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David Sirota’s Surreptitious Anti-1980s Campaign

The left has been attempting to recast the reality of the 1980s since at least the middle of that decade. David Sirota is the latest to go on offense — stealthily.

Here are four of the more important things I remember from the 1980s:

• In 1980 or 1981, while driving to lunch with a CPA firm coworker through the area where I had grown up, I said something like, “You know, we might as well get used to gazing at these homes from the outside, because there’s no way we’re ever going to be able to own one of them.” My rider agreed without hesitation. At the time, inflation hovered at around 13%. Interest rates were out of control; the prime rate was at times over 20%. Unemployment was high, and getting worse.

• Being proven wrong by buying a home in 1983.

• Being proven wrong again, this time buying a new home in 1986 after an 18-month out-of-town assignment.

•In what I believe was January 1985, before Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration, watching an extraordinarily bitter and spiteful Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter telling CBS News (probably on 60 Minutes) that Reagan had in essence (possibly paraphrasing) made it okay to be a racist again.

After the Carters’ conniption, I turned my back on the Democratic Party, and have seen no reason to change my mind in the subsequent quarter-century.

The fact that the decade was going rather well was not lost on director Oliver Stone, whose 1987 movie Wall Street was deliberately written not to chronicle the truth, but to maliciously depict the decade as one of unfettered avarice, and its active participants as a collection of conscience-free robber barons.

The latest and perhaps most underhanded attempt to rewrite the decade, aided and abetted by a gullible, cooperative establishment press, comes from the moonbat mind of David Sirota.

Sirota’s book, Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now–Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything, just came out on Tuesday — and no, I’m not interested in putting any money in the guy’s pocket by buying it. I don’t have to, because Sirota’s background and the clever media coverage he is receiving give away his game.

Sirota is a longtime far-left Democratic activist. His Wikipedia entry, which “may have been edited by a person who has a conflict of interest with the subject matter” (imagine that), indicates, among many other lefty labors, that he has spent time at the Center for American Progress, as a press aide and spokesperson for Vermont Socialist Congressman (now Senator) Bernie Sanders, as a regular columnist at The Nation, and as a political consultant for Ned Lamont’s ultimately losing 2006 attempt to take out usually liberal but Iraq War-supporting Senator Joe Lieberman. Sirota also has had a morning drive talk show since November 2009 at KKZN, Denver’s 27th-rated “progressive” station.

Almost none of the aforementioned information about Sirota got into USA Today’s March 10 PR piece — I mean, report — on his then-impending book. You will search in vain for the words “Democrat,” “progressive,” or even “liberal.” USA Today reporter Craig Wilson merely informs us that Sirota is “a syndicated columnist, author and radio talk-show host.” Sirota is also 35, which would have made him 13 or 14 at the end of the decade over which he claims expertise.

His core premise about the 1980s is as childish as his age during that decade — not that he’s upfront about that premise. Oh, there are a couple of slip-ups. USA Today’s front-page tease tells us: “Charlie Sheen is big again” (Sheen starred in Wall Street), and “so is greed and anti-government feeling.” Wilson laughably writes: “The Cold War loomed.” Actually, Craig, it was over before 1989 ended.

If you get halfway through the video at the online version of USA Today’s article, you get a taste of what you will see in the book; Sirota says as much in one of the article excerpts below.

In the video, David takes viewers to his childhood bedroom, which is “inadvertently a museum to the 1980s. It really honors the 1980s.” After showing off some of his memorabilia, Sirota lays out the following 1980s honorifics, conveying a predictably perverse “progressive” perspective:

• “Video games militarized our thinking.”

• “We were going in one direction as a country for a while before we hit the ’80s. And the 1980s intensified things that we were moving away from before the 1980s. It intensified militarism, it intensified racism, it intensified greed, it intensified narcissism, embedded in its pop culture. That’s what the 1980s did, when you look at that historical era.”

• “The reason to look back on the actual 1980s is to see exactly how that change happened. Because if we want something different from those things — if we want something different than racism, narcissism, greed, and the like, then we have to realize that those things are a departure from where we were going.”

• “[W]hat I’m trying to say in the book (is that) the calendar may not say 1980s, but we are still looking at the world in many cases through an ’80s mindset. … You had a 1950s, you had a 1960s, you had a 1970s, and the then the rest of it moving forward has been the 1980s in the way we look at race, the militarism, narcissism, our sense of community. All of these things remain informed by the ’80s.”

Racism? As I demonstrated several weeks ago, blacks and Hispanics made unprecedented economic progress during the decade. Additionally, graphs such as this one at James Lindgren’s recent Daily Caller column on the topic show that the 1980s was a decade of sharp declines in racism across the board — with white Democrats, as is still the case today, betraying a bit more racism than white Republicans. Sirota’s spider and the fly strategy on race is especially galling. He wants to lure you into the book with newspaper platitudes like “(the fact) that race was being publicly discussed and black cultural figures were ascending in the ’80s was a good thing,” so he can hit you over the head with his racism rants once you buy.

Narcissism? I can think of two presidents — one from the 1990s and another who currently occupies the Oval Office — whose pictures might as well be next to that word in the dictionary.

Militarism? Reagan rebuilt the military and ended the Cold War after his predecessor had allowed our capabilities to dangerously decay. Sirota and leftists are still insufferable ingrates after all these years.

Greed? It took off in corporate suites after 1993, thanks to ridiculous tax-law changes that made executive salaries over $1 million nondeductible. In came the era of out-of-control stock options.

Sirota is right about one thing: We were indeed “going in one direction as a country … before we hit the ’80s.” That direction, as seen in the economic conditions I cited earlier and in Jimmy Carter’s timid, naive, hollow presidency, was “straight down the tubes.” Thank God Ronald Reagan and the 1980s changed that.

Unfortunately, we currently have a president who is determined to run the country even worse than it was run during the late 1970s. If David Sirota thought we were going in a good direction during the Carter era, he should be positively thrilled with where we’re headed now. Very few others are.