January 23, 2005

WHO DID THEY THINK WROTE THEM?

New papers redefine Reagan (Eric Leach, January 23, 2005, Los Angeles Daily News)

The library recently made available nearly 25,000 additional pages of Reagan's personal papers, including speeches, radio scripts and articles he wrote in the 1960s and '70s.

These documents include Reagan's handwritten drafts of about 1,000 scripts for "Viewpoint," his nationally syndicated radio commentary program, which aired from 1975 to 1979.

"The radio speeches are crucial in my view," said Robert G. Kaufman, a professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, who is researching a biography on Reagan's goals and his early presidential years.

"It was during those years, from 1975 to 1979, that his thoughts crystalized into a coherent national philosophy that served as a template for his presidency.

"All this dispels the myth that Ronald Reagan was somehow a creature of his advisers," Kaufman said. "The radio addresses prove the contrary. They show that Ronald Reagan was the driving force of his administration and the key policies emanating from it." [...]

The radio show drafts, portions of which were never aired, offer "a good time capsule of what was going on during that period of the 1970s, because Ronald Reagan talked about everything that was going on," said Michael Duggan, supervisory archivist at the library.

"We've released a small collection of (the Reagans) love letters, but this is by far the largest personal collection we have opened."

Before the release of the new collection, said researchers Martin and Annelise Anderson, who edited "Reagan, In His Own Hand: Writings of Ronald Reagan Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America," most scholars believed Reagan was an "amicable dunce" who relied heavily on his advisers.

But Martin Anderson said the documents being made available at the library are giving scholars a different picture.

"We are just beginning to understand how much Reagan was in charge," he said. "That's why the library is so critically important.

"So far we've found 6,500 drafts of Ronald Reagan's handwritten letters, and they are mostly in the library. When you hold up a handwritten document to a historian, it's like holding up a cross to the devil.

"When Ronald Reagan became president of the United States, he wrote the inaugural address himself, the entire thing. It's amazing the things he mastered, the things he knew about and the philosophy he put together."

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2005 5:22 PM
Comments

But Martin Anderson said the documents being made available at the library are giving scholars a different picture.

"We are just beginning to understand how much Reagan was in charge," he said. "That's why the library is so critically important.

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That's what happens when you believe - or truly want to believe the spin.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 23, 2005 6:59 PM

Saturday Night Live probably never realized how true they were w/that girl scout skit, but more wailing.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 23, 2005 7:01 PM

On the anniversary of the Panama Canal handover C-SPAN showed some old debates featuring Reagan vs. Bill Buckley. The Gipper cleaned his clock.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2005 7:05 PM

At the Reagan Ranch, El Cielo, there is a book case containing things RR read during his time there. Among them, you will find light reading such as several works by Hayek and Von Mises, which have Reagan's handwritten comments in the margins. A real dummy.

Posted by: Dan at January 23, 2005 8:51 PM

I think this indicates that everyone should be saving their own copy of this weblog for a proper historical retrospective on the ideas that formed the basis for the rule of Orrin I, Supreme Hierarch. Creative edits encouraged, of course :-) Just don't let the Acolytes catch you.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 23, 2005 9:49 PM

It was an act? Who suspected that?

O yeah. Everybody.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at January 25, 2005 11:30 PM
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