Reagan’s humor remembered

Reagan humor remembered: Lou Cannon, the Reagan biographer and reporter most noted for the longevity of his coverage of Reagan both in the White House and while he was governor, wrote a long eulogistic profile appearing in today’s Washington Post. It contains what I believe is the key to Reagan’s success and his ability to confound those who so vehemently “hated” his political stances:


“…his amiability and self-deprecating humor softened the hard edge of his ideological advocacies. Reagan poked fun at his age, his work habits and his supposed simple-mindedness. He once said that he knew that hard work never killed anyone, “but I figure, why take the chance?” Much of his humor was spontaneous. Asked while visiting astronauts in Houston before the successful launch of the space shuttle Discovery in 1988 whether he would like to go into space, Reagan quipped, “I’ve been in space for several years.”

Yesterday, for a day-job duty, I interviewed someone who was a longtime acquantance of Reagan and on ocassion, worked closely with him. He said something that didn’t make the story I was writing yesterday, but that captures Cannon’s observation: “President Reagan was serious about being President and took seriously his role as leader of the free world, but President Reagan never took himself seriously.”

  • lcreekmo

    You know I remember Reagan very fondly. I remember the 1980 presidential convention as being the first time I was a political junkie — I was eight, I guess, during the convention, so I guess I was a nerd even then — but I remember looking forward to Reagan’s speeches — his States of the Union, whatever the occasion might be. And what I remember is what many commentators are discussing right now — Reagan’s optimism. I think in some ways, he taught us all how to be a patriot. To believe that it could be done better here, that we could achieve more, faster, brighter, than anyone else in the world. That our democracy was the finest system of government ever invented on this earth. His was a starry-eyed optimism and I was just the right age to believe it. Optimism doesn’t go out of style. Reagan wasn’t perfect but he was a great president.