Dave Simpson: Don't Make Us Drink The Skim Milk

Columnist Dave Simpson writes, "Meanwhile, the Democrats were drinking papaya juice and mojitos, and dancing the Macarena. No holding back those randy party animals. At least they were honest about not caring about deficits ..."

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Dave Simpson

July 24, 20234 min read

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For most of my adult life (a long time, Buster), voting Republican has been like drinking a tall glass of skim milk.

At room temperature.

No cookies.

Oh, sure, it looked like real milk at election time. Ice cold, rich, maybe even with a fistful of Oreos. Back to the good old days. “Kitchen-table” economics. Not spending money you don't have. Girls playing on girls' teams. Boys playing on boys' teams. (Can you imagine?)

Drag queens? What the ding-dong heck are they? Borders that are, well, borders, and you can expect to wait a while when you crossed one. No swimming across.

 And — this is a big one — we weren't $32 trillion in debt.

What we got looked like a glass of whole milk, but if you looked close it was kind of bluish and thin around the edges. It tasted like someone watered it down. And Oreos? Are you kidding? With skim milk? Wake up and smell the disappointment, pal.

When we complained, we were told we just didn't understand the complexity of Washington. “Now, now, now, dearie,” even some Republicans were telling us. “Don't worry your pretty little head.”

John McCain called us “whackos.”

Meanwhile, the Democrats were drinking papaya juice and mojitos, dancing the Macarena. No holding back those randy party animals. At least they were honest about not caring about deficits, while our skim-milk Republicans talked frugality but just wanted to direct the overspending to stuff they wanted.

I once lived in the Illinois district of House Minority Leader Bob Michel, who told me they tried to find savings elsewhere to pay for new spending, but it didn't seem like a big issue to him. He said, “People in your own industry — (newspapers) — told me I needed to become a major pork producer,” and he did just that, bringing home millions in pork-barrel spending.

The Republican who followed Michel as our representative, Ray LaHood, looked at those of us who wanted change as, well, kind of crazy. (LaHood, a nice enough guy, went on to become President Obama's secretary of transportation. Surprise!)

The exceptions to all this, of course, were Ronald Reagan, who got the economy back on track after the Carter years, fought the bureaucracy at every turn and played a key role in the demise of the Soviet Union — and Donald Trump. The mojito/Macarena Democrats called Reagan “an amiable dunce,” but for those eight years, Republicans were drinking whole milk and eating Oreos by the bag.

When Reagan's eight years were over, however, George H.W. Bush said he wanted a “kinder and gentler” Republican administration, and the skim milk years were back. The elder Bush was kinder and gentler to the bureaucracy, and his son gave us the Department of Homeland Security, combining countless bureaucracies into one super bureaucracy. (Take a look at our southern border and ask yourself how that's working out.)

Even Richard Nixon gave us the Environmental Protection Act, so the notion that Republicans oppose bigger government is on pretty shaky ground.

But then along came Donald Trump, promising to “build a wall,” brimming with bravado and laying waste to every skim-milk Republican who dared show up for a debate. “Little Marco,” “Low Energy Jeb” then “Crooked Hillary,” we all wondered how he could get away with talking like that.

But he won, and darned if he didn't get results. The predicted stock market crash didn't happen, with the Dow surging to 31,000. He cut the bureaucracy to the point where stock creeks were (briefly) no longer navigable waters. He made three conservative appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. And there was even progress (briefly) in the Middle East with the Abraham Accords.

(A major disappointment: The national debt grew by leaps and bounds under all of these presidents.)

Trump's accomplishments happened despite the most organized, concerted, corrupt, relentless campaign to destroy an American presidency in our history. And it has accelerated over time, with Trump today facing multiple indictments even as polls show him far ahead of any other Republican candidate for 2024.

Why do so many Republicans support Trump over younger, more circumspect, less egocentric and un-indicted candidates for president?

Here's my theory:

We don't want to go back to drinking the skim milk.

Dave Simpson can be reached at: DaveSimpson145@hotmail.com

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.