- Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
The husband and wife writing team of Matthew Lysiak and Bridget Reddan have resurrected Ronald Wilson Reagan, made him 33 years younger and pitted him as the Republican candidate in 2012 against President Obama in “THE Choice: Ronald Reagan Versus Barack Obama and the Campaign of 2012” (Gadfly Publishing, 172 pages, $12.96 on Amazon.com).
In an alternate universe political novel, Reagan, born in 1944 (instead of 1911) was defeated by John McCain for the GOP nomination in 2008. The former governor of California has outlasted the current crop of contenders — Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Paul — gained the nomination and hopes to do in 2012 what the elder Reagan did in 1980 — defeat a Democratic candidate, denying him a second term. (For those of you who slept through American history — or who weren’t even alive in 1980 — Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in November 1980. He went on to be re-elected in 1984).
Lysiak and Reddan put words in the mouths of Reagan and Obama, but only the words the two have already uttered, with slight modifications.
This technique makes for a political junkie’s dream book, especially since most of the current GOP candidates have already assumed the mantle of the original Reagan and re-created themselves as Reagan 2.0.
As the authors say in their synopsis of the book: “Listening to the candidates recite the rules of Reaganomics at each debate, one could be forgiven for believing that the battle for the Republican Nomination was decided long ago with Reagan the clear victor. And in a way, he is. The timelessness and enduring appeal of Ronald Reagan s message still resonates, especially today, with the Keynesian model having replaced that of the free market as our country’s driving economic force….”
The parallels between 1980 and 2012 are eerily similar, Lysiak and Reddan write: In 1979, when Reagan jumped into the race, then-President Carter presided over runaway inflation, and high unemployment. Many believed that our best days as a country were behind us. Under Obama, the recovery, despite a stimulus, seems to have stalled, with high gasoline prices, very limited job creation and the lingering after effects of the housing meltdown.
In “THE Choice” we are treated — subjected? — to a debate sponsored by Fox News Channel between Obama and Reagan. Held in Cleveland on Oct. 28, 2012, the questioners are real news personalities, including Megyn Kelly, Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, Mara Liasson and Juan Williams of Fox News Channel. I’m kidding about that “subjected” comment: It’s a lively interchange, although, of course today’s so-called debates are really press conferences.
Here are some quotes from the book:
Reagan on Obamacare:
“Now what reason could these other people have for backing a bill which says we insist on compulsory health insurance for citizens regardless of whether they are worth millions of dollars, whether they have an income, or whether they have savings? I think we can be excused for believing that this was simply an excuse to bring about what they wanted the entire time — socialized medicine.”
Reagan on Wall Street Bailouts and the RNC:
“The country cannot be limited to the country club, big business image that it is burdened with today. The new Republican Party I am speaking about is going to have room for the working class man and woman, for the farmer, for the cop on the beat.”
Reagan on the Tea Party:
“Our party must be the party of the individual. It must not sell out the individual to cater to the group. No greater challenge faces our society today than ensuring that each one of us can maintain his dignity and his identity to an increasingly complex, centralized society.”
“THE Choice” is a tour de force that can be enjoyed by Democrats, Republicans and independents. So who’s Reagan’s running mate? i’m not telling! Read “THE Choice” and find out.
* * *
About Matthew Lysiak
Matthew Lysiak is a New York based writer who has appeared as a contributor on the Today Show, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. Matthew is currently a staff reporter for the New York Daily News.
About Bridget Reddan
Bridget Reddan is a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Daily News. Reddan lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She’s married to Matthew Lysiak.