Less Is Rushmore

Less Is Rushmore

Less Is Rushmore

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Feb. 3 1999 8:16 PM

Less Is Rushmore

Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon wants to chisel Ronald Reagan's visage onto Mount Rushmore, a move that could cause George Washington's face to fall off. (Katie Couric on the Feb. 2 Today show: "[A]pparently, George Washington's face is quite weakened, and would be damaged, [the Mount Rushmore Society members] fear, by additional dynamite or whatever it would take to put Ronald Reagan's face up there as well.") Chatterbox thinks Reagan Republicans should lay off the father of our country. First they give him second billing at the newly-renamed Reagan Washington National Airport. Now this!

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Chatterbox has an alternative suggestion. The faces on Mount Rushmore were sculpted by Gutzon Borglum (a name Chatterbox can never hear without recalling the famous crack--by Irvin S. Cobb?--that it sounded like a fart in a bathtub). Why not carve Reagan's face onto another Borglum monument? Chatterbox has in mind the Stone Mountain Confederate monument in Georgia. It features likenesses of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. It is the largest relief sculpture in the world, which means there's probably room on it somewhere for Ronald Reagan. (And if there isn't it would be all right with Chatterbox to chisel Reagan's likeness over Davis'.) True, Reagan never fought in the Civil War. But Reagan was a champion of states' rights, and he was hostile, at least rhetorically, to the federal government.

--Timothy Noah