Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime – Lou Cannon

To boil it down to one paragraph. Reagan’s “great” insight was that the presidency was just another performance, very similar to his movie roles. He focused on his and his staff’s presentation and frequently ignored the real job. Kind of brilliant, and also sad.

Truman doctrine.  Basically said u.s. will support those fighting against commies. I.i. contras 

Cubans troops were in Angola 

Charlie Wilson 

Really was no such thing as the Reagan doctrine 

Noonan said he “acts as if he was lucky to be with you”


Steffes said “he was removed from people” in a central way

Rarely thanked anybody

Like stories not arguments

Not prepared

Played role of President. Put on a show.

He reigned rather than rules

 “Reagan always believed the next day would be better”

Indiscriminate trustingness

Baker understood that policy could not be separated from execution. His legislative policy group had lot of power

Adult children of alcoholics – book

Father alcoholic. Mother bible thumper. Born Illinois. Moved alot. Small. Read A lot. Close to mother. Loner. Like football. Played. Rescued 77people from drowning when lifeguard

Eureka college. Paid at least part himself

Had  a soft surface and a hard core

People felt he was one of them and thus extended forgiveness easily

Washed dishes at girls dormitory. Said ” best job i ever had “

Stopped robbery no bullets

Maureen Reagan daughter of Jane wyman

Michael was adopted by Reagan and wyman


First divorced President

Patty born by Nancy Ron too

Michael said he found it difficult to hug his own kids

Tried to remove Douglas from supreme court while in Congress 

Supported Campus Disorders act. Which withheld federal subsidies from students who participated in campus protests 

Douglas blood points of rebellion supported right to protest


Nixon wanted him to do it. Erlicmsn notes s as I’d so.

Patmsn hearing tut o follow money in Watergate. Ford helped squash 

Ford continued to support Nixon after others in GOP turned 

Agnew resigned. Ford came in fourth in poll. Behind rockafeller connally Reagan 

“I am a Ford, not a Lincoln “

Came out strongly on wrong side of Watergate 

Quote about the Anderson ‘voted concious not party’ meant as criticism 

Not s leader.