Commentary Magazine


Giving Reagan His Due

To the Editor:

The vicious contention over the corpse of Ronald Reagan [“The Liberal Misappropriation of a Conservative President,” October 2011], like that between the left and right over Eric Blair, is offensive and ill directed. Let us give Reagan his due, and no more. He is admirable for one thing only: his wonderful and faithful relationship with his wonderful last wife. This was the stuff of legend, and who cannot admire and envy it? He was a wonderful man, personally, but an intellectual lightweight when compared with almost everyone else around him, including his wife. He was not a mover and shaker; he was a cork on the waves of history. What he exuded was an aura of optimism that, I think, young Mr. Obama has finally realized is a very good thing. In Reagan’s case, it was the result of cluelessness, but an innocent and lovely cluelessness. In Obama’s case, he will, given his unfortunate intelligence, be required to hold his nose and pretend to drink the Kool-Aid of Reaganesque optimism.

Patrick Griffin

Lake Orion, Michigan

 

To the Editor:

I have been a Reagan supporter since the Goldwater campaign and “the speech.” Over the years, liberal hatred for Reagan has led me into a lot of verbal conflicts, which I often end by asking how they, as liberals, cannot revere a man who freed more people from slavery than anyone in history. And that is a modest estimate, counting only the Soviet peoples and ignoring Reagan’s impact on the Chinese. Thanks for an outstanding piece of work.

John Morrissey

Edina, Minnesota

 

Steven Hayward writes:

Thanks to John Morrissey for his kind words. As for Mr. Griffin, I doubt recapitulating what even most liberals have learned and acknowledged about Reagan since his papers and writings have been opened up will disabuse him of his deep animus, so I’ll just say, would that Obama were so similarly “clueless” as Reagan, and leave it at that.




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