The Gipper Turns 100

Today would have been Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday.

Which got me thinking about how the District commemorates its presidents – this one in particular.

As a child of the Eighties, the first president I could remember was Reagan. In fact, seeing my mom watch the coverage of the assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981 was the first time I learned what a president was.

Before I was politically aware, it was like having a kindly grandfather in the White House – similar to the Werther’s Original guy, except with jellybeans.

Of course, no president can be honored in Washington, D.C. without politics entering the equation, particularly an iconic Republican in a town that overwhelmingly votes Democratic.

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Presidential Gridlock

This morning there was gridlock in the District.

No, not the political wrangling between a Democratic president and a newly Republican Congress.

It was the traffic kind.  The kind that begins with a capital “O.”

I was running out the door a little late (a rare occurrence), and I spotted a bus at the end of my street, turning down Connecticut Ave. This wasn’t just any bus – it was a 43.

For those who don’t live in the District, that’s the express bus that runs under Dupont Circle, and deposits me in front of my office in less than 4 minutes, like some sort of cosmic wormhole.

It appeared to be momentarily stopped at the corner, so I jogged to the end of my street and knocked on the door. The bus driver let me in, but then declared that we wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

I looked through the windshield, and saw a line of cars and buses ahead of us, all frozen in place.

Presidential gridlock in the District.

Then I noticed the ubiquitous D.C. police cars blocking traffic, and the motorcycle motorcade parked and at the ready.

“It’s Obama,” she said.

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