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These words are my diary screaming out loud

Monday, July 16, 2012

My thoughts so far on The Reagan Diaries

I'm in the middle of reading The Reagan Diaries, a book that is exactly as it sounds: A (slightly) edited compilation of Ronald Reagan's personal diaries from his time as President. And let me tell you what, it's been quite enlightening. Here are a few of my favorite highlights, so far:

- He hated Mondays. Just like the rest of us :)
- He hated having to spend even one day away from Nancy. Every time he had to travel alone or she traveled without him, he commented how lonely it was without her, and how he couldn't wait to be back with her. I think we all hope for love like that.
- He really was as straight laced personally as we were led to believe. The harshest words he ever uses are hell and damn, I mean h--l and d--n. Yup, he didn't even spell them all the way out.
- The political BS that is going on in Congress today is exactly the same as what was going on then, except it appears as though the roles were reversed. Tip O'Neill and the Democrats were blocking debt ceiling raises and tax reform, instead of John Boehner and the Republicans.
- The same world leaders that were causing trouble in the mid-80s (minus the Soviet ones) are causing trouble today, or at least in the recent future. Mubarek, Assad, and Qaddafi are all over those diaries. Oh, and there was just as much confusion as to how to spell Qaddafi back then. Reagan even notes at one point that he usually uses the last version that he saw, so he spells it at least a dozen different ways himself.

A lot of people like to hold Reagan up as a standard bearer, but it seems as though many who do so could learn a thing or two by really looking back at not just Reagan the President or Reagan the Politician, but at Reagan the Man. He writes many times about making compromises with the Democrats to get at least closer to what he wanted, and how important it was to personally get to know and meet with even the biggest of his political adversaries. That seems to be the part that's lost these days.

It's not a light read, and the diary entries are just as he wrote them, so until you get the hang of it (it took me really until about late 1982-early 1983) it can be a little confusing. But I'm really enjoying it, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys politics but needs a break from current events in that arena.

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