1980 was an election year in the U.S., and I was just old enough to start paying serious attention to world events. Jimmy Carter was the U.S. president. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but he was having a hard time because of those poor hostages in Iran.
Carter was running against some creepy old fart named Ronald Reagan. Reagan scared the living shit out of me. The way he talked, it sounded like he was just itching to push that button and put an end to all those Commie bastards once and for all. Plus, he kept talking about God and Jesus all the time. He just seemed so crazy and scary and possibly senile that I couldn't believe anyone in their right mind would ever vote for him. So I bet my sister ten bucks that he would lose.
That was the last time I gave the American electorate credit for having any sense at all.
Happily for us all, Reagan never did push that button. What he did do was open the door for the Religious Right to dominate the agenda in American politics for the next quarter century. Even in those heady years of the Democratic administration, Clinton was constantly hamstrung by having to appease the right wing on everything from health care to gays in the military.
Now, at long last, it looks as though the Dark Ages might finally be coming to an end:
Conservatives irate at current crop of presidential candidates
It seems that socially and fiscally moderate Republicans like Giuliani and Schwarzenegger are no longer the freaks of nature they once were. Not that the Republicans have a hope in hell of winning in '08 (oops, there I go again giving too much credit), and there is still a long way to go before the Republican primaries. But can you imagine a GOP convention with a largely wingnut-free slate of candidates? Damn, that hasn't happened since... well, not in my lifetime anyway.
All this just in time for Harper to start steering Canada to the hard right. Let's hope the Canadian electorate has more sense.