HOPELESS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Michael Ancram, the UK’s Conservative foreign affairs spokesman and, remarkably, Tory party deputy leader, is one of those decent, well-intentioned and utterly ineffectual people who make their way to the top in Western democracies. Here’s his big new idea:
“Michael Ancram has called for renewed co-operation and dialogue between mainstream Islamic countries and the West – in a move to outflank the international terrorist organization al Qaeda. The Deputy Conservative leader has written to Tony Blair highlighting his paper “From Clash to Dialogue: an answer to al Qaeda”, in which he proposes a “big initiative” based around a new Grand Congress of Reconciliation.”
Oh yes, yup, sure, that’ll do the trick.
Posted at 04:53 PM
HEALTH MULLAHS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Why do I call them ‘health mullahs’? Well, because of the way in which they will use any information, however irrelevant, to justify their faith and their fanaticism:
“When the Commons health committee published its reflections on Britain's obesity epidemic two weeks ago it provoked an immediate media feeding frenzy. The revelation that a three-year-old girl had become the youngest casualty of the epidemic made headlines both here and abroad. It was contained in the second paragraph of the 146-page report and was clearly placed to add drama to the central message that the Government, the food industry and parents had to wake up to the threat.”
Well, this it turns out is the truth about that poor child:
“Then it emerged that the girl was not, after all, a victim of the "obesogenic" environment - one which encourages over-eating and sedentary behaviour. Instead, she had a rare genetic defect which affected the appetite control mechanism located in the hypothalamus in her brain. The result was she had a ravenous appetite immune to the efforts of her parents to control it and unaffected by junk food advertising, school sports policy or government behaviour.”
And then, of course, there’s this charming story:
“Birthday kids at Duxbury's Chandler School next fall will get dragon stickers, special seat covers and starred birthday sashes they can wear all day. But no cupcakes - they're bad for you. The tradition of cupcakes at school birthday parties died last month when the School Committee unanimously ratified a new handbook that redefines the way students celebrate in class.
Words fail me, but, given stern Corner injunctions against profanity, that’s probably just as well.
Posted at 04:37 PM
'DR.' SPITZER [Andrew Stuttaford]
That Eliot Spitzer is not only something of a prison brutality fan but is also a man showing every sign of becoming a rogue prosecutor should long since have become apparent (Ramesh has more on Spitzer in the latest NRODT). That doesn’t mean, of course, that all Spitzer’s targets are the good guys. Far from it. Nevertheless, despite the fact that it’s early days in this story, it’s difficult to read about his latest jaunt without the sick feeling that second-guessing the pharmaceutical industry in this way could prove immensely destructive.
Posted at 04:35 PM
UNEXPECTED DELIGHT [Andrew Stuttaford]
From John Reid, the UK’s health minister, of all people. Check out this report from the Guardian:
“Mr Reid said that the middle classes were obsessed with giving instruction to people from lower socio-economic backgrounds and that smoking was not one of the worst problems facing poorer people.
"I just do not think the worst problem on our sink estates by any means is smoking, but it is an obsession of the learned middle class," he said. "What enjoyment does a 21-year-old single mother of three living in a council sink estate get? The only enjoyment sometimes they have is to have a cigarette."
He’s right on any number of counts, although, as we have discovered in billionaire Nurse Bloomberg’s New York City, it’s not just the “middle classes” who are obsessed with bossing about the plebs. The war on tobacco has long since ceased to have any connection with public health (everyone knows that it’s a dangerous pastime). What it’s mainly about these days is public penitence (the drama of the ‘reformed’ smoker), power (people like pushing other people around) and an expression of social superiority.
Two other gems from this report: the first was the criticism from the thugs over at Action on Smoking and Health that Reid was somehow being “patronizing”. To hear that claim from an organization dedicated to the proposition that adults are incapable of taking decisions for themselves is, quite frankly, quite remarkable. The second comes from the reliably pointless British Medical Association (it’s sort of like the AMA but, somehow, even worse) gibbering on about the ‘damage’ caused by passive smoking. I always thought that doctors were meant to dispense accurate information. The BMA clearly does not think that rule applies to its own pronouncements. It’s time to scrap it.
Posted at 04:18 PM
PURITAN WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Whatever you might think of SUVs (as for me, I don’t even own a car), there’s no doubt that they have become a handy symbol for the puritans, scolds and busybodies who make up far too much of the enviromentalist movement. It’s no surprise, therefore, to see that the city of Paris is looking to ban them (at the same time, needless to say, as expanding facilities for bicyclists, some of the most annoying people ever to weave across a road, but I guess that’s a controversy for another time…) and that London’s mayor Ken “endorsed by the Economist Livingstone " has had this to say on SUVs:
They were "bad for London -- completely unnecessary." Their owners were "complete idiots."
Hmmm. “bad for London,” “completely unnecessary,” a “complete idiot”, now those words remind me of somebody.
Posted at 03:42 PM
FLYING THE FLAG [Andrew Stuttaford]
A source of concern, apparently.
Posted at 03:16 PM
AMERICAN SHOT IN SAUDIA ARABIA [KJL]
Posted at 01:17 PM
PRUDE CHIMES IN [KJL]
Andrew, I do think a company should be a tad more sensitive, though. I'm not for government cracking down, but the company deserves a little public rap.
Posted at 01:09 PM
SLOGGI SLOGGED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Another portent of prudery on display in the UK. Thong sellers put up a (entertaining) poster of some of their products near a mosque. A couple of complaints ensued, followed by a warning from the Advertising Standards Authority. What nonsense. If worshipers at a mosque (or, for that matter, a church) want to act as aesthetic policemen for their immediate environs, they should do so the old fashioned way – by coming to a (paid) accommodation with the owners of the billboards in question. Freedom of religion is one thing, exquisitive over-sensitivity to the customs of each particular sect is quite another.
Now, about the FCC...
Posted at 12:57 PM
MEMO TO ORGANIZERS OF STATE FUNERALS [John Derbyshire]
It is obvious that Mrs Reagan, like many other old people, has great difficulty getting in and out of cars, even with the assistance of an able-bodied escort.
Is this fact unknown to the designers of funeral automobiles? And to the organizers of state funerals? Cannot some kind of swiveling or sliding seat be devised to ease the problem?
Posted at 12:48 PM
BLAIR BASHED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Dismal regional election results for Tony Blair over in the UK, in part, undoubtedly, because of his support for the Iraq war, but to blame this debacle purely on Iraq (as some will do) would be wrong. Beyond Iraq, Blair’s government has also done much to alienate support on the left for its supposedly centrist tendencies, while many on the center-right who supported Labour in the general election will have returned to the Tories both attracted by that party’s more effective leadership and repelled by the government’s fixation with regulation, taxation and the EU. The perception that Blair is a little, how shall we put this, flexible in his attitude to both truth and, more generally, honesty, will not have helped his party either.
There was a dismaying result in London where the demagogic Ken Livingstone, a politician whose viciousness is matched only by his incompetence and dishonesty, was (relatively) narrowly re-elected as mayor. Incredibly, he was endorsed by the usually sensible Economist and the usually even more sensible Stephen Pollard. The reason for this folly? The ‘congestion charge,’ which has (repeat after me) absolutely nothing to do with market forces and absolutely everything to with Livingstone’s longstanding dislike of the autonomy and the freedom that the automobile can bring.
So can we look forward to Michael Howard in Number Ten next year? No. At this stage in the electoral cycle, the Conservatives need to be doing far better than this. Under Howard they are back, but they are not yet in.
Posted at 12:22 PM
OVERHEARD ON CNN [Meghan Keane]
Rigth after the funeral, Bernie Shaw admitted on CNN that the newsmedia failed the american people by not recognizing Reagan during his presidency--and Wolf Blitzer and Paula Zahn agreed:
Bernie Shaw: “I’d just like to say something…We failed the American people with our coverage…I certainly missed a lot.”
Posted at 11:20 AM
BATTLE HYMN [Terry Teachout]
The wonderful orchestral arrangement of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" performed at Friday morning's funeral service, with its trumpet fanfares, unaccompanied setting of the verse beginning "In the beauty of the lilies/Christ was born across the sea," and thunderous climactic octaves, was made by by Peter J. Wilhousky. It is frequently heard on great occasions and is also beloved of high-school choirs (mine sang it thirty years ago). If memory serves, it was first recorded by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the fanfares and coda were used to preface the congregational singing of the "Battle Hymn" at the National Cathedral's 9/11 memorial service. "The soft, slightly discordant trumpet fanfares at the beginning," I wrote on that occasion, "are a haunting detail-a stern reminder that there can be no remission of sins without the shedding of blood-and the climactic amen, with its skyrocketing sweep up the chromatic scale, never fails to bring down the house."
Posted at 11:19 AM
DERB CRIES IN HIS BEER [John Derbyshire]
Those of us who monitor this sort of thing noted a sudden plunge in the WWSBB (World-Wide Single-Babe Bodaciousness) index early this month. I have uncovered the reason: Anna Faris got married June 3rd. My birthday! How could you, Anna?
Posted at 11:15 AM
RE: EDMUND [Tim Graham]
Sadly, Steve, I hate to rebut. Edmund Morris was all over the CBS coverage on Wednesday and probably several other days. Frankly, he's probably the closest thing to a conservative historian in the bunch. All week, we've had Alan Brinkley (lefty), Doug Brinkley (loves Kerry and Carter deeply), Bob Dallek (hates Reagan, amiable dunce and all that rot), Beschloss (who wrote Cold War history with gasp! Strobe Talbott), and the plagiarizing princess Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Clinton house historian. We need to locate our conservative historians (you, Brookhiser, Kengor...) and get them some TV slots...
Posted at 11:13 AM
FOLLOW-UP FROM LAST NIGHT'S AIRFORCE CAPT. IN KABUL [KJL]
I appreciate the posting--it surprised me. It also happened to be on my birthday, since you posted 14 minutes after midnight. You've made the week of the President's passing even more unforgettable for me, which I didn't think was possible.
Posted at 11:04 AM
HENRY PAYNE NAILS IT AGAIN [Tim Graham]
Posted at 11:01 AM
REAGAN AND CENTRAL AMERICA [Tim Graham]
The radical lefties at Fairness and Accuracy in Revolution, I mean Reporting, have a strange idea of what should have been front and center in Reagan coverage this week:
"Reagan's fervent support for right-wing governments in Central America was one of the defining foreign policies of his administration, and the fact that death squads associated with those governments murdered tens of thousands of civilians surely must be included in any reckoning of Reagan's successes and failures. But a search of major U.S. newspapers in the Nexis news database turns up the phrase "death squad" only five times in connection with Reagan in the days following his death--twice in commentaries and twice in letters to the editor. Only one news article found in the search (L.A. Times, 6/6/04) considered the death squads an important enough part of Reagan's legacy to be worth mentioning. The three broadcast networks, CNN and Fox didn't mention death squads at all, according to Nexis."
I do not doubt that is true. I also do not doubt that "right-wing death squad" was always a loaded, propagandistic term used by the left. So the complaint is essentially that the old Ortega-smooching style of Central America reporting is as outdated as the idea of dotting the region with "people's republics."
Back in 1989, after a major offensive by the Marxist FMLN, I discovered this about El Salvador coverage: "Despite assassinations attributed to both sides, a Nexis search of major newspapers and magazines over the last decade found that no reporter has ever used the term 'left-wing death squad.'"
FAIR forgot to mention that El Salvador keeps voting for the so-called "right wing death squad" party and prospering, holding FAIR's old Castro-aided pals in the FMLN at bay. FAIR spent the late 1980s and early 1990s era sneering at the idea that Central American governments were "fledgling democracies." Turns out they were.
Posted at 10:58 AM
SOUR GRAPES AWARDS [John Derbyshire]
Is it too early yet to start a round-up of sour grapes remarks from the past few days? Jimmy Breslin must surely be up there:
"He [i.e. Ronald Reagan] proudly hurt the boroughs of this city [i.e. New York] more than anyone before or after him. If you live in Brooklyn, the record shows that Ronald Reagan hated children. The city and state had to raise taxes to make up for money lost because of Reagan's great conservative movement."
(More here .)
However, I hear that gay activist Larry Kramer is going for the gold with a piece due out in the next issue of The Advocate. Samples:
"The man who murdered more gay people than anyone in the entire history of the world is dead ... More people than Hitler even. In all the tributes to his passing, as I write this two days after his death, not one that I have seen has mentioned this. The hateful New York Times ('all the news that's fit to print') of course said nothing about this. We still are not fit to write about with total honesty in their pages. Not really. Just as we were not fit for Ronald Reagan to talk about us. What kind of president is that."
More on Kramer's comments here.
Posted at 10:55 AM
RE: FROM ONE WHO SERVES [KJL]
An e-mailer comments:
I just read your earlier post from the Air Force captain and the enormity of it all hit me. Our guys fighting with the Russians as allies in Afghanistan as liberators. Amazing. Trying to wrap my head around the all the changes brought by Reagan is mind-bending.
Posted at 10:45 AM
EDMUND? EDMUND WHO? [Steve Hayward]
I kept wondering all week whether Edmund Morris would ever surface. Not only did he never surface, but I heard not a single mention of his dreadful book. Draw your own conclusions.
Posted at 10:38 AM
JUST AS HE SAID IT WOULD BE... [Steve Hayward]
Last night an unseasonably cold rain fell steadily throughout the evening here in Washington, nature's somber tribute to Reagan. This morning, just as Reagan said in his final message, brought a bright dawn.
Posted at 10:37 AM
RE: THATCHER'S SONG [KJL]
Rod, I was, too, shocked when I saw Mrs. Thatcher singing the Star-Spangled Banner. What a sign of respect, friendship, and love that was--to the Reagans and us. (It even made me forget about Ron Jr.'s dig at W!)
Posted at 10:36 AM
THE BURIAL [Rod Dreher]
I was so moved by the ceremony in California last evening. Did you notice that Mrs. Thatcher was singing our national anthem? I was moved to tears by that (and God knows her eulogy in Washington today was one of the finest things I've ever heard). I honestly do believe I'll be as saddened by her death as I have been by Mr. Reagan's. When Mrs. Thatcher bowed deeply there at the very end, I thought: there is dignity perfected.
And Mrs. Reagan, so stoic and dutiful to the very end, finally breaking down before her husband was buried, putting her head onto the coffin and gasping, "I love you." In that moment when her children put their arms around her, she didn't know what was happening, and she looked for an instant like she was all alone in the world. Unbearably poignant, all of this.
Of course that grandee Presbyterian minister they had was a California vulgarian through and through. Did you notice how many times he uttered the personal pronoun in his graveside address? Could you BELIEVE that he had the gall to mock Mrs. Thatcher's accent?
Posted at 10:33 AM
THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD HAVE DONE IT [Peter Robinson]
From one astute reader:
I would be quite pleased if some publisher decided to print Lady Thatcher’s eulogy (and perhaps all those given yesterday) on a card, so bookstore clerks can hand it out to customers each time someone purchases Edmund Morris's "Dutch."And from another:
Lady Thatcher must have known that the "The Soviet Union imploded on it's own-Reagan just happened to be there, and besides, it was all Gorbachev" types would be out immediately and she called them all out. She did it elegantly, but she did it, and her use of "Great Liberator" and the checking off of the East European capitals left no doubt where the credit belongs. (She's probably the only person in the world who could do it.)Lady Thatcher, the only person in the world who could have done it?
Indeed she was.
Posted at 10:29 AM
THANKS FROM ONE WHO SERVES [KJL]
From an Air Force captain in Kabul: "So I'm in Afghanistan and sitting in the chow hall eating while watching TV, where they had Mrs. Reagan being escorted to the coffin with the flag draped over it. I was fine until she patted it like she was patting her husband on the shoulder while he slept. Then when she leaned over the coffin and was saying goodbye, I started tearing up. The Russians in front of me (table of 4) noticed and turned around to the TV--up until that moment they'd been joking around and being pretty loud. After watching the TV a few moments, one of them said something quietly in Russian and the other three slowly nodded their heads. I started wiping my glasses with a napkin to cover fact I had to wipe my eyes...then the Russian who'd spoken nodded at me and turned back to the TV. Even these guys know what Reagan did. I wish I could have been there, but I'm sure President Reagan knows all the troops who wish they could be there are doing something more important."
Posted at 12:14 AM
Friday, June 11, 2004
A LEGACY THAT TRANSCENDS [KJL]
I just heard one of the commentators on TV say, "it is evening in America," as we watched the fortieth president's burial service. Ronald Reagan would, I suspect, take issue with that as any kind of metaphor. "In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future...I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead." Thank you, President Reagan, for making that bright dawn possible. Rest in peace.
Posted at 11:45 PM
THE SONG [KJL]
"Mansions of our Lord," from We Were Soldiers:
To fallen soldiers, let us sing,
Posted at 08:06 PM
WHAT WAS [KJL]
that last bit of music at the funeral, as they Reagan's casket was taken out of the cathedral? I don't think I've ever heard it; I have a few e-mails asking.
Posted at 07:18 PM
IN THE CATHEDRAL [Peter Robinson]
August, beautiful, at moments overpowering--that was how it felt inside the cathedral. Perhaps you had to have worked for the first President Bush, as I did, to have appreciated his remarks, but he was--himself. Simple, unaffected, funny. He was no doubt embarrassed by having to pause to pull himself together, but that moment demonstrated the authenticity of his tribute--and caused people such as me, who loved both men, to come apart for a moment ourselves.
The effect of Lady. Thatcher's presence alone--elegant but stooped, and, as she processed up the main aisle at the beginning of the service and then again as she departed at the end, obviously in need of the steadying arm of her escort--represented an eloquent testimony. But her eulogy proved stunning--beautiful, stately, personal, overwhelming. After the service, my old speechwriting collegues, Josh Gilder, Clark Judge, and I agreed that Lady Thatcher's remarks represented one of the most powerful examples of oratory any of us had encountered --and during the service her remarks three grown men to tears.
Posted at 07:15 PM
GWB'S EULOGY [John Derbyshire]
Ramesh: Nice Johnsonian comment, and of course correct. Any person who truly believed that "bigotry and prejudice" are the worst things human beings are capable of, would have had to have had an extremely limited acquaintance with human nature.
However, it was Johnson who said: "In lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath," and I think the same principle can be applied to funeral tributes. GWB's remark was just the cant of our age, and I don't think should be taken seriously.
Posted at 07:13 PM
I STAND CORRECTED [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A reader emails to say that Bush's line is an echo of something Reagan wrote in one of his letters: "I was raised from my childhood by parents who believed bigotry and prejudice were the worst things a person could be guilty of.” Ronald Reagan to Leonard Kirk, March 23, 1983. Reagan: A Life in Letters, ed. Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, Martin Anderson (New York, 2003), p. 13. It still seems to me to be a strange sentiment.
Posted at 06:39 PM
I'M SURE THIS IS A MINORITY OPINION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
but I didn't much like President Bush's eulogy. The best example of the kind of false note he struck was the following line: "He believed that bigotry and prejudice were the worst things a person could be guilty of." I doubt that Reagan believed that proposition, and if he had, his holding of that view would not have been praiseworthy. I am sure, on the other hand, that Bush believes this proposition, or thinks that he does.
Posted at 04:31 PM
RAUCH ON IRAQ [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 03:58 PM
MRS. REAGAN'S "GUARDIAN" [KJL]
Background on Gen. Jackman.
Posted at 03:20 PM
INSCRIBED ON RWR'S BURIAL CRYPT [KJL]
"I know that in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life."
Posted at 03:04 PM
GEORGE H.W. BUSH'S EULOGY [KJL]
Posted at 03:01 PM
REAGAN FAREWELL [John J. Miller]
Derb: I remember someone saying once that RR was the kind of actor who improved the performances of the other actors on the set. I thought of this during the funeral--during RR's final performance, as it were, everybody else put on a great show.
Posted at 02:58 PM
THEN & NOW [Ronald Reagan quote]
"I remain California-bound … "
Posted at 02:40 PM
BRIAN MULRONEY'S TEXT [KJL]
Posted at 02:17 PM
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH'S EULOGY [KJL]
Posted at 02:13 PM
BARONESS THATCHER'S EULOGY [KJL]
Posted at 02:00 PM
FAREWELL TO RONALD REAGAN [John Derbyshire]
It was, as the English say, a lovely funeral. The British, in fact, used to boast that they did this kind of thing -- pomp and circumstance -- better than anyone. I don't see how that boast can any longer be maintained. This was done as well as it possibly could have been.
Lots of little touches of class. My favorite: Laura Bush, coming down the main aisle into the cathedral, reached out to pat Tony Blair on the shoulder, without pausing or breaking stride. Considering she was coming at him from behind, this was very skillfully and thoughtfully done.
Best speech: Margaret Thatcher, easily. "With the lever of patriotism, he lifted up the world." Deft, unobtrusive quotations from "Pilgrim's Progress," "Abide With Me," and others I did not note. For all her own misfortunes, the lady still has it.
Mulroney also very good. I didn't know he was such a fine speaker. Any chance we can get him back in power in the Friendly Giant to the North?
The military details were impressive and impeccable. Great drill work.
Altogether a fine, moving, and apt service, to see off a great man. Let's offer our thanks to all the people -- military, civilian, and clerical -- who must have put in so many hours to make this ceremony possible. And thank the Lord for giving us a wonderful President.
Posted at 01:29 PM
STILL AT WORK [KJL]
I read this e-mail right before the funeral from jeffrey j. lanfear; it's even more true after the magnificent funeral:
So I'm sitting in my home office, lump in throat, tears on cheeks. Watching the precision of the honor guard and the unbelievable reverence and beauty of the moment. And it dawns on me: he's done it again. He has an entire nation realizing again how beautiful this country is. Its people. It's respect for things great. Tradition. Class. There could not have been a departing gift so powerful. His first lesson to me in 1980, when I was 10. His last, today.
Posted at 01:20 PM
OUR MAN SAYS GOODBYE TO HIS AND NR'S FRIEND [KJL]
Posted at 01:10 PM
"THE GREAT LIBERATOR" [KJL]
From Margaret Thatcher's lips to the history books. (1981, here:)
Posted at 01:01 PM
SEEING NANCY [Jim Geraghty]
Had the chance to see the funeral procession go by on 22nd Street about a half-hour ago. Many, many mourners, two or three deep on both sides of the street, with people on apartment balconies & fire escapes and in office windows. A moment I’ll never forget was that right after the hearse passed, the limo with Nancy followed, and she was waving from within. I’m basing this assessment on about a three second glance, but her face looked somewhat reassured. She seemed to almost have a smile - more a warm expression - looking out at all the mourners and flag-carrying Americans, standing in a light rain, saying one final farewell.
If all of this -- the outpouring of love and appreciation for the former president in the public tributes, television coverage, newspaper and magazine features, the tens of thousands of American people willing to stand on line for hours upon hours to say farewell -- if all of this has eased any of Nancy’s pain during this most difficult time, then every second has been worth it.
Posted at 12:06 PM
FINAL FAREWELL [quote from Ronald W. Reagan]
"[L]et me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future." (Nov. 5, 1994)
Posted at 11:29 AM
LOVE LETTER [quote from Ronald W. Reagan]
“The nicest thing a girl ever did for me was when a girl named Nancy married me and brought warmth and joy to my life that has grown with each passing year. I know she won’t mind if I say the second nicest thing was a letter from a little fifth grade girl last week. She added a P.S. ‘You devil you.’ I’ve walked with a swagger ever since.”--Letter to Helen Gurley Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan, who wrote Reagan asking him to “jot down…the nicest thing a girl ever did for me.” (May 28, 1971; ref. Reagan: A Life in Letters)
Posted at 11:21 AM
REDISCOVERY [quote from Ronald W. Reagan]
"...I won a nickname, 'The Great Communicator.' But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: It was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn't spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation — from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I'll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense." --Farewell Address, Jan. '89
Posted at 11:20 AM
HE WOULD KNOW [quote from Ronald W. Reagan]
"They had that special grace, that special spirit that says, 'Give me a challenge and I’ll meet it with joy.'” (In his first Challenger speech, Jan. 28, '86)
Posted at 11:10 AM
Your Friday VDH will appear early next week.
Posted at 10:17 AM
ANOTHER REAGAN TRIBUTE [John J. Miller]
This time, from outer space.
Posted at 09:36 AM
WILLIAM CLARKE ON RONALD REAGAN'S PRO-LIFE LEGACY [KJL]
Posted at 08:20 AM
LACK OF CHOOSERS [John J. Miller]
What if the government sponsored a school-choice program and nobody applied? That's not precisely the predicament of the new D.C. school-choice plan, but it's not far off: There are more spaces available than there are applicants, according to this story. Part of the problem is a failure to publicize the opportunity. Restrictions on eligibility are another challenge--only low-income students qualify, and, dispiritingly, organizers are turning away hundreds of low-income students currently enrolled in private schools (apparently on the grounds that their parents, already making enormous financial sacrifices, don't need the help). But the Left is going to seize this as an example of the public not wanting school choice.
Posted at 07:56 AM
THE BOOK ON DC [John J. Miller]
The Wall Street Journal's Brian Carney has an excellent article today on the novelist Charles McCarry, here. If you want an outstanding book on the nature of Washington--well written with an engaging plot and fairly right-minded--you can't do much better than Shelley's Heart.
Posted at 07:40 AM
JUNE 11 [KJL]
We're going to try to keep things to a minimum around here today out of respect for our beloved 40th president. (We hope we've left you enough to catch up on reading.) Expect a more active Saturday than usual.
Posted at 06:18 AM
REAGAN AS PERICLES [KJL]
Reader Joel Leggett writes:
Although I was not old enough to vote for Reagan, my parents followed his administration very closely and I, consequently, heard many of his speeches. From his speeches I gained a greater appreciation of, and interest in, the ideas and principles of our founding fathers and the Constitution. So much so that years later while I was reading Donald Kagan's Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy I was struck by the following statement:
Posted at 06:13 AM
Thursday, June 10, 2004
CITIZEN GENET, FLAG ON THAT PLAY! [Rick Brookhiser]
This is the inside baseball of the Washington administration, so those who don't care please pass on. But Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson thought Citizen Genet was great when he was being merely undiplomatic--arriving in Charleston, not the nation's capital; making a triumphal procession to the capital; stirring up the Jeffersonian masses en route, etc. It was only when Genet became unproductively undiplomatic--attacking Washington openly, and not merely by implication--that Jefferson decided he was trouble, and instructed his minions, Madison and Monroe, to distance themselves from him.
Posted at 10:51 PM
RE: DIGITS OF PI [John Derbyshire]
I guess I should have know it was a mistake posting that. All right, all right, enough already with the e-mails saying: "Shouldn't that be a 6, not a 4, in the 819,725th decimal place?"
Posted at 10:48 PM
RE: REAGAN [John Derbyshire]
You wrote: "His [i.e. Reagan's] basic attitude must have been, if you have a sense of humor you must be OK."
He was a wise man. I have found this same criterion to be a wellnigh infallible guide in dealing with my fellow human beings.
Posted at 10:46 PM
HARSH TREATMENT [Meghan Keane]
Did you all see the Times article on Tuesday about the torture memos? "Mr. Rumsfeld suspended the harsher techniques, including serving the detainee cold, prepackaged food instead of hot rations and shaving off his facial hair, on Jan. 12, pending the outcome of the working group's review."
Perhaps he still continues highly controversial methods, though, like refusing to give prisoners access to premium cable and only providing one dessert option.
Posted at 10:30 PM
DRESS ON THE HILL [KJL]
Drudge has this up: "Mourners' Attire Not Quite Reaganesque... // viewers with flip-flops, cargo shorts and T-shirts, their flabby midsections exposed. Some young women wore ultra-mini skirts and halter tops..." I confess I had a somewhat similar thought for a minute last night--that people weren't properly dressed to be in the Capitol, for such solemn occassion. That said, there is a certain come-as-you-are quality that the Capitol should attract, shouldn't it (nevermind that it is quite hot in the D.C. sun where these people were waiting during the day, some who travelled far, too (granted: mini-skirted Cap ill staff don't have an excuse)? Don't get me wrong: No child of mine is going to wear shorts and flip-flops to the Capitol, but I wouldn't want the people's house to actually have a dress code.
Posted at 10:29 PM
THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES ON THE HILL TODAY [KJL]
I stood in line from 8pm to 1am last night for the Rotunda viewing. I met a man who came all the way from Granada to pay his respects. I met an 11-year-old boy who, when I asked him what he knew about Ronald Reagan said, "He told Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the wall and he ended the Cold War." He told me in a school assembly he got to be President Reagan and read that part of the Berlin Wall speech (I'd like to send my kid to that school!). And then, when I finally stood in front of President Reagan's casket at 1:10am et, I had intended to say a prayer, but I was so awe-struck I couldn't think of anything to say. As I walked down the West Front steps upon exiting, I started to admonish myself for forgetting to say the prayer, but then I cut myself a break for not knowing how to act in the presence of greatness -- I'd never been there before.
Posted at 06:02 PM
A NOT-SO-FINE BALANCE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jim Hoagland's column has been terrific since the war on terrorism started, but the latest one is weak. He's trying to say that Reagan's record had its blemishes, as of course it did. But it's not obvious that we should join Hoagland in thinking the Reagan-induced end of Helmut Schmidt's career was one of them (or that the end of his career was "premature"). Hoagland suggests en passant that George Schultz did more to win the Cold War than Reagan. Trying to make that case could have made for an interesting column.
Posted at 06:00 PM
VIEWING OPTIONS FOR THE REAGAN FUNERAL [Steven Hayward]
Cornerites who have good cable systems or satellite systems may wish to watch the post-funeral coverage on CNN/fn (CNN’s financial news channel, not the regular news channel), where I will be offering guest commentary for two hours from 1 - 3 pm eastern time. I know, I know, nobody watches CNN/fn even if they get it, but I figure it will be good practice in case Jonah ever gets a hoarse voice and the parent channel is in a pinch.
Posted at 05:27 PM
HATCH ON JUDGES [Jonathan H. Adler]
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch defends his efforts to confirm Bush's judicial nominees in this article from The Hill. Conservatives remain unconvinced. Most recently, it appears that Senator Hatch plans to fast-track the confirmation of longtime friend and fellow Mormon Thomas Griffith to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Hatch dismisses criticism of the move as merely "anti-Mormon prejudice."
Posted at 05:09 PM
THOUGHTS ON A BITTERSWEET WEEK [Mike Potemra ]
The death of Ronald Reagan last Saturday really brought me up short. I had been expecting it for a long time, as had we all; so I was surprised at the mix of emotions it called forth in me, and even more surprised by the amazing national outpouring of grief and affection over the past five days. It was my honor to work on President Reagan’s White House staff in his second term. (He was, at heart, a shy and private man, who warmed up to you once he saw you laugh at one of his jokes; his basic attitude must have been, if you have a sense of humor you must be OK.) When his term ended, I saw a public consensus forming that he was an amiable but not quite substantive person, destined to be loved by conservatives but viewed with skepticism—albeit an affectionate skepticism—by everyone else. My own number one issue back then was anti-Communism, and I saw the remarkable changes going on the USSR, and I thought, “Nobody is going to give President Reagan credit for this any time soon. But 25 years from now, some revisionist historians will break the ice and say, yes, he does deserve the credit. And maybe—just maybe—some 50 years after that, the average educated American will see the truth of that assessment.” But here we are: Just 16 years after Reagan left office, the vast majority of our countrymen see Reagan in his true dimensions. This is a vindication, and it prompts a number of thoughts: 1) People, in general, are wiser than I (and many others) sometimes think they are. 2) The media arre not as powerful and I (and many others) sometimes think they are. 3) Ronald Reagan was a great, great, great man, and something like that cannot be kept a secret for very long. I thank him for what he did for me personally, for our country, and for the whole world. He did it all because he believed in a good and merciful Providence, into Whose hands we now commit his eternal soul. R. I. P.
Posted at 05:04 PM
Mikhail Gorbachev just paid his respects to President Reagan on the Hill. We've run so much here this week on how the world changed during those Reagan years, but it really hits you when you see an image like that--his former Soviet counterpart standing by his casket. The Soviet Union is no more. And Reagan left an indelible mark on human history.
Posted at 04:46 PM
THIS GENT MAKES ME FEEL LAZY [KJL]
I took a train from NYC to DC last night and returned immediately this morning after viewing the President's coffin.
Posted at 04:43 PM
AT THE CAPITOL [KJL]
What a glorious sendoff Washington is giving our late President. Not wanting to be redundant, I do want to share my experience from standing in line from 7:30 p.m. until we entered the Rotunda at 12:10 a.m. I was surrounded by a real snapshop of America -- the most diverse crowd I have ever seen.... But [what impressed me the most] were the two blind people in line. Think about it for a minute -- blind people standing in the heat for hours on end to pay tribute to someone they [likely] had never seen or would never see. Amazing -- God bless America and God bless the Gipper.
Posted at 04:41 PM
NAMING THE KITCHEN SINK AFTER REAGAN [KJL]
An e-mail: "I know I'm late to Reagan on the dime debate, and related threads on renaming the Pentagon or carving him into Mt. Rushmore, but I feel it necessary to point out: there is no more fitting a tribute to the man who broke the air traffic controllers union than naming the Capitol's airport after him. Makes me smile every time I land there. "
Posted at 04:39 PM
RE: SPIDER-MAN AND REAGAN [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Don't over-analyze about the Spider-Man anecdote. I have a friend who loves telling that story about Reagan, and the actual quote was something like "the first thing I read in the paper is Spider-Man, to see if those wrestlers have gotten down to the ring yet." He was making fun of Stan Lee's ridiculously slow pacing.
Posted at 04:36 PM
FROM ONE ADMINSTRATION TO ANOTHER [KJL]
The White House hosted an event this afternoon in memory of Ronald Reagan. Karl Rove introduced a group of Reagan alums: Ed Meese, George Shultz, Ken Duberstein, William Clarke, Martin Anderson, Peggy Noonan. The vice president attended, as did a whole host of other Reagan-era White House staff. Touchingly, President Reagan’s eldest son, Michael, surprised everyone by stopping by, and expressing his gratitude for their tribute to his father.
Posted at 04:29 PM
RAY CHARLES HAS DIED [KJL]
Posted at 04:12 PM
A REAGAN MEMORY [Terry Teachout]
I never met Ronald Reagan, and I only saw him in the flesh once (at an NR banquet, appropriately enough). But I did happen to see the Oval Office while he was president, courtesy of Dinesh D'Souza, who was working at the White House that year and gave me a tour of the non-public areas late one night when the Reagans were out of town. I stood behind the red velvet rope that is stretched across the door when no one is home, leaning as far into the office as I dared and gaping like a schoolboy, thinking about how astonished my parents would be when I called to tell them where I'd been. More than anything else, I remember how struck I was by the sheer unfanciness of the decor--it seemed almost homey. For all the obvious architectural elegance of the room, it reminded me more than anything else of a small-town law office writ large. I also remember thinking how fitting it was that a man like Ronald Reagan should spend his days working not in a palatial European-style chamber but in a quintessentially American room like that.
Posted at 04:00 PM
CREEPY ANIMATION [Jonathan H. Adler]
I recently viewed the trailer for Polar Express, a forthcoming computer-animated holiday film. The idea seems cute, but I found the characters to be, well, creepy. Even though the animation is quite good from a technical perspective, the people look quite inhuman, like zombies or automatons -- arguably more inhuman than less sophisticated animation. Oddly, the less realistic characters in this trailer for The Incredibles seem more alive than the more "life-like" in Polar Express. This article in Slate (yes, they've taken a break from their Reagan bashing) offers an explanation. (It also might suggest why the animation is less disturbing in a sci-fi context, as in Final Fantasy or the Animatrix, than in a more contemporary or "real-life" setting.)
Posted at 03:49 PM
KENNEDY V. PRYOR [Jonathan H. Adler]
Senator Kennedy is still trying to remove Judge William Pryor from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Most recently he has submitted a request to file an amicus brief with the court in a pending case to argue that Pryor's recess appointment was unconstitutional. In the meantime, Judge Pryor has already authored his first majority opinion, as noted by the folks at Southern Appeal.
Posted at 03:47 PM
MY FEDERALIST SOCIETY [John J. Miller]
Rick: If it’s the Washington-Adams-Hamilton Federalists versus the Jefferson-Madison D-Rs, please count me as one of the Federalists. Jefferson had a decent first term as president, but his second term was a mess. Madison was a brilliant political theorist but a lousy president. I especially enjoyed reading in Joseph Ellis’s book on Jefferson that the sage of Monticello, late in life, actually edited some of his correspondence because he was so embarrassed by what he had written about the French Revolution. The Federalists were much more realistic and prescient in appraising that disaster of radicalism. But then I’m sure you know all this. I will say in Jefferson’s behalf, however, that he had turned against the French Revolution by the time Napoleon came along. Also, he despised Napoleon--really, truly, deeply hated the guy, which of course was the correct attitude to have. He was tough on Citizen Genet, too--not as tough as Hamilton, but perhaps tough enough.
Posted at 03:21 PM
BRAVE NEW WORLD MEETS COURT CHAOS [KJL]
GILLETT-NETTING v. BARNHART, No. 03-15442 (9th Cir. June 09, 2004) Two minor children conceived by in-vitro fertilization after their father's death are entitled to insurance benefits under the Social Security Act because they are their father's legitimate children and thus his dependants under Arizona law.
Posted at 03:02 PM
NEOCONS: MORE EVIDENCE [Jonah Goldberg]
The LA Times story on the problems of the "neocons" offers this by way of definition:
"Neocons" — best known for advocating aggressive foreign and military policies — are in the painful zone between distinction and disfavor in Washington. They are losing battles on Capitol Hill. Their principles have stopped appearing in new U.S. policies. And where neoconservatives were once seen as having a future in Republican administrations, the setbacks in Iraq could make it difficult for the group's leading members to win Senate confirmation for top posts in the future.
Posted at 02:56 PM
ANOTHER REAGAN MISTAKE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
He's allegedly to blame for Vanity Fair. Or is this yet another liberal slander of him?
Posted at 02:53 PM
REPORT FROM THE FIELD [Jonah Goldberg]
Another reader who was there:
I was at the funeral procession with a group of friends yesterday. Three things really got my attention, some of which have been commented on elsewhere. First, obvoiusly there were people from all over the country. I talked to one lady who owned a marine salvage business in Texas and had come up for the procession, and was going to the Capitol later last night. She thought it was the least she could do in return for all Reagan did for us. I met many more like her.
Posted at 02:45 PM
MORE ON REAGAN AND SPIDEY [Jonah Goldberg]
At Justin Katz' blog.
Posted at 02:42 PM
WWI [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:39 PM
IT PAYS TO READ NR [Rod Dreher]
Had lunch today with former NR publisher Wick Allison, who now publishes the fabulous D Magazine. On D's blog today, Wick posted this excellent souvenir of the Reagan era.
Posted at 02:30 PM
NEO CONS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Jon - I don't really disagree with any of that. Though someone recently told me that Norman Podhoretz now says in his new book that he coined the term neocon in the mid-1950s. We'll just put that aside.
Anyway, again I don't necessarily say that neoconservative means a former liberal. That was Ramesh's response. Though the former liberal thing is obviously a big part of the intellectual history. Here's how I put it in my much maligned three parter ( Here, here, and here) on "neoconservatism":
The word "neoconservative" was coined by Michael Harrington and the editors of Dissent to describe their old friends who'd moved to the right. It was an insult, along the lines of "running dog" or "fellow traveler." Or perhaps the "neo" was intended to conjure "neo-Nazi," the only other political label to sport the prefix. As Seymour Martin Lipset, one of the most-respected social scientists of the 20th century and an original neocon wrote, the term "was invented as an invidious label to undermine political opponents, most of whom have been unhappy with being so described."
And speaking of that endless column, my whole point about neoconservatism is that it is a word which distorts more than it reveals, is used irresponsibly by critics and adherents alike and should be interred along with all of the once-important distinctions of the left -- Schactmanites, Lovestonians, Fabians etc. Those on the so-called paleo right love the neocon label because it allows them to perpetuate a myth that the conservative movement has been hijacked. The reasons liberals and many self-described neoconservatives use the term are many, but one of them is as a way of asserting moral or intellectual superiority to just plain old "conservatives."
Indeed, I continue to find it hilarious that self-described neoconservatives (and the liberal New York media establishment which listens to them) still talks of National Review as if it is a "paleo" or "Old Right" publication, while the self-described paleos claim that NR has been completely taken over by neoconservatism. These assertions cannot both be true and it is further evidence that the word should be thrown away. NR is merely and proudly conservative and needs no prefixes. At least that's how I see it.
Posted at 02:29 PM
TITANIC BUNNIES [Jonathan H. Adler]
If you liked Exorcist Bunnies, get a load of this.
Posted at 02:27 PM
NAPOLEON [Rick Brookhiser]
I agree with most of the negative comments about him here on this list. He shook up many sclerotic old traditions of the countries he conquered, but the cost was too high, and his motives were bad.
John, if you dislike the frogs so, then you must surely dislike the first Republican party (Jefferson and Madison), for their nearly consistent francophilia. They admired the revolution in its bloodiest phases, professed to dislike Napoleon, yet often found themselves doing his bidding. Their anglophobia by contrast rarely wavered.
Posted at 02:16 PM
"FREE TRADE" COFFEE [Jonathan H. Adler]
I know what "fair trade" coffee is, or at least is supposed to be. "Fair trade" goods are over-priced items purchased at a "fair" price by wealthy liberals to assuage their consciences and to "humanize" globalization. Yet here in Bozeman, Montana, there is a coffee shop emblazoned with the sign "Free Trade Coffee." What's that? Coffee that supports market-driven economic development in impoversihed countries? If so, the coffee shop will have my business all summer. Alas, I suspect the sign might just be a big mistake.
Posted at 02:04 PM
RE: WATCHING THE GIPPER GO BY [Meghan Keane]
I was with Jordan last night at the procession and viewing. It was so moving to see what different people took away from Reagan's presidency. We met so many great people who came from all over the country (and France) to be there and went on to celebrate Reagan's legacy with pints and burgers at the Dubliner afterwards. As our group was entering the Capitol, I met a woman named Angelie. We had been standing for four hours, but she didn't seem to notice at all. She works for McDonald's in DC and is waiting to hear if she will get a job at the FBI. She told me how happy she was to vote for Reagan when she turned 18 and again four years later. She's lived in the District her whole life. Last night was her first time inside the Capitol.
Posted at 01:59 PM
INTELLIGENT CONSERVATIVE CRITICISM OF REAGAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
courtesy of Fred Barnes, here (it's a reprint of a 1989 article). Joel Kotkin defends the Schwarzenegger as the new Reagan thesis--to my mind unpersuasively, but you can judge for yourselves. And I have an article at TechCentralStation: "Ronald Reagan's great contribution to American conservatism was to shift its emphasis from the dangers of action to the opportunities of freedom."
Posted at 01:45 PM
EVEN HOMER NODS [KJL]
From "The Week," Feb. 5, 1988 edition of National Review: "The Reagan administration had come forward with the worst new idea of the new year: the creation of a Cabinet-level Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs. That is, one more bureaucracy, one more mobilized pressure group, still more spending. We hope the idea is a joke, but it‘s not very funny, and hurts Mr. Reagan’s record for first-rate humor."
Posted at 01:35 PM
NAP & THE CONS [John J. Miller]
I do think there is a distinctly conservative view of Napoleon--and it is almost entirely negative. It recognizes the French emperor as the tyrannical spawn of the French Revolution (one of the most un-conservative events in history, and the occasion for Edmund Burke's most important writing). Paul Johnson's excellent book on Napoleon sums things up this way: "The great evils of Bonapartism--the deification of force and war, the all-powerful centralized state, the use of cultural propaganda to apotheosize the autocrat, the marshaling of entire peoples in the pursuit of personal and ideological power--came to hateful maturity only in the twentieth century. ... We have to learn again the central lesson of history: that all forms of greatness, military and administrative, nation and empire building, are as nothing--indeed are perilous in the extreme--without a humble and contrite heart." Well put, and totally accurate.
Posted at 01:17 PM
WAR OF 1812 [John J. Miller]
Jonah: The United States did not "join Napoleon" against the British, as one of your correspondents claims. In fact, the War of 1812 was nearly fought against both countries--President Madison gave serious thought to declaring war on France, and the Senate narrowly rejected a declaration of war against the French, by a vote of 18-14. It is merely a coincidence that the United States and France fought Britain at the same time--and completely wrong to suggest that we were allies in any way. Napoleon never was a friend to America. And don't even get me started on the Louisiana Purchase. Or at least wait until my forthcoming book is available, in October. It's called Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France.
Posted at 01:02 PM
DEFINING NEOCONSERVATISM [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah -- I don't think it's fair to say that a neoconservative is simply a former liberal (and that's not how to interpret the prefix "neo" either, but I'll let the word mavens go after that part). The term was coined by Michael Harrington to apply to a particualr set of liberal intellectuals that appeared to be turning right just as the New Left was emerging. It was an effort to write these intellectuals out of the respectable left. Harrington did not apply the term to other generations of liberals or leftists who had turned right, however. If he had, the term would apply to much of NR's founding generation, many of whom had been men of the Left (including Frank Meyer and Whitaker Chambers, among others). By the same token, "neoliberals" are not liberals who used to be conservative. Rather the term was used to define a new generation of liberals that had a slightly different perspective than the prior generation of liberals, just as the "neoconservatives" had a slightly different take on conservative principles than their predecessors.
Posted at 12:54 PM
1:15 EDT FRIDAY: RING YOUR BELLS FOR REAGAN [KJL]
(Note the time change.)
Posted at 12:47 PM
WATCHING THE GIPPER GO BY [KJL]
Posted at 12:31 PM
KERRY BEATING BUSH BY 7 [KJL]
according to L.A. Times--6 if Nader's a choice. Bush pollster Matt Dowd comments: The poll "is a mess. Bush is leading independents by three, ahead among Republicans by a larger margin than Kerry is ahead among Dems, and we are down by seven. Outrageous. And it gets worse. They have Dems leading generic congressional ballot by 19. This means this poll is too Democratic by 10 to 12 points." Dowd adds, "Apparently the Los Angeles Times has uncovered a Democratic revolution in this country that has happened in the last ten days."
Posted at 12:15 PM
RE: THE SIDE OF THE BRITISH [Jonah Goldberg]
Who knew a post about the Reagan dime would take us here? From a reader:
You’re getting into my enemy’s enemy territory, here. I wish the USA could have stayed neutral or at worst joined the Brits, but the Brits wouldn’t let us. They forced the issue by impressing American sailors of English/Irish origin/descent.
Posted at 12:01 PM
"THE SIDE OF THE BRITISH" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader with an intriguing email disclaimer:
Strangely enough, I am also on the side of the British during the Napoleonic wars. I say “strangely enough” because the United States joined Napoleon (Reference the war of 1812).
Posted at 11:42 AM
"WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO THINK" [Jonah Goldberg]
A bunch of readers object to the sentence "Any thoughts on what we're supposed to think about Napoleon?" I'm not sure I see the big deal. All I was asking was if there's a standard conservative position on Napoleon. If I chose my words poorly, okay. Woops. But please spare me the lectures about the need for independent thought and all that. I think you guys are over-reading a conversational phrase.
Posted at 11:28 AM
PAUL JOHNSON ON NAPOLEON [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Paul Johnson wrote one of those short "Penguin Life" bios of Napoleon.
Posted at 11:10 AM
REASON WE HARDLY KNEW YE [Jonah Goldberg ]
There was a time when NR was the magazine for curmudgeons. Looks like Reason wants the title.
Posted at 11:07 AM
THIS IS NEWS? [Cosmo ]
Dogs understand language. We also understand ham, by the way.
Posted at 11:00 AM
REAGAN & SPIDERMAN [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:57 AM
RE: NAPOLEON [Jonah Goldberg]
Rereading my Wilson post I noticed that it might seem like I think Napoleon was an obviously bad guy. I don't know that I believe that. He did put a stop to the French Revolution -- surely a favor to us all. As as for all the war and invading, I don't know what to make of that in the modern context. Obviously, when in doubt, I side with the British. So in that sense alone, I'm anti-Napoleon. Also, I've developed a soft spot for the Austro-Hungarian Empire thanks to reading a lot of Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn over the last year (and listening to my Slovakian father-in-law). So I don't know.
Derb, Rick, other Cornerites? Any thoughts on what we're supposed to think about Napoleon?
Posted at 10:47 AM
RE: WILSON [Jonah Goldberg]
John - I don't want to get bogged-down in this either. But, I will throw in a few things I believe to be true. World War I was not really a war we needed to be in. It laid the groundwork for much that has gone wrong in America and the world since then (including World War II). The manner in which the liberal Wilson and liberal intellectuals fomented and exploited war fever in this country remains unprecedented in American history and was, in a great many respects, fascist. If you think McCarthyism was bad, the Red Scare of the Wilson Administration was far worse in almost every respect. The Fourteen Points may have had beneficial consequences for some Europeans, indeed I'm sure it did. But, Wilson himself used them as much as anything else to buy the support of liberals and leftists at home. Napoleon, was hailed as the "great liberator" by much of Europe. Indeed, so was Hitler, at first, by Ukranians eager to get out from under the yoke of Stalin. Wilson wasn't a Hitler -- or a Napoleon -- but you can come pretty far short of that standard and still be a bad dude.
Also, I think the rule at National Review is that every time you say something nice about Woodrow Wilson, Charles Kessler drives up to your house, rings the door bell, and leaves a burning paper bag full of dog droppings on your doorstep. So don't answer the door barefoot.
Posted at 10:22 AM
MICHIGAN HOUSE BANS RACIAL ADMISSION PREFERENCES [Roger Clegg]
The Michigan House of Representatives has passed a bill that prohibits universities receiving any state funding from using admission preferences based on factors such as race! The legislation caught the University of Michigan—a leader in the use of such preferences, and the defendant in the affirmative-action cases decided by the Supreme Court a year ago—“off-guard,” according to the article. Doubtless the university and its allies will do their best to stop the bill in the state senate and, if necessary, to convince Michigan’s governor to veto it. Still, this is great stuff, and in every state that hasn’t already banned preferences, there should be some state legislator willing to introduce a bill like this. Preferences are overwhelmingly unpopular, and victories like this keep the balkanizers on the defensive.
Posted at 10:11 AM
WOODROW [John J. Miller]
Jonah: I'm no Wilson fan either, but I'll say this in his defense (vis a vis Europe)--his Fourteen Points program helped end the First World War and probably saved lots of lives, American and European. He promised the defeated Central Powers that they would not suffer from a victors' peace; this helped convince them to lay down their arms and made a bloody invasion of Germany unnecessary. Oddly, at the end of 1918, Wilson was about as popular in Germany as he was in the United States. The disastrous Versailles Treaty wasn't really his fault--blame lies mainly with the French and Brits, though it's possible to wish Wilson had been a tougher negotiator. But enough of this. To repeat: I'm no Wilson fan either. My favorite Wilson is Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Posted at 10:02 AM
PRIVATIZATION INITIATIVE [KJL]
Jonah--brilliant idea. (By the way, who is doing the cooking for Ramesh tomorrow. I can't stop imaginging the things the beer/pretzel-based possibilities on your menu.)
Posted at 09:53 AM
POPE & PRESIDENT [KJL]
The National Catholic Register's Reagan editorial
Posted at 09:45 AM
RE: SDI LIVES! [Jonah Goldberg]
John that works for me. But, truth be told, renaming the Moscow stock market after Ronald Reagan would give me goosebumps.
It's not that outlandish, there are quite a few things in Eastern Europe named after US presidents, particularly Woodrow Wilson (grr. boo).
Posted at 09:42 AM
SDI LIVES! [John J. Miller]
Jonah: I can't think of a better thing to name after RR than this--the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site.
Posted at 09:31 AM
REAGAN ON THE DIME [John J. Miller]
I wrote about it here. I still kind of like the idea, but as a practical matter it may be impossible, as Nancy Reagan recently disapproved of the notion. I think that's what made some folks who were stumping for the dime switch to the $10 bill. Also, Alexander Hamilton has a smaller constituency than FDR.
Posted at 09:27 AM
THE REAGAN NAME [John J. Miller]
Seems to me that people who want to do something noteworthy in Reagan's honor need to settle on a single goal. What's it going to be: renaming the Pentagon, putting Reagan on the ten spot, putting him on the dime, carving him onto Mount Rushmore? The choice is probably between pushing for a single success and experiencing a series of failures. For what it's worth, former president Bush basically endorsed putting RR on the $10 bill, in an interview with Larry King last night.
Posted at 09:18 AM
RE: THE REAGAN PENTAGON [Jonah Goldberg]
John - "Ironic" would be one word for it. "Awful" would be another. How about we demolish the Reagan building (or any number of other Federal buildings) and name the hole after Reagan. He'd like that better.
But what he'd really like is if we established a government program of privatization called the Reagan Free Market Initiative. It could go around privatizing government agenices and afterwards we could put up a little sign saying "another government agency privatized by the Reagan Free Market Initiative."
Or something like that.
Posted at 09:16 AM
THE DOWNSIDE OF SIMPSONS OBSESSION [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 09:12 AM
FOUNDERS-THEMED PRODUCTS [John Derbyshire]
Fancy an Alexander Hamilton T-shirt, or a set of Martha Washington note-cards? Check out this splendid website for "Founders of Ameria" products, beautifully produced.
Posted at 09:11 AM
THE REAGAN PENTAGON? [John J. Miller]
Bill Frist says we should rename the Pentagon as the Ronald Reagan National Defense Building. The second biggest building in the federal government already bears his name: the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (it has more interior space than the Empire State Building). I know Reagan was a defense hawk, but wouldn't it be ironic if the government's two largest buildings bore his name?
Posted at 09:05 AM
REAGAN'S PRAGMATISM [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Am I the only person who remembers that these same networks and pundits who are remembering Reagan as "pragmatic" also cried incessantly when the Reagan movie was released and the studio decided to cut the "he who lives in sin shall die in sin" line? That movie debacle was less than a year ago, and it seems like nobody remembers it (which is a testament to how awful it was and how few people saw it). While everyone is jumping on the Reagan bandwagon, let's not forget that a major network tried to release a fictional portrayal of Reagan and his legacy and that it was ultimately released on Showtime and received fairly decent reviews from the lefty critics. They can't have it both ways; they can't hail his pragmatism less than a year after trying to portray him as some religious zealot who was completely unsympathetic to people dying of AIDS.
Posted at 09:00 AM
PROOF OF THE RIEMANN HYPOTHESIS [John Derbyshire]
Thanks to the many readers who alerted me to Louis de Branges' "proof" of the Riemann Hypothesis, news of which has shown up on the web.
Louis has been announcing proofs of the RH pretty much annually for 20 years. Looking (cursorily, I admit) at the paper that has prompted this latest flurry of interest, it seems to me the same as one he offered in 2003.
The reason people are willing to suspend their skepticism in the case of de Branges is that he is the guy who, in 1985, proved the Bieberbach Conjecture, a long-outstanding problem in mathematical analysis. Even at that time, he had issued so many false "Eurekas!" that when he announced the Bieberbach proof, people just yawned. He then took it to Russia, where his track record was less well known and mathematicians were willing to give his proof proper scrutiny. It turned out he really *had* proved the Conjecture!
If all that put you in a mathy mood, here is something to meditate on.
Posted at 08:56 AM
ALZHEIMER'S STEM-CELL HOPE HYPED [KJL]
From the Washington Post this morning: "[T]he infrequently voiced reality, stem cell experts confess, is that, of all the diseases that may someday be cured by embryonic stem cell treatments, Alzheimer's is among the least likely to benefit."
Posted at 08:37 AM
BROKAW [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Watching the Funeral on NBC ( I know, my own fault for being on that channel ) and old Tom made mention of the city on hill speech but just had to throw in the "fact" that many minorities continued to feel left out of Reagan's plan of prosperity. This from the man who looked far more somber the night he had to say "it looks like Ronald Reagan has won by the largest landslide in history" that at anytime during Reagan's funeral procession. Sorry had to vent to someone. Well Keep up the good work! Cant wait for the book.
Posted at 08:28 AM
RANDOM POP CULTURE QUESTION [Jonah Goldberg]
"Does anyone miss the mayor? I just wanna be a big snake?"
Posted at 08:26 AM
RAMESH & ME [Jonah Goldberg]
No that's not the latest pseudo-documentary out of Bollywood about a crapulent liar who goes on a crusade to make an Indian industrialist look bad.
I'm referring to my exchange with Ramesh yesterday. Even though I end up agreeing with Ramesh about 92% of the time in here, whenever there's ever the slightest friction between us I get these emails from people saying "can't we all just get along?" as if Ramesh and I are feuding. Maybe it's our writing styles or something -- Ramesh's humor is like a dry martini where you just say the word "vermouth" a couple times as you pour the gin. But, don't worry, Ramesh and I are good friends. In fact, speaking of martinis, he's even been invited to chez Goldberg for dinner tomorrow night.
Posted at 08:25 AM
FLYING MONKEY IN CAPTIVITY [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 06:37 AM
BANNED IRAQI MISSILE ENGINES FOUND [Jonah Goldberg ]
U.N. weapons experts have found 20 engines used in banned Iraqi missiles in a Jordan scrapyard along with other equipment which could be used to make weapons of mass destruction, an official said Wednesday.
Posted at 06:33 AM
THE BIRTH OF A MYTH [Tim Graham]
While thousands paid their respects to President Reagan last night, "Nightline" was doing what it traditionally does: channeling the same old bilge about Reagan not caring for blacks and gays and the poor. Michel Martin filed all the already stale Beth Fouhy lines about how blacks felt neglected, gays thought Reagan was killing them with AIDS, and Reaganomics was all about enriching Richie Rich and family. Talking heads were Roger Wilkins, Alice Rivlin, and Gary Bauer, who did quite well for being outnumbered 2-1.
This is precisely the kind of coverage liberals are clamoring for, the "truth" about Reagan, without answering the question: Is it accurate? ABC let the Reagan-haters they found state the history of the Reagan era as if it was the definitive truth. Liberals like the dreadful Michael Wolff are whining about the networks creating a "myth" around Reagan, but as my colleague down the hall noted, this Fouhy-Koppel line is the real network myth about Reagan: black America went to pot in the 1980s, Reagan didn't lift a finger to help AIDS sufferers, and somehow tax cuts and defense spending alone manufactured the deficit. It's all Reagan-hating baloney.
Posted at 06:31 AM
GOP SAVES LIVES! [Jim Boulet Jr. ]
Today was a scorcher in Washington, D.C. and the evening wasn't much cooler as we stood and waited to pay our last respects to President Reagan. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "By early evening, more than 100 people on the National Mall had been treated for heat-related illnesses, fire officials said. U.S. Capitol Police trucked in about 150,000 of bottles of water."
But how would all that water reach the people standing in those long lines? Senator Rick Santorum enlisted the young people working for the Senate Republican Conference he chairs to spend the night walking cases of water through the many lines so that no one would go thirsty. One young staffer, who insisted she not be identified, said that Democratic staff were helping the GOP's water brigade.
The Senate Republican Conference also passed out 5,000 copies of the text of a Senate Resolution Honoring President Reagan to give all of us waiting a reminder of some of the reasons for Reagan's greatness ("as a lifeguard . . . saved the lives of 77 swimmers").
The people mourning President Reagan tonight came from all walks of life. I talked with Dean Workman, a Dallas, Texas, resident who was just 10 when Reagan became president. Workman vowed to attend Reagan's funeral and flew to Washington, D.C. this week to do precisely that.
As I left the Capitol area at 3:00 a.m. there were still thousands of people waiting in line, including two young parents and their tiny baby, all of us united to pay our respects to America's greatest president.
Posted at 05:39 AM
KUDOS TO C-SPAN [KJL]
It has been running live feed from the Capitol all night. Neat to see how many people have their kids with them.
Posted at 05:38 AM
KING RONALD [KJL]
A sharp observer notes: "No commentator I heard noticed that the Baroness Thatcher curtsied to the coffin - a gesture which protocol reserves at state funerals to the corpses of royalty. I am sure the Queen will not reprimand her. Lady Thatcher is out of office and cannot be harmed."
Posted at 05:35 AM
REPORT FROM THE MALL [Barbara Comstock]
As of 11:30p.m., the Park Police were saying the time in the line to get into the Rotunda would be an estimated 4-7 hours. There was just a wonderful spirit on the mall and a great gathering of "the glass is half full" type paying their respects to a great man. How fitting that President Reagan brought out thousands of America's finest. There were people in wheelchairs in line, whole families (spotted one family with 6 kids that had to be under 10 years), well-dressed (not many jackets because of the heat but most men in shirts and ties or at least a nice collared shirt).....and remarkably cheerful at the thought of spending most of the evening in line.....
Posted at 05:34 AM
FALSE PROMISE [John J. Miller]
Senator Orrin Hatch and others have tried to use the occasion of Reagan's death to promote government-funded stem cell research. What they won't tell you is that stem-cell research isn't likely to yield many benefits for Alzheimer's patients, now or ever, according to the Washington Post.
Posted at 05:17 AM
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
LADY GRACE; FROM THE HILL EARLIER [KJL]
A friend sends:
Posted at 09:45 PM
MEDIA CARPING ASIDE [KJL]
The state funeral was a respectful, magnificent event honoring a man who served our nation and world well. And Dick Cheney certainly left the president with a speechwriting challenge for Friday, having done so well himself. The live video feeds, by the way, on some of the news sites, capture the mood just right--just the sounds of people slowly and reverently walking in the hallowed halls of seat of our democracy, to salute a great man who did great things.
Posted at 09:42 PM
PROPS TO WOLF BLITZER [KJL]
RIght after the funeral Blitzer cut off some he-didn't-actually-win-the-Cold-War griping. (I had just flipped on CNN--was it Robert Dallek?)
Posted at 08:25 PM
THE FIRST TIME "PRESIDENT REAGAN" WAS IN THE ROTUNDA [KJL]
Posted at 08:17 PM
REAGAN FANS SPEAK [Tim Graham]
As the caisson rolled along, Dan Rather the comments of a lady from Chesterfield, Virginia, along the route, who said of the Reagans: "They didn't live in Camelot. They lived in reality with the rest of us."
Posted at 07:49 PM
"LET US LIVE TO MAKE MEN FREE" [Jim Boulet Jr.]
President Reagan's casket was carried into the U.S. Capitol tonight to an appropriate song. The band played "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The 5th verse of that hymn carries a charge to its hearers that Reagan kept all his political life:
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
Posted at 07:47 PM
A GUIDE TO ROTUNDA VISITATION [KJL]
Posted at 07:38 PM
NOT TO COMPLAIN, BUT [KJL]
A reader e-mails: "Just a quick thought: why does the media feel the need to talk over, comment on, give their thoughts, tell us what we are seeing and should think, when such a beautiful event would be enhanced by their silence?" That's a legitimate point. On CNN and MSNBC, anchors have been stretching, looking for something to say. It does seem like there's a minimal amount they have to say as Reagan's casket is making its way to the Capitol.
Posted at 06:31 PM
Kerry was at his daughter's graduation.
Posted at 06:10 PM
REAGAN RESOLUTION [KJL]
Congress marked Ronald Reagan's achievements for the record today. Where was John Kerry?
Posted at 05:56 PM
RACHEL ROCKS [KJL]
Model Rachel Hunter, ex-wife of Rod Stewart, blasts Clinton, embraces Bush. Unfortunately, though, she's not a U.S. citizen, so it's all talk.
Posted at 05:50 PM
Capitol security mishap
Posted at 05:36 PM
AH, GRASSHOPPER [Jonah Goldberg]
Try to snatch the definition of neoconservatism from my hand.
Actually, of course you're right in that my definition is pretty flimsy -- but I thought it was kind of funny.
But then again, the "adult former liberal" definition doesn't hold up too well either. I know you don't truck with much of the "who's a neo?" nonsense. But if all it took was former left-liberal (Podhoretz, Bill Bennett, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Ben Wattenberg, Perle) or even former socialist-Communist (Kristol, Lipset, Novak, Muravchik et al) credentials then many of the giants of National Review were neos too -- even though so many so-called paleos claim them as their own. Frank Meyer, Whittaker Chambers and James Burnham come to mind.
Again, put the word out to pasture.
Posted at 04:40 PM
NOTES AWAY FROM A DEFINITION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I suppose, Jonah, that the question turns on whether someone whose past liberalism or leftism occurred before adulthood counts. The people you're thinking of--Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, Michael Novak, etc.--as the defining set for neoconservatism could all be described as "liberals who turned right." But they could also be described as "adult liberals who turned right." So I don't think that we can glean an answer there. Since I don't qualify as a neo- under most of the other definitions, I prefer to leave my conservatism unmodified. But I do appreciate the warm welcome from my elder.
Posted at 04:25 PM
PS [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod, Ramesh -- If I didn't say so before, Welcome to the Conservative movement.
(Did I mention that Pat Buchanan attended my bris?)
Posted at 04:09 PM
YOU'RE ALL NEOCONSERVATIVES! [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod, Ramesh & all you formerly liberal readers -
Before "neoconservative" meant bagel-snarfing war-monger, it meant someone who was once liberal and became conservative (hence neo conservative). I take some pleasure in that Rod and Ramesh -- the Louisianan Catholic (now living in Texas) and the Kansas-born Catholic -- were both liberals in their youth and are hence neocons, while I -- cosmopolitan-demi Jew, scion of the chattering class, from the Upper West Side of Manhattan not three blocks from Zabar's -- was always a conservative and proud of it. I vividly remember the deep malaise that beset my family during the Carter years and the spirit of joy which overtook the Goldberg household when Reagan won. In my high school, the rebels loved Reagan and I am the better for it.
Posted at 03:22 PM
RE: NOW IT CAN BE TOLD [Rod Dreher]
Getting lots of e-mail from NRO-niks who said their journey from youthful knee-jerk liberalism to Reaganism mirrors mine. This letter from a reader contains an interesting question, one that only Michael Lind can answer:
Saw your link on the corner "I was a Teenage Reagan Hater." You have perfectly described me. In fact we are the same age, so you and I have nearly identical political growth rings. I hated Reagan with such self-righteous bitterness, I am almost embarrassed about it today. But it's that cathartic moment that we shared. When you it hits you--POW!--you realize that if I was wrong and he was right about issue X, what else should I re-examine. Then I started to reject just about all of those silly liberal ideas that sound good, but just don't hold historical water (i.e. Nuclear Freeze--remember that one!! LOL)
I find it interesting that you never hear the opposite. You just don't come across many conservatives who all of a sudden say "Hey...I guess that raising taxes really IS good for everybody" or "maybe if we'd have appeased Gorbachev at Reykjavik, the world would have been better off."
Posted at 03:08 PM
PHOOEY ON FOUHY [Tim Graham]
AP's Beth Fouhy joins the major newspapers today who run "and now for the liberals who hate Reagan" slate of stories. It's a real nostalgia trip of Reagan-era bias, like this sentence: "Elected on a promise to slash taxes and crack down on freeloading 'welfare queens,' Reagan depicted government as wasteful and minimized its capacity to help people, ideas that survive today."
Posted at 03:06 PM
GOOD MOVE BY TED OLSON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down FCC telecom regulations. The administration has decided not to appeal. There are powerful corporate interests on both sides of the debate about these regulations, and the administration has tried to straddle it--at best. This decision is an unexpected switch in its course. I hope that it will bring a lot of the litigation to a close and impart some (de)regulatory stability to a field that sorely needs it. Expect some major squealing from AT&T.
Posted at 03:05 PM
SEND YOUR FAVORITE REAGAN QUOTES, JOKES, STORIES [KJL]
to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line should be REAGAN. Let us know if we should share your name (i.e. "contributed by").
Posted at 02:37 PM
"THEY LIVE IRONY" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:26 PM
ROD [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Nice article. I had a somewhat similar experience myself.
Posted at 02:18 PM
N.Y.C. 4 REAGAN [KJL]
New York City Young Republicans are holding a candlelight vigil in memory of President Reagan tonight in Bryant Park (Sixth Ave between 40th & 42nd Streets, behind the library). Time will be 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Posted at 02:09 PM
REAGAN DAY TOMORROW [KJL]
Turner Classic Movies will be all Reagan. Check out the schedule here.
Posted at 02:03 PM
L.A. COUNTY BOARD VOTES TO NIX SEAL'S CROSS [KJL]
Posted at 12:48 PM
HISTORICAL HOWLERS [Tim Graham]
Let Ronald Reagan ride off into the sunset untroubled by fleeting memories of astrologers, smoke-and-mirrors budget arithmetic, and arms-for-hostages swaps. Dwell instead on those political tall timbers still standing, the heirs of Jefferson, Madison, and Lincoln....Only Jesse Jackson, still an acquired taste for most white Americans, can strike the kind of inspirational pose that one could imagine being immortalized in granite."
-- Then-Time Senior Writer Walter Shapiro in the September 1990 edition of GQ magazine.
Posted at 12:43 PM
NOW IT CAN BE TOLD [Rod Dreher]
My shocking confession: "I was a Teenage Reagan-Hater!"
Posted at 12:41 PM
LAURA BUSH ON STEM CELLS [KJL]
Posted at 12:33 PM
TOP TWELVE STUDENTS ON THE 2003 USA MATH OLYMPIAD [John Derbyshire]
* Home schooled
** The Lohs are siblings. (The Zhangs are unrelated.)
++ Perfect scores
Posted at 10:43 AM
THE GIPPER VS. BOBBY [Steve Hayward]
Our friends over at RealClearPolitics provide a link to an online transcript of Reagan's TV debate with Robert F. Kennedy in 1967. I had no idea it was ever available online, especially from the JFK library. I had to dig it out of the Reagan archives several years ago when I wanted to track it down.
You will look in vain in any of the liberal biographies of Robert Kennedy for a single mention of his debate with Reagan, which even Kennedy realized he had lost to the Gipper. As he was leaving the TV studio, Bobby growled at his aide Frank Mankiewicz, "Who the f--- got me into this??"
One of my favorite bits this this exchange was the rhetorical question Reagan asked about America’s brief monopoly of nuclear weapons in the 1940s: “Can you honestly say that had the Soviet Union been in a comparable position with that bomb, or today’s Red Chinese, that the world would not today have been conquered with that force?”
Winston Churchill said this in 1948: “What do you suppose would be the position this afternoon had it been Communist Russia instead of free enterprise America which had created the atomic weapon? Instead of being a somber guarantee of peace it would have become an irresistible method of human enslavement.”
Posted at 10:41 AM
RE: ASHCROFT [Mark R. Levin]
Ashcroft's position is that internal government memoranda providing advice to the president are not subject to congressional oversight. The demand that Ashcroft, on the spot, assert executive privilege, was all drama. Only the president can assert the privilege. This is the beginning of a possible separation of powers fight along those lines. The underlying objective here is to tie the Iraqi prison misconduct to Bush, by claiming it was official policy. By the way, Reagan would have had the perfect response to Joe Biden, as he did on other occasions when Congress overreached.
Posted at 10:39 AM
YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST [John Derbyshire]
Page 60 of the current issue of THE ECONOMIST has a picture of a worker in mainland China drinking a beer while apparently taking a break from work. He has his trouser legs rolled up. Compare (second item).
Posted at 09:49 AM
THEY LIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
Yes, that's a sanitized reference to the classic of American cinema in today's column.
Posted at 09:35 AM
ASHCROFT [Jonah Goldberg]
Lord knows I'm a big defender, but yesterday's hearings struck me as just short of awful. I've never seen Ashcroft appear unprepared or defensive before and you know you're on weak footing when someone like me thinks Dick Durbin has the better arguments. I'm hoping there's more to this story to support Ashcroft's position, because right now I don't understand what his position is.
Posted at 08:48 AM
CHAVEZ VS. UNIONS [John J. Miller]
Linda Chavez has a new book called Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics. Because we're all Reagan, all the time right now, I'll even supply a Reagan angle. Linda (my former boss) was working at the American Teachers Union in the early 1980s when the White House tapped her to join the Reagan team--Linda was one of those fabled "Reagan Democrats" who eventually became a Reagan Republican. I remember her telling me once that she had wanted to switch her party affiliation, but the White House asked her to remain a Democrat a bit longer because she was more useful that way, given the political premium on "bipartisanship." At any rate, Linda knows how unions work from the inside and would have made a splendid secretary of labor if the Bushies hadn't gotten cold feet three years ago. As a consolation, we do have this book--which I recommend highly.
Posted at 08:10 AM
PALMETTOS [John J. Miller]
In South Carolina yesterday, Republican primary voters sent two candidates into a runoff: former governor David Beasley and congressman Jim DeMint. The winner will take on Inez Tenenbaum, a Democrat who is polling surprisingly well--though perhaps that's because the GOP hasn't settled on a single candidate yet and the race isn't fully engaged. At any rate, my personal preference is for DeMint, an impressive congressman who is an unabashed free trader in a state that often produces protectionists (case in point: Sen. Hollings, who is retiring; also protectionism is at the core of Tenenbaum's campaign). The runoff is scheduled for June 22.
Posted at 05:52 AM
WHAT ELSE COULD THEY BLAME HIM FOR? [KJL]
From the Feb. 19. 1982, issue, of National Review: “They’re accusing Ronald Reagan of simultaneously causing recession and serving the interests of the rich. Oh well, that’s nothing. Before he was elected they had him conducting a race war and a nuclear war at the same time.”
Posted at 05:50 AM
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
REAGAN CHANGED WASHINGTON, TOO [Mark R. Levin]
Lest we forget, pre-Reagan Washington
Posted at 06:54 PM
RE: THE FUNERAL [Mark R. Levin]
What matters is not what Bill Clinton wants, but what the Reagan family wants. And somehow, here we are again, discussing Bill Clinton when he has absolutely nothing to do with this event. And once again, we witness the spectacle of Bill Clinton's lack of class and graciousness.
Posted at 06:51 PM
HE WAS A CALIFORNIAN, BUT.... [Jonah Goldberg ]
Kevin Drum has a nice post (no sarcasm) on how Reagan's Californian-ness (Californiality?) was informed by his Mid-Westernness. I wish he'd expanded on his point because I think he's right, though I know very little about the subject. I'm sure Tom Sowell has written something brilliant on this, and it's difficult not to seem trite given all of our "go west" cliches, but it's always seemed to me that the source of California's success was that it was the America for internal immigrants. If you know what I mean.
Posted at 06:23 PM
THE TROGLODYTE REAGANITES [KJL ]
From NR’s “The Week,” April 29, 1988: “Poet Allen Ginsberg declares that the Reagan Administration has loosed an era of ‘troglodytes and fundamentalists,’ with the ‘moral minority trying to control what the majority hears.’ Quite so, but those are unduly polite terms for the liberal moralists trying to undo two Reagan landslide majorities.”
Posted at 06:11 PM
REAGAN ON THE $10 [Rick Brookhiser]
I voted for Reagan for president in three elections (1976, 1980, 1984). I think he was a great man. But Alexander Hamilton is the founder of our prosperity and our national strength. Keep him where he is.
Posted at 05:48 PM
REAGAN INITIATIVE? [KJL]
A reader suggests:
Now, if I were Karl Rove, I'd be recommending to the president that he announce an initiative to fund stem cell research - adult stem cell research, that is, because it has shown more promise than fetal stem cell research. After all, isn't it supposed to be about bringing relief to patients?
Posted at 04:51 PM
RING YOUR BELLS FOR REAGAN ON FRIDAY, 1 PM EST [KJL]
LET TRIBUTE RING FOR THE MAN WHO LET RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RING
Posted at 04:40 PM
SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE, IV (YES, I LIED) [KJL ]
Not really Reagan, just media: From the April 15, 1988, issue of NR: "Ted Turner continues to court the Soviet Union, this time with a seven-hour documentary on “one of the most extraordinary countries in the world…bound together by a dream that is still being dreamt. The Soviet Union--a mighty union!” according to narrator Roy (Jaws) Scheider. “Atheist though the state may be,” he goes, “freedom to worship as you please is enshrined in the Soviet constitution…” Gorbachev is a “new and enlightened leader.” Armenians “have at last found stability--under the Soviet wing.” And, would you believe it, “Russians love thir children.” To think we once wished Turner’s new “patriotic” network well, and rooted for Scheider to get away from that shark."
Posted at 04:35 PM
THE EMBRYONIC-STEM-CELL MOMENT [KJL]
Orrin Hatch just appeared on Inside Politics, handicapped by laryngitis. Both he and interviewer were handicapped in the fact department too.
Posted at 04:25 PM
RE: BUSH AND REAGAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
But didn't Reagan do exactly that in his last year of office? Indeed, the catastrophic health care plan that passed in 1988 included a prescription-drug benefit. Luckily, the thing was repealed a year later.
Posted at 04:16 PM
WHAT A CROWD: LIBRARY DISPATCH [KJL]
From an e-mail:
As a Southern Californian who has defected to the North (alas, my wife!), I could not make the viewing of the casket. My father, however, went with an aunt and uncle and this is what they had to say:
Posted at 04:07 PM
FAIR POINT RE BUSH & REAGAN [Jonah Goldberg]
and one I should have made. From a reader:
You say that Bush and Reagan are a lot closer in ideology. How do you make that comparison? On tax cuts and some social issues I agree with you. However, on the biggest issue of them all, big government, Bush is clearly no Reagan. The idea of Reagan pushing for a massive new entitlement (prescription drugs) is laughable. This is why Bush is in so much trouble with his base.
Posted at 03:46 PM
MORE ON REAGAN'S SOCIAL VIEWS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
from Justin Katz.
Posted at 02:50 PM
ITALY HAS ARRESTED [KJL]
alleged Madrid bombing mastermind.
Posted at 02:42 PM
MEYER ON REAGAN - 1968 [Jonathan H. Adler]
Longtime NR readers are aware that the magazine was a Reagan booster long before he became President. In the course of researching a paper on the late NR senior editor Frank Meyer, I came across the following:
Of all the leading candidates, Reagan obviously has the most consistent principled stand, on both domestic and foreign policy. Nixon has an onorable anti-Communist record and, if he has been somewhat ambiguous on domestic questions at times, he would seem to be, on balance, acceptable to conservatives--if he can avoid the temptation to which he has succumbed in the past, the temptation of assuming that the conservatives are in his pocket and therefore distorting his position to court the Liberals.From: "Thinking Aloud about 1968," June 13, 1967.
For those interested, Meyer also wrote the essay "Why I Am for Reagan" in the May 11, 1968 New Republic.
Posted at 02:38 PM
REAGAN MADE HER DO IT [KJL]
Slightly off-topic, from our Nov. 13, 1981, issue. If I knew it, I forgot it: “Kathy Boudin of New York seems to be in some sort of trouble with the law for taking part in a $1.6 million Brink’s holdup. It turns out Miss Boudin was only drawing a miserly $355 a month in welfare. If Reaganomics can’t provide better for the needy, it’s small wonder they turn to crime.”
Posted at 02:36 PM
LE MOT JUSTE [John Derbyshire]
Sometimes I am bowled over by the way people speak.
At a righty political function this morning, I bumped into a gentleman of the older generation whose name tag said WILLIAM M. BRAMWELL. "Oh," I said, as we shook hands, "You wouldn't happen to be related to Austin Bramwell, would you? He writes for National Review now and then."
Replied the gentleman: "I am his sire."
Posted at 02:25 PM
RE SCHWARZENEGGER V REAGAN [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah... Ohfercryinoutloud... is this whole debate taking place because K-Lo won't allow the Kirk/Picard debate?
Posted at 02:25 PM
DISPATCH FROM THE REAGAN LIBRARY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:11 PM
I SURRENDER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Sullivan clearly has the better of the argument. Reagan and Schwarzenegger both beat incumbent Democratic governors with colors in their name: Pat Brown and Gray Davis. If that isn't a crushing rejoinder, I don't know what is.
Posted at 02:00 PM
CLINTON'S REAGAN EULOGY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I can hear him speaking now:
Posted at 01:45 PM
SPIRIT VS IDEOLOGY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Andrew Sullivan appears to still be miffed at Ramesh for saying the comparison of Schwarzenegger to Reagan is fatuous. I still agree with Ramesh. But there might be an apples and oranges thing going on here. After linking to this op-ed about Reagan's optimistic spirit , Sullivan writes, "Arnold is certainly far closer to Reagan's spirit than Dubya."
I'm not sure I agree with this either, but let's assume it's true. It seems Sullivan is talking about personality more than ideology (this would be consistent with his recent obsession with McCain as Kerry's VP). Ramesh is clearly talking about ideology. No matter what Schwarzenegger's boosters may claim, at the end of the day Schwarzenegger is a liberal Republican. Reagan was not a liberal Republican. Maybe -- maybe -- Schwarzennegger and Reagan have similar personalities, even similar political personalities, but in the realm of substance and ideas, Bush and Reagan are far closer than Reagan and Arnold. And unless we're going to get into the truly fatuous debate over whether or not labels "mean" anything, that should count for a lot more.
Posted at 01:35 PM
ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NOTE [KJL]
"Clinton was from Hope, Reagan defined it."
Posted at 01:19 PM
THE HATEFUL VILLAGE VOICE [KJL]
The weekly seems to be in competition with itself (see here for another example) for vile writing. Here's "Death of a Salesman," their Reagan remembrance. It begins, fyi: "He should have died alone—a long, long time ago. But oh, no, not him: outliving his century by four years, his presidency by 16, and his own mind by a decade, Hollywood legend Ronald Reagan was 93 when he went to rejoin his makers—Thomas Jefferson, Louis B. Mayer, Lew Wasserman, and Barry Goldwater, in that order—on Saturday. A noted fantasist, Reagan is perhaps best remembered for the eight years he spent believing he ruled an entirely fictional United States..."
Posted at 01:16 PM
SOME THINGS NEVER REALLY CHANGE III (THE LAST IN A SERIES) [KJL]
From the October 4, 1985, issue of National Review:
If the press talked about Ronald Reagan the way it has been talking about Mikhail Gorbachev, it would stand accused of superpatriotism. Time ran a glorious 18-page cover spread on the Soviet “leader” (not to be confused with right-wing “dictators” and “strongmen”), including an interview whose questions were so deferential they might have been prepared by the editors of Pravda. (Nothing about Afghanistan, Poland, human rights.) One typical query: “The events of recent weeks, such as the U.S. announcement of the ASAT test and the spy-dust charges, could hardly have been helpful in terms of preparing for the summit meeting. Is this type of thing seriously damaging?” Columnists Tom Wicker, Joseph Kraft, and Mary McGrory are gloating over Gorbachev’s propaganda skill. Wicker: Gorbachev “has been running rings around [Reagan] in pre-summit propaganda.” Kraft: Western Europeans “are pleased to have a Soviet leader who, in the European tradition, is no pushover for the Americans.” Miss McGrory: “The only fear that Reagan has is that the country is too decent for his own good and therefore a setup for the malevolent, ruthless, godless Kremlin commissars.” For all three, the real question isn’t whether Gorbachev is serious about arms control, but whether Reagan is.
Posted at 01:08 PM
SOME THINGS NEVER REALLY CHANGE II [KJL]
From the Sept. 6, 1985 issue of NR, in “The Week” again:
Moscow (Aug. 20)--Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev today pleased with Western nations not to impose sanctions against the Soviet Union. In an address to the Supreme Soviet, he stressed his nation’s efforts to control human-rights abuses, extend the franchise, and withdraw troops from Afghanistan. “Our system is imperfect,” he said, “but we are working diligently to correct it. All we ask is time. The legacy of a century can’t be dismantled overnight.” He outlined a three-year plan to guarantee a system of one man, one vote, with opposition press and parties free to organize and express demands and grievances. In Washington, congressional leaders reacted with skepticism. “This is the most abhorrent system on earth,” said Senator Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.). They’ve had plenty of time. We don’t intend to let them stall any more. Justice delayed is justice denied.” Kennedy attacked what he called Administration “coddling” of the Soviet regime.
Posted at 01:01 PM
SOME THINGS NEVER REALLY CHANGE [KJL]
This comes from “The Week” in the February 14, 1986, issue of NR: “No sooner did Ronald Reagan score a 53 per cent approval rating among blacks in a New York Times poll than the Washington Post and ABC set out to correct the record, and then some. Not only did the Post/ABC poll give Reagan a lousy 23 per cent favorable rating, it found that 56 per cent of its respondents called him a “racist.” (Only 36 per cent said the same of Louis Farrakhan.) Well, that’s the sort of result you get when you ask leading questions like, “Do you think of President Reagan as a racist?”
Posted at 12:58 PM
RE CLINTON AND THE FUNERAL [Jonah Goldberg]
Personally, I wouldn't mind if they let Clinton speak at the funeral. He is an ex-president and is too much of a weather vane to say anything truly objectionable. But if people want this to be a bi-partisan event, it'd be nice to find a Democratic statesman in the Truman tradition to speak. Unfortunately, with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman, I can't think of anybody with the stature and the credentials who would fit the bill. Scoop Jackson's gone and so much went with him.
And, no, of course I'm not stunned Clinton wants the limelight.
Posted at 12:30 PM
FUNERAL CIRCUS [KJL]
Matt Drudge says Bill Clinton wants to speak at the Reagan funeral and he--or someone in his shop--is complaining, feeding the media line that Reagan week is all Republican grandstanding. Could someone please pull out the Wellstone videotape? Have you seen anything to suggest that President Bush (the current) or anyone else is using this funeral as a crass anti-Democrat rally? To do so would be wrong. And classy people know that. The atmopshere in the chattering room though certainly makes clear some on the Left have already decided the headline on the funeral story, the heck with what actually happens.
Posted at 12:08 PM
CINDY ADAMS ON JOHN KERRY'S BAD DEAL [KJL]
NOT only were John Kerry's sched uled New York and Los Angeles star-studded fund-raiser concerts next week with everyone from Barbra Streisand to Whoopi Goldberg both scratched, but Jann Wenner's VIP cocktail party, which was to precede the June 10 Madison Square Garden affair and was to have everyone from Bette Midler to Paul Newman, was also scratched.
Posted at 11:52 AM
Jelly Belly remembers Ronald Reagan. (Hat tip: NR's Meghan Clyne.)
Posted at 11:50 AM
RE: REAGAN'S POPULARITY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 11:43 AM
A MERCIFUL DEATH [KJL]
"His last earthy look was at his wife, his next look was at the face of God," Michael Reagan told People.
Here’s how the Daily News reports the Reagan families' final hours with our 40th president:
The former First Lady believes her long-suffering husband recognized her when he stared into her eyes for an instant before taking his last breath, his daughter Patti Davis writes.
Posted at 11:12 AM
RIGHT, RIGHT UNTIL THE END [KJL]
From "The Week," Oct. 14, 1988, issue of NRODT (which I guess wouldn't really be properly dubbed NRODT, since, well, there was no NRO--Al Gore must have been slow getting the Internet out to everyone): "It’s sometimes overlooked, but Ronald Reagan is still President, and still very much on the job. Without getting much publicity, he has taken some interesting steps lately. Among other things, he has: ordered a study of ways to reduce taxes on families; ordered the Departments of Education and Health & Human Services to see that federally funded sex-education materials for teenagers encourage abstinence; ordered Justice to draft an Executive Order banning the sale of pornography on federal lands and in federal store; and moved to stop experimentation on unborn and newborn children. He is also seeking to allow public-housing residents to buy and manage the units they live in. All of which suggests that Mr. Reagan, contrary to a widespread impression, hasn’t quite lost interest in his office, or in the conservative vision, or in making the New York Times apoplectic."
Posted at 10:23 AM
REAGAN BLAMED FOR EVERYTHING [Tim Graham]
One of the wackier sides of the media bias against Ronald Reagan was noticing how almost every social ill would at some point be connected to Reagan and his time in office. Here are just two from 1991:
"Tonight, the NBC News program Expose looks at incidences of sexual harassment in [federal low-income] housing. It's reported by correspondent Michele Gillen....Well, I guess that's where the problem began. Actually, it was when the budget was taken out of the affordable housing market during the Reagan years and thus, the problem came about." -- Today co-host Bryant Gumbel, September 20, 1991
Reporter Lea Thompson: "The Consumer Product Safety Commission can stop manufacturing; it can fine; it can even seize clothes right off the rack if PJs don't meet flammability standards. None of that's happened. So far the agency has only hoped a manufacturer will take its advice. So you can't depend on government to police this for you. We did find this flammable sleepwear everywhere we went."
Bryant Gumbel: "Lea, Lea, real quick. Why is the government abdicating its responsibility on this? Is this another holdover from the Reagan years and the cutbacks?"
Thompson: "Absolutely. And somebody's gotta do something." -- Exchange on Today, November 13, 1991.
Posted at 10:20 AM
REAGAN VS LIBERTY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Bainbridge versus Saletan.
Posted at 09:47 AM
REAGAN DEATH EXPLOITERS [John J. Miller]
At the front of the line: Orrin Hatch, crusading for government-funded stem cell research. Bush and Kerry have suspended public campaiging this week. Can't Hatch?
Posted at 09:42 AM
RE: REAGAN'S POPULARITY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a friend:
This is totally ridiculous, because while Reagan's POLL numbers may (or may not) have been lower than Clinton's, in both elections he won a majority of the vote, and in 1984 won 61 percent. In two elections Clinton never got more than 49 percent. And remember, in 1980 there were three candidates too.
And from a reader...
hi if clinton was so popular why did his own vice president run away from him during the electiones and still lost ,clinton may think that he lost because of the fact that he ran away from him but when your vice president runs away from you it shows something is wrong
Posted at 09:34 AM
REAGAN'S CROSS [KJL]
I had forgotten this Mother Teresa/Reagan story, comes from Dinesh D'Souza:
It also infused Reagan with a sense of mortality and mission. He was convinced when he returned from the hospital that he had a limited amount of time to achieve his ambitious agenda. Yet his goals were not only political but also personal. With Cardinal Cooke, who came to visit him, Reagan struck a spiritual note: "I have decided that whatever time I have left is for Him." The late Mother Teresa, who visited the White House that June, told Reagan, "You have suffered the passion of the cross and have received grace. There is a purpose to this. Because of your suffering and pain you will now understand the suffering and pain of the world. This has happened to you at this time because your country and the world needs you." Reagan was speechless. Nancy Reagan wept.
Posted at 09:33 AM
NICE BIT OF FORESIGHT [Rich Lowry]
“Subject: National review special issue of Reagan
I think that would be a great idea but I also have several copies of the Ronald Reagan, an American Hero with intro by Wm Buckley Jr. Snapped them up at Borders had left a couple of years ago($50.00 cover marked down 80%, the clerks thought I was crazy and didn't seem to care for Reagan very much then either. These aren't for ebay, I have been handing them out over the weekend to friends and neighbors as we talk about Reagan and for all that we are grateful of what he did.”
Posted at 09:22 AM
REAGAN'S POPULARITY VS. CLINTON'S [ Jonah Goldberg]
We're hearing from lots of liberals, including Paul Krugman, that Clinton was more popular than Ronald Reagan according to the polls. This is true, but it means less than they think. First, as someone pretty deeply involved in the impeachment mess, I can tell you that a great many poll analysts believed that Clinton's popularity from 1998 on was as much a product of the public's exasperation with the impeachment drama than any actual fond feelings for Clinton. Telling pollsters you liked Clinton was a way to tell the government to "move on." Indeed, if memory serves, when Clinton wasn't under attack from us meanies, his popularity tended to drop. Second, the people who keep talking about how popular Reagan was tend to be TV talking heads who don't want to talk about his unpopularity because it was his unpopularity which indicated his greatness. The Today Show crowd thought Reagan was nuts for talking about evil empires and for putting nukes in West Germany. It's the conservatives who keep talking about the derision that he received from the media and intelligentsia.
Third, the fact that Clinton's numbers were so high is a testament to the fact that Clinton desired to be popular more than he desired to be effective.
Clinton did do a few bold or semi-bold things. He signed Welfare reform in defiance of his base (and, hence, solidifying Reagan's legacy further). He championed NAFTA (again: solidifying Reagan's legacy further). He fought an air war in Yugoslavia (I'm not sure what that says of Reagan's legacy). But with these and one or two pther possible exceptions, Bill Clinton was concerned with maintaining the affection of the public more than he was concerned with doing anything particularly special. I'd be delighted to argue that further, but my sense is this is one of these controversial things you can say about Bill Clinton and his "philosophy" of triangulation which kept his poll numbers high while losing the House, Senate and scads of state governorships and legislatures.
Nothing could be more different than the example of Ronald Reagan, who left the GOP much stronger than when he found it. Reagan was popular precisely because he had the brass to buck the conventional wisdom, endure the scorn of the intellectual class and the media. That's why he's more popular now than he was then; people only remember his bravery and his accomplishments. As time goes by, Clinton's popularity may go up or down, but it will be the popularity of -- to put it charitably -- a character, not a leader. I doubt very much there are that many honest liberals who believe that Reagan's place in history and in the minds of the American people will not outshine Clinton's by orders of magnitude in the generations to come.
Update Stupid typo was fixed in first sentence.
Posted at 08:25 AM
DEBT LOAD OF BULL [Tim Graham]
In a wave of gracious stories on Reagan, reporters still recall that he "tripled the debt." This is true -- if you consider that Reagan was somehow the dictator of the federal budget. He could have refused to sign spending bills, and let the government shut down for months, but that's hardly a palatable scenario. Reagan did seek to trim spending, even advocating a line-item veto. Meanwhile, Democrats in the House piled on the spending throughout his reign, and the media seemed to treat every minute reduction in growth as a "draconian cut." So it would be additionally gracious of the media to acknowledge reality -- that they are also responsible for tripling the national debt in the 1980s, as are the Democrats.
Posted at 08:08 AM
THERE YOU GO AGAIN [KJL]
Day 2 of New York Times Reagan embryonic-stem-cell push.
Posted at 07:29 AM
HOW REAGAN WON THE COLD WAR [Jonah Goldberg ]
Here's a fun item from John Fund's column fom yesterday:
Posted at 07:21 AM
REAGAN AND AIDS [Jonah Goldberg]
Having grown-up in New York City during the 1980s, when ACT-UP seemed to be acting up everywhere, I never understood the obsession with Reagan and AIDS. As Sullivan says, Reagan could probably have done and said more earlier, but there was this almost mystical notion at the time that if Reagan would say the word "AIDS" it would be half-way to cured. Part of it, it seemed to me, was a desire to paint AIDS as an affliction that could hit anybody at any time no matter what their orientation or the type of activity they engaged in. Some people believed this to be true. But it was also very clear, at least on a cultural level, that a lot of people wanted this to be true. Many felt that homosexuals wouldn't get any help from the federal government unless the threat of the disease was expanded beyond a politically marginal population. Fair enough, but at the same time we were being inundated with exhortations about the need to have a "full and frank" discussion about AIDS anybody who refused to toe the left's line on the issue was shouted down. Anybody remember the reception of Michael Fumento's The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS? In effect it wasn't a full-and-frank discussion the gay left wanted, it was mandated ideological conformity.
Posted at 07:17 AM
WATCHING REAGAN [KJL]
King's Row is currently ranked #3 in VHS movies on Amazon.
Posted at 07:07 AM
KORNER KREMLINOLOGY [Jonah Goldberg]
You know that NR is crashing on a special issue when Ramesh is up at 3:54 in the morning posting in the Corner.
Posted at 07:02 AM
RE: REAGAN AND THE RESPONSIBLE LEFT [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh's emailer makes a perfectly fine point, though I think he misunderstands or, more likely, I miscommunicated my point. I probably should not have said "liberals and leftists" so much as, say, "media liberals" or "celebrity liberals" or something. I don't expect the New Republic or the New York Review of Books to suddenly embrace Reagan as a hero. But it says something that all of news networks have been -- with a few notable exceptions -- fairly unstinting in their praise of Reagan. It may not always be the sort of praise conservatives would like but it is praise -- in terms of his greatness, his kindness, his accomplishments etc -- that really can't be taken back. I have no doubt we will get lots of somber tut-tutting about Reagan from the Nation crowd (indeed, I don't see as many leftists waiting out of good manners as Ramesh's emailer), but Katie Couric can't turn the cameras back on Reagan to rip him apart next week. Ditto Tom Brokaw, Jennings and others. The stuff we're getting now in the major media is the stuff that will be written down in the memories of a generation, whatever postmortem exposés Mother Jones or various bloggers may run in the coming weeks.
Posted at 07:00 AM
A LITTLE BIT OF A LEGACY [KJL]
At 3:30 in the morning there is a five-hour wait for people wanting to pay their respects to the president who won the Cold War.
Posted at 06:37 AM
On the way into work this morning, a 30-something radio D.J. opined that President Reagan was the reason that many of us grew up as conservatives. I know that's true of me. I didn't understand all of the policies and arguments, but I knew that if a conservative is what Ronald Reagan was, then I wanted to be that, too.
Posted at 05:34 AM
SCHWARZENEGGER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
As far as I can tell, he's been a good governor. But he didn't spend a decade prior to office honing a political philosophy or figuring out how to explain it, and what philosophy he has doesn't seem as compelling as Reagan's. Which is why I reject superficial comparisons between the two based on geography and occupation.
Posted at 03:54 AM
REAGAN AND SOCIAL ISSUES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Andrew Sullivan writes that Ronald Reagan was "was definitely more easy-going about modernity than the current Republican leadership." He rarely mentioned abortion; had an openly gay couple sleep over at the White House; "appointed the first woman to the Supreme Court, and in Anthony Kennedy, gave birth to the judicial father of the gay rights revolution"; opposed an initiative to keep gays out of public schools; and was able "to reach voters in socially liberal milieus."
I am not sure that I agree with Sullivan about what "modernity" means, and I am pretty sure that I do not agree with him about Reagan's stance on social issues. He did not mention abortion less than current Republican politicians, and it is hard to imagine any present-day Republican politician, including Bush, making the straightforward anti-abortion argument that Reagan made in Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation. (I also don't accept the distinction between presidential speech and action that Sullivan makes in his post; in a democracy, controversial speech is an important action.) If Sullivan wants to argue that current Republican politicians have an objection to female Supreme Court justices as such, or that Reagan would have approved of the jurisprudence of his third-choice pick for the Powell vacancy on the Court, or that the shift in the political salience of social issues is entirely or even mostly the result of changes in the composition of the Republican party, let him make it. But so far, it sounds as though he would rather remake Reagan in his own image.
Posted at 03:13 AM
Monday, June 07, 2004
REAGAN AND TODAY'S LEFT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Thanks for your comments about the Left's praise of Reagan. I think Jonah
For the most part, the Responsible Left is showing restraint and decorum.
While some balanced policy criticism is OK, the Responsible Left is
The time will come to more strongly attack the Reagan's negatives.
Posted at 11:01 PM
ADDENDUM TO MY 6TH POINT BELOW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I said that a conservative could reasonably join William Saletan in denying that freedom is the absence of government. I should have added that a conservative could not join him in rejecting that propositions for the specific reasons he does.
Posted at 10:44 PM
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
will be closed on Friday for Reagan's funeral. One last win for the Gipper.
Posted at 10:37 PM
THIS... [Jonah Goldberg ]
...is exactly how I want Communist regimes to react to Reagan's passing. He would certainly have it no other way. From the Associated Press:
HAVANA - Cuba harshly criticized former President Ronald Reagan and his policies on Monday, saying he should ``never have been born.'' In the first reaction to Reagan's death from the communist government, Radio Reloj said: ``As forgetful and irresponsible as he was, he forgot to take his worst works to the grave,'' the government radio station said. ``He, who never should have been born, has died,'' the radio said.
Posted at 07:47 PM
YGLESIAS [Jonah Goldberg]
Jon - I'm hoping that Yglesias is making a joke -- that he's being as cartoonish as his characterization of the "enemy."
Posted at 06:00 PM
ISLAMIC MILITANTS CELEBRATE REAGAN'S DEMISE [Jonah Goldberg ]
From the Associated Press: Jun. 7, 2004 07:10 AM
Posted at 05:52 PM
YGLESIAS ON "REAL CONSERVATIVES" [Jonathan H. Adler]
Matthew Yglesias often gives thoughful commentray from the left on his blog. Not today. In commenting on charges GOP attacks on George Soros are really motivated by anti-semitism (as opposed to, say, the fact Soros is spending millions to attack the GOP and President Bush), Yglesias writes: "Everyone knows that real conservatives whip up racism and religious hatreds as a method for distracting attention from the class struggle." Ah, yes. We all know that, don't we. I suppose that means those of us at NRO must not be "real conservatives."
Posted at 05:34 PM
DOUBLE STANDARDS [Andrew Stuttaford]
One of the more amusing aspects of the recent enlargement of the EU is the way in which some of the countries of ‘old Europe’ have objected to what they see as the disturbingly low tax rates of some of the union’s new members. Estonia, for example, has a flat tax and no corporate income tax. The real reason for this is worries about ‘unfair’ tax competition, but to make these objections seem a little more palatable, they are supposedly justified by the fact that these low rates are giving the new states on the back of the EU’s generosity. That’s nonsense: the subsidies that the newer countries receive are a function of their lower GDPs, not their budget deficits. Moreover, there is a certain irony in ‘old Europe’, a collection of countries, many of which built their welfare states on the back of low military budgets made possibly only by America’s willingness to pay for the defense of western Europe for decade after decade, now behaving in this manner
Posted at 05:33 PM
DUTCH TREAT [Andrew Stuttaford]
‘Interesting speech by Dutch foreign minister’ is hardly the stuff of headlines, but in an interesting speech last week, Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot signaled that even some of the more enthusiastic europhiles are having their doubts about the way that Brussels is wielding the power it has extracted from the EU member states.
"We must realize that there are limits to the degree of integration that Europeans can digest," he said. "People must be given a chance to adjust. There is a widespread sense of unease about Europe, about loss of national identity, and about an EU that increasingly intrudes into their everyday lives. The European Union is, after all, a union of member states. That is something we should never forget." He said that "patronizing" Eurocrats were pushing through idiotic regulations "such as telling window cleaners how to hold ladders". By doing so they were "creating a culture of tolerance for rule-breaking" by forcing local authorities to defy the law.”
Wise words, and, as was clearly the case with the Daily Telegraph writer who reported the speech, it is difficult not to be amused by this jibe:
“In a caustic aside, Mr Bot mocked the "arrogance" of states "such as France" which threatened to expel those countries that rejected the constitution after a popular vote without daring to put the text to their own people.”
Posted at 05:29 PM
SAD DAY FOR SAAD [Jonathan H. Adler]
Michigan Judge Henry Saad was first nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1992. He was renominated by President Bush in November 2001. Thursday it looked like the Senate Judiciary Committee would finally vote on his nomination. No such luck. Instead, Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow raised "serious," yet undisclosed, allegations against Judge Saad that allegedly question his fitness for the federal appellate bench, and the vote was delayed.
Posted at 05:27 PM
EARTHJUSTICE AGAINST JUDGES [Jonathan H. Adler]
One of the notable developments in the current fights over judicial nominees is the participation of environmental activist organizations. Historically, environmentalist groups were on the sidelines of the judicial nomination battles. No more. Earthjustice, among other groups, has opposed several Bush nominees due to their alleged hostility to environmental regulations. Now, however, green activism on this issue is turningmore partisan. Yesterday, when it appeared the Senate Judiciary Committee would vote on Henry Saad, Earthjustice issued a press release denouncing the move even though Earthjustice has identified no environmental basis for opposing Saad's confirmation.
Posted at 05:25 PM
PROSECUTING MIRANDA [Jonathan H. Adler]
U.S. Attorney David Kelley has been assigned to investigate Manuel Miranda to determine whether to prosecute the former Hill aide for accessing Democrat Judiciary Committee staff memos, reports Robert Novak (third item). No word on whether the alleged ethical improprieties revealed in the staff memos are to be similarly investigated.
Posted at 05:24 PM
REAGAN & NR [Rich Lowry]
"Mr. Lowry, I would hope that National Review is considering and will follow through with a commemorative issue of Ronald Reagan. Something that your subscribers can cherish for a lifetime. I, for one, would pay beyond my normal subscription fee for such a keepsake from such a magazine."
ME: We're trying. Digital subscribers should be able to see it on Friday.
Posted at 05:21 PM
"OUR AMERICAN BROTHERS" [Rod Dreher]
I mentioned yesterday a moving essay French screenwriter Fred Gion published in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday. The DMN website finally has it up here. Excerpt:
One can easily find hundreds of places across France where a strong link between my country and America is memorialized. But there is a special place I love in the Jardins du Trocadéro, not far from the Eiffel Tower. In this public garden stands a beautiful sequoia given to the French people by the American people in 1989. On the ground there's a plaque that reads: In gratitude for two centuries of friendship.
This is where I'll meet a group of French friends today. We will pray for the kids who died on D-Day, for the men and women in uniform serving bravely in Iraq. This is not the time to betray our American brothers. I apologize to my American friends for all the terrible things the French press will say during these days.
Even if our voices can't cover the unfriendly background noise, we want to send a message to Mr. Bush "Welcome to France, Mister President!"
Posted at 05:03 PM
MICROSOFT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Back when the antitrust case was in the news a few years ago, I was on the pro-Microsoft side. I remember having more than one conversation with Republicans on the Hill in which they said, Why should we lift a finger to help Bill Gates? Look at all the liberal [exp. del.] Slate runs! It's hard for me to picture Reagan reacting that way.
Posted at 05:03 PM
HITCHENS' ESCAPE CLAUSE [Jonah Goldberg]
A number of readers have asked me what I make of Hitchens' closing point:
The fox, as has been pointed out by more than one philosopher, knows many small things, whereas the hedgehog knows one big thing. Ronald Reagan was neither a fox nor a hedgehog. He was as dumb as a stump. He could have had anyone in the world to dinner, any night of the week, but took most of his meals on a White House TV tray. He had no friends, only cronies. His children didn't like him all that much. He met his second wife—the one that you remember—because she needed to get off a Hollywood blacklist and he was the man to see. Year in and year out in Washington, I could not believe that such a man had even been a poor governor of California in a bad year, let alone that such a smart country would put up with such an obvious phony and loon.
Me: To be honest, I'm not sure what to make of this. I think the piece on the whole is so full of cheap shots that whatever cleverness Hitchens is attempting here is drowned by the bile. That said, one gets the sense that he's saying all of the people he hung out with were wrong, including presumably himself, and that while Reagan may not have been a fox or a hedgehog there was good reason to prefer him or the Bushes to their alternatives. Or not. For a normally clear writer, he's downright opaque here. Still, I do think it's an interesting point to close on given that the editor of Slate has made so much hay -- and presumably some amount of money -- calling George Bush an idiot in a fashion that fits Hitchens' experience to a tee.
Of course, Hitchens doesn't mean (or he is wrong when he says) that it is a tendency of American "intellectuals" to denigrate the intelligence of Republican presidents and not American "liberals."
Posted at 04:53 PM
MIRACLES & WONDERS [Peter Robinson]
From a French friend:
Posted at 04:52 PM
RE: RAMESH'S POINT #3 [Jonah Goldberg]
I agree. Going by Andrew Sullivan's analysis one might assume that, say, Gary Bauer sprang ex nihilo to become a leading social conservative.
Posted at 04:30 PM
"MR. PRESIDENT FOR ALL TIME" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Justin Katz agrees with my emailer.
Posted at 04:06 PM
STRAY REAGAN THOUGHTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
In no particular order:
1) I can't totally identify with the sentiments in the email I just quoted: I was for Dukakis in 1988, strangely enough.
2) I am rapidly losing patience for people who go on tv to explain, essentially, that what really made Reagan great was that he had put said television guests in high office.
3) There's also some political body-snatching going on. As Jonah has remarked at various times in the past, foreign-policy hawks tend to think that what was distinctive about Reagan was his anti-communism, supply-siders that it was his tax-cutting, etc. This is neither surprising nor especially damning. But some people, eager for a Reagan in their own image, make it sound as though he were a social liberal--as though he had never written Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation. To compare Reagan to Arnold Schwarzenegger is fatuous.
4) What does one do when a fiercely detested political opponent dies? Conservatives in the last two days have criticized some of Reagan's eulogists for their false praise, and criticized those who still attack him for their bad taste. We have the same problem when liberals die; it's something worth thinking about.
5) I don't wish to suggest that Alzheimer's disease is something we should want to keep around. But Reagan's death makes me think that Leon Kass may be on to something when he says that the decline of old age helps reconcile us to death.
6) Will Saletan's criticism of Reagan is that the president misidentified freedom with the absence of government. It is true that some of the things Reagan said lent themselves to that interpretation. But Reagan obviously did not believe anything so simple. He explicitly rejected libertarianism, let alone anarchism. Saletan writes that Reagan helped him to see that he is not a conservative because he does not think freedom is the absence of government. But President Bush doesn't believe that either; and whether or not Bush is a conservative, his rejection of that idea doesn't settle the issue. It is also worth keeping in mind that Reagan's political career and, indeed, most of his life took place against a backdrop threat of collectivism and (as Hoover put it) regimentation. A sensible conservative in this environment would have emphasized the individualistic elements of conservatism even if those elements were not the sum and substance of his creed, to be emphasized in the same way for all time.
7) Conservatives have rightly noted that Reagan's skills as a communicator cannot be divorced from the content of what he was communicating. If he had been a great communicator with Richard Nixon's ideas, he might not have been elected in 1980--and certainly wouldn't have been the president he was. The same thing is true of Reagan's much-discussed "optimism," which had a fairly specific political content that should not be airbrushed away.
Posted at 04:00 PM
ANOTHER NR EIGHTIES' MOMENT [KJL]
From Sept. 2, 1988: " The Reagan Revolution was finally consummated in its eight year as the last Playboy Club closed and Hugh Hefner announced his engagement."
Posted at 03:44 PM
CHILDREN OF THE '80S [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email from a guy who went to grade school with me:
I feel compelled to expound on Reagan's legacy today, as everyone must. I see that the NR crew is showing how Reagan affected domestic and foreign policy, and of course in those regards your guys and gals are incomparable. I just wanted to relate how Reagan impacted me growing up as a child in the 80s in Kansas City -- and since this is a tale to which you can relate, I felt like I had to let you know.
Posted at 03:38 PM
SLATE'S HOMEPAGE: 3 FOR 3 [Jonah Goldberg]
The three top articles at Slate: "Reagan's Stupidity" by Christopher Hitchens, "How He Wrecked the GOP" by Timothy Noah and "How He Misunderstood Freedom" by William Saletan.
Funny stuff, considering that Christopher Hitchens is one of the leading defenders of a Reaganite war lead by a Republican president most liberals deride as a moron (including Slate's editor); that Republicans now control the House, the Senate and the White House (and that they even gained seats in an off-year election); and that even Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton have credited Reagan with winning the Cold War and bringing a majority of mankind into the sunny uplands of liberty.
Posted at 03:04 PM
MICHAEL BERG: INTERESTING FELLA [Jonah Goldberg]
Checkout this interview: "“Let me put it to you this way, I don’t think that Dr. King’s murder was solved, and I don’t think that my son’s murder was solved, if you know what I’m saying ..."
Posted at 02:54 PM
IN FINE [Peter Robinson]
From a reader: "Gipp was one of the greatest. His kind comes once in every...generation."--Knute Rockne
Posted at 02:47 PM
FDR [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rich, your correspondent is technically accurate, but FDR was, after all, an effective Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1913-20. What's more, if I remember correctly, he asked on a number of occasions after the outbreak of World War I to be allowed to go on active service, but was told both by the President and the Secretary of the Navy that they needed him to stay where he was. So he did.
Posted at 02:45 PM
FROM THE SEPTEMBER 21, 1984, ISSUE OF NATIONAL REVIEW [KJL]
In "The Week": "So Ronald Reagan dozes off at Cabinet meetings. If Walter Mondale gets elected, the whole Cabinet will doze off."
Posted at 02:42 PM
REAGAN'S NEWFOUND POPULARITY [Jonah Goldberg]
It's fun and worthwhile to point out that liberals and leftists detested Reagan not too long ago. But what's more important than any gotchyas on their hypocrisy is the fact that many of these folks may now be sincere. The fact that America seems largely united in its admiration for Ronald Reagan is a sign of his success in changing the country. It's funny, today there's this tendency among liberals and not a few conservatives to talk about FDR as if he was this great unifying figure. He was for a majority of people, but he was also one of the most deeply reviled and detested political figures in American history, including among a great many people we would call liberals and leftists today. For good or ill, it's a sign of FDR's success at bending the society to his will that we now think he was some sort of revered demi-god when he was in the Oval Office. It is an astounding tribute to his accomplishments that today -- less than two decades after his profoundly controversial presidency -- a majority of Americans, including the elite, are on roughly the same page about his greatness.
Posted at 01:53 PM
KERRY & COMBAT [Rich Lowry]
“Dear Rich - While John Kerry was quick to point out in 1992 that neither Reagan nor Lincoln ever saw combat, he failed to mention that the left's hero -- Franklin D. Roosevelt, under whose leadership nearly 400,000 Americans died -- never served in the military.
How convenient for Kerry to forget that fact.”
Posted at 12:29 PM
YET MORE KERRY ON REAGAN—GIPPER WAS SOFT ON DRUGS [Rich Lowry]
Here is how: The Washington Post reported Kerry’s comments on Reagan and the Contras on October 4, 1996: “‘There was a significant turning away from the truth by a lot of high-ranking folks because Ronald Reagan’s overarching concern was to support the contras,’ according to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who chaired a Senate subcommittee in the late 1980s that investigated the contra drug activities. ‘The primary focus was to keep the contras alive and the issue of narcotics got sidetracked,’ he said.’”
Posted at 12:22 PM
NO TEDDY BEARS [Kate O'Beirne]
The makeshift memorials people are moved to create to honor President Reagan seem to include mostly American flags. . . fittingly.
Posted at 11:54 AM
REAGAN'S STAR WAXES IN BIG APPLE [Robert A. George]
New York residents or tourists who visit or walk by Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Times Square are likely familiar with the Samuel L. Jackson and Whoopi Goldberg spitting-images that most often stand in the foyer to greet them. Walking past the museum on Sunday night, one could find something very different: It's the wax likeness of Ronald Wilson Reagan with a welcoming smile -- and a bouquet of flowers laying at his feet.
Posted at 11:21 AM
KERRY & LINCOLN [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: “Kerry is wrong about Lincoln -- he did serve. In the Black Hawk War during the 1830's. He was even elected captain of his militia unit. However, he did not see any combat -- except (by his own admission) with mosquitos.”
Posted at 11:08 AM
MORE KERRY ON REAGAN [Rich Lowry]
Then-Lt. Gov. John Kerry, in a letter to a constituent, April 1983: “What we as citizens can tell our government is that President Reagan should reorder his priorities. We don’t need expensive and exotic weapons systems.”
Then-Lt. Gov. John F. Kerry in a statement, February 1, 1984: “[Reagan] has mortgaged our future in order to pay for a bloated military budget of which 45% is spent on the research, development and procurement of more weapons of destruction.”
John Kerry quoted in an article in the Berkshire Eagle on May 30, 1984 entitled “Kerry asks $54 billion cut in Reagan defense budget": “The defense expenditures of the Reagan administration are without any relevancy to the threat this nation is currently facing.”
Sen. John Kerry, in remarks to Citizens for Participation in a Political Action Convention on January 19, 1985: “[W]e are watching an administration walk away from any sense of trying to deal with what weapons systems we need to really maintain a legitimate level of defense, versus what they are willing to simply fund and fund and fund, out of their willingness to fund any weapons system. They’ve never met one they don’t like.”
Posted at 10:05 AM
KERRY: REAGAN DIDN’T SERVE IN VIETNAM (AND I DID) [Rich Lowry]
John Kerry on 9/15/92: “Ronald Reagan certainly was never in combat. I mean, many of his movies depicted him there. And he may have believed he was, but he never was. And the fact is that he sent Americans off to die.”
Here’s the whole quote: “But, you know, Abraham Lincoln didn’t serve, but he saved this nation and sent men into combat with moral authority. Ronald Reagan certainly was never in combat. I mean, many of his movies depicted him there. And he may have believed he was, but he never was. And the fact is that he sent Americans off to die. Bill Clinton I believe because of his experience, because of the agony he went through facing this kind of dilemma will understand the consensus that you need in this nation, the fact that you need a winning strategy, the fact that you do not send young people, young Americans off to war, unless you are committed to win it, and I think Bill Clinton would come to the Presidency equally as aware of those principles we learn in that agony as anybody else.”
Posted at 09:44 AM
LOST THEIR NERVE [Mark Krikorian]
Even tyrannical regimes like the old Soviet Union require some degree of popular support and I think President Reagan's biggest contribution to winning the Cold War was in undermining that support. I was a student in the Soviet Union for two years in the middle of Reagan's presidency, and it wasn't so much the specifics of his speeches or the economic challenge of Star Wars that spelled the end of the USSR -- instead, it was the general sense among people there that the U.S., as embodied by Reagan's unapologetic words and actions, wasn't going to roll over for the Soviet Union, that they really weren't going to bury us after all. It's like bin Laden's strong horse/weak horse observation -- the ordinary people of the Soviet Union saw in Reagan that we were the strong horse and that their rulers were the weak horse. They still feared the Soviet regime to a degree, but they lost their respect for it, and then it was just a matter of time.
My favorite Reagan memory: It was November 1984 in Soviet Armenia and I was elated to hear on the English-language broadcast of Voice of America (which wasn't jammed) how Reagan creamed Mondale. The next morning, the dormitory chief delivered my Massachusetts absentee ballot in a plastic bag, the envelope shredded. I figured, "screw you,"and cast my vote anyway, checking in the box next to Reagan's name, and circling and underlining his name, just to make sure the censors got the message when they opened it on the way out (I assume it never made it home, though I never checked). It was an insignificant gesture, but it was my way of echoing the President's basic message: "We're going to win and you're going to lose." That was Reagan's greatest gift to his country and the world. R.I.P.
Posted at 09:29 AM
LIBERALS THEN [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's what (CNN's) Bill Schneider wrote in 1984 in the New Republic:
"Reaganism is economic elitism. It is the view that hunger in America is merely anecdotal, that the homeless are homeless by choice, and that only the morally unworthy have been hurt by the administration's policies."
Posted at 09:23 AM
LIBERALS THEN, LIBERALS NOW--ALWAYS THE SAME [Steve Hayward]
I've seen a few commentators say things like, "Gee, politics was more civil back when Reagan was around; things have really turned nasty under George W. Bush." Au contraire.
We should recall what the libs said about Reagan back then. Sample: Henry Fairlie in the Washington Post, writing on the Republican convention in 1980:
"The Reaganites on the floor were exactly those who in Germany gave the Nazis their main strength and who in France collaborated with them and sustained Vichy.” Fairlie was just warming up; adding that Reagan’s constituency was “narrow minded, book banning, truth censoring, mean spirited; ungenerous, envious, intolerant, afraid; chicken, bullying; trivially moral, falsely patriotic, family cheapening, flag cheapening, God cheapening; the common man, shallow, small, sanctimonious.” One imagines that Farlie’s thesaurus could have outlasted the Post’s printing press.
Posted at 09:17 AM
THE ULTIMATE ADVERSARY [KJL]
Posted at 09:06 AM
RE: KURTZ [Tim Graham]
Michael, I thought the Kurtz piece read as an anti-gush piece, the kind that uncritically recirculated all the old attack lines on Reagan: he implies the tax cut led to recession, that Reagan was uninterested in details, that Grenada and Lebanon weren't great moments, ketchup was a vegetable, too many aides were corrupt, and siding with the contras was "enormously divisive." Was the media right to echo these criticisms? Were these criticisms accurate? It doesn't seem to matter. It's especially sad to end the story by quoting Mark Hertsgaard, who wrote a ludicrous book titled "On Bended Knee" that suggested the media was way too soft on Reagan. His thesis wasn't backed by any study of the actual news stories, just interviews with journalists and Reagan aides like David Gergen about their impressions.
Posted at 09:03 AM
QUICK--MY SMELLING SALTS! [KJL]
Thomas Oliphant praises Reagan in the Boston Globe today:
[W]hat the critics forget is that Reagan stuck with this extremely tough medicine and made sure it worked, even at the large personal and political cost of the worst recession since the Depression itself.
Posted at 08:49 AM
KERRY TAKES A BREAK [KJL]
Check the Kerry Spot.
Posted at 08:29 AM
USER FRIENDLY [KJL]
And, yes to answer a question posed over the weekend, we will have one page archiving all the Reagan pieces, for your ready access, probably sometime today.
Posted at 08:25 AM
REAGAN WEEK [KJL ]
Today NRO’s homepage is devoted to Reagan coverage. It’s the least we can do for all he did. Throughout the week, Reagan will be a main focus (though today will probably be the only all-Reagan day), hitting a variety of issues. I’m hoping you don’t see too much overlap this week. Lots of things to say. Lots of people to say things. And lots of archives to dig up and reread.
Posted at 08:22 AM
ALREADY IN PROGRESS [KJL ]
If you are just joining us here at NRO this morning, know we have a string of weekend postings remembering the life and successes of Ronald Wilson Reagan, all of which you can find on the homepage for a little while more and thereafter here.
Posted at 08:21 AM
MOURNING IN AMERICA [John J. Miller]
K Lo: I hope our national day of mourning on Friday doesn't involve flags at half mast. I've regarded that as a peculiar tradition. Rather than lowering our flags, wouldn't it be better if our flagpoles had telescopic extensions on them--so we could actually raise them higher on special occasions? I know, I know, it's too expensive. But it would be nice to see American flags flying all this week, at full mast. We put ours on front of the house yesterday. I'll think I'll put it out again today.
Posted at 07:27 AM
IT'S 7:05 [KJL]
and Matt Lauer has tried to get George H. W. Bush to knock Reagan twice already.
Posted at 07:06 AM
REAGAN'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS [Michael Graham]
Howard Kurtz acknowledges a truth about Reagan that's largely been ignored: "Reagan was, quite simply, a far more controversial figure in his time than the largely gushing obits on television would suggest." This fact makes Reagan's accomplishments all the more amazing. It also puts the current anti-Bush attitudes in the press into perspective. He's not the first Republican to have to do the right thing abroad while fighting the media back home.
Posted at 07:04 AM
NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING [KJL]
Friday is a national day of mourning for Reagan. It seems like the wrong word. In the case of a JFK, murdered, it is approporiate. In Reagan's case it seems like we should be celebrating his life. Remembering him. But not mourning.
Posted at 06:07 AM
HE SPOKE TO THE OPPRESSED [KJL]
Natan Sharansky in the In the Jerusalem Post: "In 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten-foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an 'evil empire.' Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan's "provocation" quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth – a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.
Posted at 06:03 AM
GORBACHEV ON REAGAN [KJL]
in the NYTimes: "I don't know whether we would have been able to agree and to insist on the implementation of our agreements with a different person at the helm of American government. True, Reagan was a man of the right. But, while adhering to his convictions, with which one could agree or disagree, he was not dogmatic; he was looking for negotiations and cooperation. And this was the most important thing to me: he had the trust of the American people."
Posted at 05:56 AM
"WIN ONE FOR THE GIPPER" [KJL]
I'm sorry, but Bush paying tribute to Ronald Reagan is basically the same as using his death for the campaign (impression the New York Times top piece on Reagan leaves)? Maybe I'm being naive, but isn't this reading way too much into very little?
Posted at 05:51 AM
NANCY REAGAN IN TIME [KJL]
"I think his faith and his comfort with himself accounts for that optimism. Since he felt that everything happens for a reason, he never saw things darkly. After he was shot and we almost lost him, he lay on his hospital bed staring at the ceiling and praying. He told me that he realized he couldn't pray just for himself, that it wouldn't be right, and that he also had to pray for John Hinckley. Hinckley's parents sent him a note and he wrote a nice one back to them. " Read the whole moving love letter, which she wrote before his death, which breaks your heart even more than if she did after.
Posted at 05:46 AM
SAFIRE ON STEM CELLS [KJL]
He hopes embyronic stem cell research will be Reagan's "next victory." (We were talking about just this in The Corner Saturday morning.) Unfortunately, he seems to overestimate the promise of embryonic stem cells and undervalue the potential of adult stem cells. And although he says "any cloning seems like the slippery slope," he leaves the impression--if I read it right in my quick scan--that he would support "biomedical cloning."
Posted at 05:32 AM
"RONALD REAGAN, MY HERO" [KJL]
I wish the President's casket could be taken to and from Washington on a train, traveling through as many states as possible, across the country he loved, for no man ever loved his country more than Ronald Reagan. I and thousands more would be honored to attend such a tribute. As it is we will have to settle for the television. And surprisingly, the coverage has been wonderful, especially the D. Day speech.
Posted at 12:45 AM
Sunday, June 06, 2004
THEY MISJUDGED HIM [KJL]
Richard Perle in the Telegraph here.
Posted at 08:13 PM
THE MUSIC STILL PLAYS [KJL]
Ronald Reagan's yearbook quote: "Life is just one grand sweet song, so start the music."
Posted at 07:45 PM
LINES OF COMMUNICATION [KJL]
"In the mid-1980s, when I was a card-carrying liberal, I used to admire the anti-Reagan posters that wallpapered Greenwich Village. There was a whole series of them. Tellingly, I can't remember what they said, but I remember the image of Reagan. It was painted so that he was an ossified mass of deep wrinkles, at once ludicrous and terrifying. The message was that an ancient person was in charge of the most powerful country in the world. Be afraid. Twenty years later, I see that the poster-makers had it backwards...." Read the rest of Dawn Eden's blog post here.
Posted at 07:43 PM
DUTCH & THE BEAR [John Derbyshire]
A friend in Alabama sent me the text of Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign speech to Memorial Coliseum in Tuscaloosa. The whole thing is here. My correspondent pointed out the following passage in particular.
"Now, I have to leave soon, but I can't go without talking a minute about a great man that I was proud to call friend -- Bear Bryant. He was sort of the essential American. And, you know, a few years back, I set a kind of a record here at the University of Alabama. I was here to go to a formal dinner where I was to be the after dinner speaker. And Bear invited me to come out and visit practice out here -- football practice.
"Well, the only way it could be worked out and the timing and all was that I had to put the tux on first. So, there I was out on the practice field throwing a ball around with about 65 fellows, and I was in black tie. [Laughter] Bear got quite a kick out of this. But he really started to laugh when it began to rain. [Laughter]
"He was a leader, patriotic to the core, devoted to his players, and inspired by a winning spirit that wouldn't quit. And that's how he made legends out of ordinary people. He was a true American hero, and he was Alabama's own.
"The greatness of America and the solution to her problems begins with the people -- with all of you. You know that dreams, drive, courage, and creativity make all the difference. You know, better than anyone, that it's in the hearts of the people that the tide begins to roll."
Posted at 07:40 PM
HUMBLE REAGAN [KJL]
Posted at 07:23 PM
HE TAUGHT US TO BELIEVE IN AMERICA AGAIN [KJL]
The Dallas Morning News editorial; they're posting reader comments, too.
Posted at 07:21 PM
"REAGAN DEAD"? JAMAIS! [Rod Dreher]
Fred Gion, a Frenchman who has a wonderful essay appreciating America and its current president in today's Dallas Morning News, writes from Paris about Mr. Reagan's passing:
The next week will certainly be filled with sadness, which is not Reaganesque at all! Oddly, this week could be the least Reaganesque week of the last 24 years. Then everything will be quiet again and we will remember the fighting spirit, the moral clarity, the optimism and the jokes. "Reagan dead" is an oxymoron.
Posted at 07:15 PM
WASHPOST VS. NYT [KJL]
Matt Continetti took a close look.
Posted at 04:58 PM
RE: GOING NEGATIVE [ Jonah Goldberg]
And then there's Reuters. Apparently the only picture they -- or this site's editors -- could find was one of Reagan and Nancy with Michael Jackson (I guess pictures with, say, the Pope, Maggie Thatcher or Desmond Tutu say less than one with a reputed pederast). Anyway here's how they open their restrospective:
Reagan remembered as charming enigma
Posted at 04:49 PM
RE: GOING NEGATIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
Steve - You know this stuff a lot better than I do, but isn't there some story about some grungy Berkeley protestors surrounding his car and they chant (or hold up signs) saying "We Are the Future!" And Reagan takes out a pen and writes something on the back of a piece paper and holds it up to the window. It read: "Sell Your Bonds."
Whenever my wife and I see particularly skeevy, grungy, kids we say to each other, "Sell your bonds."
Posted at 04:38 PM
THE SCHEDULE [KJL]
for all the official memorial events is here.
Posted at 04:33 PM
RE: GOING NEGATIVE [Steve Hayward]
Reagan also quipped about Pat Brown's despicable attack that "John Wilkes Booth was a Democrat, I believe."
My favorite Reagan slam on liberals from that period was his line: "A liberal's idea of getting tough on crime is to give out longer suspended sentences."
Or, during the Berkeley campus protests by the hippies in 1970: "I had a nightmare last night: I dreamed I owned a laundromat in Berkeley."
Posted at 04:31 PM
RE: GOING NEGATIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
I always remembered a small item from the Weekly Standard (March 4, 1996) about Reagan. Rather than paraphrase it, or deny them credit, here it is entirely from Nexis:
The recent passing of former California governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown brought back a flood of political memories. Journalist David S. Broder hailed him as "one of the true blithe spirits of 20th-century politics," "a visionary, " and "the most amiable of companions." Remarked a former Brown press secretary, "It used to drive me crazy that Pat had no mean streak."
Posted at 04:06 PM
TOO NEGATIVE? [Tim Graham]
Reagan may have been a very positive political player, but he knew how to crack wise about the libs. I was reminded yesterday in a film clip when he related about how we was old and didn't know much about the new stuff, like Pac-Man, where this large round thing devoured all the chips in sight. He said he thought that was Tip O'Neill.
I'd guess the Corner's a little negative because it's a little dull to talk about how great Reagan was. It's a little like the invention of the "mega-ditto" on Rush Limbaugh's show. Everybody loved the show, so it seemed dull to praise it after a while.
Posted at 03:07 PM
CALIFORNIA RESPECTS [KJL]
The funeral home is Gates Kingsley & Gates. (Click on first link for directions; a Santa Monica resident adds: "Is located on 19th street/Arizona. It's in between Wilshire and Arizona on the west side of the street. Victorian looking house.") Without clicks:
Gates Kingsley & Gates Moeller Murphy Funeral Directors
1925 Arizona Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404- Phone:
Posted at 01:36 PM
REAGAN'S SPIRIT, PASS IT ON [KJL]
An e-mail, from an NRO-ite: "[My wife and son] and I had dinner by the river [last night], in a very peaceful grassy spot in a copse of trees, and she told him all about the great President we used to have who saved the world. I sat there quietly smoking a cigar as a tribute to the man who made me believe in the future."
Posted at 01:24 PM
THIS READER IS RIGHT! WHERE'S THE OPTIMISM?! [KJL]
Reading the last ten entries on the Corner, 7 of them whine (in one way or another) about the reaction to his death.
Posted at 01:19 PM
THE EARLY BIASED RETURNS [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brent Baker reports: Virtually all of the broadcast and cable network coverage, in the hours after the late Saturday afternoon EDT announcement of President Ronald Reagan's passing, forwarded praise and admiration. There were, however, several exceptions where journalists incorporated liberal, anti-conservative spin to denounce Reagan's policies.
CNN on-screen text: "BY-PRODUCT OF ‘REAGANOMICS': HUGE BUDGET DEFICITS." ABC's Sam Donaldson blamed the big deficit on Reagan for "stubbornly" refusing to raise taxes; CBS's Jerry Bowen highlighted "the nagging perception" that in their post-White House years "the Reagans were cashing in on their Washington years;" MSNBC.com's obituary raised the Bitburg cemetery incident and blamed Reagan for the S&L scandal.
The New York Times obituary ran through a litany of liberal spin points against Reagan: Ketchup as a vegetable, how cutting Social Security disability benefits "furthered the perception that the administration was heartless," how the October of 1987 stock market plunge meant "economists' warnings that the administration was mortgaging the country's future were finally heeded." Plus, thanks to Reagan, "more people were living below the poverty line, and homelessness became a national concern."
Posted at 12:55 PM
ONE OF THOSE "THANK ROGER AILES FOR FOX DAYS" [KJL]
Good morning, K-Lo,ME: I haven't looked up the answer to the P.S. yet, if you know (links helpful), e-mail me & will post info.
Posted at 12:36 PM
DEMOCRATIC UNDERGROUND [Jonah Goldberg ]
I won't link to it, but their chats are exactly what you'd expect them to be.
Posted at 11:21 AM
REAGAN ACCOLADES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Here's a whole list of nice reactions and one classic from Danny Glover, who's probably not hanging around the Corner this morning:
Posted at 08:31 AM
RE SLATE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
ME I certainly understand the point and, as I said, I don't mind critical pieces of Reagan from folks who disliked him. But this was the only piece they rushed to publication, and I believe it went up even before it was official he was dead. That's why I said "Slate's first instinct." Why the rush? Can't wait 'til morning, or Monday? This is what you feel the need to race the clock to get up?
Anyway, I'm sure there will be plenty of criticism of Reagan in the days to come. Historic presidents deserve criticism precisely because they do great things and nobody did anything great without stepping on some toes.
Posted at 08:21 AM
W. AT NORMANDY [KJL]
Reread Reagan's speech on D-Day's 40th anniversary, over on our homepage.
Posted at 07:35 AM
KUDOS TO THE WASHINGTON POST THOUGH [KJL]
"Never mind that a number of respected and influential figures in the last century -- George Orwell being a prime example -- had their own very personal epiphanies on communism, or that Mr. Reagan came, by whatever path, to an insight that eluded many intellectuals in the West far too long."
Posted at 07:32 AM
PEGGY'S MEMORY [Tim Graham]
Late last night on MSNBC, Peggy Noonan was asked for her favorite Reagan remark, she recalled how he could break down things to utter simplicity. He described America this way: "Uncle Sam is a friendly old man, but he has a spine of steel." Noonan said that described Reagan as well as anything.
Posted at 07:32 AM
IT'S JUST THE WEB EDITION, RIGHT? [KJL]
I see nothing on the NYTimes op-ed page on Reagan. Come on. Has to be a web mistake.
Posted at 07:31 AM
YOUR MESSAGE TO NANCY [KJL]
The Reagan Foundation is making a condolense book.
Posted at 07:23 AM
JUNE 5 [KJL]
Was the day Bobby Kennedy was shot, someone pointed out.
Posted at 06:26 AM
THAT MAGIC [KJL]
Sitting and watching the President's final White House speech from January 1989, one gets the distinct impression that he is speaking and thanking YOU for helping him during his 8 years in office. He is not speaking down to you, not telling you of HIS glories, of his accomplishments. Instead, he tells of a job well done by US ALL-all American citizens. As you listen to him recount the 8 years of his presidency, he makes you feel proud that in some small way, we helped HIM!!
Posted at 12:45 AM
LIFE AND DEATH [KJL]
There was no issue more important to him than “the dignity and sanctity of all human life….There was no question about it.”
William Clarke, Reagan's NSC adviser, on MSNBC right now.
Posted at 12:39 AM
WHAT WOULD BE IN THE NEWS... [KJL]
...J-Lo & Marc Anthony got hitched. If for even a second you think I just married a dead Roman, ignore. Ignore anyway. And if you work for FoxNews.com, do not ask Ben Affleck for comment on Reagan's passing.
Posted at 12:30 AM
HAS FOXNEWS.COM BEEN HACKED? [KJL]
In a list of reactions to Ronald Reagan's death from "friends, family and fellow politicians" we find Danny Glover's: "We all know Reagan's legacy, from the Iran-Contra affair to the funding of the Nicaraguan military in which over 200,000 people died. The groundwork for the move steadily to the right happened with the Reagan administration. People want to elevate him to some mythic level; they have their own reason for doing that."
Posted at 12:24 AM
"HOPE AND FREEDOM PERSONIFIED" [KJL]
I’m getting a lot of these types of e-mail:
My family is from the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. They left that nation in order to come to America for a better life. They hated Communism almost as much as President Reagan.
Posted at 12:04 AM