There is nothing clandestine about Dugger’s quarry of new material, though Reagan’s staff has done its best to play it down. The material consists of transcripts of several hundred five-minute radio spots that Reagan broadcast after he left Sacramento in 1975; a series that ended the day he announced for president in 1979.
There can be no doubt whatever that these broadcasts express Reagan’s own personal, instinctive attitudes to the important foreign and domestic issues of the day, as opposed to cooler or more cautious or veiled attitudes he may have been advised to express then or later.
Reagan himself, in the last of the broadcasts, states that he wrote them all with his own hand. “I’ve scratched them out on a yellow tablet in airplanes, riding in cars, and at the ranch when the sun went down.”
They reveal him as perhaps a cleverer man than most reporters think he is. You may accept neither his premises nor his conclusions, but you will conclude, I submit, on reading these scripts, that Reagan writes better than you would expect. He has a sure sense of how an issue can be turned, sometimes twisted, to his advantage. And he has a real flair for one-liners.
The transcripts also reveal–and this is the heart of Dugger’s contention–a harder, nastier political style than that of the relaxed, tolerant personality Reagan has so carefully cultivated in the White House.
.. “He was presenting himself to the country as a moderate,” this is Dugger’s key charge, “but these transcripts show that deep down he was a hardline right-wing ideologue with fully formed and recently expressed prejudices on all of the outstanding issues of the day.”
.. The transcripts contain too much that supports this harsh judgment. All the clich,es of the Californian radical right are trotted out without inhibition.
“Eighty per cent of air pollution,” the president believes, “comes not from chimneys and auto exhaust pipes but from plants and trees.” Banning pesticides like DDT leads to “political pollution.” Smoking pot leads to sterility.
.. The social attitudes revealed are uniformly indifferent to the old, the poor, the weak, and always coincide with the interests of the rich, corporations, and the financial Haves. The president is more moved by “the injustice done to Allan Bakke” than by the plight of those on welfare, and it is “demagoguery” to believe that income taxes should be progressive, that is, should increase with the size of incomes.
.. More surprising, and more unpleasant, is the president’s habit of using the sly, indirect way of the propagandist, using code language to suggest more than he quite says right out.
.. He does not explicitly advocate the death penalty, for example. That would sound too bloodthirsty. Instead he quotes with approval the father of a murdered man who says, “after two years the murderer of my son goes free, but my son is dead.” Because the late senator Joe McCarthy did not start to make his unsupported allegations about communists in government until after Alger Hiss had been charged with perjury, it does not follow, as Reagan implies, that those who oppose McCarthyism believe that the Cold War existed only in the minds of reactionaries.
.. There is a good deal of old-fashioned chauvinism to be found in the broadcasts. The Caribbean, Reagan concluded because Michael Manley was prime minister of Jamaica, “is rapidly becoming a communist lake in what should be an American pond.” What should be? The Caribbean basin? The Atlantic? The whole great gulf of ocean itself?
..”Maybe there is an answer–we simply do what’s morally right. Stop doing business with them. Let their system collapse.”
What if it doesn’t collapse?
.. Ronald Reagan is the leader of elements in the government who want the United States to obtain a first- strike capability
.. not all Reagan’s ideas are mistaken. His reaction against the New Deal, as Dugger says, would not have taken him to the White House unless it expressed authentic grievances, genuine second-thoughts about what had been accepted wisdom, real pain experienced by those who had not been preferred targets for the benevolence of the liberal system.
It is true. but that does not make the real Ronald Reagan, revealed behind the mask of amiability in his radio scripts, any less profoundly disturbing.
White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci can be forgiven for succumbing to the same illusion that enchants almost every conservative with a moment in the media spotlight: that journalists might really like you.
Whatever agreement he may have had with Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, there was no way a liberal reporter was going to sit on an explosive story like the new communications director trashing the president’s top aides. Lizza told CNN on Thursday night that he would not have published the interview if Scaramucci had told him explicitly that it was off the record. Perhaps not, but he would have found another way to release the same information.
.. There is no reason to trust any reporter, and especially a mainstream media reporter, and particularly a mainstream media reporter from a left-wing publication that has compared your boss to Hitler.
.. How many on the right — President Donald Trump included — have been done in by the big interview with the New York Times, the hope of favorable treatment by CNN, the flattery of BuzzFeed? It always ends the same way — with Lucy swiping the football away from Charlie Brown. And for some reason, Charlie Brown is always surprised.
.. Jake Tapper is a case in point. A left-wing journalist who once wrote for Salon, he ingratiated himself with the right while he was at ABC News because he was the only reporter who dared to ask the Obama administration remotely challenging questions. Breitbart News, of all sites, cheered for Tapper when he moved to CNN and was given his own shows — first The Lead, then the State of the Union gig. And then he turned on us, viciously and emotionally.
.. It is generally good to be cordial to mainstream media journalists. It is almost impossible to be friends with them. They live to destroy conservatives, and they hate this president with a bloodthirsty passion. They obey no rules. There is no quarter asked and none given.
Scaramucci said it best: “What I don’t like about Washington is people do not let you know how they feel. They’re very nice to your face, and then they take a shiv or a machete and they stab it in your back.”