January 28, 2011

The Mystery of Ronald Reagan

What could Ronald Reagan have been thinking about?

Michiko Kakutani writes:
Ronald Reagan as Dad, a Sunny Stranger

Now, on the occasion of what would have been the former president’s 100th birthday, his youngest son, Ron Reagan, has written a deeply felt memoir — a memoir that underscores the bafflement his own children often felt about their father, a man the younger Mr. Reagan describes as an inscrutable, “paradoxical character,” “warm yet remote,” “affable as they come” but with “virtually no close friends besides his wife,” a man who “thrived on public display yet remained intensely private.” 

“His children, if they were being honest,” Mr. Reagan writes in “My Father at 100,” “would agree that he was as strange a fellow as any of us had ever met. Not darkly strange, mind you. In fact, he was so naturally sunny, so utterly without guile, so devoid of cynicism or pettiness as to create for himself a whole new category of strangeness. ... The author says that he never felt that his father didn’t love or care for him but that he often seemed to be “wandering somewhere in his own head.” 

“Occasionally,” Mr. Reagan writes, “he seemed to need reminding about basic aspects of my life — like birthdays, who my friends were or how I was doing in school. I could share an hour of warm camaraderie with Dad, then once I’d walked out the door, get the uncanny feeling I’d disappeared into the wings of his mind’s stage, like a character no longer necessary to the ongoing story line.” 

I've been interested for a long time in the paradoxes of President Reagan's personality, which are well expressed in the above paragraphs. (Ron Jr.'s views sound similar to those of his sisters' Maureen and Patti.) So, let me hazard a guess about what Reagan was often thinking about when he could have instead been thinking about the specific wants and needs of the people around him:

Public affairs.

At the Reagan Library in Simi Valley there are on display a great number of handwritten pages by Reagan about public affairs: a letter to Gorbachev, the first draft of a speech, a 1970s newspaper column, etc. Reagan did not have a particularly fast mind, so he devoted a lot of time to thinking about his calling of matters of state, and not very much time to thinking about individual family and friends. 

Reagan had a rather statistical frame of mind (speechwriter Peggy Noonan said that the President's first drafts for speeches always included far more statistics than the public could put up with). 

One of his more curious, but revealing habits, was that he had his White House staff provide him every Friday, with about 20 letters from citizens. On Monday, he'd give the staffers' his replies to send out. It was an odd system, but he felt that grappling with the idiosyncratic concerns of about 1,000 individual citizens per year provided a sample that kept him connected to the country. 

Of course, Reagan didn't have the time, or interest, in doing much follow up to his first reply -- he had staffers to shield him from the time sink that individuals could turn into. Getting a handwritten letter from the President of the United States responding in some detail to your request for advice could turn a lot of otherwise sane people into Rupert Pupkin. So, a thousand ordinary people per year got a personal letter from the President, but few got more than one. The President wasn't really that interested in you as an individual, he was interested in you as a sample.

58 comments:

Lucius Vorenus said...

As great a man as the Gipper was, in retrospect he seems to have been completely oblivious to the paramount importance of the family.

For that matter, never once did I hear any other conservative cry out about the plunge in Caucasian fertility rates during the early 1970s [this information should have been widely known, and should have been of critical urgency, no later than the 1980 election]:


Statistical handbook on the American family
D1-6 Total Fertility Rate and Instrinsic Rate of Natural Increase
books.google.com

TOTAL FERTILITY RATE, White

1960-1964: 3.326
1965-1969: 2.512
1970: 2.385
1971: 2.161
1972: 1.907
1973: 1.783
1974: 1.749
1975: 1.686
1976: 1.652



Granted, there was a great hue & cry about Roe during the late 1970s and early 1980s, but no one ever pointed out that the plunge in fertility rates had sent the absolute number of Caucasians into free-fall:


2010 Statistical Abstract of the United States
Section 1, Population
Table 9. Resident Population by Race, Hispanic Origin, and Age: 2000 and 2008
pop.pdf

Not Hispanic White alone, 2008

45 to 49 years: 15,964K
40 to 44 years: 14,085K
35 to 39 years: 12,981K
30 to 34 years: 11,456K
25 to 29 years: 12,740K
20 to 24 years: 12,949K
15 to 19 years: 12,903K
10 to 14 years: 11,660K
05 to 09 years: 11,222K
00 to 04 years: 11,065K



Frankly, to this day, I don't know that even Spengler or Mark Steyn has gone on record mentioning this inconvenient little factoid [I guess they're just too frightened of being labeled with the "R" word?].

BTW, as things now stand, unless Ron Reagan has an out-of-wedlock child, the Gipper has no biological grandchildren of his own: Christine lived for only a day, Maureen died childless, Patti's womb has long since been barren, and Ron Reagan married an older woman, Doria Palmieri, whose womb has also long since been barren.

So the Reagan line is about to be extinguished from the face of the earth.

In that respect, it's eerily similar to Abraham Lincoln's fate - he & Mary Todd had four boys, only one of whom, Robert Todd Lincoln, lived to adulthood. Robert Todd Lincoln, in turn, had three children, two of whom lived to adulthood: Mary Todd Lincoln and Jesse Harlan Lincoln.

Mary Todd Lincoln had one child, Lincoln Isham, who died in 1971, with no children.

Jessie Harlan Lincoln had two children: Mary Lincoln Beckwith, a spinster who died in 1975, with no children, and
Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith
, who died in 1985, with no apparent children [despite having been married three times - like Ron Reagan, one of his wives was many years his senior].

PS: If I may be allowed to indulge in a little arm-chair psycho-analysis, in honor of the accompanying Marty Peretz thread: Wikipedia states openly that Mary Lincoln Beckwith was a lesbian, and the marriages of both Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith & Ron Reagan to older women have "beard" written all over them.

Henry Canaday said...

Met Ron Reagan briefly when he spoke at our Local Lefty Bookstore. Two surprises: how tall he is, and what a nice, gentle man he is.

slumber_j said...

Maybe Mr. Sailer's analysis is right. Then again, maybe this wasn't as unusual a disposition as the Reagan kids make it out to be.

My grandfather was of a pretty similar background (Irish-American Midwesterner, born 1896 in St. Paul MN, who moved out West as a young man) and extremely similar in character. He was completely unreflective personally (as far as one could tell). He was also as pleasant, witty and gracious a man as you would ever meet...and yet in some fundamental way walled-off from just about everyone.

Reagan was born fifteen years after my grandfather, but the two certainly always struck me as being of a type. Maybe that type is something like "Midwestern Irish-American man, born around the turn of the century."

If that's true, then no wonder Reagan's kids couldn't fathom him: he was born on a different planet, and it was a planet on which people weren't really supposed to be able to fathom you. And given that he was old once he became President, his extremely time-specific demeanor would have made him a space alien to most of his colleagues in the White House too.

Or maybe the analysis in the post is right. Or maybe it was a bit of both.

Carol said...

From what I read, Reagan's library was full of books he'd read and reread and written in. He wasn't an intellectual by any means but tried hard to understand what was going on around him. I can't see how he could devote his life to that, make a living and be a Good Daddy too. My father was the same way, writ small of course.

That's what men did, before so many new expectations were piled on them. I think Ron is miffed that he didn't get to know the Big Man better.

dearieme said...

Tell me something I've always longer to know about The Gipper, Steve. Is it a hard or a soft "g"?

peter A said...

today we would characterize Reagan as having Asperger syndrome. He didn't seem to have real emotional connections with people, but he was smart enough to be able to simulate warmth and human emotion when he needed to.

Anonymous said...

Well, basically, was just a showman, an announcer for hire.As a washed-up B-movie actor in the mid 60s, Reagan needed another career, and politics (and plaing up to a particular right-wing constituency), fulfilled that role.
After the acting work dried (due to age), Reagan became a PR man for General Electric (or the 'guest man' as he was disparagingly called)and sought to develop another career - politics as pure PR and acting 'telling the public what they want to hear'.
Extraordinarily successful.Perhaps Reagan was so into fantasy and fantasy roles so that the 'stage' of politics became 'reality' to him and his family life (supposedly your bedrock), became the fantasy.Who knows?
Anyhow,leading a double life and mixing and confusing a 'real' world with an 'unreal' world is a trait found most often with gays.Not suggesting anything, mind you.

Polistra said...

The distant dad, the man deeply involved in his work.... not all that unusual for his generation. What's unusual is that Ron Jr and Peggy kept expecting something else.

John Mansfield said...

Leftists are often criticized for loving humanity as a whole but not caring about individual members of it. These thoughts on Reagan are a useful counterpoint that it may not be ideology or evil at work so much as just the fact that public figures of any stripe will have given a large portion of their attention to "The People."

Harry Truman matches this description of Reagan a bit: extremely devoted to his wife, a friendly guy, but no close friends.

alexi de sadesky said...

Isn't every dad like this? I can recollect countless occasions when dads in the neighborhood wouldn't remember names or mix/make up names for their kid's friends.

i am the walrus said...

Getting a handwritten letter from the President of the United States responding in some detail to your request for advice could turn a lot of otherwise sane people into Rupert Pupkin.

Good post, Steve. However, You should have picked another character from a Scorsese movie.

Dutch Boy said...

Another possibility is that Ron Jr. was correct. Alzheimer's Disease has an extremely long course before the symptoms are manifest. Perhaps apparent RR's disengagement was all too real.

cruft said...

Men do not have friends.

Let's! said...

His adopted son Michael (who's a conservative, unlike Ron Jr.) occasionally tells the story of his dad not recognizing him at his high school graduation.

Now we're crossing the line from distraction to neglect, no?

Kylie said...

"The President wasn't really that interested in you as an individual, he was interested in you as a sample."

As a sample, yes, and as an abstraction. That is, I suspect he thought of people not as a group of individuals but as the people or the public or the citizens of this great nation, etc.

I think Reagan tended to be introverted. The abiding and foolish myth about introversion is that introverts are shy. So anyone at ease in public or with the public is automatically assumed to be an extrovert.

On the contrary, introverts can be "good with people" without feeling good about being around people for prolonged periods and in close contact. I think Reagan was like that.

And of course, his childhood experiences would only have encouraged the tendency to keep his innermost self to himself and to tell people what they wanted to hear as a way of getting them off his back.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that Ron Jr., who was once a ballet dancer and who may or may not be playing for a whole other team out there, if you catch my drift, would have preferred long, alternately mushy and catty talks about feelings to a healthy father-son relationship.

Perhaps we shouldn't trust Ron Jr's judgements on what is and isn't strange.

Severn said...

today we would characterize Reagan as having Asperger syndrome. He didn't seem to have real emotional connections with people, but he was smart enough to be able to simulate warmth and human emotion when he needed to.

I think that described a great many people, and in particular a great many men, from before the current touchy-feely era. That notion that the male job description includes "being emotionally engaged with those around you" is of very recent vintage.

Anonymous said...

"That's what men did, before so many new expectations were piled on them. I think Ron is miffed that he didn't get to know the Big Man better."

Seems a reasonable explanation.

It also seems reasonable that a boy turned man, like Ron Reagan, who was/is, after all, if not downright homely then at least not handsome, who is and has always been noticeable effeminate, would have contrasted himself with his handsome, masculine, successful dad.

Ron has, like his dad, a winning wit *when* he isn't being downright nasty sarcastic (OT, but that is so often a characteristic of the modern gay man), but his dad's tendency to be removed in the way described along with a young boy's growing awareness of his own sexuality were, I think, enough to wall off the two from one another.

Still, that generation of fathers was, after all, as the previous poster pointed out, often walled-off emotionally, even though they were, in all other respects, loving.

Another factor too--listen to enough gay men talk about their relationships with their dads, even with loving dads not horrified by the growing awareness that their sons are gay, and you get a sense of the distance that develops. It's often no one's fault, and many gay men will tell you it was they more than their dads who, as they entered their teen years, pulled away from the masculine figure in the family.

I was in Sacramento during the Reagan stint as governor and stories abounded about the young Ron.

Anonymous said...

cruft said...
Men do not have friends.

Men of Reagan's generation didn't have friends - only work and drinking buddies. Men of Reagan's generation were stiff-upper-lipped cold-hearted greedy miserly workaholics who nevertheless projected a fiendly image for show.

Anonymous said...

"today we would characterize Reagan as having Asperger syndrome. He didn't seem to have real emotional connections with people, but he was smart enough to be able to simulate warmth and human emotion when he needed to."

Do you have a credible source for asserting this? From all I have read about Asperger's, I'd argue that such people have no ability to charm others. A high functioning Aspergers can seem fairly normal in certain jobs and situations that require little or perfunctory, basic social interaction, but they will never come off as charming, they will never hold court as a guy like Reagan did in telling his jokes and stories, they will not go into professions like politics. In short, they will not put themselves in situations in which they are the social center of attention--they flee such situations.

I think we are cavalierly applying the term today, aren't we?

I suspect that Ronald Reagan had an interior life of the mind that we never quite expected. His background as an actor, his involvement as a union leader, then his entry into politics presented on the surface a public man. Perhaps we are just now finding out he was every bit as comfortable with that interior life as he was the exterior one.

Anonymous said...

peter A said...
today we would characterize Reagan as having Asperger syndrome. He didn't seem to have real emotional connections with people, but he was smart enough to be able to simulate warmth and human emotion when he needed to.

I don't think so, though you're right about Asperger's being over diagnosed in modern times. If any recent president was "aspie" it would have to been Nixon.

Anonymous said:
Anyhow,leading a double life and mixing and confusing a 'real' world with an 'unreal' world is a trait found most often with gays.Not suggesting anything, mind you.

This is more to do with a certain "inattentive" strain of ADHD than gayness itself. Mind you, such an ADHD variation is quite common in homosexuals and effeminate men.

Perhaps Reagan had this type of ADHD, and overcompensated for his lack of perceived manliness - just like "Rough Rider" T. Roosevelt overcomp'd for his sickly physique. Reagan became an actor, but one who played tough guys.

In terms of personality and even actual politics, aspie Nixon and ADHD Reagan were at oppposite poles of the Republican Party. Nixon was the middle-of-the-road opportunist while Reagan was the true believer. Nixon was honestly a selfish crook; Reagan was great at playing the community game.

Guess which president was both close to Reagan in personality, and also a hero to the Baby Boomer generation? JFK.

The Baby Boomers loved JFK, hated Nixon, and loved Reagan. JFK and Reagan were perfect illusionists, lost but not-too-lost in their worlds of fantasy, and able to sell these worlds.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. Reagan was a number crunching stats nut and spent a lot of time preparing/poring over his own papers.
Didn't Steve say he spends a lot of time writing and re-writing his pieces? And we know Steve loves stats of all kinds.

Projection perhaps?

Just win this one for the Sailer.

Anonymous said...

"Harry Truman matches this description of Reagan a bit: extremely devoted to his wife, a friendly guy, but no close friends."

Pre the Alan Alda, feminist "men need to be more sensitive" America, my dad(who was Reagan's age) and the dads of all my friends were very much like Reagan in that any "friends" they had, men they might have gone fishing, hunting, bowling with, were friends only in the sense that they "did" things together. Men like my dad never, ever shared their emotional state with such friends. I don't think it's any news that men share friendship in a different way than do women.

Then, as these men aged and their activities, like those listed above, abated, they saw those friends less and less. A man's wife was the person closest to him.

My dad's "friends" existed only because of my mother's social network. I don't see that Reagan was any different than most men his age.

Anonymous said...

Not true about Truman. He had many lifelong friends, and kept track of all the men who served in his artillery company in World War I. Truman is the most human of all our presidents and the most prototypically American.

Ron is undoubtedly correct that Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer's by the time he left office. I remember watching his testimony to the Tower Commission about Iran Contra. It was pathetic. He was incoherent and confused. He couldn't remember what had happened or even what his staffers had told him to say had happened. By that time he was President in name only. His staffers were running the country, and justifying their decisions as "doing what the Gipper would have wanted."

none of the above said...

I rather suspect this is a symptom of being able to be a "great" man, in the sense of having a huge impact on the world. If you weren't deeply, totally focused on policies and coalitions and such, I don't see how you'd get to be president, and certainly not how you'd manage to have as big an effect, for good and ill, as Reagan did.

Now, you can have that obsessive focus and not have that kind of impact--most people don't, just as most people who care about nothing so much as basketball and practice obsessively never make it to the NBA. But it's got to be much harder without that focus.

Carol said...

that generation of fathers was, after all..often walled-off emotionally,

The ones who came of age during the depression had it rough. Fights broke out in the workplace. There was no legal protection..you kept your head down and worked all the hours you could get. You didn't show your feelings. Nowadays 60-something men complain that their fathers never hugged them. I blame Oprah, and have made it a point to never complain about my father. He was what he was.

I think we are cavalierly applying the term today, aren't we?

At least it wasn't "narcissism" again.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute here. First, someone says Reagan might have been an Aspie (no evidence, in fact, evidence to the contrary_.

Then, someone else says he had ADHD. I think not! Spend one week with a kid with true ADHD (not the ADHD people love to say they or their kids have) and you'll know what the hell it is.

Stop with this soccer mom diagnoses stuff, will you?

DanJ said...

In my family line all men match this description of Reagan. Introverts made outgoing by curiosity and a will to shoulder civic duties. A little detached and aloof, always. No problem.

Dennis Dale said...

Nice use of Rupert Pupkin.
"It's both hard to spell and to pronounce."--he's obsessed with fame yet he can't bring himself to change it.

Dutch Boy said...

Men of that generation were just a tougher, gruffer lot in general. Families were larger and took a lot of work to support and more kids means less time with each. I didn't expect my dad to be my buddy and most of the men I know had the same attitude toward dear old dad. Dads were authority figures and ass kickers and if you were smart he didn't kick too often and if you were lucky he didn't kick too hard.

Anonymous said...

Truman is the most human of all our presidents and the most prototypically American.

A scary thought when you consider the man is responsible for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the recognition of the state of Israel, the creation of the CIA and the Korean War.

David said...

Gays, Jews, and women cannot figure out straight gentile men. They remain forever "weird."

Where is the nagging, where are the tears, where is the arguing, where is the plotzing, where is the drama, where is the Love? It couldn't be they have feelings different from the ones we expect them to have. They HAVEta be Repressing! What they need is their walls broken down piece by piece in therapy, so they can express what we truly expect them to feel, maybe even reveal what's really bugging them. Something MUST be bugging them; they are clearly sick.

(For a hilarious fantasy expression of this mentality, watch the film "The Prince of Tides" with Nick Nolte as the Goy, and Barbara Streisand as the Therapist. Or you can save time and just read the section entitled "Plot" here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince_of_Tides
)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and the left wants us to believe Reagan had an IQ of 105, a number I've seen thrown around the HBD-sphere. C'mon. He was obviously quite intelligent, though his personality makes it very hard to judge just how much so.

Truth said...

"The author says that...he often seemed to be “wandering somewhere in his own head.”

“Occasionally,” Mr. Reagan writes, “he seemed to need reminding about basic aspects of my life — like birthdays, who my friends were or how I was doing in school. I could share an hour of warm camaraderie with Dad, then once I’d walked out the door, get the uncanny feeling I’d disappeared into the wings of his mind’s stage, like a character no longer necessary to the ongoing story line.”

In other words, Regan's son believes he was stupid.

Truth said...

"For that matter, never once did I hear any other conservative cry out about the plunge in Caucasian fertility rates"

And how many offspring have you produced there, Luke?

beowulf said...

Truman is the most human of all our presidents and the most prototypically American.
Agree strongly. Truman was kept busy cleaning up the messes FDR left him (Soviet spies all over the govt for one) which he did quietly and competently. What' more, he was ahead, sometimes decades ahead, of Congress in his judgment. This would be a better country if three of the laws he fought for had passed, the full employment act (a watered down "employment act" passed instead), national health insurance, universal military training.
Naturally, Ronald Reagan endorsed him.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJDhS4oUm0M

beowulf said...

One other thing about Reagan, he wasn't just a liberal, he was the Warren Beatty-style activist. What Jamie Galbraith said of Reagan to the deficit reduction commission is quite true...
I am offering this statement on behalf of Americans for Democratic Action, an organization co-founded in 1949 by (among others) Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kenneth Galbraith, Arthur M. Schlesinger, jr., and Ronald Reagan...
http://www.angrybearblog.com/2010/07/professor-jamie-galbraiths-testimony-to.html

Anonymous said...

I went to college with a guy who went to high school with Ron who said that he was gay.

Lucius Vorenus said...

none of the above: I rather suspect this is a symptom of being able to be a "great" man, in the sense of having a huge impact on the world.

Truth: In other words, Regan's [sic] son believes he was stupid.

Assuming you meant Reagan's son, [and not Don Regan's son], I am getting the sense that maybe precisely the opposite was true - that maybe early on, Reagan realized that all of his children were utterly mediocre, and that - if he himself were to achieve anything of greatness - his children would simply have to be left to fend for themselves.

David: Gays, Jews, and women cannot figure out straight gentile men. They remain forever "weird." Where is the nagging, where are the tears, where is the arguing, where is the plotzing, where is the drama, where is the Love?

Here, though - and, again, with the accompanying Marty Peretz thread in mind - I think that Reagan probably could have inserted a little bit more of a Rosenzweigian imperative into his children's lives; something along the lines of, "Look, we've got 5000 years of recorded history in this race, and our line damned sure isn't going to end with you, so get the hell out there and make me some God-damned grandchildren. NOW!!!"

If nothing else, he should have been all over Ron's & Patti's moral educations, to make dadgum certain that they didn't cross over to the Dark Side [as, indeed, they were so tragically to do].

Because - at the end of the day - a man who hasn't ensured his own children's moral education is a man who has failed the single most important test of his entire life.

Anonymous said...

And how many offspring have you produced there, Luke?

T, I just recently got into the bidness, for the first time.

He's got colic right now, which is why I only ever post in the middle of the night anymore.

Kylie said...

"'Occasionally,' Mr. Reagan writes, 'he seemed to need reminding about basic aspects of my life — like birthdays, who my friends were or how I was doing in school. I could share an hour of warm camaraderie with Dad, then once I’d walked out the door, get the uncanny feeling I’d disappeared into the wings of his mind’s stage, like a character no longer necessary to the ongoing story line.'

In other words, Regan's[sic] son believes he was stupid."


Priceless.

Harry Baldwin said...

Anonymous Lucius Vorenus said...
our line damned sure isn't going to end with you, so get the hell out there and make me some God-damned grandchildren. NOW!!!" . . . If nothing else, he should have been all over Ron's & Patti's moral educations, to make dadgum certain that they didn't cross over to the Dark Side. . . Because - at the end of the day - a man who hasn't ensured his own children's moral education is a man who has failed the single most important test of his entire life.


You mention you're a new parent. I wish you the best of luck in getting your children to turn out exactly the way you want them. They have ideas of their own.

In 15 or 20 years you might not find yourself inclined to judge people on the basis of how their kids turned out.

Anonymous said...

"I went to college with a guy who went to high school with Ron who said that he was gay."


I don't know how anyone who listens to him speak would ever dobut it.

(Oh, yeah, I forgot that gays claim that most gays are really masculine behaving in speech and mannerisms and that we breeders can't tell. Yeah, sure.)

Anonymous said...

Truth,

Now I see your problem regarding HBD: you haven't the foggies notion what "stupid" means. Ah, "stupid is as stupid does...and says."

Mr. Anon said...

"Lucius Vorenus said...

Truth: In other words, Regan's [sic] son believes he was stupid."

Perhaps Reagan just didn't like his son. Reading comprehension is obviously not one of "Truth"'s strong suits (nor indeed apparently is spelling), as obviously, Ron Jr. did not say or imply that his father was stupid. But "Truth" Is quick to see in others what he cannot avoid seeing in himself.

JSM said...

"He's got colic right now, which is why I only ever post in the middle of the night anymore."

Poor baby. POOR DADDY!

Buy a sling and walk the floor with him 12 hrs. during the daytime when he's not crying -- a good chance that then you won't have to walk the floor with him all night.

Carrying settles babies.

(Not the plastic, tub kind; the soft carriers that attach to your body, Snugglis, etc.)

James Kabala said...

Stoicism vs. emotionalism is cyclical. The Victorians were not obnoxiously therapeutic in the modern sense, but they were very emotional and their florid tone of their letters (both by men and women) can sometimes make shocking reading. The line "Better to have loved and lost than never love at all" was written by a straight man about a straight male friendship. In the twentieth century a more stoic style came in.

Truth said...

"Now I see your problem regarding HBD: you haven't the foggies notion what "stupid" means. Ah, "stupid is as stupid does...and says."

Are you sure that I'm the one, grasshopper:

Memory = mental action that indicates "G" = Intelligence quotient = high/low IQ.

Or are all of these South Indian spelling champs just stupid?

Anonymous said...

Lucius Vorenus posted some interesting data concerning the demographic collapse of white Americans. Perhaps he could find the corresponding data for Ashkenazi Jews globally. I suspect the trends are the same.

Descartes said...

Ronald Reagan seems like the kinda uninformed frontman politician. He was very supportive of the religious right, establishing it as the primary republican driving force, yet his government waged a war against liberation theology and Latin American Catholicism that sought to end the string of American-established dictators. Oddly enough, his voter base often went down south to support the people he was tormenting.

For example, infamously downplaying and blocking the case of the four raped American nuns in Guatemala, his government's role in the murder of Archbishop Romero, etc.

Anonymous said...

I just thought about this: why wouldn't Ron Jr. admit he's gay? Because his mother is still alive! Which means that most of us WILL see him admit it at some not too distant point in the future. And he'll probably write a book about it too.

Anonymous said...

"I just thought about this: why wouldn't Ron Jr. admit he's gay? Because his mother is still alive! Which means that most of us WILL see him admit it at some not too distant point in the future. And he'll probably write a book about it too."

1.) Nan and the former President seem to have produced two children who are, shall we say, biologically atypical. What's her name, the daughter, is a true space cadet.

2.) I don't believe for a minute that Nan doesn't know. She hasn't led a sheltered life, after all. I am sure the President knew too.

3.) I believe you are right--he'll write a book, go on morning talk shows where the likes of Matt Lauer and the lefties will embrace him with their love and understanding.

Gag. Puke.

Mr. Anon said...

"Descartes said...

For example, infamously downplaying and blocking the case of the four raped American nuns in Guatemala, his government's role in the murder of Archbishop Romero, etc."

Romero was murdered in 1980, while Carter was President.

Severn said...

Ronald Reagan seems like the kinda uninformed frontman politician.

You seem like the kinda uninformed lefty who credulously repeats whatever garbage he's read in Mother Jones or The New York Times.

Anonymous said...

And so it begins:


Breaking with her father, Barbara Bush voices support for gay marriage
By Holly Bailey
Tue Feb 1, 9:41 am ET
news.yahoo.com

Barbara Bush, one of former President George W. Bush's twin daughters, is appearing in a new video voicing her support for same sex marriage.

"I'm Barbara Bush, and I'm a New Yorker for marriage equality," she says in a 22-second video released Monday by the Human Rights Campaign, a group that lobbies for equal treatment for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.

"New York is about fairness and equality," she says in the video. "And everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love."

The video ends with Bush, who is 29, imploring viewers to "join us."

Anonymous said...

"Breaking with her father, Barbara Bush voices support for gay marriage."


I laughed aloud this morning when I heard this--as if somehow this person's opinion should carry weight with me or anyone else.

What the heck is it with these 25-30 somethings? That airhead on Fox, Margaret Hoover, whose only claim to fame is her granddaddy (or is it great granddaddy?) says she thinks gay marriage is the civil rights fight of her generation. HAHAHAHA. My my, how the notion of civil rights has changed.

Silly lil' ole white youngins--looking for something to fight for as if their whole lil' self-esteem rested on it.

How about they look to some serious stuff. Talk about pampered youth.

Anonymous said...

Silly lil' ole white youngins--looking for something to fight for as if their whole lil' self-esteem rested on it.

How about they look to some serious stuff. Talk about pampered youth.


Today it's Slick's turn to wonder whether he'll be gettin' any gran' chilluns:


Is the honeymoon over already? Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky 'spending three months apart'
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:46 PM on 2nd February 2011
dailymail.co.uk

Their lavish wedding last summer had the world captivated.

But it seems that the honeymoon period is already over for Chelsea Clinton and her new husband.

Marc Mezvinsky has quit his job as an investment banker in favour of a three-month break at the exclusive ski resort of Jackson Hole in Wyoming.

But rather than accompanying her husband on the extended break, the Secretary of State's daughter will be remaining in New York instead.

The nature of the couple's temporary separation remains something of a mystery...

Dregs said...

I would add one more factor to what Steve discussed: Reagan's being a man of his particular generation. Based on my own anecdotal experience, I have met a number of people who exhibit the kind of friendly yet detached mode of interaction characteristic of Reagan, and all such people come from the generation born 1900-20. I don't attribute the characteristic to their age as such, but to the culture they came from.

People took a much stronger sense of their personal identities from roles they played in life -- employee, friend, brother, father -- that made them fulfill those roles but without much particular emotional attachment to them. Perhaps this characteristic was even stronger in an actor that in other people of the age, who exhibit much the same type of behavior.