June 10, 2004


Rare among Reagan recollections this week is anything about his screen career. Dawn Eden, via Hollywood pal Jim Friedland, has a fine tale of Reaganís acting method during the shooting of Kings Row.

UPDATE. The Ageís Greg Hywood:

Ronald Reagan, never understood in this country much beyond his caricature as a simple-minded former B-grade Hollywood actor, was the inspiration behind the modern Australian economy.

Our 13 years of unbroken economic growth have a direct link to Reagan's decision nearly 25 years ago to cut the highest marginal tax rate in the US from 70 per cent to 29 per cent.

UPDATE II. Mark Steyn:

If I understand correctly the leftís dismissal of Ronald Reagan, itís that he was a third-rate B-movie ham of no consequence and simultaneously such an accomplished actor he was able to fool the American people into believing he was a real President rather than a mere cue-card reader for the military-industrial complex.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 10, 2004 02:16 AM

>>Ronald Reagan... was the inspiration behind the modern Australian economy.

Very true. Reaganomics is currently employed in Canada, Australia and many former Soviet Union countries to bring prosperity.

Even European tax rates fell after seeing what Reagan was able to accomplish and asking "How the hell did you do that?"

European and American tax rates are still well below what they were in 1980, this is even before Bush's recent tax cuts.

Posted by: Dash at June 10, 2004 at 04:39 AM

That was an interesting account of what a thoughtful person President Reagan was. I read most of Dutch by that Morris fellow but, like many others, I recoiled against the interposition of himself as a fictional character in the biography.

What I did learn from the book - and this hasn't been mentioned by many people either since the former President - is that Reagan was actuated in life from an early age by the desire to protect people. He did this as a lifeguard in his youth and in fact saved many lives. In wanting to end the Cold War with a victory for the forces of light, he really was motivated by something profoundly generous and courageous and true within himself.

He wasn't perfect. But he may have been as close to perfectly true to himself as most men ever are. I think that's what people read in his character and loved about him.

Maybe even the shadows beloved by postmodern sophisticates who no longer believe in truth can be banished by the brightness of sunny optimism.

It would almost be more fitting for Reagan to be laid to rest at dawn, as at Friday's Californian dusk. But that would imply the conceit of immortality. Reagan knew the best and humblest human stories (and movies) must come to the same inevitable point: The End

Posted by: currencylad at June 10, 2004 at 04:40 AM

Aside from some clips of his films and TV appearances, I have seen only one movie of his, "Cattle Queen of Montana", and that was only because the title was shown in "Back to the Future."

Dale Robertson was the host of "Death Valley Days" during the years I watched it growing up, but I do remember seeing a few reruns from when Reagan was the preceding host.

I liked him even then, when I was 7-10 years old, and was impressed that he was the governor of California at the time.

Posted by: cardeblu at June 10, 2004 at 04:48 AM

Well, we really don't know if Ronnie actually "saved" all those people at the swimming hole.

My husband was listening to the radio and someone from the town was interviewed.

Seems Ronnie was considered a hunk and the girls needed "saving."

Posted by: Sandy P at June 10, 2004 at 05:45 AM

I loved the bit where he saved all those spotty dogs from becoming a fur coat.
CurrencyLad, get a grip! If the urge to protect is profoundly beautiful etc etc, then how come it doesnt extend to refugees, foreigners, trees, tree huggers etc? As it is, I think the guy in Baywatch was called Hasselhoff.
Reagan was the aimiable frontman for a sharp outfit that realised that diplomacy and economics could do what armies could not.
Apart from a couple of skirmishes, he didnt get the US involved in long term wars they couldnt win. He was a little clearer at identifying the sources of terrorism (Libya- Lockerbie) and his strike appears to have been effective. Gaddafi shut up for 20 years and now he's Tony Bliar's best mate.
Reagan's economics report card is really not so hot. I'll leave that to the sad people to debate.
The Soviets chucked in their hand because they couldnt afford to play anymore, the Wall fell because the East Germans could get West German tv.... they all wanted a McHappy Meal, a Suzuki Shintaro and a go on the Wheel of Fortune.
They played politics then, not Rambo video game posturing with real lives.
Get a tissue boy! What are you going to be like when Maggie pops her clogs?

Posted by: Rogier Van Der Weyden at June 10, 2004 at 10:27 AM


The choices to buy a "McHappy meal" or to have "a go on the Wheel of Fortune" aren't nearly as virtuous as having to eat regulation bland food and being stuck with low incomes for life? (Whatever the "Suzuki Shintaro" is, one can bet it is a world apart from its GDR comparable).

Too bad that western TV corrupted the blissful ignorance of the East Germans with its message of materialism and siren song of personal freedom. Foolish people for not realizing how much better off they were as de facto prisoners and tools of the state! Shouldn't they be rebuilding that wall by now?

Posted by: c at June 10, 2004 at 11:17 AM

The fall of the Berlin Wall destroyed many a leftie's dream of living in some Worker's Paradise somewhere with his or her very own population of serfs members of the proletariat to lord it over unite with in brotherhood. No wonder they are so filled with the weak and impotent fury of the envious upset that Reagan's policies helped bring about the destruction of their slaveholdings beautiful dream.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 10, 2004 at 11:26 AM

Rogier: I never really liked Margaret Thatcher and when she joins Denis I'll be making no comment. I would wax sentimental about anyone whom my perception told me was a good person. I'm not sure what tree-huggers et al you're referring to and I wasn't aware they were endangered. Not by ICBMs anyway.

I found it amusing how your 'get-a-grip' thumb-nail sketch of Reagan's 'just-so' achievments started to become lengthy there, and include such things as saving the planet from war with the Soviets.

Nice try though tough guy.

Posted by: currencylad at June 10, 2004 at 12:01 PM

Sandy Pat ó According to Slate, those drowning victims were about to save themselves, anyway...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 10, 2004 at 01:11 PM

Steyn reminds me of the current liberal mindset today.. Bush is a bumbling idiot, but he is also a devious mastermind behind the right wing zionist conspiracy.

Posted by: Washington Conservative at June 11, 2004 at 01:51 AM