Ronaldus Magnus

Perlstein, Plagiarism, and Originality

Featured image I’ve been holding back on commenting on Rick Perlstein’s The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan because I’m hard at work on an epic review for the Claremont Review of Books.  But the controversy over Perlstein’s treatment of Craig Shirley’s material, discussed in this New York Times article and many other places this week, deserves some separate and timely consideration, chiefly because my CRB review will concentrate on »

The Evil Empire Is Back

Featured image So Obama, ever the bright and prompt one when it comes to foreign affairs, has declared the Soviet Union Russia to be in violation of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty—Ronald Reagan’s famous “zero option.”  The violation occurred in 2009.  Guess it would have got in the way of that whole “reset” thing to have brought it up at the time. As it happens, I’m working on a new »

Reaganpalooza

Featured image The Reagan Library and Foundation has posted online a complete video of the panel discussion I was kindly invited to be part of on June 5, the 10th anniversary of Reagan’s passing, chaired by Peggy Noonan and including journalist/biographer extraordinaire Lou Cannon, Michael Duffy of Time magazine, and fellow Reagan biographer Craig Shirley.  (James Baker was in the audience and spoke at lunch; at one or two places you’ll see »

Strictly for Gluttons: The “Maymester” Lectures

Featured image Last month I presented three informal, non-credit evening lectures here at Boulder for the “Maymester” session, and a few of you (well, okay, one person, with initials T.O.) wondered whether they could be videotaped and posted here.  And so here they are–but only if you really have a lot of spare time on your hands, since each one is more than an hour long, and conducted in my somewhat stream-of-consciousness »

Tomorrow @ The Reagan Library

Featured image It has been ten years since the passing of Ronald Reagan, nearly 20 years since he withdrew from public life altogether following the announcement of his Alzheimer’s disease, 25 years since he left the White House, and 50 years since his famous “Time for Choosing” speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater that launched his political career.  (I’ll have a long article about that when the time comes in October.) Tomorrow »

Peace, they say: Nordlinger vs. Lundestad

Featured image The Nobel Peace Prize Forum was held in Minneapolis on the campus of the University of Minnesota over the weekend. Yesterday was Global Day. I’m not sure what made it Global Day, but it was. However, I am sure what the highlight of the day was. It was previewed in the Star Tribune here. At noon Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, debated National Review senior »

Getting Reagan Nostalgia Right and Wrong

Featured image I should have come yesterday—on Reagan’s birthday—to Jim Antle’s American Conservative article “Five Ways Reagan Nostalgia Misleads Conservatives.”  From the title, I expected another unsound approach to Reagan that we’ve seen from people like Jeb Bush, or the usually spectacular Jennifer Rubin who urged us to “get over Reagan.”  The Reagan critics emphasize that times have changed since 1980, so there’s not much use in invoking the Reagan legacy. So I »

What “The Butler” Gets Wrong

Featured image Answer: Just about everything.  At least when it comes to Reagan. I’ve been closeted away all day putting the final touches on a large public lecture I’m delivering tonight at 7 pm at the university, on the subject of why there are so few conservatives in higher education, and I’ll post some excerpts here tomorrow. But for the last several days I’ve been working with Kiron Skinner, Paul Kengor, and »

A Postscript on William Clark

Featured image One of the great and sometimes overlooked resources for researchers on modern presidents is the Oral History Project of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.  The oral histories they compiled were invaluable resources for my own Reagan book research almost ten years ago, saving me the trouble of having to re-interview many key people. There was one file that was closed to researchers, however—the oral interview with William »

William P. Clark, RIP

Featured image Sad news comes today of the passing of William P. Clark, who passed away this morning at his ranch near Paso Robles after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.  Clark served Ronald Reagan as deputy secretary of state (chiefly to keep an eye out on Al Haig), national security adviser, and secretary of the Interior. Known as “The Judge” from his tenure on the California Supreme Court (to which Reagan »

Power Line @ The Reagan Library

Featured image So I’ve been at the Reagan Library all week, doing an intensive course on Reagan for about 30 high school history and government teachers for the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History.  That’s the main reason posts have been scarce: we’re in the seminar room much of the day.  Did I mention my voice is a bit hoarse? The teachers, selected from a large pile of applications, were superb (even the »

Liberals and Race

Featured image John’s post last week on “What Did Lee Atwater Really Say” is a hugely important piece of revisionist journalism, and its theme deserves sustained attention, as the Left these days defaults immediately to calling conservatives and Republicans “racist” because their arguments are otherwise so weak.  Notice, in this regard, the new ABC News poll out yesterday finding that a whopping 76 percent of Americans oppose race-conscious college admissions.  Rather than »

William Casey at 100: Herbert Meyer’s Brilliant Lecture

Featured image I made a brief reference here the other day to a lecture Herbert Meyer recently gave to the Young Americas Foundation on the occasion of the 100th birthday of William Casey, Ronald Reagan’s extraordinary CIA director.  Meyer was a special assistant to Casey from 1981 to 1985.  This lecture, along with Meyer’s contribution to the endgame of the Cold War, deserve more attention. American Cold War policy might be said »

SDI 30 Years On (With Video Update)

Featured image Earlier this month Paul Kengor and others brought to our attention the 30th anniversary of Reagan’s famous “evil empire” speech, which was, keep in mind, chiefly a domestic policy speech where Reagan slipped in the evil empire reference that his foreign policy apparatus had managed to strip out of previous foreign policy speech drafts.  But there was no getting around the objections of both the State and Defense Departments to »

Happy Birthday, Ronaldus Magnus

Featured image Today is Ronald Reagan’s 102nd birthday, and the usual observances are under way at good places everywhere.  I know that since November I and many others have drawn our attention to Reagan’s 1977 CPAC speech on “A New Republican Party,” which holds up fairly well in the current circumstances.  But it is also worth having a look at the article Reagan wrote in the December 1, 1964 issue of National »

Max Kampelman, RIP

Featured image One of the themes of my Age of Reagan books is that to a certain extent Reagan’s administration represented a coalition government, as he had a number of prominent Democrats or ex-Democrats (like Minnesota’s Jeane Kirkpatrick) serving in senior posts.  One of the most significant was Minnesota’s Max Kampelman, who passed away last Friday at the age of 92. Kampelman had been very close to Hubert Humphrey, and in fact »

It Always Comes Back to Ronaldus Magnus

Featured image Reagan nostalgia is often overdone, and I’ve been at the forefront in criticizing Republicans who claim to be “Reagan Republicans” but who don’t bother to study the man carefully enough to understand the skill and practice involved in his success.  Many lazy Republican pols seem to think it sufficient just to invoke his name. On the other hand, Reagan was ahead of his time on so many issues, and among »