Category Archives: Commentary

A statement in response to the stories…

A statement in response to the stories that have appeared regarding my 2005 work Reagan’s Revolution and the soon-to-be-released book The Invisible Bridge

Upon receiving a copy of the new book The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, that author Rick Perlstein asked me to review, I immediately noticed startling similarities to my book Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign that Started It All. The similarities were not just in historical facts – after all, both works cover the same historical figure and period. Rather, the similarities were in wording, phrasing and expression—nearly fifty in all, according to our initial review of the work.

When I looked to see if Mr. Perlstein credited his many uses of Reagan’s Revolution, I found that the body of The Invisible Bridge does not credit Reagan’s Revolution at any point, and there are no footnotes, end notes, bibliography or other common form of citation in his book. Instead, buried on page 810, Mr. Perlstein directs readers to access his personal website where, after several clicks, they can uncover “A Note on Sources” for The Invisible Bridge. There, Mr. Perlstein credits some—but not all—of his uses of Reagan’s Revolution.

In some instances, Mr. Perlstein lifted words and phrases straight from Reagan’s Revolution into The Invisible Bridge. In each such instance, Mr. Perlstein changed a word or two, or perhaps a tense—but failed to do so in a way and to an extent sufficient to transform my original expression into his own. In Reagan’s Revolution, for instance, I wrote Kansas City’s “red light district was festooned with red, white, and blue bunting, as dancing elephants were placed in the windows of several smut peddlers.” In The Invisible Bridge, Mr. Perlstein wrote Kansas City’s “anemic red light district was festooned with red, white and blue bunting, several of the smut peddlers featured dancers in elephant costumes in their windows.”

 

It’s Opening Day

And I remember being at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore 30 years ago watching President Reagan throw  out the first pitch. Terry Dolan, Leif Noren and I were sitting right behind home plate.

It was a beautiful Spring day. Blue skies, temperature perfect for baseball.

Ronald_Reagan_throws_out_the_opening_pitch_at_a_Chicago_Cubs_baseball_game

President Reagan was along the third base line and Rick Dempsey was the Orioles catcher. He thought Reagan was going to throw a little pitter patter pitch and squatted down about 20 feet away.

Reagan waved him back and Dempsey squatted. Reagan waved him back a second time and  Dempsey squatted. Then a third time and finally it was nearly 60 feet, 6 inches.

Reagan leaned back and fired a fastball into Dempsey’s mitt. We heard the “thwack” of Dempsey’s glove from our seats.

Fifty thousand people went nuts.

The Gipper was grinning from ear to ear.

One of my most treasured memories.

(Updated on April 7, 2014)

Gore Attempted Theft of Election in Desperate Act

Gore Attempted Theft of Election in Desperate Act

Shirley, Craig, Insight on the News | December 11, 2001

Democrats like to steal elections. In fact, they’re very good at it. Whether it was the presidential election of 1960, the Indiana “Bloody Eighth” House race of 1984 or the Maryland gubernatorial race in 1994, they have proved time and again to be very adept at thwarting the will of the voters.

Fortuitously for Vice President Al Gore, heading his campaign and the assault on Florida is Bill Daley, the son of the greatest vote-stealer in American history, Chicago’s former mayor Richard J. Daley. While running Chicago in 1960, Bill Daley’s father famously called then-senator John F. Kennedy on election night and assured him that he would make sure that Illinois went Democrat.

First, the Democratic attack team must demonize the Florida election process. Charges already have been flying about confusing ballots, missing election boxes, disenfranchised voters and the like. Never mind that none of these allegations have been substantiated; the mere fact that they have been made creates news for the networks and doubt in the minds of the American people.

Also at work now is the denigration of the Electoral College. The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne wrote that the entire approach needs to be scrapped and replaced with a direct system. In fact, the Electoral College worked on Nov. 7 exactly as the Founders intended — making sure that the will of the few populous states, such as New York and California, did not overwhelm the wishes of smaller states.

The legal component of the Florida invasion now has fully engaged. Greg Craig, former attorney for Fidel Castro, John Hinckley and Bill Clinton, is adding his considerable legal talents to the fray. No doubt, Craig’s experience in persuading Americans that it is fine to send a 6-year-old boy back to a communist dictatorship or that lying to a grand jury doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment will be of immense help in destroying the electoral process in Florida. Moreover, Attorney General Janet Reno, a veteran of Florida Democratic politics, may get the Justice Department to reinforce the partisan legal effort.

Democratic lackeys also have begun their several-front war. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Rev. Jesse Jackson have brought out the race card. Democratic seniors have come forward to claim discrimination. Time magazine’s Margaret Carlson, the noted “military expert,” smeared military men and women three days before Veterans Day as “tax dodgers” for being registered to vote in Florida absentee where there is no state income tax.

All of this will be shoveled to TV producers looking to fill the hours of breathless coverage now fueling cable television. Concerned with making good television (Electoral College, boring; voter fraud, sexy) and not with the real story, they will continue to fuel the fire.

Media outlets gleefully report that recent immigrants to American and people in other countries are deriding our election process. Actually, should we really care what the whiny French think of our country (since they are on their Fifth Republic while we’re still on our first)? 

With everything in place (the lawyer, the pollsters, the disinformation campaign, the sycophantic media and the war-room vets), Gore took the high road while Bill Daley takes the low road to “reinventing” the election process in Florida.

Sadly, some conservatives think the facts will save them. Syndicated columnist George F. Will recently wrote that sides should avoid being partisan. That’s a nice naive sentiment, but guess what: The liberals already have started the war and Republicans must fight back.

First, they must realize the Democrats are about anything but fairness in this election; they are about power, pure and simple. Democrats must destroy the election process and anyone who gets in their way regardless of party. The stakes are too high to be concerned with individual reputations or careers.

Secondly, bipartisan forces in Florida must reassure the nation that this is a modern state run by competent people, not the swampy Third World backwater that some in Washington or Nashville will try to portray it as.

Thirdly, responsible people must explain why the Electoral College exists. Just a few weeks ago, Gore was defending the current process when it looked like he might lose the popular vote and win the electoral tally. Nothing has changed except the circumstances should never change principle.

Finally, the Bush forces must not allow the Democratic assault to drag out this process. Every day that this soap opera drags on, the more it gets traction with the American public.

Democrats believe fighting this will serve Gore well, whether he wins or loses. The pundits say he’ll be damaged in the eyes of the American voters, but their attention span is short. They believed that if he loses, he’s the wronged party in a new “corrupt bargain” and the front-runner for a 2004 rematch. And if he wins, he’s president on January 20, 2001. 

Republicans better realize once and for all what Democrats do. Politics is not a game to them; it is warfare.

Craig Shirley is a Republican consultant in Alexandria, Va.