The Corner

Re: Going Negative

And then there’s Reuters. Apparently the only picture they — or this site’s editors — could find was one of Reagan and Nancy with Michael Jackson (I guess pictures with, say, the Pope, Maggie Thatcher or Desmond Tutu say less than one with a reputed pederast). Anyway here’s how they open their restrospective:

Reagan remembered as charming enigma

06.06.2004

11.00am – By JILL SERJEANT and ARTHUR SPIEGELMAN

LOS ANGELES – Ronald Reagan, who died on Saturday at 93, was one of the great mysteries in American politics — was he the man in charge or simply a puppet, the master politician or a manipulated performer?

Even his official biographer didn’t know what to make of him.

To his friends and supporters, Reagan was a man of charm and warmth, a politician of principle who made Americans feel good about themselves after years of doubt fuelled by the Vietnam war and the Iran hostage crisis.

But to his critics, he remained the B-movie actor of his earlier years, a puppet in the hands of aides, and a man of little substance who turned the most powerful job in the world into his last great performance.

After all, some of his best lines and stories came from the dozens of movie roles that he played, often as the male star’s best friend and once as a chimpanzee’s best buddy.

One of his memoirs was entitled “Where’s the Rest of Me?” after a screen role he played in which his character’s legs were amputated by an evil doctor.

The title posed a question that has haunted American political debate for years.

Tip O’Neill, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives with whom the Republican Reagan often jousted, once said, “He knows less than any president I have ever known.”

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