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February 6, 2014

Reagan "Was Canny Enough to Take His Cues from Technicians, Who Would Be Candid with Him about What the Doctors Really Meant"



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Source of book image: http://www.dispatch.com/live/export-content/sites/dispatch/life/stories/2011/03/28/2-book-rawhide-art-ga9c3l3q-1rawhide-down-large.jpg



(p. C7) It has been nearly 30 years since President Ronald Reagan was shot outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981. The attack is well remembered, but the details are not. One reason for the memory lapse, according to Del Quentin Wilber, the author of "Rawhide Down," a newly revealing account of this potentially deadly attack, is that Reagan survived it so smoothly. Twelve days after being fired upon, he was back at the White House looking sensational. He ultimately enhanced his popularity by rebounding with such courage, resilience and even good cheer.


. . .


"Rawhide Down" is a fast-paced book that captures many points of view. Nurses and medical technicians have especially candid memories of the pressure they faced, the uncertainty about how to deal with such an important patient and the ad-hoc solutions they devised. They decided to call him Mr. Reagan rather than Mr. President; the situation would be less frightening that way. They were amazed by his joking, his courtesy and his general lack of V.I.P. attitude.

They were also impressed by his bravery. Throughout the incident the president had no clear idea of what had happened to him or what to expect. He struggled to breathe, brightened at any mention of the first lady and was canny enough to take his cues from technicians, who would be candid with him about what the doctors really meant. As he got ready to undergo chest surgery, one worker assured him that being taken from the E.R. to the operating room was a good thing. If he were really in peril, she said, doctors would never allow him to be moved.



For the full review, see:

JANET MASLIN. "Books of The Times; Reconstructing the Day Reagan Fell: Chaos After a President's Shooting." The New York Times (Thurs., March 10, 2011): C7.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the review is dated March 9, 2011.)


The book under review is:

Wilber, Del Quentin. Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2011.






October 4, 2013

Taxpayers Work, Save and Invest More When Taxes Are Low



TheGrowthExperimentBK2013-09-28.jpg












Source of book image: online version of the WSJ review quoted and cited below.






(p. 15) The 1980s boom was launched on the simple insight that, by lowering tax rates and regulatory hurdles and juicing the incentives to produce, innovate and take risks, the animal spirits of the American free-enterprise system would revive. Two seminal books hatched the supply-side revolution. The first was Jude Wanniski's "The Way the World Works" (1978); the second, George Gilder's "Wealth and Poverty" (1981).

Almost as influential, coming a few years later, was Lawrence Lindsey's "The Growth Experiment" (1990). Slightly academic in nature, it was the first book to quantify the economic and revenue windfall of the 1981 Reagan across-the-board tax cuts. Mr. Lindsey's conclusion was that Reagan's 1981 tax act quickened the pace of production, which reduced the predicted revenue loss. His research found that although the Reagan tax cuts didn't "pay for themselves," the ones at the highest end of the income spectrum "did produce a revenue gain" because of "changes in taxpayer behavior." He concluded that "the core supply-side tenet--that tax rates powerfully affect the willingness of taxpayers to work, save and invest, and thereby also affect the health of the economy--won as stunning a vindication as has been seen in at least a half-century of economics."

He has now updated his book, taking us through the booms and busts of the past 20 years. It is a valuable project in part because Mr. Lindsey was a front-seat economic adviser to George W. Bush, serving as director of the National Economic Council and as one of the architects of the often-maligned 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts.

Mr. Lindsey's central claim is that those tax changes saved the economy from the undertow of the financial meltdown at the end of the Clinton presidency.



For the full review, see:

Stephen Moore. "BOOKSHELF; Book Review: 'The Growth Experiment Revisited' by Lawrence Lindsey; The 25 years after Reagan's tax cuts saw unprecedented wealth creation and progress. America's net worth exploded by $40 trillion." The Wall Street Journal (Tues., September 10, 2013): A15.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date September 9, 2013, and has the title "BOOKSHELF; Book Review: 'The Growth Experiment Revisited' by Lawrence Lindsey; The 25 years after Reagan's tax cuts saw unprecedented wealth creation and progress. America's net worth exploded by $40 trillion.")


The book under review is:

Lindsey, Lawrence B. The Growth Experiment Revisited: Why Lower, Simpler Taxes Really Are America's Best Hope for Recovery. New York: Basic Books, 2013.






September 10, 2013

Margaret Thatcher Funeral: "Suddenly from the Crowd a Great Roar"



ThatcherSupporterWithSign203-09-02.jpg "A supporter of Margaret Thatcher holds a banner outside St. Clement Danes church in London." Source of caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.



(p. A15) The funeral of Margaret Thatcher was beautiful, moving, just right. It had dignity and spirit, and in that respect was just like her. It also contained a surprise that shouldn't have been a surprise. It was a metaphor for where she stood in the pantheon of successful leaders of the 20th century.


. . .


At the end of the funeral they all marched down the aisle in great procession--the family, the queen, the military pallbearers carrying the casket bearing the Union Jack. The great doors flung open, the pallbearers marched forward, and suddenly from the crowd a great roar. We looked at each other. Demonstrators? No. Listen. They were cheering. They were calling out three great hurrahs as the pallbearers went down the steps. Then long cheers and applause. It was electric.

England came. The people came. Later we would learn they'd stood 30 deep on the sidewalk, that quiet crowds had massed on the Strand and Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill. A man had held up a sign: "But We Loved Her."

. . . When they died, Ronald Reagan, John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher were old and long past their height of power. Everyone was surprised when Reagan died that crowds engulfed the Capitol; people slept on sidewalks to view him in state. When John Paul died the Vatican was astonished to see millions converge. "Santo Subito."

And now at the end some came for Thatcher, too.

What all three had in common: No one was with them but the people.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, rest in peace.



For the full commentary, see:

PEGGY NOONAN. "DECLARATIONS; Britain Remembers a Great Briton; Margaret Thatcher's coffin stood over he crypts that hold the tombs of Nelson and Wellington. It mattered." The Wall Street Journal (Sat., April 20, 2013): A15.

(Note: the online version of the story was updated April 22, 2013 (I did not see any update in the part I quoted above), and has the title "DECLARATIONS; Noonan: Britain Remembers a Great Briton; Mrs. Thatcher is with Wellington and Nelson now.")






February 6, 2013

What Reagan Meant When He Said Trees Cause Pollution



ReagansPathToVictoryBK2011-03-11.jpg















Source of the book image: http://thecommentary.ca/images/books/Reagan2.jpg



(p. 10) For better or worse, Reagan's ability to spin yarns out of everything that ever went into his mind is on display in ''Reagan's Path to Victory,'' the fourth volume in a series of collected speeches, letters and scripts published over the past four years. This one, edited like the others by Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson, is a chronological compilation of the syndicated radio talks Reagan delivered from 1975 to 1979.


. . .


In 1980, as a reporter freshly hired by Time magazine, I was assigned to Reagan's campaign plane. My first week on the road, while listening to him give a speech in which he talked about how trees cause pollution and other quirky notions, an aide turned to me and said, ''Where did he get those facts?'' I wrote a story, parsing the misleading little factoids that studded his stump speeches; the headline was that quote. The afternoon the article appeared, I was invited to sit next to Reagan on his campaign plane. I was braced for a rough lecture, but none came. I realized that he was either smart enough not to have read the article, or smart enough to pretend he hadn't -- or merely smart enough to know it wouldn't matter. I also learned, when I started to play the old journalistic gotcha game by questioning him on issues ranging from Taiwan to his affection for the gold standard, that he was able to flea-flick the subjects away by launching into some amusing but irrelevant anecdote. At first I thought he was a bit oblivious. Eventually, I realized I was the oblivious one. He knew exactly what he was doing.

Now, having read the collection of his radio addresses, I even know what he was thinking when he proclaimed that most pollution is caused by trees. In a rather convoluted talk, in which he identifies the main pollution problem as oxides of nitrogen, he grandly declares: ''Nature it seems also produces oxides of nitrogen. As a matter of fact, nature produces 97 percent of them. If we could successfully eliminate 100 percent of all the man-produced polluting oxides of nitrogen, we'd still have 97 percent of what we presently have.''

So we're a little closer to knowing where Ronald Reagan got his facts, and even a bit closer to knowing where he got his beliefs. And that's not a bad step toward understanding the deeper questions and mysteries about him.



For the full review, see:

Walter Isaacson. "The Reagan Evolution." The New York Times Book Review (Sun., October 31, 2004): 9-10.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the title "'The Tycoons': Benefactors of Great Wealth.")


Book discussed in passage quoted above:

Skinner, Kiron K., Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson, eds. Reagan's Path to Victory; the Shaping of Ronald Reagan's Vision; Selected Writings. New York: Free Press, 2004.





August 18, 2012

Ronald Reagan Celebrated Opening of Disneyland



ReaganCohostingOpeningDisneyland2012-08-17.jpg "Ronald Reagan, left, helped host a TV show about Disneyland's opening in 1955." Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.


(p. 11) In an unusual collaboration of presidential scholarship and mass-market entertainment -- featuring two men who, truth be told, were never particularly close -- the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and the Walt Disney Company have joined together to open a sprawling, nine-month exhibition drawn from the Disney archives.


. . .


Reagan was one of three M.C.'s for the televised opening of Disneyland in 1955; a grainy video in the exhibit captures the event. As governor, Reagan petitioned the United States postmaster to issue a Walt Disney stamp, and he was on hand in 1990 for Disneyland's 35th anniversary.

"He and Walt Disney did know each other," said Robert A. Iger, the chief ex-(p. 16)ecutive and chairman of the Walt Disney Company. "They became Californians. And they clearly had mutual respect for one another."



For the full story, see:

ADAM NAGOURNEY and BROOKS BARNES. "In New Exhibit, Disney Lends Its Star Power to Reagan, and Vice Versa." The New York Times, First Section (Sun., July 22, 2012): 11 & 16.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the date of the online version of the article is July 21, 2012.)







March 30, 2012

Museum Visitors Vote With Feet for Reagan Over Lincoln



(p. 9A) For the first time since it opened, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Mu­seum in Springfield, Ill., is no longer the nation's most visited presidential museum. It's been overtaken by Ronald Reagan's museum in Simi Valley, Calif.

Lincoln's museum had been tops since it opened in 2005, rid­ing the appeal of its Disney-like re-creations of the president's life. But last year it counted 293,135 visitors -- short of Rea­gan's 367,506.




For the full story, see:

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. "Hail to the new chief." Omaha World-Herald (Sun., March 18, 2012): 9A.






February 6, 2012

Reagan: "I Wasn't a Great Communicator, but I Communicated Great Things"



Today (2/6/2012) is Ronald Reagan's 101st birthday.



(p. A15) Jim Baker, his first and great chief of staff, and his friend, remembered the other day the atmosphere of merriness around Reagan, the constant flow of humor.

But there was often a genial blackness to it, a mordant edge. In a classic Reagan joke, a man says sympathetically to his friend, "I'm so sorry your wife ran away with the gardener." The guy answers, "It's OK, I was going to fire him anyway." Or: As winter began, the young teacher sought to impart to her third-graders the importance of dressing warmly. She told the heart-rending story of her little brother, a fun-loving boy who went out with his sled and stayed out too long, caught a cold, then pneumonia, and days later died. There was dead silence in the schoolroom as they took it in. She knew she'd gotten through. Then a voice came from the back: "Where's the sled?"

The biggest misunderstanding about Reagan's political life is that he was inevitable. He was not. He had to fight for every inch, he had to make it happen.


. . .


He didn't see himself as "the great communicator." It was so famous a moniker that he could do nothing but graciously accept the compliment, but he well understood it was bestowed in part by foes and in part to undercut the seriousness of his philosophy: "It's not what he says, it's how he says it." He answered in his farewell address: "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." It wasn't his eloquence people supported, it was his stands--opposition to the too-big state, to its intrusions and demands, to Soviet communism. Voters weren't charmed, they were convinced.



For the full commentary, see:

PEGGY NOONAN. "Ronald Reagan at 100; Being a good man helped him become a great one." The Wall Street Journal (Sat., February 5, 2011): A15.

(Note: ellipsis added.)





November 2, 2011

Reagan Fought "Tyranny" of Big Government



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Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and London statue of Ronald Reagan. Source of photo: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/7/4/1309780763409/London-statue-of-Reagan-u-001.jpg



The McCarthy mentioned in the passage quoted below is a California representative who also serves as majority whip.


(p. A9) The statue of a smiling Reagan, dressed in a crisp suit, was paid for by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation as part of a worldwide effort to promote his legacy, according to the organization's executive director.


. . .


Though Mrs. Thatcher is in poor health and did not attend, she provided a statement that was read by Mr. Hague. "Through his strength and conviction," she wrote, "he brought millions of people to freedom as the Iron Curtain finally came down."

In a speech, Mr. McCarthy described Mr. Reagan's fight not only against the forces of Communism, but against the "tyranny" of debt and big government. He and Mrs. Thatcher, he said, "did not move to the center to gather votes, they moved the center to them."



For the full story, see:

RAVI SOMAIYA. "Finding a New Perch, Americana Takes a Stand in London." The New York Times (Tues., July 5, 2011): A9.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the article is dated July 4, 2011 and has the title "Statue of Reagan Is Unveiled in London.")





February 6, 2011

Ronald Reagan Would Be 100 Today; He Got the Job Done



A couple of years ago, I read a collection of recollections of Ronald Reagan by some of those who had known him. I jotted down a few notes on what was important in the collection:

Mike Wallace's entry is a good one.  He has a telling exchange with Reagan where Reagan says he is not a politician.  Wallace is flabbergasted.  He says to the effect:  Mr. Reagan, how can you say you are not a politician when you are planning to run for the highest political office in the land?

Reagan's response is that he's not seeking the office for glory or self-aggrandizement; rather he's seeking it because there's a job that needs to get done.

In a later entry, someone (Cap Weinberger, maybe?) recounts an episode while Governor where someone warns Reagan that if he vetoes a certain bill (on teacher pay, maybe?) he will not get re-elected. Reagan's response was: 'I didn't come here to get re-elected.'

Years ago I remember reading in a newspaper somewhere that an ordinary citizen saw Reagan in a park, at a time well after his announcement about having Alzheimer's.  The citizen went up to Reagan and thanked him for what he had done to preserve freedom.  Reagan smiled and responded 'that is my job.'


The book of recollections is:

Hannaford, Peter, ed. Recollections of Reagan: A Portrait of Ronald Reagan: William Morrow & Company, 1997.





September 5, 2010

Action Hero Reagan Made Sure Message Could Be Heard



BuckleyReagan2010-09-01.jpg "William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan in 1978, following their debate over the Panama Canal Treaty." Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.


(p. 23) On the night that William F. Buckley met Ronald Reagan, the future president of the United States put his elbow through a plate-glass window. The year was 1961, and the two men were in Beverly Hills, where Buckley, perhaps the most famous conservative in America at the tender age of 35, was giving an address at a school auditorium. Reagan, a former Hollywood leading man dabbling in political activism -- the Tim Robbins or Alec Baldwin of his day -- had been asked to do the introductions.

But the microphone was dead, the technician was nowhere to be found and the control room was locked. As the crowd began to grumble, Reagan coolly opened one of the auditorium windows, stepped onto a ledge two stories above the street and inched his way around to the control room. He smashed his elbow through the glass and clambered in through the broken window. "In a minute there was light in the upstairs room," Buckley later wrote, "and then we could hear the crackling of the newly animated microphone."

This anecdote kicks off The Reagan I Knew (Basic Books, $25), a slight and padded reminiscence published posthumously this past autumn, nine months after Buckley's death.



For the full review essay, see:

ROSS DOUTHAT. "Essay; When Buckley Met Reagan ." The New York Times, Book Review Section (Sun., January 18, 2009): 23.

(Note: bold in original.)

(Note: The online version of the review essay was dated January 16, 2009.)





October 14, 2009

Gallup Finds Highest Doubts of Government in Decades



(p. A23) If you want to know why Americans are so fearful of a government takeover of the health-care system, take a look at the results of a new Gallup poll on government waste released Sept. 15. One question posed was: "Of every tax dollar that goes to Washington, D.C., how many cents of each dollar would you say is wasted?" Gallup found that the mean response was 50 cents. With Uncle Sam spending just shy of $4 trillion this year, that means the public believes that $2 trillion is wasted.

In a separate poll released on Monday, Gallup found that nearly twice as many Americans believe that there is "too much government regulation of business and industry" as believe there is "too little" (45% to 24%).

Perhaps most significantly, in both of these polls Gallup found that skepticism about government's effectiveness is the highest it's been in decades. "Perceptions of federal waste were significantly lower 30 years ago than today," say the Gallup researchers. Even when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 with the help of the antigovernment revolt of that era, Americans believed only 40 cents of every dollar was wasted, according to Gallup.


. . .


Over the last decade, the federal government has become bloated and inefficient. Voters are on to the scam. Mr. Obama keeps calling federal spending an "investment," but Americans apparently feel this is the worst investment they've ever made. They've come to regard Washington as a $2 trillion Bridge to Nowhere. They are right.



For the full commentary, see:

STEPHEN MOORE. "Our $2 Trillion Bridge to Nowhere; Americans believe Washington squanders half of every tax dollar." The Wall Street Journal (Weds., SEPTEMBER 23, 2009): A23.

(Note: ellipsis added.)





May 27, 2009

"Dynamism Has Been Leached From Our System," But Not from Our Brains or Our Hearts



Sometimes one of Peggy Noonan's columns reminds us that she was once one of Ronald Reagan's best speech writers:


(p. A11) I heard a man named Nathan Myhrvold speak of a thing called Microsoft. I saw a young man named Steve Jobs prowl a New York stage and unveil a computer that then we thought tiny and today we'd call huge. A man named Steve Wozniak became a household god as my son reported his visionary ways. It was a time so full of genius and dynamism that it went beyond words like "breakthrough" and summoned words like "revolution." If you were paying attention, if you understood you were witnessing something great, the invention of a new age, the computer age, it caught at your throat. It was like hearing great music. People literally said what had been said in the age of Thomas Edison: "What will they think of next?" What a buoyant era.


. . .


And for a moment, as I sent and received my first airborne Wi-Fi emails, I was back there. And I was moved because I realized how much I missed it, how much we all do, that "There are no walls" feeling. "Think different." "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like '1984.' " That was 25 years ago. The world was on fire.

It has cooled. And the essential problem with the crash we're in is no one can imagine quite feeling that way again. People can remember it, but they can't quite resummon it.


. . .


I end with a hunch that is not an unhappy one. Dynamism has been leached from our system for now, but not from the human brain or heart. Just as our political regeneration will happen locally, in counties and states that learn how to control themselves and demonstrate how to govern effectively in a time of limits, so will our economic regeneration. That will begin in someone's garage, somebody's kitchen, as it did in the case of Messrs. Jobs and Wozniak. The comeback will be from the ground up and will start with innovation. No one trusts big anymore. In the future everything will be local. That's where the magic will be. And no amount of pessimism will stop it once it starts.




For the full commentary, see:

PEGGY NOONAN. "Remembering the Dawn of the Age of Abundance; Times are hard, but dynamism isn't dead." Wall Street Journal (Sat., Feb. 21, 2009): A11.

(Note: ellipses added.)





September 7, 2007

Reagan's "Crazy" Speech Inspired Lessig to Pursue the "Impossible"

 

Mr. Lessig has become the standard-bearer for those who see copyright law as too protective of original creators and too stifling of the artists who follow them. That position has made him the darling of those who want a relatively unfettered Internet, whether it be music sharers or online poem reprinters.

But it has also made him an opponent of many big media companies, including the Walt Disney Company, whose signature creation, Mickey Mouse, would have passed into the public domain years ago if not for a series of well-timed extensions to the law.

. . .

. . . , it might surprise many of Mr. Lessig’s supporters to find that his inspiration for his copyright work was Ronald Reagan.

“I heard George Shultz give a talk in Berlin on the 20th anniversary of Reagan’s ‘tear down this wall’ speech,” Mr. Lessig said. “It was very moving to be at this event. Many of the Germans in the audience were moved to tears. They said that at the time this happened, it was impossible to see this change happening.”

In recalling his thoughts on the possibility of communism falling, he said, “When I heard Reagan’s speech, I remember thinking, ‘boy, he is crazy,’ ” he said.

It is fair to say you can quote him on that.

 

For the full story, see: 

NOAM COHEN.  "LINK BY LINK; Taking the Copyright Fight Into a New Arena."  The New York Times   (Mon., July 2, 2007):  C3.

 




January 22, 2007

Reagan's Resolve

 

In this anecdote from the Bosch book, Reagan's son Ron (who has often been critical of his father) tells of an expedition with his father to collect flagstone for eventual use in building a patio:

(p. 140, footnote 11)  We went out to retrieve a lot of these big heavy stones and load them into a little trailer that would be then hauled behind this ancient old original Jeep.  I mean this was just like the proto-Jeep that he still had, because he'd never throw anything away.  And so we'd, you know, spend a few hours hauling these big heavy rocks and we'd load them into the little trailer.  It's now piled high.  It must weigh tons.  Climb back into the Jeep and head up this slope that's steep.  I mean this is steep.  And on one side you've got a sheer drop to the Santa Ynez Valley, you know, 2,000 feet below, and on the other side a gully full of rocks.  And we're hauling this huge mass of sandstone behind us.  Now this Jeep, this poor thing, it's...it's not going to make it.  And about three-quarters of the way up this steep hill, it starts to give out.  And it's mmm-mmm-mmm, and it becomes apparent that we're not going to crest the hill.  And now we're actually going backwards.  We're not hauling the rocks, the rocks are hauling us.  And I'm ready to get out.  Not him.  He's---handling it.  He's going to back this thing down, by God.  And he does...and we make it down...the rocks haul us back down the hill, but we manage to stay on the road.  Now I'm thinking, well, OK, so now we're going to turn around and go some other way, because there's no way we're going up, we're not going to try that again.  Oh no, no, we're going to go up that hill.  You know, by God, we're going up that hill.  I...it must have taken us three or four tries, of getting almost up the hill and being hauled back down, and each time I'm thinking OK, you know, which way do I jump.  He's cool as a cucumber.  Didn't bother him at all.

 

Source:

Bosch, Adriana. Reagan: An American Story. TV Books Inc., 1998.

(Note:  ellipses in original.)

 

 




January 19, 2007

At Screen Actors Guild, Communists Threatened to Disfigure His Face

ReaganAnAmericanStoryBK.jpg   Source of book image: http://www.shopaim.org/assets/images/large/458i.jpg

 

There are better books on Reagan.  But Bosch's book has a few illuminating anecdotes.  Here is one:

(p. 63)  Reagan first learned about Communists and their intentions as a member of a Hollywood union, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).  He had been introduced to the Screen actors Guild by his wife Jane Wyman and had quickly risen to become a member of the Guild's board.  As a SAG Board member, and later as its president, he mediated a dispute between two rival unions.  One of the unions, the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU), was led by a suspected Communist, Herb Sorrell.

. . .  

(p. 64)  Sorrell and Reagan went head to head.  When Reagan crossed a picket line outside Warner Brothers, Sorrell called for a boycott of his movies.  Reagan was called a fascist.  An anonymous phone caller threatened to disfigure his face so he could never act again.  He began to carry a gun and accepted police protection.  He became an informant for the FBI 

"These were eye-opening years for me," he later wrote.  "Now I knew form first-hand experience how Communists used lies, deceit, violence, or any other tactic that suited them to advance the cause of Soviet expansionism."

 

Source: 

Bosch, Adriana.  Reagan: An American Story.  TV Books Inc., 1998.

 




November 26, 2006

More Evidence that Reagan Was Much More than a "Genial Idiot"

   Source of book image:  http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/0688146139.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_V1056466100_.jpg

 

Reagan was smart and disciplined.  That was one of the main messages of Mike Deaver's book.  But in these pages, there is much additional evidence.  See, especially, the essay by Martin Anderson.

Also, Lee Edwards talks about one of his early encounters with the Reagans; he visited their home, and he was especially anxious to see Reagan's library.  He saw a large library with dog-eared, heavily annotated books.  He also mentions quizing the GE manager (CEO?) who used to travel by train with Reagan to visit GE plants.  Edwards asked what Reagan did during the train trips.  The GE manager reported that Reagan devoured books, periodicals, and reports, taking extensive notes on his index cards.

(Sounds like Reagan could have used a computer, and would have made a great blogger?)

 

The reference for the book is: 

Hannaford, Peter, ed. Recollections of Reagan: A Portrait of Ronald Reagan: William Morrow & Company, 1997.

 




July 30, 2006

Beware of a Snapshot of a Moment in Time

  Source of photo:  http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/27/world/middleeast/27mideast.html?pagewanted=2

 

The photo of Condi Rice touching her forehead ran on the top of the front page of the New York Times on Thurs., July 27, 2006.  It ran big:  filling over a third of the length of the paper, and over half of the width.  It ran right next to the main headline of the front page:  "CEASE-FIRE TALKS STALL AS FIGHTING RAGES ON 2 FRONTS."

It appears that Condi Rice is discouraged, or has a headache, or is overcome. 

But a great CNN report by Jeanne Moos run on Sat., July 29, shows a dynamic version of the minute during which this snapshot was taken.  It shows that this photo is a split-second moment of Condi Rice brushing hair off of her forehead.

Our usual view of competition is to look at how many competitors there are at a moment in time.  We look at a snapshot.  But to really judge competition we must take Schumpeter seriously and look dynamically at whether there is the possibility of leapfrog competition over time.

In an earlier blog entry, I noted that Ronald Reagan resisted sitting for still photos because he thought that still photos could easily be manipulated to mislead.  Ronald Reagan was right.

 

(Jeanne Moos's report was entitled "Hairy Talks or Hair in Eyes?" on the CNN web site.  I believe it first ran on 7/28/06, though I saw it replayed in the afternoon of 7/29/06.)

 




May 31, 2006

Reagan on the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Source of book image:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060957573/ref=ed_oe_p/104-5180402-9681554?%5Fencoding=UTF8

 

Michael Deaver, longtime aide to Ronald Reagan, has written an interesting memoir that documents that in most important respects, Reagan was his own boss, worked hard, and had a focused intellect.  

He also documents what most grant:  Reagan was a great communicator.  One element in his success as a communicator is illustrated below:

 

(p. 71)  . . . he would often recount a fictitious yarn of a sobbing bureaucrat he encountered at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  The man was at his desk, crying into his folded arms when Reagan touched him on the shoulder and asked him what was wrong.  "My Indian died, that's what's wrong," came the response.  "What the hell am I supposed to do now?"

 

The citation for Deaver's book is:

Deaver, Michael K.  A Different Drummer:  My Thirty Years with Ronald Reagan.  Reprint ed:  Harper Paperbacks, 2003.

 




May 22, 2006

Static Versus Dynamic Pictures

Schumpeter distinguished the static picture of capitalism in the textbook model, with the dynamic reality captured in the process of creative destruction.   Apparently Ronald Reagan also understood that a dynamic view is better than a static snapshot.   Michael Deaver recounts:

(p. 75) . . . I told him that I noticed his aversion to sitting for photo shoots.  He looked at me surprised.  "That's funny, in all these years, nobody's ever noticed that."   I asked him to elaborate.  "Well, you can never recover from a still shot."

Reagan was most comfortable with moving film, he went on to say.  He truly believed the television camera was a friend, a device that would separate the real from the phony.  Still cameras could always be used to make a candidate look like a fool.  When he explained this to me in the (p. 76) late 1960s, he said, "You know how I sometimes touch my nose before I make a point?  Well, a still shot would show me picking my nose, while a live shot would show me making my point."

 

Source:

Deaver, Michael K.   A Different Drummer:   My Thirty Years with Ronald Reagan.  Reprint ed.  Harper Paperbacks, 2003.

 




March 30, 2006

'Is he not a manly man?'

Twenty-five years ago today, President Ronald Reagan was shot.  Sometimes they say that you only know a person's character when they are sorely tested.   Well, when Ronald Reagan was sorely tested, he engaged in his usual optimistic, self-deprecating banter with those around him.   'Sorry, honey, I forgot to duck' he said to Nancy; and 'I sure hope you're a Republican' to the surgeon.

By his manner, the great communicator communicated that random acts of violence are not what is important in life.

What I remember most from the first couple of days after the shooting was a packed news conference with Reagan's doctors at the hospital.   I remember an Hispanic reporter, in broken English, praising Reagan's joking and then asking Reagan's doctor, 'Is he not a manly man?'   The doctor looked puzzled, and without commenting on the question, moved on.   But I thought it was a good question---with an obvious answer.




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