Skip to comments.New book tells inside story of pivotal Bush-Reagan debate in Nashua
Posted on 10/20/2009 8:52:31 PM PDT by pissant
Craig Shirley, a prominent conservative consultant and close ally of Ronald Reagan, has just written a superb insider's account of Reagan's return from the political wilderness in 1980. Entitled "Rendezvous with Destiny," it is full of anecdotes that have never been published before. Here is Shirley's account of the pivotal moment in the bitter GOP presidential primary battle between Reagan and former Texas congressman and CIA director George H.W. Bush. To order the book, click here. Rendezvous with Destiny.bmp
The thirty-five days between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary during the 1980 presidential campaign were the most important time in Ronald Reagan's political life. And the pivotal moment in this, his third try for the Republican nomination, occurred in a high-school gymnasium just three days before the New Hampshire vote.
Long the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Reagan suffered a stunning upset in Iowa at the hands of George H. W. Bush on January 21. Worse for Reagan, his campaign's internal polling showed the former California governor falling 21 points behind Bush in New Hampshire. If Reagan lost to Bush in New Hampshire, his campaign would be over. Forever. There was no tomorrow. This was it for the Gipper.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.chron.com ...
A grounded thinker with the heart of a lion vs. a prissy, visionless elitist?
Yes, but the GOP hated him.
Of course they did. He wasn’t considered to be of sufficient pedigree, much like Sarah Palin.
He had plenty of Pedigree, it was just the wrong kind - conservative republican, as opposed to the Rockefeller/Baker quisling type.
Sometimes I think they hated him more than we know aka John Hinckley. Reagan was not a NE educated Yale or Harvard man - ditto Nixon and Carter.
Nixon did go to Duke Law though.
Nixon was light years cleaner than LBJ, JFK, Clinton or Hussein.
But he won elections, defeated sitting incumbent Demorats, raised tons of money for the party and helped elect Republicans to office at all levels of government.
And still the Republican elitists disliked him?
“Grounded” is a good description. Ron wasn’t a particularly nuanced or sophisticated thinker, which actually was probably helpful in connecting with the public and keeping his focus on core principles during his term in office, but it also offered a pretty easy avenue of attack for his opponents.
During the time he was Governor, I worked on a TV show for PBS where he managed to get set-up pretty effectively. They’d sold it to the Governor’s office as “Reagan Speaks to the Students”. Ron showed up with his deck of 3x5 talking points, unaware that the students were, in fact, in a graduate level political science program. They’d done their research, and they proceeded to make mincemeat out of him for an hour. Ron was not pleased, and after the show ended I got a chance to see that famous Reagan temper close up. It was pretty impressive. One of the students couldn’t resist a little parting gloating, which resulted in Reagan grabbing him by the collar and yelling at him. His security detail pulled them apart and rushed him out of there.
After witnessing that, I thought “God help us if that guy ever gets his finger on the red button”. I think most of the world had similar qualms during his period in office, and there was a general consensus that this wasn’t a guy to p**s off because he was just crazy enough to go after you. Which, come to think of it, is a pretty effective position for the head of a government to be in. Look at all the pussy footing the world has done around ‘volatile’ leaders over the last two decades. If there’s a choice between having my Prexy feared as a ‘cowboy’ or loved by the intenational set, I’ll take feared.