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Jon Schwarz

Jon Schwarz is editor of MichaelMoore.com and was research producer for 'Capitalism: A Love Story.' He's also contributed to the New Yorker, New York Times, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Slate, Saturday Night Live and NPR.

December 2nd, 2012 2:17 PM

Ronald Reagan, Crazy Conservatism's Crazy Grandfather

Lots of people say American conservatives have gone crazy, and live in a weird fantasy world where they only talk to each other and convince themselves of things that everyone else can tell are obvious crap. Right now in their little bubble, global warming is finally being exposed as a hoax in an extremely eloquent speech delivered by President-elect Romney while standing on a big pile of Saddam's WMD.

But while it may have gotten a little worse lately, let's not go overboard – there was no golden age of non-crazy conservatives. For instance, just before the 1964 presidential election, Ronald Reagan gave a famous speech endorsing Barry Goldwater that made Reagan's political career. It included these words of wisdom:

I think we're against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially when we have such examples, as was announced last week, when France admitted that their Medicare program is now bankrupt. They've come to the end of the road.

48 years later, France's healthcare system is still here and was ranked #1 in the world by the World Health Organization. The U.S. was #37. French life expectancy is also two and a half years longer than in the U.S. Meanwhile, France spends 11.9% of its economy on healthcare, compared to 17.9% in the U.S. If we spent the same amount as the bankrupt French system which reached the end of the road in 1964, we'd save $900 billion per year.

So it's no wonder this year's Republican convention included a long Kim Jong Il-like tribute to Reagan. Crazy then, crazy now, crazy forever.

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