Skip to comments.Helen Thomas: 'Reagan Diaries' Make For Must-Read Fare
Posted on 06/25/2007 12:48:45 PM PDT by seanmerc
Read the newly published "The Reagan Diaries" if you want a true insight into the mind of the nation's 40th president.
The diaries -- written daily from 1981 until President Ronald Reagan left office in 1989 -- reveal him to be much more involved in the nitty gritty of national and world affairs than many White House reporters thought. He had often been portrayed as a detached, "chairman of the board" kind of president.
The diaries show that Reagan had something to say about everything and everybody; his thoughts were often summarized in one handwritten sentence. His notations mixed the profound with the trivial.
Historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited the publication of the diaries, had to toss out chunks to boil the entries down to a 696-page memoir. But no one is shortchanged.
Reagan comes across as deeper, funnier, more religious and more humble than he seemed when he was striding across the world stage. He is true to his public persona -- foe of communism, tax increases, organized labor and, often, the news media.
The diaries are replete with his devotion to his wife, Nancy, and his despair at being lonely when she was not around.
On July 6, 1983, Reagan said: "Nancy's birthday! Life would be miserable if there wasn't a Nancy's birthday. What if she'd never been born? I don't want to think about it."
Also revealing were his tensions with his children -- Ronald Reagan Jr., who he said was anxious to shed his Secret Service protection, and Patti, who Reagan said had a "yo-yo relationship" with the family, whatever that means.
A former Hollywood star, he was an avid movie fan. He chafed at having to wear a bulletproof vest. And he resented as a "d..n gross violation of privacy" the fact that he had to make public every gift, even those from his personal friends.
There were many serious notes about the Middle East, often followed by a reference to watching a movie or "watching the 'Waltons on TV' and so to bed."
Here's how Reagan recalled his thoughts after he was shot in the lung by John Hinckley on March 30, 1981, outside the Washington Hilton Hotel as he walked toward his limousine. He was rushed to George Washington University Hospital and wrote:
"I was getting less and less air. I focused on that tiled ceiling and prayed. But I realized I couldn't ask for God's help while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed up young man who had shot me. Isn't that the meaning of the lost sheep?"
Unlike President Richard M. Nixon, he did not have an "enemies list" of members of the press, but he was often outraged with the news media.
When Richard Allen, his first national security adviser, was accused of accepting gifts from the Japanese government, Reagan wrote, "The press has really been a lynch mob and I don't think they will stop which is why he can't be back in N.S.C. (National Security Council)."
In another entry, Reagan says: "Press Conference day. I think it was a good one but the 'pack' was blood thirsty."
"The press isn't after news. They want to trap you in a goof," he said at another point.
On June 7, 1981, he wrote: "Got word on Israeli bombing of Iraq nuclear reactor. I swear I believe Armageddon is near."
He recorded his observations about friend and foe.
On Oct. 13, 1981, Reagan said he met with "J.C." -- former President Jimmy Carter -- adding: "I expected the worst, but he was cordial, friendly and just exchanged views on the Middle East, etc."
Reagan had a friendly relationship with House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, D-Mass., but that did not stop him from getting angry.
"Just saw a fund-raising letter signed by Tip O'Neill for Dem. Cong. Committee," he said. "It is the most vicious pack of lies I've ever seen. It's aimed at Sr. Citizens & has me out to destroy Medicare & Social Security. We can't let him get away with this."
As a reporter having covered him for eight years in the White House, I am sure the press could have done a better job if we had known the real Ronald Reagan.
(Helen Thomas can be reached at the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now that's a real knee slapper!
What didnt the press know? That RR hated communism? That he loved Nancy? That he was a tax cutter? That he was a man of God and for a strong national defense?
It was for these, and many more reasons, why they hated him so much.
There you go. Fixed.
Give her a break. The word “yo-yo” wasn’t well known until it’s entry into American-Filipino Dictionaries in the 1860’s, so Madam Thomas would never have heard the toy referred to as such. Maybe her children had a few “yo-yos”, but she probably played with them as “bangalores” or “quizzes”.
That’s “bandalore” not “bangalore” you idiot.
I don’t think it’ll take that long for MoDo.
I don’t think it worked in HT’s case...
I reading Reagan diaries
I read part when Ronnie miss Nancy he seem pouting ROFL
OMG are you telling me all these years Helen has secret crush on Ronnie
OH LORDY ROFL
Did you really need to post that picture?
You know you love it! :-)
Scum-sucking harridan. If you'd been better at your jobs, you would have known the real Ronald Reagan. FOAD, diseased hag.
So what do you day Helen, do you think Hilliary has an "enemies list?"
Emotionally cancerous skanks like Helen don't have "ups and downs." They only have "downs and downers."
Next time post the picture like Beelzebubba did, if you must!
She can't be that dim.
I actually had the opportunity to meet Helen Thomas. I don’t know too much about her political views, but on a personal level, she’s a very, very nice lady.
Very true. Still, this is the closest thing I’ve read to a good, factual column by Helen Thomas-— that is to say, not everything in it other than “Helen” and “Thomas” is an out and out falsehood.
That's a serious shock (to me), almost on the level of when Maureen Dowd inexplicably and uncharacteristically showed self-deprecating rather than nasty humor in relating teasing from her wise, solidly conservative Rush Limbaugh listening family in a column that was actually well written and fun to read.
Jimmah saved his worst for us.
Has Helen forgotten 'Patti'. . .her public maneuverings rising from her 'angst'. . .her 'tell all'? Or; does she think we have. . .
That said; Helen better be careful; being a Liberal means 'never having to say you are sorry'.
Sounds like she is getting close here.