The 2012 GOP nominating contest has witnessed the final triumph of an unlikely figure. I say “unlikely” because his name hasn’t been invoked much (if at all) by any of the candidates, nor has he been mentioned frequently by the press in its campaign coverage. What’s more, he died in 2007.
Jersey City, New Jersey—With his voice firm as he disdained a Teleprompter for a printed speech text, with the shock of prematurely white hair at his temples giving him statesmanlike gravity, with the Statue of Liberty looming over his left shoulder in an advanceman’s fantasy (inspiration provided by the late Michael Deaver, Ronald Reagan’s imagemaker), 51-year-old Jon Huntsman declared his candidacy for president Tuesday less than two months after he stepped down as Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. While the pyrotechnics accompanying the presidential rollout were impressive (two dozen TV
President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime by Lou Cannon (Simon and Schuster, 948 pp., $24.95) An American Life by Ronald Reagan (Simon and Schuster, 748 pp., $24.95) I. Maybe the local time just seems slower because the current occupant of the White House is a hyperactive gland case. Anyhow, it's hard to believe that only a couple of years have passed since the Reagans went away. It was a touching moment, we now learn.
Kitty Kelley's achievement is extraordinary. She has provided a reason for sympathy with Nancy Reagan. She has taken one of the shrewdest, coldest, most manipulative women in American politics, a woman who broke new ground in spousal power, and transformed her into a victim. Kelley is a mean and greedy writer, so drunk on sensationalism that she lacks compassion and understanding. Her subject was a mean and greedy First Lady, so drunk on power that she lacked compassion and understanding. Both believe that nothing succeeds like excess and pettiness.
Readers of TNR have responded generously to our request for examples of boring headlines. The entire staff is comatose with appreciation. In the late 1920s the British writer Claud Cockburn won a contest among editors at the Times of London to see who could get the most boring headline into the paper.