Mo(u)rning in America 

Surely you’ve already seen the Citizens for the Republic  “Mourning in America” ad; it’s had something like 325,000 hits on youtube. It’s something in the nature of a negative knockoff of the 1984 Reagan campaign’s Morning in America ad, with similar music but in a minor key and an announcer with a similar voice but speaking in dismay rather than hope. The mainstream media, then more powerful than now, hated Morning in America but it was obviously effective in evoking the optimism of an America that was, after three and a half years of the Reagan presidency, “stronger” and “prouder” and “better.” The visual images in the ad evoked the 1930s and 1940s movies which established an image of an ordinary decent America that still resonated in 1984. Mourning in America draws on that visual vocabulary as well, but in a minor key, with a dystopian rather than utopian air.

 Of course no under currently under age 44 was eligible to vote in 1984, so presumably many or most of today’s voters have no recollection of Morning in America. But there is an obvious contrast in policies and in economic results. Reagan cut taxes and spending and the economy boomed. The Obama Democrats increased spending and taxes and the economy has (so far, anyway) stagnated.

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Michael Barone

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