At The Financial Times: Jacob Weisberg on Reagan as confected by Republican revisonism, a comment by Political Observer

The cult of Reagan is all the Republicans have! The warm cuddly Conservative? The 1980 Nashoba County Fair speech that opened his first campaign for President is an example of his ‘kindness’ and political flexibility?

‘I believe in state’s rights; I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level. And I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the constitution to that federal establishment. And if I do get the job I’m looking for, I’m going to devote myself to trying to reorder those priorities and to restore to the states and local communities those functions which properly belong there.’

The speech is available on YouTube (sound quality not the best). A transcript by The Nashoba County Democrat:

This speech delivered just miles from where James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered. The choice of place and the rhetoric chosen, on that occasion, can be attributed to the political savvy of the Reagan staff, who were acutely aware of the power of symbolism! States Rights was stand in for The Southern Strategy of Nixon, utterly surprising that Reagan would be so bold! Although, some of us are old enough to recall ‘Welfare Queens driving Cadillacs’ although not directly  attributable to Reagan in his 1976 campaign, that became a part of the Conservative political lexicon.

Another Source on the Reagan presidency is available here:

The title of the essay: Behind the Ronald Reagan myth: “No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed”

A telling excerpt:

‘No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed. At presidential news conferences, especially in his first year, Ronald Reagan embarrassed himself. On one occasion, asked why he advocated putting missiles in vulnerable places, he responded, his face registering bewilderment, “I don’t know but what maybe you haven’t gotten into the area that I’m going to turn over to the secretary of defense.” Frequently, he knew nothing about events that had been headlined in the morning newspaper. In 1984, when asked a question he should have fielded easily, Reagan looked befuddled, and his wife had to step in to rescue him. “Doing everything we can,” she whispered. “Doing everything we can,” the president echoed. To be sure, his detractors sometimes exaggerated his ignorance. The publication of his radio addresses of the 1950s revealed a considerable command of facts, though in a narrow range. But nothing suggested profundity. “You could walk through Ronald Reagan’s deepest thoughts,” a California legislator said, “and not get your ankles wet.”’

William E. Leuchtenburg evaluates Reagan in an unflattering light! My use of it is as a rebuttal to Mr. Jacob Weisberg’s carefully laundered Reagan apologia, if not of the whole of a Republican Party, in the grip of a contemporary self-destructive nihilism.

Political Observer


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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