Presidential History

"Getting Shot Hurts."


The Reagan Diaries, edited by omnipresent historian Douglas Brinkley, collects wit and wisdom from Ronald Reagan, the man who told Reason in 1975, "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism."

Some snippets:

"Getting shot hurts."…

The turbulent sweep of the White House years provides unvarnished details of acrimonious moments with his kids—"Insanity is hereditary you catch it from your kids"—optimism after meeting Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (he refers to him as Gorby) and fears of war in the Middle East—"Sometimes I wonder if we are destined to witness Armageddon."…

Another [entry] candidly recalled Mrs. Reagan's return to the White House after a long trip and "a race" between the president and dog Rex to be the first one to greet her.

More here.

Despite some mundane entries ("Changed our clocks back to standard time"…), the volume seems likely to further the growing sense that Reagan, far from being an airheaded B-movie actor passing as a pol, was a complicated and sophisticated observer and analyst of world events and American history.

That sensibility is on display in Reagan's Reason 1975 interview with Reason, which is online here. His record as California's governor, note the interviewers, "is not particularly libertarian," even as he quotes Mises at them. It's well worth a read.