Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reagan turns 100

I suppose you can't blame the Conservatives for pitching this idea again.  They tried once before in 1999.  He did get a mountain named after him in New Hampshire.

This year's celebration of St. Ronnie's birthday seems to be more robust than ever as the Gipper would have been a 100 had he not been stricken down by Alzheimer's.  Seems the beatification taking place has overlooked virtually all his shortcomings, of which there were many.  Not least of all his continued support of the mujahideen in Afghanistan, including hosting a representation at the White House in 1985.  It was also interesting reading all the problems he faced at his first midterm, while trying to explain his huge budget shortfall at his 1983 State of the Union address.  But, as we have seen in Douglas Brinkley's edited Reagan Diaries, many historians on the left are also paying deference to the president who more aptly should have been called the Artful Dodger.

Perhaps the most interesting tribute is that of young Ron Reagan, although he is not so young anymore.  Ron has penned a memoir of sorts, telling of his relationship with his father, which Michiko Kakutani thought deeply felt.  Meanwhile, his elder half-brother Michael ripped into him for suggesting Reagan was already suffering from Alzheimer's before he left office.  Interesting how the "family" seemed to cleave in half politically as well as biologically, with the children Reagan fathered through Jane Wyman becoming deeply conservative, while Ron and his sister Pat were decidedly more liberal in their views.


  1. I share a bday with Regan,Babe Ruth and Bob Marley.Guess which one I don't invite to my yearly party.

  2. Although there is some speculation if Marley was born on Feb 6th as he was born up in the mountains and even his mom wasn't sure of the date when they came down and registered the Birth.I'll take it as the 6th.

  3. Two out of three ain't bad. Hope you had a good one!

  4. I always wondered why Teddy was on Mount Rushmore while the others go way back.I can only assume it was the time frame from when it was planned.Was there once in 1965 at ten and though Impressive I wondered even then why the need to take this mountain and carve faces on it.We stayed at Custer State Park nearby while all the other stops in Yellowstone,Grand Teton and Glacier we stayed at natl park campgrounds.

  5. FDR wanted his elder cousin on Rushmore. In retrospect, it probably would have been better to go with the "Founding Fathers" and not considered Abe or TR. Or, not bothered at all as the Lakota residents would have preferred.

  6. Never Knew it was FDR pushing for it, thanks.

  7. In memory of Reagan I put together this mubi list,


  8. I didn't know that either. But there's a lot of that story that's weird and unlikely.

    I just looked up how to spell Gutzon Borglum and his assistant Korczak Ziolkowski (who started the Crazy Horse monument) and saw that Borglum did something called "Stone Mountain" in Atlanta as a tribute to the Confederacy -- I had never even heard of that one.

    A few years back, I went to a presentation by Phillip Deloria, Vine Deloria's son, about Mount Rushmore. Almost (it seemed) to defy his father's obsession with the place -- he used to drag the family there every summer -- Phillip Deloria was working on an administrative/architectural history of the site. It was a very odd presentation.

    I took my daughter there once when we were driving to Minnesota. I enjoyed it in that road-side attraction sort of way, which it was intended to be.

    There's a film I recommended here years ago about the Lakota never signing away their lands -- this is in the heart of that country.

  9. Nice overview of Reagan's career, Gintaras.

    Morris had a brief op-ed in the NY Times the other day:


    Reagan's offering a signed photograph says it all. Absolutely no connection with a real American -- a "nicely" at that.

  10. I stand corrected, it was Coolidge who authorized Mt. Rushmore in 1927. Seems Washington was the only one everyone could agree on. Congress battled over the other three before finally settling on Jefferson, Lincoln and TR.

  11. Interesting comments by Edmund Morris on Reagan,


  12. When did Reagan stop sucking?

    Interesting book review by Louis Bayard on Wilentz's book The Age of Reagan,