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  1. #1
    JUB Addict Lostlover's Avatar
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    Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Funny article by Christopher Hitchens, but to the people living then: how stupid was he?

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a..._hedgehog.html

    Excerpt from article:

    The fox, as has been pointed out by more than one philosopher, knows many small things, whereas the hedgehog knows one big thing. Ronald Reagan was neither a fox nor a hedgehog. He was as dumb as a stump. He could have had anyone in the world to dinner, any night of the week, but took most of his meals on a White House TV tray. He had no friends, only cronies. His children didn't like him all that much. -Christopher Hitchens
    My dad says that Reagan made stupid cool.

    Carter was a nuclear engineer.

    Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar.

    Obama was editor of The Harvard Law Review.

    Reagan was...
    "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.'' - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    JUB Addicts Orlandude's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Well look at his two sons. The one (Michael Reagan) is a rightwing nutjob who Fox News drags out as one of their resident "political analysts" and the other (Ron Reagan Jr.) is a far left liberal who MSNBC drags out as their "political consultant".

  3. #3

    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    perhaps rather more of an issue was the idea that he became senile , had age-induced measureable brain damage , in his second term , and how far that went . Impression that it was Nancy Reagan then who was giving the orders .

  4. #4
    JUB Addict T-Rexx's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Reagan's time in office is a little hard to evaluate, since he had Alzheimer's Disease. It became apparent during his first administration, when he couldn't remember the names of people in his own cabinet. He once mistook his housing secretary, Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., for a local mayor. Nancy used to stand beside him when press people were about, whispering responses into his ear. He also had a strange answer that would pop up sometimes when people asked him questions, "They haven't told me what I'm doing yet." It seemed bizarre to those "outside the loop" who didn't know what was going on.

    Larry Speakes, Reagan's press secretary, once said that preparing him for a press conference was "like re-inventing the wheel." That's why he would go for a year between press conferences. His defense secretary, Clark Clifford, called him "An amiable dunce." Margaret Thatcher once remarked of him, "Poor dear. There's nothing between his ears!" Columnist David Broder once said of him, "The task of watering the arid desert between Reagan's ears is a challenging one for his aides." Reagan's daughter, Patti, wrote of her father, "He has the ability to make statements that are so far outside the parameters of logic that they leave you speechless."

    Even prior to his election to the presidency (and presumably the onset of his Alzheimer's), however, Reagan was not known as an intellectual. He was a poor student ("I never knew anything above Cs," he once told Barbara Walters), and he sometimes said things that belied his poor understanding of the world. He said that 80% of air pollution came from vegetation; that FDR had patterned the New Deal after Fascism; and that all the annual waste from a nuclear power plant could be conveniently stored beneath a desk.

    Yeah, he was kinda stupid. But, like GWB after him, no one seemed to care. "An amiable dunce."

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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    To me Reagan was nothing more then B actor who was playing role of a president. He sold the party out to far religious far right. Turn blind eye on the issue of AIDS, and catered to rich and powerful.

  6. #6
    veni, vidi, reliqui
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Reagan was almost the perfect Manchurian candidate.

    To have been a speechwriter for him must have been pretty heady though. It was all about delivery.
    Last edited by rareboy; October 1st, 2012 at 04:46 AM.

  7. #7

    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Reagan was an actor with a gift of persuasion. He could convince some he was a good President. His Presidency was studded with scandal. The debt quadrupled. He wasn't very bright nor a very good President but he did have the ability to project confidence.

  8. #8
    I can't breathe. chrisrobin's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyBob View Post
    Reagan was an actor with a gift of persuasion. He could convince some he was a good President. His Presidency was studded with scandal. The debt quadrupled. He wasn't very bright nor a very good President but he did have the ability to project confidence.
    This is true, but I think Henry Fonda, Frederick March and Michael Douglas were much better presidents.

    ...with history the final judge of our deeds. - JFK

  9. #9
    JUB Addict Lestatnj's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    ^^^^^^^Don't forget Martin Sheen

    Charlie could have been nominated as Secretary of Wildlife!

  10. #10
    I can't breathe. chrisrobin's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Quote Originally Posted by Lestatnj View Post
    ^^^^^^^Don't forget Martin Sheen
    Especially Martin Sheen. President Bartlet forever!

    ...with history the final judge of our deeds. - JFK

  11. #11
    JUB Addict Lestatnj's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    I'll pose a question. If his illness was so widely known (Mrs Thatcher, speechwriters, cabinet members, his wife & children) what does that say about (the Americans, at least) their patriotism vs party loyalty. If Mrs Thatcher actually realized, what does that say about Poppy Bush, Weinberger, Baker, & others, who had almost daily contact, & let this go on for 8 years.

    I understand that it isn't easy, since it's never been done, to have a sitting president declared incompotent/not mentally fit to govern.

    It is generally accepted that for the last 2 years of Wilson's 2nd term, it was his wife Edith & one or 2 of his physicans who were actually in charge.

    I think it's beyond time this was addressed, as well as reinstating the original line of succession, thru the cabinet, NOT the speaker & president pro tem. This keeps the presidency in the same party. Though we didn't elect the cabinet, the president, who we did elect, chose them. The speaker is a political appointment, the pro tem is by seniority. Neither, IMO, is a valid reason for sucession.

    I've also been of the opinion that if a president dies in office, the VP should be "acting President". He would have all the same powers, but would be only known as President after HIS/HER own election

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    JUB Addict T-Rexx's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Quote Originally Posted by Lestatnj View Post
    I'll pose a question. If his illness was so widely known (Mrs Thatcher, speechwriters, cabinet members, his wife & children) what does that say about (the Americans, at least) their patriotism vs party loyalty. If Mrs Thatcher actually realized, what does that say about Poppy Bush, Weinberger, Baker, & others, who had almost daily contact, & let this go on for 8 years.
    This is an excellent question. There is no easy answer.

    Alzheimer's is a very slowly progressive disease. Patients are often quite functional, early in the disease. And the impairment is not consistent. It will vary by the day and even the hour. Patients will have periods of apparent normalcy. At what point do you decide someone is incompetent to hold office? There are no medical criteria for such a thing.

    What has always fascinated me is that, despite Reagan's impairment, it didn't seem to matter. Life went on, and the government didn't collapse.

    It wasn't just Wilson and Reagan, either. I have always been impressed by Lord Moran, Winston Churchill's physician. Moran was with Churchill at Yalta, and observed FDR from a physician's perspective. He said that Roosevelt, "has all the symptoms of hardening of the arteries of the brain in an advanced stage." FDR died two months later, of a cerebral hemorrhage.

    Just as an aside, I have a physician friend who knew George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas. He told me in 1999 (before his election to the presidency), "That man is just phenomenally stupid!". What do you do? Perhaps demented people should not hold office. Neither, perhaps, should exceptionally stupid people. We deserve the leaders we elect.

  13. #13
    JUB Addict maxpowr9's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Also FDR was literally crippled by Polio towards the end of his reign which hardly gets talked about.

    The major problem with politics is that the technocrats hardly ever get into office because they may not be the most charismatic or best looking people. If more technocrats were able to get into office instead of a bunch of policy wonk lawyers, America would be in much better shape.

  14. #14

    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Quote Originally Posted by maxpowr9 View Post
    Also FDR was literally crippled by Polio towards the end of his reign which hardly gets talked about.

    The major problem with politics is that the technocrats hardly ever get into office because they may not be the most charismatic or best looking people. If more technocrats were able to get into office instead of a bunch of policy wonk lawyers, America would be in much better shape.
    FDR's polio stopped him from walking, not thinking.

    Agree on the technocrats. Politics has become the domain of too many political wonks who know nothing of reality and think poll ratings are equivalent to scientific facts.

    Not sure who to credit for this quote but it usually applies - "The desire to be a politician should automatically bar you from becoming one"
    "I'm not a moccodity"

  15. #15

    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisrobin View Post
    This is true, but I think Henry Fonda, Frederick March and Michael Douglas were much better presidents.
    And they would have made better Presidents than the one who's greatest acting achievement is Bedtime for Bonzo, and his scandal-ridden administration. Iran-Contra, HUD scandal, EPA/Superfund controversy, Michael Deaver, Lyn Nofziger, Edwin Meese, James Watt, S&L bailout, Commodity Credit Corporation/Saddam Hussein scandal, Nancy's astrologer, quadrupling the debt .....etc, etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_...ation_scandals

  16. #16
    JUB Addict T-Rexx's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    ***Brief Hijack***


    Quote Originally Posted by maxpowr9 View Post
    Also FDR was literally crippled by Polio towards the end of his reign which hardly gets talked about.
    FDR's polio struck in 1921 - long before his election to the presidency. Incredibly, his paralysis was kept from the public throughout his campaign for the presidency in 1932, and for the duration of his presidency.

    Not that it matters, but some modern physicians think Roosevelt may actually have suffered Guillain-Barré Syndrome. He was 39 at the time his paralysis developed, a most unusual age at which to develop polio.

    As levenshulme has pointed out, though, neither of these diseases affects mental performance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankli...alytic_illness


    ***End Hijack***

  17. #17
    I can't breathe. chrisrobin's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Quote Originally Posted by maxpowr9 View Post
    Also FDR was literally crippled by Polio towards the end of his reign which hardly gets talked about.
    During WWII, FDR had to project an image of strength. Every time you see his photograph, he is standing proudly at a podium. (His assistants had one hell of a time lifting him from the wheelchair, etc. etc.) Not only that, the papparazi had a "gentlemen's agreement" (whatever that means)... that no pictures of FDR in his wheelchair, on crutches, whatever would be made public.

    For more detail, see Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time. (the Roosevelts during WWII)

    ...with history the final judge of our deeds. - JFK

  18. #18
    I can't breathe. chrisrobin's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyBob View Post
    And they would have made better Presidents than the one who's greatest acting achievement is Bedtime for Bonzo, and his scandal-ridden administration. Iran-Contra, HUD scandal, EPA/Superfund controversy, Michael Deaver, Lyn Nofziger, Edwin Meese, James Watt, S&L bailout, Commodity Credit Corporation/Saddam Hussein scandal, Nancy's astrologer, quadrupling the debt .....etc, etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_...ation_scandals
    How dare you insinuate that Fail Safe, Seven Days in May and The American President were better movies than Bedtime for Bonzo! What are you? Some kind of Communist?

    ...with history the final judge of our deeds. - JFK

  19. #19
    JUB Addict Lestatnj's Avatar
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    According to many film critics, both in the 40s & later, Reagan's strongest acting role was in KING"S ROW.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034946/

    His scene after realizing his legs had been amputated (needlessly, by the extremely villainous Charles Coburn) is powerful. Pity he didn't win an Oscar, maybe he would have stayed in show biz........................

  20. #20
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    Re: Was Ronald Reagan Really THAT Stupid? "Dumb as a Stump"

    Reagan had a brilliance that didn't extend very far. A few things, he did very well; the rest... I'm not certain he was aware of.

    He was definitely smarter than today's Republicans on at least one item: he knew that there are times taxes need to be raised.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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