Okay, here’s the obvious stuff, let’s get it out of the way.
Who is the ‘optimistic’ new guy?
…Obama’s black, Reagan’s white. Obama’s young, Reagan’s old. Born in Hawaii, went to Illinois. Born in Illinois, went to California.
–Education: Obama went to Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law, Reagan went to Eureka College.
–Political development: Obama’s a true Democrat, Reagan switched to become a Republican.
–Work: lawyer, community organizer and lecturer on the law, vs. actor.
–Wives: one, also a lawyer, vs. two, both actresses.
–Wits: sharp as a tack, vs. enfeebled. Remember when Reagan recounted the Congressional Medal of Honor act of the ball turret gunner, trapped in the plane, and his brave captain choosing to go down with him? Oops. Or mistakenly declaring that South Africa’s government “eliminated the segregation that we once had in our own country“? That was a few years early. Or this classic: “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” How did he ever become president?
–Wars: Obama opposed the Iraq War from the beginning. Reagan, as California Governor, regularly tear-gassed Vietnam protesters in Berkeley.
–Words: Obama has written two best-sellers, one of which some consider among the best memoirs ever penned. He’s written his own speeches, at least one of which I believe is among the best ever delivered in a campaign. Reagan, on the other hand, never did better than merely read scripts. He was so bad at speaking for himself that his handlers just put a stop to having press conferences because folks began to believe, rightly, that he was neurologically impaired.
Although [Lesley Stahl had] covered Reagan for years, the glazed-eyed and fogged-up President “didn’t seem to know who I was,” writes Stahl. For several moments as she talked to him in the Oval Office, a vacant Reagan barely seemed to realize anyone else was in the room. Meanwhile, Speakes was literally shouting instructions to the President, reminding him to give Stahl White House souvenirs.
Panicking at the thought of having to report on that night’s news that “the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet,” Stahl was relieved that Reagan soon reemerged into alertness, recognized her and chatted coherently with her husband, a screenwriter. “I had come that close to reporting that Reagan was senile.”
—Wigs: graying, vs. tar black.