March 6, 2016

Ronald Reagan was "so smooth, so effective a performer” that “only now, seven years later, are people beginning to question whether there’s anything beneath that smile."

Wrote Donald Trump in "The Art of the Deal," and "Trump launched a political campaign that tore into Reagan’s record, including his willingness to stand up to the Soviet Union," Politico pointed out in an article last fall called "When Donald Trump Hated Ronald Reagan/The GOP front-runner praises the conservative icon now, but in 1987 Trump blasted Reagan and his team.":
Advised by the notorious Roger Stone, a Nixon-era GOP trickster, in 1987 Trump took out full-page ads in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post blasting Reagan and his team. In the text, which was addressed “To the American people,” Trump declared, “There’s nothing wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can’t cure.” The problem was America’s leading role in defending democracy, which had been fulfilled by Republicans and Democrats all the way back to FDR....
It's a day to think about the smooth rough, effective performer and what lies beneath that smile scowl.

72 comments:

David Begley said...

One more reason - if there's not enough already - not to vote for Trump.

Michael K said...

Usual Politico bullshit.

I didn't see the original piece, just the attack on Trump. He also criticized Carter, it says.

I haven't read "The Art of the Deal."

Oh oh, the obligatory Begley comment. We know, Dave.

Saint Croix said...

Althouse, you rock. Remind me never to get Althouse mad!

Meade said...

"He also criticized Carter, it says."

AH! So Trump really IS a Democrat!

mccullough said...

Reagan hasn't been president for almost 30 years. Time to let him go.

Sebastian said...

So? Trump has assured us he "gets along with the Republicans."

Some "neophyte," by the way.

grimson said...

mccullough said...
Reagan hasn't been president for almost 30 years. Time to let him go.

Not at all, not any more than Democrats with FDR.

Qwinn said...

FDR interned the Japanese.

Reagan didn't think we needed another holiday.

To Democrats, it's obvious that Reagan was a raging racist and FDR was a hero.

Char Char Binks said...

Despite his talent, Reagan was never able to garner any Oscars.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

That Trump worked with and took advice from a, let us say, less than principled person like Roger Stone is not surprising.

If Stone is the type of people Trump will surround himself as president then that's just one more reason (as if it's needed) to oppose him.

rcocean said...

Like I wrote before trump is a Moderate Republican. which is why he does so well in New England and will probably win NY, Penn, Illinois, Michigan and maybe Ohio. He beat Kasich in Vermont, probably the most liberal state in the nation.

I have a feeling all the Romney types wanking on about how "dangerous" he is, will be quite happy with a Trump administration, except for the Trade deals and immigration.

Birkel said...

I would say you are "close" rcocean.
Close like Trump in Maine.

Michael K said...

"will be quite happy with a Trump administration, except for the Trade deals and immigration."

But that is what they want the presidency for. They don't care about terrorism or regulations. They are doing just fine with their hedge funds. They have Hillary's son-in-law on board and have nothing to fear from her.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Anyone who still thinks Reagan to have been nothing more than "an amiable dunce" should read "Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America".

Here's a review by David Brooks:

https://www.nytimes.com/books/01/01/28/reviews/010128.28brookst.html

Excerpts:

"... [the book] is mostly a collection of radio commentaries Ronald Reagan delivered between 1976 and 1980, between his failed primary challenge to Gerald Ford and his successful campaign against Jimmy Carter. During those years, Reagan returned to the rubber-chicken circuit, wrote a column and delivered these daily radio messages. Ghostwriters wrote the column, but Reagan actually worked on the radio commentaries himself. He'd sit on airplanes and in the back of cars, drafting piece after piece on legal pads, and would come back from a trip with three weeks of commentaries ready for typing. The dominant impression these drafts leave is that Reagan really was a Reaganite. He'd already been governor of California, but he still saw politics primarily as a battle of ideas."....

"One of the things these commentaries do is blow apart the notion that Reagan was a flighty actor who floated through the presidency on the basis of charm and communication skills. Reagan spent the years leading up to his presidency -- the decades, really -- involved in day-to-day policy disputes."

QED.

Sebastian said...

"trump is a Moderate Republican" Except for the noises about the wall and terrorism, a little to the left of moderate Reps. Mitt was right that Trump is a phony, just wrong about what Trump is being phony about. Of course, he will maintain "strategic ambiguity," use stated positions as "opening bids," and deny what he said yesterday or last year or last decade.

Oso Negro said...

The Donald's position has evolved on Reagan. Flexibility. Or whatever

Lucien said...

FDR didn't intern the Japanese, he (along with Earl Warren) interned Americans, whose ancestors were Japanese.

chickelit said...

David Begley said...One more reason - if there's not enough already - not to vote for Trump.

There you go again, Begley: defining yourself by a negative.

mccullough said...

Lucien,

A lot of those interred were legal Japanese immigrants who were not citizens (but many of them had children who were).

Americans are citizens and permanent resident immigrants (green card holders). People here on visas are non-resident aliens. People here illegally are illegal aliens.

Birkel said...

chickelit:

People decide to vote for or against (and not vote) for a whole host of reasons. That you cannot appreciate the other decisions, and they cannot appreciate yours, won't matter on the Wednesday after the first Tuesday of November.

Throw your lot with whomever. And David Begley will throw his. The time for convincing others seems past. Better we should make fun.

mccullough said...

FDR also deported legal immigrants from Italy and Germany as part of his authoritarianism.

mccullough said...

And Hoover and FDR also deported legal Mexican immigrants (and some US citizens who couldn't prove they were US citizens) during the depression so that US citizens could have their jobs

Michael K said...

"FDR also deported legal immigrants from Italy and Germany as part of his authoritarianism."

I'm reading the biography of Leon Pannetta. His grandfather was trapped here while visiting from Italy and was interned.

Biff said...

wholelottasplainin' said...'Anyone who still thinks Reagan to have been nothing more than "an amiable dunce" should read "Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America".'

I concur. That was one of the most eye opening books I've ever read. The problem with politicians trying to "be like Reagan" is that they don't do the hard work of grappling with ideas like Reagan did, and they fail to develop a substantive, governing worldview that allows the politician to lead with integrity and conviction, rather than to let the polls and the consultants to do the leading.

We don't need another Reagan. We merely need someone who knows themselves and the country as well as Reagan did.

buwaya puti said...

FDR did the right thing knowing what he did about the activities of Japanese residents in the Philippines, which were apparent upon the fall of Manila. This information was passed to USAFFE intelligence on Corregidor prior to its fall by "stay behind" operatives like Yay Panlilio.

mccullough said...

Michael K,

FDR thought all the non-resident aliens from the axis countries were Fifth Column (or that enough of them were that it didn't matter).

Carol said...

During those years, Reagan returned to the rubber-chicken circuit, wrote a column and delivered these daily radio messages

THIS is what Jeb should have been doing during the Obama admin. Or anyone hoping to be president for that matter. The country needs an outspoken loyal opposition.

William said...

Concurrent with the internment of Japanese-American citizens such events as the siege of Leningrad, the fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden, and, of course, Buchenwald and Treblinka were taking place. Given the context of that era, the internment program was not so hideous.....Also, please note that Senator Robert Taft, the leading conservative of that era, objected to it......The good deeds of conservatives are rarely noted, much less celebrated. Gen. MacArthur, so far as I know, was the only WWII leader who questioned the wisdom and morality of bombing civilian populations as a military tactic. Also, those who decry Wilson for segregating public facilities in Wash DC rarely mention that it was Eisenhower who rescinded that order. Not FDR. Not Truman. Eisenhower.

mccullough said...

Jeb was so busy getting paid millions as a "consultant" to Wall Street Banks after he was governor. John Kasich worked at Lehman Brothers after he left Congress and before he was Ohio governor.

These guys aren't the loyal opposition. They are politicians whose private sector experience is influence peddling. They are no better than the Clintons, just less successful at it.

After his presidency Reagan cleaned up by making highly paid speeches, just like Hillary.

Truman is dead.

Michael K said...

"After his presidency Reagan cleaned up by making highly paid speeches"

Reagan was pretty well off before the presidency. His ranch was bought before he was governor.

The Clintons were white trash, Yale degrees and all.

Michael K said...

"FDR thought all the non-resident aliens from the axis countries were Fifth Column (or that enough of them were that it didn't matter)."

So did the English who deported Germans to Canada ignoring the fact most German immigrants were Jews fleeing the Nazis.

Even children were sent to Canada. One was Max Perutz the founder of molecular biology.

mccullough said...

Reagan was nowhere near as bad as Bill Clinton, post presidency. But he, HW, and W have made a lot off speeches. Obama will also not be as bad as Bill Clinton. No one will.

But none of them are Truman. "The office of the president doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale."

Maybe ex-presidents could just write books and live off the generous pension instead of debasing the office of presidency. Trump is extremely vulgar (as is Bill Clinton) but he's just the extreme example of the debasement of our institutions.

Real American said...

a lot of GOPers were critical of Reagan's foreign policy in the latter days of his administration. They thought he should never negotiate a nuke treaty with the Soviets. They were wrong and he was right because he got concessions from the Soviets by walking away from the negotiating table at Reykjavik.

In contrast, our recent batch of leaders have been so hell-bent on getting a deal of any kind (Clinton and Obama, especially) that they give away the store for a piece of paper - peace in our time, you might say. Reagan wasn't primarily concerned with his own legacy, but what was best for our country. He provides a lesson in leadership that has been sorely lacking since he left. Granted, not all presidents have the same level of guts or even political capital, but he's a good example, nonetheless.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Understanding Reagan" by WFB April 24th, 1986:

(paraphrasing Kissinger) ...if you meet Reagan and talk with him briefly, you wonder how he managed to get elected governor of California, let alone president of the United States.

Once can can hear the academic audience (that Kissinger addressed the week before Buckley's article) purring at this point; but it did not anticipate what was to come. Kissinger went on to say that in fact Reagan had dominated the politics of California for eight years, had dominated the political life of the United States for six years, and not inconceivably could go down as one of the most significant presidents of the century.

How can this be?

Because, Kissinger explained, the apparent limitations of Reagan totally disguise an intuitive grasp he has not only for priorities, but also for technique. Here, Kissinger later explained, is a man who managed to change his entire staff without a ripple of change in policy, so clearly did he himself dominate policy.

mccullough said...

Obama's deal with Iran might turn out to be great. Too early to tell. But relying on Saudi Arabia as an ally has been a disaster. We should have dumped them after 9/11 and started dealing with Iran then instead of invading Iraq.

mccullough said...

Reagan would have liked Obama.

Carol said...

Jeb was so busy getting paid millions as a "consultant" to Wall Street Banks after he was governor. John Kasich worked at Lehman Brothers

Trump was working, too, but at least he was making some kind of noise during that period, albeit misdirected or futile.

You can't just lax out for six years and expect to walk back in to high office.

Birkel said...

mccullough:

I agree that FDR was one in a long line of Democrat racists.

mccullough said...

You also can't run for office of your last name is Bush, even if your opponent's last name is Clinton. Probably Hillary is the only candidate the Dems could put up who Jeb! could beat. But that shows everyone how clueless Jeb! and GOP party leaders are. They were looking at Hillary and not themselves. They don't look at themselves because they don't realize their policies suck.

Gusty Winds said...

Hitler, racist, xenophobe, sexist, phony, con artist, small handed...terrorist.

Ok. Sure. Whatever you say.

shiloh said...

So what would Reagan think of the current state of the Rep party?

Michael K said...

"So what would Reagan think of the current state of the Rep party?"

Probably similar to his opinion of Bob Dole who, as Senate Majority Leader in 1982, delayed Reagan's tax cut until after the 1982 election and lost the Senate for him.

Ron said...

Reagan was the most likable hateful guy to run for president. Trump is the most hateful likable guy to run for president.

Bob Ellison said...

Tough nuts to realize the guy you hated actually knew something about the things you hated him for, like economics and foreign policy.

The left will never forgive Reagan for being smarter than they.

robother said...

The emphasis here is Trump's inconsistency, dissing Reagan back in the day, but praising him more recently as Republican Icon.

It is more interesting that Trump is consistent in his criticism of America as free trade imperial power, though. The older (actually more truly "conservative") strain of American nationalism, the idea that America is to be governed FOR the American people. Whether its defending Western Europe free of charge or bringing democracy to the Middle East, Trump is consistent in criticizing the Leader of the Free World model that has morphed into the Bush Doctrine.

As the Politico article notes, even by 1987, Trump could see the disastrous effects on American manufacturing jobs of Japanese imports. Like China today, Japan itself has never reciprocated by opening access to any American manufacturers or retailers.

Michael K said...

"Japan itself has never reciprocated by opening access to any American manufacturers or retailers."

Somebody, it may have been Reagan, placed import tariffs on Japanese cars and the manufacturers built plants in the US so the cars qualified as majority US made. The quality of the cars is still excellent.

Rhythm and Balls said...

So will we be allowed to speak critically of Reagan on this thread then? Or will it become as the last one did, out of respect to Saint Nancy, a virtual cyber-shrine?

Trump is absolutely right. There was no way so destructive an agenda as Reagan's could have made it through the American people without the wink, smirk and nod of Saint Ronald. No substance to it, but a simple smile could sell it.

These days, the GOP is left with a phony establishment and an angry base - stripped down to its bare essentials. Trump and the clowns are all they're left with.

And a prickly, hypersensitive censor behind the "expunge" function.

Rhythm and Balls said...

So what would Reagan think of the current state of the Rep party?

I don't know but I am sure there are lots of DINOs heavily invested in the question, and its answer.

The Republican grassroots themselves don't even care. They actually have more important things to worry about.

Michael K said...

"There was no way so destructive an agenda as Reagan's could have made it through the American people without the wink, smirk and nod of Saint Ronald. "

More mush from the wimp.

The Democrats let Reagan win the cold war as long as he let them spend and spend and spend,

Rhythm and Balls said...

Talk about mush.

The Democrats let Reagan win the cold war as long as he let them spend and spend and spend,

So you think that instead of being ripe for implosion, the USSR had a system that was working really well on all full cylinders and that it was Reagan that magically made their otherwise perfect system fail.

Imagine if Chernobyl hadn't happened. Then things would have been even more perfect. But lucky for us we got Reagan to intervene to make that one happen also.

Drago said...

R&B's: ""There was no way so destructive an agenda as Reagan's could have made it through the American people without the wink, smirk and nod of Saint Ronald."

Who knew Tip O'Neil was such a soft touch?

And that's an Irishman from Boston!

Let's face it, if any other candidate had spent nearly a decade visiting over 130 US plants and factories and sharing significant time with the workers at each all while writing your own speeches/remarks that the candidate would then deliver, without teleprompters, and (as his lefty son Ron Reagan reports) never had less than a handful of books being read simultaneously dealing with political philosophy, history, economics, etc, I would humbly suggest that candidate might be fully aware of his/her own beliefs and have developed the ability to deliver those beliefs in a package fully understandable and accessible to people all over the country.

Or, you could just believe that all Reagan did was smile and wink and everyone fell down (except the western enlightened elite and the Soviets, but I repeat myself).

Occams razor looms large here.

robother said...

Victory in the Cold War can fairly be credited to Reagan. Waging such an extended 40 year "war' (which took many forms, MAD nukes, hot proxy wars, propaganda and covert ops to assure friendly Third World governments) all over the globe changed American foreign policy, in ways that continue decades after the defeat of the USSR.

What Trump represents, at least in the Republican Party, is a break with various aspects of that policy (open borders, free trade, and Bush Doctrine nation-building) which no longer serve the interests of the American people as a whole.

Interestingly, as the flight of the neocons to Hillary shows, no one has yet emerged in the Democrat Party to seriously challenge these remnants of Cold War policy.

Rhythm and Balls said...

I didn't know that I was defending Democratic machine tool Tammany Hall types like Tip O'Neil but if that's what helps get the script moving you go and do what you have to do.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Interestingly, as the flight of the neocons to Hillary shows, no one has yet emerged in the Democrat Party to seriously challenge these remnants of Cold War policy.

WTF? Are you not watching this race? There is a debate tonight. His name is Bernie Sanders.

The Cold War is indeed over. He seems to be the only one, along with Trump, who recognizes that.

But they're also anti-imperialism because they don't need corporate donor money.

These issues are all linked.

Drago said...

R&B's, nobody claimed you were defending ONeill and I am quite certain I did not mention Tammany Hall.

Birkel said...

I am excited to witness the great advantages socialism will visit on America. After all, it cannot have failed everywhere else only to fail here too.

Socialism, like a hitter in a slump, is due for a home run.

Qwinn said...

The lefty revisionist history where the Soviets were "ripe for implosion" takes some serious f'ing gall considering that when Reagan was actually taking them down, the left's reaction was a continuous 8 year primal scream about how soviet victory was inevitable, the USSR was unbeatable, and Ronnie Raygun was just going to get us all killed if he even thought about resisting them.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Well, if nothing else Birkel - it will teach you that Western and Northern Europe and the USSR are two different things. But since when have establishment GOP elitists ever cared about maps? If they learned geography they might start figuring out which countries not to invade, and that would really suck for them.

Rhythm and Balls said...

You're just never going to get over the fact that in 2016 you can't run against the USSR, Qwinn, are you? What a shame.

Qwinn said...

Um, what?

I was just pointing out how absurd and revisionist your "ripe for implosion" bullshit is considering what the left was screaming when Reagan was in office.

It would be like Clinton bombing the crap out of Iraq, warning us all about his WMD, and demanding regime change, and then a few years later claiming he was never any threat at all.

Oh. Wait.

Birkel said...

"Rhythm and Balls"

I don't have the patience to mock you tonight. Let's cut to the chase: From the pits of hell, I mock at thee.

Now run along.

Rhythm and Balls said...

I was just pointing out how absurd and revisionist your "ripe for implosion" bullshit is considering what the left was screaming when Reagan was in office.

How does "what the left was screaming" have to do with what is or is not true?

You are mistaking partisanship for logic. I don't care who said what when. Communist Soviet tyranny was either sustainable or it wasn't. I thought that it wasn't, but maybe it had more to offer than I've been led to believe. Is that what you think?

Qwinn said...

"I don't care who said what when."

Oh, R&B. I don't think anyone here disagrees with that.

Qwinn said...

Oh, and "how does 'what the left was screaming' have to do with what is or is not true"?

It's called an inverse relationship. More consistent than anything found in nature, actually.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Ok Qwinn well thanks for showing that you're not serious at all. I guess that explains the state of your imploded party and the kooky Trump campaign.

Qwinn said...

Sigh. It's like teaching a kindergarten special needs class.

The USSR could have kept going for a long time via the same method that had kept them going through 90 years of bad weather: constant expansion, plundering to keep themselves going. Except that, during Reagan's entire term, not one single additional country fell to them. Even a tiny country like Grenada, he stopped them. He terrified them. And the constant infusion of plunder from their unchecked expansion since WWII was finally stopped long enough for them to collapse.

This was, of course, with the Left doing absolutely everything possible to stop him. Even had Ted Kennedy committing treason and actively colluding with the Soviet government to oppose him.

And, as always, without a shred of apology. And now you want to deny him credit, because it would have happened anyway? Not if your ilk had had their way, so FYNQ.

Rhythm and Balls said...

That's the sort of thing you'd teach kindergartners with special needs?

You are a strange person.

Do you teach preschoolers to not share, also? Sharing is communist, after all.

And don't forget 2-year olds. Toddlers need to learn the history of the 2nd amendment.

Embryos need to learn that their lives began at conception.

Etc., etc., etc.

Rhythm and Balls said...

I don't want to deny him credit. It's important to think the actor with memory loss actually got something right. I just question the degree of it or how important it is in 2016 or why Republicans harp on it now as if they don't have any other issues to run on today.... Oh, they right. They don't.

Saint Croix said...

Usual Politico bullshit.

Michael K, what did you think of what Donnie had to say about Pat Buchanan? Fair? Or unfair?

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
damikesc said...

Why does anybody listen to Roger Stone? He's a "conservative" Sid Blumenthal.

Robert Cook said...

In Memoriam