Saturday, March 31, 2012

Retrospect: Professional politicians groping to find the real Ronald Reagan

Drummond, R. (1966, July 15). Professional politicians groping to find the real Ronald Reagan. The Washington Reporter, p. 4. Retrieved from,1512570&dq=ronald+reagan&hl=en

Roscoe Drummond went in search of “the real Ronald Reagan” in the summer of 1966.  As would remain the case for the next 30+ years, there were some who hailed Reagan as a serious, thoughtful, conservative candidate;  and others who dismissed him as “just an actor speaking his lines.”

Rather than produce evidence that Reagan was merely a mouthpiece, his critics frequently spoke in dismissive innuendos—designed to leave the impression that the sheer obviousness of Reagan’s idiocy made it unnecessary to bother with such outdated concepts as “proof.”  Drummond’s piece even made note of such “logic”:
Despite the fact he speaks well extemporaneously and effectively handles all kinds of questions at his press conferences, there are not a few who still seem to be in doubt whether Reagan is speaking his own lines or those written for him.  Does Ronald Reagan think for himself?
It never seemed to occur to Reagan’s critics to question the falsifiability of their own charges.  If good extemporaneous speaking and handling of unscripted questions do not reveal a capacity for self-thought, what—precisely--would be evidence of such?  It seems that when it comes to Leftist critics, the only real evidence of independent thought is that one slavishly adheres to whatever the Leftist critic believes. 

To his credit, Drummond concluded in July of ‘66: 
My own impression is that Reagan is considerably more than an actor speaking well-learned lines…Without presuming to appraise all his views, there is no doubt that Ronald Reagan is an intelligent, knowledgeable person in his own right and quite capable of thinking creatively for himself.

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