Ronaldus Magnus

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 »

Team Obama channels Vladimir Putin, not Ronald Reagan

Featured image Lena Dunham’s embarrassing “First Time” ad on behalf of President Obama has drawn quite a bit of criticism because in it Dunham uses sexual innuendo to compare the first vote experience to a girl losing her virginity. The left, though, claims that Dunham’s “first time” joke about voting “goes way back to another presidential candidate: Ronald Reagan, less than a week before he ushered in the Republican landslide of 1980.” »

Final Observations

Featured image I was on the road all day yesterday down to LA and back (more about that errand in due course), so I missed the debate after party here.  One benefit of a long morning car trip on the left coast is getting to listen to Rush Limbaugh the old fashioned way on the car radio, and Limbaugh was making many of the same observations about the debate as Scott, Paul, »

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

Featured image Is it Reagan’s Revenge that the question Reagan posed to the nation in his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter inevitably haunts Obama today as he stands for reelection? Watch David Axelrod dance around the question this morning on Fox News Sunday. I don’t think it’s enough for Romney to prevail that the answer to the question is no, any more than it was for Reagan, but the answer is no. »