When J.R. Ewing, the Texas oilman played by Larry Hagman, returned to TV earlier this year, it seemed a harbinger: “Dallas,” the scandalously popular evening soap opera of the ’80s, captured the nation’s fascination in the Reagan era. The revival was perfectly timed for the build-it-yourself Romney-Ryan campaign, which hoped to duplicate Reagan’s 1980 path to the White House. But J.R. Ewing, it turned out, was not a reliable avatar of the greed era. The show was a hit, even though Romney-Ryan was not.
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