The conservative media sphere seethed with anger on Friday over actress Lena Dunham’s suggestive new ad (embedded below) for President Barack Obama that implies a similarity between voting and having sex — seemingly forgetting that the Republican Party’s greatest icon, President Ronald Reagan, personally employed the very same analogy in an even more graphic manner.
It was just days before voters swept Reagan into power in 1980 when he told a crowd in New Jersey, “I know what it’s like to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it just feels great.”
That quote was first reported by The Washington Post on November 1, 1980, but it was Talking Points Memo’s Eric Kleefeld who revived its prescience in the national conversation on Friday morning.
Although the quote is well known and often cited by conservatives, that didn’t seem to occur to CNN contributor Erick Erickson, who declared on the Republican blog Red State that Dunham’s ad is “further proof we live in a fallen world destined for hell fire.”
Taking that even further, Kelly Fenton, the deputy chair of Minnesota’s Republican Party, declared that the president’s reelection campaign must be receiving advice from both “Putin” and “Satan.”
John Nolte, editor-at-large of the conservative blog Breitbart, announced on Twitter that the ad is “laced with innuendo about girls wanting to have sex with” the president, then added in another tweet: “This is what Obama thinks of your daughters and it’s about to blow up in his face with only 11 days to go.”
Conservative Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto also chimed in, suggesting that Dunham’s ad confirms the study that CNN pulled earlier this week, which said that some women really do vote based purely on hormonal response. He added that the Obama campaign’s “next ad” would feature Dunham describing a sexual fantasy about being caught singing in the shower, referencing a joke she posted on her Twitter account weeks ago.
Libertarian magazine Reason, on the other hand, had a much more moderate take, reminding readers that they ran a cover story in 2004 titled “Voting is a lot like Sex.” The article opens by explaining, “Both are intensely personal activities that nonetheless can have profound public consequences,” adding that both often “involve drug-and-alcohol-fueled delusions and morning-after feelings of guilt, shame, and recrimination.”
It’s been a longtime refrain among Democrats, and even some Republicans like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, that modern Republicans might not have elected President Reagan if he were running for office today, thanks to his policies now seeming radically liberal compared to the Republican tea party’s. Amazingly, the Obama campaign appears to have proved this anecdote might actually be correct, in what very well could go down as the first case of successful Reagan-baiting in the history of American presidential politics.
This video was published to YouTube on October 25, 2012.
Photo: Flickr user edalisse, creative commons licensed.