The Corner

Re: Still #1

Mark makes a convincing case that proportionally more Americans probably watched Reagan’s inaugural in 1981 than Obama’s this week. Don’t forget the additional drama of the moment that Obama could not possibly have matched: There was a split-screen aspect of 1981, in which the shot of Reagan was juxtaposed next to a shot of a darkened sky in Tehran, as we expected the imminent release of the hostages. The Washington Post’s TV critic Tom Shales wrote at the time, “Perhaps not since the funeral of John F. Kennedy have Americans kept so diligent a vigil before their television sets.”

But there is also this tidbit to ponder (from my forthcoming book on the Reagan presidency):

“Despite Reagan’s thumping victory in the election, in the weeks leading up to Inauguration Reagan recorded in opinion polls the lowest public approval rating—51 percent—of any incoming modern president in the history of the Gallup Poll. Reagan’s heterodox views, endlessly assailed by the media, were surely one reason for this high quotient of public doubt. Anyone who pledged such a decisive break with the past was bound to cause a polarization of public opinion.”

Part of Obama’s current sky-high approval rating owes precisely to his continued vagueness that still has even our Corner compasses spinning.

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More