Tag Archives: republicans

The Reagans never stopped dating: Craig Shirley

USA Today

Craig Shirley   4:18 p.m. EST March 6, 2016

Nancy Reagan remembered everything about her husband and he remembered everything about her.

The 52-year marriage of Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis began on a blind date, and they never stopped dating. She gave up a promising career as an actress, but they were in one movie together: 1957’s Hellcats of the Navy. Her character told Reagan’s character in the film that she knew a lot about the moon because she looked at it often when he was away.

The couple had met several years earlier when her name appeared erroneously on a list of suspected communists in Hollywood. She was making The Next Voice You Hear and was terribly upset. A friend, Mervyn LeRoy, said he would introduce her to the president of the Screen Actors Guild, Ronald Reagan, to look into the matter.

They went to dinner fully prepared to beg off if they didn’t like each other, but 50 years later, she remembered what she ate (steak), what she wore (a black dress), and what show they took in after dinner (a ribald one-woman comedy show). He later proposed to her at Chasen’s, and they often dined in the booth where she had said “yes” to his proposal of marriage.

She remembered everything about Reagan, and he remembered everything about her.

When he was away, he wrote to her daily, letters that were tender, funny and touching. He’d depict himself in drawings crying over being away from her. When Reagan was running for president, he wrote her that “maybe being in the White House wouldn’t be so bad — you’d be right upstairs.”

They were really best friends who slept in the same room and same bed for their entire marriage. They laughed together, celebrated together, cried together and when he died, a part of her died.

They loved entertaining but were also happy being alone with one another on their horses or in a canoe. She used to tease him about playing a ukulele while paddling. In the beginning, she wasn’t wild about the ranch but over time, it grew on her. She ended up loving it as much as he did, in part because it was one of the few places she could have him to herself. When she sold it after Reagan’s Alzheimer’s took him another step downward, she was terribly depressed.

Nancy counseled her husband while he was president, although not on national policy. He used to love wearing a purple plaid suit while president. She hated it. After the 1981 assassination attempt and his recovery, they were on Air Force One and he was wearing the suit. Nancy complained, and he protested how much he liked it. She turned to friend and aide Mike Deaver, “Tell the president what the staff says about the suit!” Reagan looked at Deaver and asked, “Mike, what does the staff say about my suit?” Deaver replied, “Mr. President, the staff says if you were going to be shot, why couldn’t you be shot wearing that suit?”

In his later years, she gave part of herself to him, like an O. Henry story. She ate less, slept less, worried more, cried more and, when he died, she mourned him greatly. She never stopped loving Ronald Reagan and never stopped mourning him.

Now, at last, they are together again in eternity.

Nancy Davis Reagan, R.I.P.

Craig Shirley, founder of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, has written three best-selling books about Ronald Reagan, most recently last year’s Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan, and is at work on a fourth.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan dies of heart failure at 94

– The Washington Times – Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nancy Reagan, one of the most influential first ladies in U.S. history and the longtime keeper of the Reagan image, died Sunday morning of congestive heart failure at her home in Los Angeles, according to a family spokesperson. She was 94.

The former actress was a fixture at the side of her husband, Ronald Reagan, as he made an improbable assent from Hollywood actor, to California governor to president of the United States. Along the way, she served as wife and trusted adviser, emerging as a relentless guardian of her husband’s image during political controversies, the 1981 assassination attempt, his battle with Alzheimer’s disease and later as the widow tending his legacy.

However, for many she is best known for her “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign during her time at the White House in the 1980s.

Throughout it all, the partnership of Nancy and Ronald Reagan stands out as one of the great love stories of the times.

She will be buried next to her husband, who died in 2004, at his presidential library in Simi Valley, California.

“Prior to the funeral service, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to pay their respects at the Library,” the library said in a statement. “Details will be announced shortly.”

The statement said that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ronald Reagan Foundation and Library at www.reaganfoundation.org.

“Theirs is one of the great love stories of the American presidency, ranking with the Washington and Adams marriages,” said Craig Shirley, aReagan biographer and author of the new book “Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan.”

“She will be remembered as a not just the first lady, but a great lady. I remember her many kindnesses in having the Reagan Library open sealed files for my research use and her many and kind letters,” he said. “She had many causes as first lady, but the first was her undying devotion to her husband.”

Michael Reagan recognized the everlasting bond between his stepmother and his father when expressing his grief over her passing. “She is once again with the man she loved,” he wrote on Twitter.

Respects and remembrances came from political leaders on both sides of the aisle.

Former President Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton, who now is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, issued a joint statement expressing their condolences.

Nancy was an extraordinary woman: a gracious first lady, proud mother, and devoted wife to President Reagan — her Ronnie,” they wrote. “Her strength of character was legendary, particularly when tested by the attempted assassination of the president, and throughout his battle with Alzheimer’s. She leaves a remarkable legacy of good that includes her tireless advocacy for Alzheimer’s research and the Foster Grandparent Program.”

“We join all Americans in extending our prayers and condolences to her beloved children and her entire family during this difficult time,” said the Clintons.

Mitt Romney will go down as the Nelson Rockefeller of the 21st Century

Mitt Romney will go down as a sad foot note in history, the Nelson Rockefeller of the 21st century. Too much time and money on his hands, too few ideas.

Before Ronald Reagan was Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan wasn’t Ronald Reagan. In the 60’s and 70’s, Ronald Reagan was often derided by the eastern elites, by the academia, by the establishment of the Republican Party. He was considered the George Wallace of the Republican Party, a Grade B Actor with premature orange hair, and even in 1980, when he started to break loose and head towards the nomination, the party elders in a panic went to see Gerald Ford to try to get Gerald Ford back in the race to stop Ronald Reagan.

Liberals Just Can’t Write Reagan


A new book by liberal writer Jacob Weisberg gets the Gipper all wrong

by Craig Shirley

In 1964, Ronald Reagan said, “The trouble with our liberal friends isn’t that they are ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” Left-wing author and head of the leftist Slate magazine Jacob Weisberg knows a lot of misinformation when it comes to Ronald Reagan.

Weisberg has penned a slim book on Ronald Reagan that should be approached with extreme caution. He’s written this book in conjunction with the History Channel, another liberal outfit.

How bad is Weisberg’s book? Apparently it won’t be selling at any Reagan institutions, and Weisberg won’t be invited to speak to any reputable conservative group. Not Hoover, not The Buckley Center at Yale, not CPAC — not anyplace in which intellectual conservatism flourishes.

Jacob Weisberg is liberal and wrong. Is there a difference? He is the son of a Chicago community organizer and a left-wing lawyer. He went to the best liberal private schools and the Ivy League. Red-diaper baby? You bet.

Now, in a New York Times piece to promote his book (natch), Weisberg writes that Reagan wasn’t all that hot to trot for the pro-life movement, and that he raised taxes. And then Weisberg eviscerates modern conservatives for writing books and going on television and making money by being public. He attacks conservatives for making “a career as a right-wing celebrity.” And he goes out of his way to gratuitously attack Newt Gingrich, who, last I checked, had more degrees than Weisberg.

Ahem. Before he was president (and after the California governorship) Reagan made money off speeches, his twice-a-week column and his daily radio commentaries. Weisberg cherry picks Reagan in his piece and bends history to satisfy his liberalism.

In fact, Reagan wrote, in the last year of his administration, “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation,” even today one of the most important philosophical tracts making the case for human life and human dignity and individuality.

To repeat, Reagan did not support blanket amnesty. He supported a tough border and, for those here illegally, heavy penalties. The Bush administration in 1989 failed to enforce Reagan’s strong penalties. Reagan said a nation without borders was doomed to fail.

Everything during Reagan’s eight years must be judged in the shadow of the Cold War. First, a lot of those illegal aliens were in fact political refugees from the communist and murderous dictatorships of Cuba and Nicaragua. Second, Reagan was not about to hand Mikhail Gorbachev a huge PR bonanza by forcibly evicting a couple of hundred thousand people.

Reagan, as he might say, was confronting a difficult problem with simple answers, just not easy ones.

Yes, Reagan raised taxes, but overall his tax cut in 1981 and his Tax Reform Act of 1986 cut taxes far more than raised them. Also, by cutting away the thicket of federal regulations, he created the conditions that created over 18 million jobs while eradicating inflation and bringing interest rates down to the low single digits.

Oh yeah, and along the way, he restored Americans’ belief in themselves and defeated the Soviet Empire.

Liberals like Rick Perlstein and Jacob Weisberg and Chris Matthews should not be allowed to record conservative history or, at the very least, their writings should be taken with a giant grain of salt. They are too interested in acquiring power for a liberal establishment, so they must rewrite or diminish conservative history.

Certainly they know that to diminish Reagan is to diminish American conservatism, which is the ultimate goal of liberalism.

Craig Shirley: The Fall of the House of Bush


by CRAIG SHIRLEY   21 Feb 2016

That plummeting sound you hear is the fall of the House of Bush. Unfortunately for the family, it is not falling silently into the woods and there are plenty of people to hear it and witness it and, in time, kick over the dead embers of Bushism.

With Jeb Bush’s dismal loss in South Carolina comes the end of the Bush dynasty, which given the rise of President George HW Bush in 1980 (and even before with Senator Prescott Bush) as Ronald Reagan’s running mate, and later two presidencies, it lasted well over 30 years. Only the Adams’s, the Roosevelts, and the Kennedys could make the same claim as goes political dynasties.

Years ago, Sports Illustrated ran a cover story on the Green Bay Packers the year after Vince Lombardi left and the team had reverted back to losing. The headline read, “A Dynasty Totters” and I recall the wistful feeling as I held that issue. Years later, I am experiencing that same sentiment even as conservatives often disagreed with the family.

The embarrassment of the Bush family will be difficult and this is cheerless for that proud and patriotic family.

While the Bush family was smart in an Ivy League sort of way, it was never clear if they were as wise as presidents should be. It seemed as if they too often asked “Can we do this?” rather than “Should we do this?”

Harry Truman once said a president’s job is to say yes and no, but mostly no. Bush 41 didn’t say no to the hectoring he received from the Big Government Republicans to raise taxes and Bush 43 didn’t say no to the neocons wanting to invade and occupy Iraq.

Ironically, it may have been Governor Jeb Bush who was the most conservative, the most affable and the most temperamentally suited to be president and had he won in 1994, things might have been radically different.

Somehow, I doubt Jeb will run again in four years if the Republicans fail to wrest the White House from the Democrats although he will still be younger than Ronald Reagan was in 1980 if he chooses to do so.

Meanwhile, Politico has been running the same old tired clichés about Bush’s now lifeless campaign such as “running on fumes” and other unimaginative phrases. They don’t see the historical significance in Bush’s unsuccessful effort.

There is great meaning in Jeb Bush’s demise. This is not simply the loss of Carly Fiorina or Rick Santorum.

Jeb’s loss is the loss of an entire culture. It means the established order is waning, the donor class of the GOP no longer holds sway, and the power no longer resides with the party committees.

It means those writers and organizations and publications and individuals who subscribed to a New World Order and Big Government Republicanism are also in steep decline. It is yet another indications that the party is returning to the federalism of Ronald Reagan, to American conservatism. The party is going back to the future.

One of those neocon periodicals recently called Trumpism a “virus” for questioning the Iraq War. Donald Trump should not have said that President George Bush “lied” but that is besides the point. The need for a debate about the war has remained unspoken out of simple party loyalty. John Kennedy once said sometimes party loyalty demanded too much. The Republican Party is overdue in having this debate.

Many Reaganites had their differences with the Bush family including 41’s tax increase along with the “kinder and gentler” rebuke of Ronald Reagan, a New World Order, and 43’s “compassionate conservatism” and nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush 43 also greatly increased federal spending and basically left a burning hole in the ground where Reagan’s conservatism used to reside. Thus the rise of the tea party movement and anti-establishmentism.

Despite party’s the turn away from Reagan some years ago, most refuse to believe that the Bush family was malicious. Oh, they were probably jealous of the affection in the party and the country for the Gipper, but that was not the prime motivator for their differing approach to governance. They simply came from a different part of the jungle, saw the world differently.

The party has now moved beyond Bushism but this was a long time coming. With each election, the Bush point total went gradually down, from 1988 to 1992 to 2000 to 2004 and now with Jeb’s gloomy performances, it is over. Along the way there were blips up but mostly down as the party became more conservative, more populist, more anti foreign adventures and yes, more anti Bush.

Governor Bush was simply caught up and crumpled in the hand of history, as the Republican Party searches once again for its soul. We’ve seen this before, in 1964 and again in 1980. The problem after 1988, when Ronald Reagan left with historically high approval ratings and a coherent and winning philosophy for the GOP, was the establishment could not resist toying with success. The GOP became a house divided against itself though it is clear what the outcome will be.

The country does not need two big government parties.


Craig Shirley is a New York Times bestselling writer, a presidential historian, a Reagan biographer and author of the new book, Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan.