Monday, September 20, 2010

The Reagan Diaries

We've been reading The Reagan Dairies, President Reagan's fascinating daily account of his eight years in office (the complete set will be released later). Reagan comes across a fundamentally decent, fully engaged statesman who always put his country first. As editor Douglas Brinkley explains, "his uncomplicated and humble notations are on display in these pages: genuine, thoughtful, and caring."

What also is evident in the entries is how the shamelessly slanted media tried to undermine his initiatives at every turn. For example, reflecting on the press conference afte the Tower Commission report on the Iran-Contra controversy was issued in February 1987, President Reagan notes that "Press obviously was seeking answers that would let them keep on their distortions and this lynch party."

A few interesting entries from 1983:

April 5:
I had an unsatisfactory meeting with Repub. Sens. on the budget committee. They are determined we must cut defense spending & increase domestic in order to get a budget passed. I'm opposed. We have rabbits where we need Tigers.

July 18:
Announced today in Florida that Henry Kissinger will be chairman of the Commission on Central Am. One of the press yelled a Q. at me that Sen. Dodd says commission is a ploy to get around Cong. I wonder really which side Dodd is on. He comes down against the U.S. on almost every issue.
July 24:
...Could almost forget too the block of Congressman who are determined to stop our aid to Central Am. & our own defense buildup. It's hard for me to believe this is just partisan politics. Whenever it is us versus the Soviets or Cubans they always come down on the wrong side.

In February 1982, the president talked about screening the film Inchon:
It is a brutal but gripping picture about the Korean War and for once we're the good guys and the Communists are the villains. The producer was Japanese or Korean which probably explains the preceding sentence.
NetFlix says the film was produced by the Moonies but we put it in our queue anyway.