Unless you listened to The Dr. Demento Show in the early ’80s you probably never heard "Rap Master Ronnie" (as in Reagan) by Reathel Bean and the Doonesbury Break Crew, and that's a damn shame. As insightful as anything by NPR faves The Capitol Steps, and as viciously sarcastic as Will Ferrell's Bush takedowns, "Rap Master Ronnie" exposed the absurdities of conservatism and its stagecraft years before most of us had caught on.

The premise of the song is that Reagan is trying to reach out to black voters for his re-election ("Get their consent / All I need is 10 percent"). But of course he's painfully out of touch and inadvertently insulting: ("We want Ron / The guy's pure sex / He's the guy / Who signs your monthly welfare checks.") ("OK people, ease on through, Brother Ron Reagan's got cheese for you / Got a big civil service that'll hire your best / And a volunteer army that'll take the rest.")

Doonesbury creator Gary Trudeau's upcoming appearance reminded me of this gem; I wish I still had my copy of the record, for him to autograph. — Frank Lewis


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.