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The Ronald Reagan Memorial Bridge: Renaming America a Disaster at a Time

08/08/2007 02:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

For a while there, back when the Republicans held the White House and both houses of Congress, they were naming things after Ronald Reagan everywhere. Airports. Aircraft carriers. Federal buildings. There was even talk of replacing Roosevelt with Reagan on the dime.

Now, with the national landscape cratered with reminders of the apocalypse their public policy has wrought since 1980, maybe it's time to revisit the concept and start naming American disasters after the people and policies that caused them.

Obviously, the new 35W bridge in Minneapolis should be named for The Great Communicator. Infrastructure on the cheap began on his watch. Elsewhere locally, we might consider naming the boarded up school where my kid used to go, "No Child Left Behind Unfunded Mandate Park."

Baghdad? Rumsfeld City. Iraq? Cheneyland. We could have the George W. Bush National Deficit. For whom should we name that steam pipe crater in Manhattan?

We might even consider selling the naming rights to our institutions the way we sell the naming rights to our new, publicly-funded arenas and stadiums. Halliburton could donate a share of its Iraq windfall to New Orleans and put their name on a rebuilt Ninth Ward. For less than he paid for the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch could have the, "Rupert Murdoch Memorial Federal Communications Commission." And who would protest if the Carlyle Group were to plunk down a few billion to call it the "George and Barbara Bush Memorial Supreme Court"?

Santayana said those who cannot remember the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat them. Maybe naming these disasters and debacles after their authors will help us remember.