Ronald Reagan on Mount Rushmore?

The campaign to remember Reagan—everywhere

| March-April 1999

Ronald Reagan's conservative revolution may have finally fizzled last November, when congressional Republicans suffered stunning losses, but the Gipper himself is hotter than ever. Ronnie-lovers are quietly foisting the Reagan name on everything from turnpikes and airports to mountains and trade centers. “The last 12 months or so have brought forth an unanticipated wave of rekindled affection for the old fellow,” writes David Kamp in GQ (Oct. 1998), “as if he were not simply muted by Alzheimer's but long interred, forgotten about for some years, and then studiously revived by scholar-fans eager to press his case—rather like Edith Wharton a few years back.”

Except that Miss Wharton never had an airport named after her, or a gang of sycophants—like Grover Norquist and his Reagan Legacy Project—vulgar enough to suggest (seriously) that her likeness be added to the pantheon of Mount Rushmore presidents. (It's “maybe 10 years down the road,” Norquist says, “something we want people to get used to first.”) The ideas are so outrageous it's hard to distinguish the real proposals from the loopy ones. But go ahead, give it a try. (The answers are below.)


1. The Reagan dime
2. The Reagan Space Center (Houston)
3. Ronald Reagan Strasse (Adjacent to what was the Berlin Wall)
4. Ronald Reagan Turnpike (Florida)
5. Ronald Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative
6. Ronald Reagan Institute for the Study of Foreign Policy (Miami)
7. Mount Reagan (New Hampshire)
8. Ronald Reagan National Recreation Area (Utah)
9. Ronald Reagan Workfare Center (Oklahoma City)
10. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (Washington, D.C.)

Answers: 1)Yup, Norquist says he wants to knock FDR off the coin when Social Security is privatized. 2) Sorry, we made this up. 3) This one, too, but it could happen. 4) This has already happened. 5) A serious proposal—really. If Star Wars is implemented, there will be a push to name it after Reagan. 6) Jeane Kirkpatrick could teach here—if we hadn't invented it. 7) Norquist wants to rename one of the peaks in New Hampshire's Presidential Range. 8) Visualize acres and acres of RV hookups, drive-ins, and a corral with ponies for the kids. No trees. Thankfully, nobody's had the gall to propose such a thing. 9) Or this one. 10) The second-largest edifice in Washington was dedicated last spring; Nancy was there.

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