The reason the Onion’s spoof about Ronald Reagan being raised from the grave to lead today’s Republican Party still remains one of the funniest political satires in recent memory is because it rings so true. With the GOP in such disarray, you get the sense that the only thing that unifies the conservative movement is a visceral hatred of America’s first African-American president and a cultlike worship of the Gipper. You also get the sense that if Republican leaders could have, they would have done exactly what that Onion spoof suggested — reanimate the corpse of Ronald Reagan and run him for president in 2012 — and for good reason. According to a stunning new national poll released today by the National Geographic Channel, Reagan would have demolished Obama in a head-to-head match-up.
As the coverage of Margaret Thatcher’s death this week reminds us, the 1980s still define us in so many ways. The National Geographic Channel poll, timed to the Sunday premiere of the channel’s three-night “The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us,” is chock-full of revealing findings about why exactly that is.
Some of the survey’s findings are fun but trivial (83 percent of us do not want shoulder pads to make a comeback), some are confounding (men like Harry and Sally as a couple way more than women do), and some are downright important to understanding the present political moment.