Skip to comments.Queer Eye for a Great Guy(The Reagans is no threat, confirming how irrelevant liberals have become)
Posted on 12/04/2003 11:40:58 PM PST by nickcarraway
As David Brooks noted last week, the Democrats are rapidly falling into a minority mentality. The stridency, the lack of realism, the bizarre oppositional stances (who ever thought the Democrats would oppose drug prescriptions for Medicare!) -- all speak of a faction whose members becoming increasingly aware that they are irrelevant.
Nowhere is this clearer than in last Sunday's long-awaited broadcast of The Reagans. True, the script wasn't very flattering -- although it certainly wasn't as bad as reported. And true, the show's recollections of the 1980s read like "Liberalism's Greatest Hits." But why should Republicans want to censor this melodrama? The three-hour script's biases are so profound, so transparent, they end up saying more about the authors than about the subject.
In ways the show was engaging. First, James Brolin does a wonderful Ronald Reagan. The physical resemblance is striking but Brolin did even better with Reagan's mannerisms. This guy can act and deserves credit for much more than being Barbra Streisand's husband.
Judy Davis, on the other hand, proves that physical resemblance means nothing if you're not acting in good faith. Her hyperthyroid Nancy Reagan bears almost no resemblance to the ex-President's wife -- at least as she has emerged in public and various memoirs.
What the show completely fails to grasp is the world that Reagan inhabited. Half of The Reagans is spent on scheming Nancy (she is really the star of the show) and the other half portrays the President being manipulated by his advisers. This is cartoon reality. Everyone who ever encountered Reagan personally came expecting a lightweight and ended up being awed by the gravity of the man.
In How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, former speechwriter Peter Robinson tells of one confrontation between Reagan and Arthur Burns, the god-like former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board who had advised Republican Presidents since Eisenhower. At a cabinet meeting, Burns -- sitting at Reagan's right hand -- made yet another attempt to suggest that the federal budget be balanced by repealing the tax cuts of 1981. "Didn't I say I was going to relieve the American people of their tax burden?" responded Reagan firmly. "Well. don't ever mention this in my presence again."
Reagan was most at home in a man's world. He could joke and banter with the best yet never shed his dignity. He refused even to take off his suit jacket in the Oval Office. (This is often mentioned in contrast to Bill Clinton's penchant for shedding other portions in his wardrobe.) As Robinson reports, Reagan was the most light-hearted yet the most serious man he ever encountered.
Ignoring all this, The Reagans proceeds to rework history. What do you remember most about the Reagan years? "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall?" The "Nuclear Winter" crusades that depicted Reagan as a warmonger? The "Walk in the Woods" at Reykyavik (subject of a recent off-Broadway play), where Reagan refused give up his anti-missile defense system but tried to convince him of the fundamental goodness of the American people? The invasion of Grenada? The downing of KAL 007, which convinced even many liberals that the Soviets and their allies were evil?
None of these make the script. Instead, "The Reagans" concentrates on the August 1981 downing of two Libyan jets after they attacked American fighters in a dispute over Libyan air space. The sole purpose is to recount how Reagan's aides woke him in the middle of the night and then let him go back to sleep. Another subject treated lovingly is the President's 1985 visit to Bitburg Cemetery, where an intelligence foul-up left him speaking near the graves of 20 SS soldiers.
On the other hand, the entire decade-long confrontation with the Soviets is dismissed in one bizarre scene where an aide rushes into the Oval Office and announces, "Mr. President, Premier Gorbachev has agreed to meet with you to discuss disarmament! You've won the Cold War!"
As always, the liberal centerpiece of the Reagan's foreign policy is Iran-Contra. Frankly, I've never been able to understand all the fuss. American lives were at stake and Reagan quietly allowed a deal to be done. Then Oliver North hijacked the profits to jump-start the Contras after Congress -- bowing to liberal fantasies -- decided to accept the Marxist Sandinista government. (Pressure from the Contras eventually forced the Sandinistas to hold elections, which they lost.)
Sure all this was embarrassing, but did it set off the tumult in the Middle East? In the script an hysterical aide tells Reagan, "Mr. President, you have destroyed this country's foreign policy and made us the laughing stock of the entire world." Only liberals would believe that.
Peter Schweizer's Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union, tells how Reagan plotted the Soviet downfall from the first day of his administration. Bill Casey, head of the CIA, was dispatched all over the world to line up Arab, Israeli, and Eastern European allies. We smuggled radio equipment into Poland to support Solidarity (another no-show on The Reagans). We put the squeeze on Europe to prevent construction of the Siberian gas pipeline. We got surface-to-air missiles to the Mujahedin that helped drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. (That's one we might partially regret.) All this -- plus Star Wars -- led to the Soviet collapse.
Brushing history aside, The Reagans concentrates on the soap opera of Nancy's domineering ways and Ron's ineffectual bungling. The scriptwriters seem almost crestfallen that Ronald Reagan, Jr.'s didn't turn out to be gay. And of course there is AIDS, which, next to Iran-Contra, seems to be the most important event of Reagan's eight years. The end credits announce that 890,000 people still have AIDS in America. Streisand, whose son has AIDS, reportedly blames Ronald Reagan personally.
Any scientist will tell you that AIDS is now one of the most heavily funded research topics on the planet. Yet somehow it is never too late to go back and blame the whole thing on the Reagan Administration.
Regarding cheap-shot efforts like The Reagans, conservatives have nothing to fear. As Brian Anderson writes in the latest issue of City Journal, We're Not Losing the Culture Wars Anymore."
William Tucker is a writer in Brooklyn.
The thought police are losing their power.
Forcing people to think contrary to their conscience creates outrage. People have had enough. They've learned, the hard way, liberalism is facism, and they've decided they don't care much for it.
Our great country is comming back.
I disagree strongly.
The make up artistes did a wonderful job... and the mannerisms were there.. but only in public scenes. In private scenes, Brolin plays Reagan as a man lost at sea, unable to string two sentences together, hinting that Reagan could only sound good when it scripted! In fact, one scen has Nancy writing the script for him after he make the mythical comment that trees cause pollution to a gaggle of disbelieving newsmen at the Reagan Ranch. NAncy whispers to an obviously tongue tied Reagan, at a loss for words after supposedly stuffing his foot down his throat: "Come on, let me show you around the place," which Reagan dutifully, but almost unenthusiastically repeats word for word. The script gave Brolin little to work with, omitting many of Reagan's best phrases, but Brolin's recreation of Reagan fell flat because of his lack of fire and belief in Reagan's words.
James Brolin played "the Great Communicator" as if he could not read a single sentance without pausing in the wrong place. The man who could disarm an opponent with a glib remark was often left fumbling (the script's fault) but when Brolin did get the remark, he always waited until it was ineffectual. Any jokes Reagan made fell flat from Brolin's mouth because of bad timing.
This was so pronounced in "The Reagans" that the few times when Brolin DID get it right, you really noticed.
That says it all, but unfortunately there is a segment of mostly young viewers who won't get it, and that is what the sloppy Liberals are counting on! Just a few more people on this earth who will think Reagan was a dolt and a hater.
These liberals are sickening, and this country is in great danger because of the hatred that they are creating. It's bad times.
2004 is going to be momentous! The coming election is the most important event in my six decades. It is time to defend ourselves, and you know what they say, "The best defense is a good offense."
Oh, that First Ladies biographer is gay. Any more questions?
As you expertly notice in your post, we are indeed losing, and fast. I somehow think conservatives like this writer who are blind deaf and perpetually happy, are democRAT plants. This dizzy state of contentment and complacency will lead us all right down the RAThole.
We are NOT winning the culture war, or much of anything else on the domestic front. The idea that we are winning is perhaps what keeps so many, incorrectly, from fighting back.