Reagan: " . . . there has been some controversy about 11 new U.S. flag vessels that have been added to our merchant fleet. Let there be no misunderstanding: we will face our responsibility for these vessels in the face of threats by Iran or anyone else. If we fail to do so - simply because these ships previously flew the flag of another country, Kuwait - we would abdicate our role as a naval power. And we would open more opportunities for the Soviets to move into the chokepoint of the world's oil flow. In a word: If we don't do the job, the Soviets will."
Translation: If there's anybody you people out there dislike more than the Soviets, it's the Iranians. Booga booga. Forget that my administration armed the Iranians with some pretty nasty stuff that terrified the Kuwaitis into asking the commies to help. Forget that we're now on the same side as the Red Menace. Forget that we're hanging flags on Kuwaiti tankers and taking a chance on sparking a world war for no apparent reason. Forget it all. Just remember the part about Russians and Iranians. That should cloud your minds. It always worked before. Booga booga.
Reagan: "I need your immediate help in pressing your representatives in the Congress to agree to a responsible deficit reduction package and to stay with it."
Translation: Forget that I built the deficit with tax cuts and buying every weapon invented and several that haven't been. Forget that taxes and bombs are two things I won't touch. Especially forget that I'm responsible for it and that my party refuses to do anything about it. Just remember Jimmy Carter. Running against him worked twice. Why not again? You suckers will buy anything from a man who knows how to fake sincerity.
Reagan: "Good night and God bless you."
Translation: Good night and God bless you.
You can't help being honest once in a while.
'EXCUSE ME, OFFICER . . . '
Just because the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld your right to mouth off at cops, it's probably still not a good idea.
For one thing, in affirming every American's right "verbally to oppose or challenge police action," the court emphasized that this protection does not extend to threats, disorderly conduct or to obstructing police officers in their duties - leaving wide room for varying interpretations.
In addition, a thin-skinned cop here and there may respond vigorously. Your freedom of speech might eventually be supported in court, but that won't make the nightstick any softer.
The ruling, of course, is indisputable. Cops should be able to take a little back talk without sending somebody to jail.
Unless you're a member of the Houston police force, which has been arresting about 1,000 people a year for crimes such as "failing to remain quiet" and "arguing." That gave them the handy right to bust just about anybody at any time.
Or unless you're Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was sole dissenter, preserving his unblemished record of opposing every affirmation of individual rights ever to come before him.