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.