others.
The costly behemoth was never implemented, however, the concept appears to live on in what Governor Pence referred to as a “missile defense shield” to protect US allies the Czech Republic and Poland (as long as they’re ready to pay for this protection, I reckon).
That ancient principle
A citation from scripture was another clue. Who else but Reagan would offer a quote like “God says before you were formed in the womb, I knew you” as justification to repeal Row v. Wade, making abortion illegal, and thereby denying women the right to make such choices for themselves.
Just in case anyone had forgotten, Kaine reminded listeners that candidate Trump would also like to punish women that choose to have abortions. Pence insisted that trump didn’t really mean it.
The trickle down that didn’t
They aren’t calling it the trickle-down affect this time around, but the Trump and Pence stimulus plan involving huge tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy for the benefit of all is an old idea of Reagan’s, which, well, created big budget deficits, less stimulus. Look it up.
Hearing the phrase “War on Coal” no less than five times brought back memories of another of Reagan’s favorite battle cries.
Of guns and ships
Regarding spending, Trump and Pence are not entirely against that as long as the money goes to the military, again, completely in step with Ronald Reagan’s approach. It seemed the best plan to stop terrorism is expanding the US Navy, although how that would stop ISIS splinter cells from conducting its urban missions of terror remains a secret (Don’t tell the enemy your plan!).
Not quite Reaganesque
Perhaps the only Trump/Pence ideas that are out of synch with Reagan’s ways relate to the hatred of Iran and the love of Russia.
Whilst Reagan sold missiles to Iran (in addition to giving Iranian leaders a cake and a Bible), he regularly taunted Russian leaders. That’s quite a contract to Trump and Pence who distrust Iranians and praise every Russian with a pronounceable surname.
Please hold the salsa
Reagan also took a kinder approach to undocumented immigrants who established themselves in the US, despite their initial illegal border crossings. Mass deportations were not on his agenda. Maybe because he understood how badly Californian farmers needed help with the harvest?
Back to the future
So, yeah, all in all, with a couple minor exceptions, the VP Debate was like watching Reagan back in action in his glory days.
This all makes me wonder if maybe, just maybe, time travel is real.
It sure would explain much of the deja vu during the VP Debate, and it might be the only way to explain how Reagan managed to steal Trump’s campaign slogan.
I mean, what other explanation could there be?