Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The real Reagan (and his letters)

Andrew Sullivan’s op-ed for the (London)Sunday Times on the recently published letters of Ronald Reagan is first class, a must read. The revivification of Reagan as a very serious person, with some massive virtues, continues apace, and his detractors should continue eating crow. I haven’t read the book yet, but read into some of the letters, as published in Time (the one I linked to is to Hugh Heffner) and they are impressive. Here is a flavor of Sullivan:

"Reagan was a highly articulate, well-read and subtle man. The range of his interests, the extent of his knowledge and understanding of world events and history, his grasp of detail are all completely counter to the image we have long held. From developments in Communist China to the latest economic figures, from isolated dissidents he helped free from the Soviet Gulag to an intricate account of how the Iran-Contra affair escaped his political management, we find a man far more clued in than we had been led to believe. Maybe it’s a function of low expectations that I found the letters so impressive (and I haven’t managed to read all of them yet). Maybe it’s more brilliant stagecraft by the man or his editors. But private letters are among the most intimate of a public person’s output. They can reveal more about a person than many other public documents. And in this case, they really do."   

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