DO I HAVE ANYTHING USEFUL TO SAY ABOUT REAGAN? | 2004-06-12
Someone said that since I was a Reagan appointee I should say something about Reagan.
The problem is that asking me about the Reagan Administration is like asking a minnow to give you a General Theory of Ocean Currents.
But after thinking about it, I came up with one thing I can talk about that relates to Reagan as a man and my personal experience. I played the Naive Southerner. Reagan played the Dumb Irishman.
When I saw high officials in Washington, the only boss I ever had who understood why he dragged me along was John Ashbrook. One of my bosses would always say, "Bob's doing good work, he deserves to come along."
The idea being that since Bobby had been a good boy, he couldn't take him to see an elephant but he could take him to see a Secretary of Defense.
So how did I react to this?
I was playing a kind of village idiot. There is a smart guy who would always show people how dumb the village idiot was. He would take people to watch while he offered the village idiot the choice between a great big nickel and a tiny dime. The idiot would always choose the big old nickel and the guy would get a good laugh.
Finally someone took pity on the poor village idiot and explained him that the tiny dime was worth twice as much as the big, shiny nickel.
The village idiot replied, "But if I ever take the dime, he won't offer me any more nickels."
I got a lot of nickels. I chuckled all the way to the back.
When comic characters made fun of Reagan by portraying him as dumb and kind of harmless and helpless, nobody laughed harder at them than Ronald Reagan did.
You see, he was laughing at them from his residence inside the White House.
That's one hell of a nickel.