What does Harry Reid have in common with Ronaldus Magnus? “Nothing!” you shout? Not so quick, dear reader, as it turns out they share a profound love of cowboy poetry—the one for funding it, and the other for actually reading it. Here’s an excerpt from Reagan’s presidential diary, dated 16 March 1981.
Paul Laxalt came by and played Santa Claus with gifts he’d received for me, including the most beautiful western belt buckle I’ve ever seen. He had a letter from an Irishman in [Nevada] who complained because he didn’t think I knew the [Robert William] Service poem, The Shooting of Dan McGrew. We put in a call to Nevada and after I convinced him I really was who I said I was I recited the poem to him. He’s a Democrat who I think may now turn Republican.
This is just one more example of a quality in Reagan that has been lacking in far too many Republican presidential hopefuls since then—an authentic connection to the common American. Reagan not only claimed to like the poetry of the blue-collar man, he actually did! He could recite it from memory. There’s nothing more terrible than a patrician finagling for votes, except a patrician finagling for votes while trying to masquerade as a plebeian. (think John Kerry’s walking into the Village Grocery Store in Buchanan, OH and asking, “Can I get me a hunting license here?”)
Here’s hoping that the GOP puts up a candidate in 2012 who can pump his/her own gas, correctly load and fire a shotgun, make a grilled cheese sandwich without help, and memorize something other than their own political talking points.
In case you’re now curious, here is…The Shooting of Dan McGrew:
For Further Reading: