Friday, May 25, 2007

Reagan’s White House Diaries

In the 5/28 National Review (print - not available online):

Ronald Reagan’s White House diaries, to be published by Harper-Collins and excerpted in Vanity Fair, confirm what his letters and radio commentaries proved to liberals who had consigned him to duncehood while he governed: Reagan was a clear, concise writer – a sign of a clear mind. There are no masterpieces of malice , as in the diaries of John Quincy Adams, but there is much pith, sometimes brutal, occasionally droll.

Of Alexander Haig’s resignation: “Actually the only disagreement was over whether I made policy or the Sec. of State did.”

His near assassination: “Getting shot hurts.”

Moammer Qaddafi: “Beneath contempt.”

Lowell Wicker: “a pompous, no good, fathead.”

Bob Woodward: “He’s a liar.”

Alas, there is also the occasional boo-boo: “Rite(sic) to Life people say [Sandra Day O’Connor is] pro-abortion. She declares abortion is personally repugnant to her. I think she’ll make a good justice.”

Homer nodded. Babe Ruth whiffed. We are lucky to have these diaries and to have had their author.
On Reagan’s Haig comment: do you recall that on the day Reagan was wounded during the assassination attempt Haig rushed to the White House and announced: “I’m in charge?”

I bet we’ll all be interested to see if anyone asks Woodward to review the book.

I liked President Reagan. I’ll be saying more about him in the coming days. June 5 is the third anniversary of his death.


Locomotive Breath said...

The full quote is

Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the president, the vice president and the secretary of state, in that order, and should the president decide he wants to transfer the helm to the vice president, he will do so. As for now, I'm in control here, in the White House, pending the return of the vice president and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.

An unfortunate wording, but I read that as far less of the power grab than the out-of-context "I'm in control here".

JWM said...

Dear LB,

It's nice to hear from you. I was wondering if you were still visiting.

I didn't mean to suggest Haig was into a power grab but I should have been clear about that, especially given Reagan's quote.

I was really thinking how, with IMO only good intentions, Haig had acted so ineptly that day.

Even the statement you cite is wrong: after the V-P the succession or constitutional power of the presidency passes to the Sp of the House followed by the Pres. Pro Tempore of the Sen.

You gave me your email once. I wish you'd do it again, and this time I won't lose it.

I'll be at the computer often this weekend.