To my knowledge, no one has noted how odd it was for the mourning son of President Reagan to use the eulolgy of his father for a cheap political gibe against a sitting president whose political career is itself a respectful tribute to the legacy of his father, and who himself had joined in the mourning.
Indeed, Ron Reagan Jr.’s thinly-veiled insult of President Bush in his eulogy for his father struck the only false note during the week of events paying tribute to President Reagan following his death. It was indicative of a person with an extraordinarily disordered set of priorities; in Minnesota, we saw a similar disorder up close and personal at the Wellstone memorial event following Senator Wellstone’s death.
Treating discretion as the better part of valor, supporters of Presidents Reagan and Bush gave RR Jr. a pass on his eulogy. A couple of weeks ago, however, the Sunday New York Times Magazine published a short interview with RR Jr. that elaborated on his insult of President Bush. It’s safe to assume that in matters related to the Reagan family, William Buckley speaks on behalf of Nancy Reagan. Now Buckley has responded with a point-by-point refuation of RR Jr., parts of which are carried verbatim in Robert Novak’s column this morning: “Wayward son gets public flogging.”
Novak quotes Buckley talking back to RR Jr. as follows:
RR Jr.: The nude picture of his sister Patti in Playboy was ”just something that is not too exciting.”
WFB: ”Why then was there so much excitement about it?”
RR Jr.: As for his father’s reaction when he dropped out of Yale to join the ballet, ”That was fine with him.”
WFB: ”It wasn’t fine with him and he enlisted my aid in trying to persuade you to stay in college.”…
RR Jr.: As to the Abu Ghraib prison abuses, ”How can Christians tolerate it?”
WFB: ”I don’t know of any Christians who ‘tolerate it.’ The perpetrators are reviled.”
RR Jr.: In an answer to a question, he said he did not vote for Bush in the last election.
WFB: ”Odd that you should permit this invasion of privacy whose only purpose is to remark the political infidelity of the son of Ronald Reagan.”
RR Jr.: His father ”worked hard to impress upon his children the value of kindness.”
WFB: ”If he did, he was manifestly unsuccessful.”
UPDATE by Hindrocket: It has now been announced that Ron Reagan will give a prime-time speech at the Democratic Convention. No class.