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Nothing new under the sun

This Russia stuff got me thinking, and it occurred to me that backdoor election related dealing between Republicans and our ostensible rivals may not be an invention of the Trumpers.

There is a rather strong argument to be made that the Reagan campaign engaged in some slippery dealings with Iran during the 1980 election campaign. The circumstantial evidence is rather strong. The Reaganites accused Jimmy Carter of plotting an October surprise. That surprise would have been a deal of some sort with Iran to free American hostages, who had been held for about a year at that point. The deal never happened, at least not in time for the election. Coincidentally, the hostages were freed on the day Reagan was inaugurated, so he never had to deal personally with the issue. I remember thinking at the time that the timing seemed awfully odd. Then, years later, we learned that Reagan was selling arms to our supposed enemy. The stench was overwhelming, and there is a lot of other evidence supporting the proposition that the Reagan people had direct contact with Iran during the campaign and promised them it would be worth their while to keep the hostages until after the election. Here’s a bit, but if you search the net, you’ll no doubt find more reputable arguments that support the theory. Congress made a half hearted attempt to investigate, as the article at the link notes, but was never in possession of some of the evidence referenced in the linked article.

So, while not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, it is certainly more probable than not that the Reagan campaign conspired with Iran to influence the American election. Spreading fake news was not an option at the time, there being no social media. It is a fact that Republicans have had no scruples about the methods they employ to win elections. In addition to treason, they are prone to selectively disenfranchising people, which, when you stop to think about it (and so few people do) somewhat undermines the democratic experiment.

The only difference between the Reaganites and the Trumpies is the level of competence. The Reaganites were pros, setting Reagan aside, since he was more or less a spokesperson. (The thinking being, I guess, that if you can sell Borax, you can sell inequality. ) There isn’t much competence in the Trump White House and unlike with the Reaganites, Trump doesn’t behave and won’t step aside to let the big boys do their jobs.

There may be another difference this time around. When Reagan was caught selling arms to Iran, a clearly impeachable offense, the media and political establishment were skillfully distracted by Ed Meese’s confession that the money from the sales were illegally diverted to the Nicaraguan contras, but that Reagan knew nothing about that. It turned the debate away from Reagan’s admitted treason to a relative side issue, but it worked. Again, the Trumpies are not as skillful as the Reaganauts. Try as they might, they don’t seem to be able to get anyone off the scent, except the folks at Fox and Friends.

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