In the beginning, there was Burt the Turtle, who brought the Cold War into the grade school classroom, convincing a generation of American children that horrible death could come raining out of the sky at any instant of the day or night, but that those old flimsy wooden school desks were adequate protection against a fireball hotter than the surface of the sun and a shock wave moving faster than the speed of sound.
Then there was Phil Gramm, who as a notional Democrat from Texas helped push through Ronald Reagan's first Laffer Curve/Trickle-Down/Starve-the-Beast budget – increasing the military budget, slashing social programs, cutting taxes, hoping for the best – whereupon his fellow Democrats threw him off the House Budget Committee, whereupon he resigned his seat, switched to the Republican Party, ran for and won his old seat in a special election, and spent the rest of his career in the House and later the Senate pushing tax cuts and banking deregulation.
And finally, there's Mitch McConnell, Republican Senator who denies he ever supported reasonable gun control measures in the early 1990s, announced in 2009 that he was dedicated to making Barack Obama a one-term president, and has currently been dragged so far to the right by his fear of getting primaried by a Tea Partier that his only accomplishment as Senate Minority Leader – except for pantsing Harry Reid time and again on procedural reform – has been making sure that the Senate has accomplished nothing, lest Obama somehow get credit for anything, ever.
p3 readers, we proudly present the return of Separated at Birth with a three-fer: Terrapene ornata conservatatum, the American conservative box turtle.
Acknowledgment of the works of Rick Perlstein.