Reagan@100: Courage and Humor

Who can forget Reagan’s incredible courage and humor immediately following the attempted assassination by John Hinckley on March 30, 1981, the 70th day of his presidency?

When a fearful Nancy arrived at George Washington University Hospital, he greeted her, “Honey, I forgot to duck.” On the operating table, Reagan looked up at the green-gowned surgeons surrounding him and quipped, “Please tell me you’re all Republicans.” Responded the chief surgeon, “Mr. President, today everyone’s a Republican.”

Reagan always preferred to make light of his courage. In late 1981, I visited the White House to present to the president an updated version of my 1967 biography. In order to promote sales and with a fine disregard for good taste, the publisher (over my objections) had put a bright yellow banner across the cover proclaiming, “Complete Through the Assassination Attempt.”

As President Reagan and I stood chatting in the Oval Office while a photographer snapped pictures, he looked down at the cover and then up at me. “Well, Lee,” he said with that familiar smile, “I’m sorry I messed up your ending.”

How can you not love a guy like that?

— Lee Edwards is Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at The Heritage Foundation and author of the first political biography of Ronald Reagan.

Most Popular

Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More