The Gipper is back on Capitol Hill, and this time, he’s hanging with the Democrats.
Two House Democrats have stood proudly this week in front of a cardboard cut-out of the late Republican President Ronald Reagan during floor speeches, using his paper likeness as a prop to urge the GOP to join their cause on issues like immigration and increasing gasoline taxes.
On Wednesday, Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer set up the life-sized Reagan behind him to urge the GOP to support his bill to raise federal gasoline by 15 cents. (Gas taxes were increased under Reagan in 1982.) The next day, Reagan showed up again on the House floor next to Illinois Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, a staunch advocate for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws. (Reagan passed a sweeping immigration reform bill in 1986.)
How did all these Democrats get their hands on a cardboard Reagan?
It all began when Patrick Malone, a Blumenauer communications aide, bought the thing online for $30, and started putting Reagan at his colleagues’ desks while they were out. He’s been popping up around the office ever since.
“It’s a little freaky,” Malone told CNN.
On Wednesday, Blumenauer carried it to a press conference and onto the House floor.
“Reagan’s held in such high esteem by conservatives and they need to be reminded of things he did when they turn away from him,” Malone said.
After the speech, Cardboard Reagan continued to make the rounds of Democratic haunts on Capitol Hill. On Thursday Reagan’s avatar found himself surrounded by House Democrats in the party members’ private dining room. That’s where Gutiérrez spotted him and asked Blumenauer’s office if they would share the conservative icon.
They happily obliged.
“We would never hold back Mr. Reagan from the people,” Malone said.
Where will Reagan end up next? Malone added that he’ll probably be around to entertain Democrats for a while.
“We’re not going to put him in deep storage.”