The new part is only that POTUS says the quiet bits out loud
July 31, 2019 2:48 PM   Subscribe

Newly Released Nixon Tapes Capture Ronald Reagan Calling African Delegates “Monkeys”. Despite what the GOP might tell you today, racism was always part of the party.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (63 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
oh no

I am shocked, SHOCKED to find this out.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:59 PM on July 31, 2019 [31 favorites]


Who knew the guy who launched his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi could be a racist
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:05 PM on July 31, 2019 [32 favorites]


There was a bit from The Atlantic's coverage that stood out to me:
Nixon couldn’t stop retelling his version of what Reagan had said. Oddly unfocused, he spoke with [Secretary of State William] Rogers again two hours later and repeated the story as if it would be new to the secretary.
"Oddly unfocused" is a nice way to point out that Nixon was drunk. Again.
posted by peeedro at 3:05 PM on July 31, 2019 [65 favorites]


I'm not surprised.

I'm saddened, but I'm not surprised.
posted by Quackles at 3:09 PM on July 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


The Atlantic: Ronald Reagan’s Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon

What gets me is that this wasn't redacted in the 1970s, this was redacted in 2000, "out of a desire to protect Reagan’s privacy." He was the Governor of California, calling the President of the United States pushing for openly racist policies. But as we all know, it's worse to call someone a racist that to actually be a racist.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:10 PM on July 31, 2019 [95 favorites]


not surprised.

Right - there was plenty of economic anxiety then
posted by thelonius at 3:14 PM on July 31, 2019 [21 favorites]


So.. These remarks are textbook racism and I have no desire or intention to defend them. They should (rightly) be something which tarnishes Reagan's legacy and reputation (which already benefits greatly from astonishingly selective recollection.)

But I'd like to caution people who are eager to hang this behavior around the neck of only a single party because oh my god, you do NOT want to find yourself backed into a corner where you are trying to defend the comments of many Democratic politicians from the same era. 1971 was an ugly period in American politics and we already have had to cover this ground recently (what with Biden praising his segregationalist mentor in the Senate.)

Racist politicians suck and should be called out regardless of party.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:16 PM on July 31, 2019 [74 favorites]


Homo neanderthalensis: "Despite what the GOP might tell you today, racism was always part of the party"

Wait, is today's GOP saying they're the ones who first wholeheartedly embraced racism!?
posted by chavenet at 3:18 PM on July 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


It takes 50 years for the protections surrounding a racist piece of shit to crumble enough so that we can verify he was a racist piece of shit.

In 2070 we may find out that Trump indeed sold us out to the Russians, committed to kidnapping children, endorsed the killing of Khashoggi, and it was all well documented in writing. But his legacy!
posted by benzenedream at 3:20 PM on July 31, 2019 [30 favorites]


The situation with today's GOP establishment is fundamentally the same as when the Southern Strategy was first articulated. The establishment is not intellectually committed to racist ideology, nor to prayer in public schools, nor to banning abortion. They are intellectually committed to keeping their rich friends rich, and using instruments of varying bluntness, several of them famous television personalities, to bamboozle enough non-rich people into voting for them, or alternately, suppressing the votes of those who would seek to render their rich friends a little less rich, and to make the rest of society a little better off.

The difference today is that the President is an overt racist, as well as an overt maximalist advocate of despotic big-government regulation, in the form of tariffs, lawsuits and public condemnation of hand-picked corporations and industries, at the whim of the despot himself. It is all still worth it, says the GOP establishment, because otherwise the Supreme Court might consist of judges who were not so focused on keeping our rich friends rich.

Except for Jeff Bezos, perhaps. But that guy is asking for it, frankly. He's not a team player. Why can't he be more like Rupert Murdoch?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2019 [31 favorites]


Bush Sr. talked a lot about Willie Horton, too.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:36 PM on July 31, 2019 [8 favorites]


In 2070 we may find out that Trump indeed sold us out to the Russians, committed to kidnapping children, endorsed the killing of Khashoggi, and it was all well documented in writing. But his legacy!

Can't wait to find out what other dirt the Trump Presidential Casino will release.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:37 PM on July 31, 2019 [10 favorites]


The most surprising thing about this is that Slate is still around.
posted by PHINC at 3:44 PM on July 31, 2019 [7 favorites]


you do NOT want to find yourself backed into a corner where you are trying to defend the comments of many Democratic politicians from the same era.

Why on earth would anyone want to do that?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:53 PM on July 31, 2019 [20 favorites]


At 50, this is who the Republicans have been my entire life. The only thing that has changed in 2019 is their use of the “outside” voice.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:57 PM on July 31, 2019 [52 favorites]


Reagan: There is always more and it is always worse.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:59 PM on July 31, 2019 [11 favorites]


2000 was an election year. Had to hide this.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:05 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have always considered Reagan a scumbag. And I get pushback. He's really a smart man. He's the great communicator. No. Fuck that and fuck him.
posted by Splunge at 4:06 PM on July 31, 2019 [40 favorites]


The most surprising thing about this is that Slate is still around.

We're a Slate Plus subscriber household. They produce a lot of worthwhile content.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:15 PM on July 31, 2019 [15 favorites]


This is completely unsurprising, if not entirely unremarkable. I have lost my ability to be shocked to hear that Republicans are racists after discovering just how many of my friends and family who identify as Republicans "came out" for Drumpf. It started to happen when the Teabaggers lost their minds when Obama got the Democratic nomination. At this point, the onus is on anyone who identifies as a Republican to demonstrate that they aren't a racist, given the obvious and overwhelming evidence out there...they hate it and defend themselves against the "race card" all the time, but usually wind up just confirming it in the same argument by explaining themselves.

They used to hide it.
posted by Chuffy at 4:31 PM on July 31, 2019 [17 favorites]


omg no not the gipper
posted by Bwentman at 4:33 PM on July 31, 2019 [7 favorites]


Interesting bit about the timing of this quote is that this was after a bunch of African countries voted in the UN to recognize Republic of China as the only valid representative of the Chinese people, kicking Taiwan to the curb.
posted by lattiboy at 4:46 PM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


Fuck Reagan and fuck whatever sniveling toadies decided to censor this tape Rather than have the public confront their advertising-firm myths of Reagan with evidence of his deeply mean spirit.

In about 2003 I went to the Nixon Library, and I was surprised it was so well curated and spent a lot more time on the geopolitical context of the Nixon years than on hagiography of Nixon himself. But they had a whole little corner dedicated to Nixon and Reagan being pals and had some pull quotes and recordings of their taped phone calls, so they had to know about this and just decided not to mention it. So fuck them too.
posted by Jon_Evil at 4:48 PM on July 31, 2019 [33 favorites]


Sort of related: George Wallace's daughter:

Wallace Kennedy never said Donald Trump’s name out loud, but she likened his politics to that of her father’s tactics, only worse.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “I saw daddy a lot in 2016.”

Because it works. It was a simple and brilliant and dangerous strategy perfected by Wallace and used by politicians across the South and the nation ever since, though rarely as effectively or obviously as with Trump. Fanning the flames of fury works on crowds way better than policy solutions or wonkish approaches to governmental reform. Play on the resentments and you never have to get too deep into answers.

Until the consequences come, as Wallace saw in Alabama and especially Birmingham. Until the rallies let out and the bombings and beatings and burnings begin.

“The two greatest motivators at (Dad’s) rallies were fear and hate,” Wallace Kennedy said. “There was no policy solution, just white middle-class anger.”

posted by Rumple at 4:51 PM on July 31, 2019 [35 favorites]


Reagan's racist screed was explicitly a response to the recognition of the PRC, not a coincidental timing. From the Atlantic article:
When the UN took its vote to seat a delegation from Beijing instead of from Taiwan in 1971, members of the Tanzanian delegation started dancing in the General Assembly. Reagan, a devoted defender of Taiwan, was incensed, and tried to reach Nixon the night of the vote. Reagan despised the United Nations, which he described as a “kangaroo court” filled with “bums,” and he wanted the U.S. to withdraw from full participation immediately. Nixon was asleep when Reagan called, so they spoke the next morning.
posted by XMLicious at 4:52 PM on July 31, 2019


Sorry that should be "a response to the reaction to the recognition of the PRC" more properly; Reagan had seen that the Tanzanian delegation reacted by dancing.
posted by XMLicious at 5:00 PM on July 31, 2019


Shocking! Racism, towards Africans from a (powerful) white American man?

Check out the New York Times' ad for a new bureau chief in Nairobi from July 3, 2019
(that's 2019, as in earlier this month, folks!). Spoiler alert: it's racist, colonialist, and utterly ignorant.

If you're at all unsure how to write about, or discuss Africa, please refer to Binyavanga Wainaina's "How to write about Africa."
posted by nikoniko at 5:02 PM on July 31, 2019 [20 favorites]


When the UN took its vote to seat a delegation from Beijing instead of from Taiwan in 1971, members of the Tanzanian delegation started dancing in the General Assembly. Reagan, a devoted defender of Taiwan, was incensed, and tried to reach Nixon the night of the vote.

This is the most ironic part, because it's what kicked off Nixon (and fucking Kissinger) to accept that the "chicomms" [the chinese communist party] really were in control of China and started to open back-channel communications, leading to the visit to China in '72, which is considered to be the greatest diplomatic achievement of his career.
posted by Jon_Evil at 5:04 PM on July 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


I wonder how much former and first director of the Nixon Library Hugh Hewitt knew about this conversation.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:06 PM on July 31, 2019 [14 favorites]


But I'd like to caution people who are eager to hang this behavior around the neck of only a single party because oh my god, you do NOT want to find yourself backed into a corner where you are trying to defend the comments of many Democratic politicians from the same era.

History is certainly political, but history is not politics. As in, I'm interested in making sure the US is run by competent people striving towards justice, but that doesn't mean that I'm uninterested in the truth.

So this isn't about whether one scores net points against the GOP versus Democrats from the recent past; it's about where racism has been seated in power, and the effects it's had. It's about who is willing to face the truth of history and the racist past of their institutions, and who tries to deny history.
posted by pykrete jungle at 5:16 PM on July 31, 2019 [18 favorites]


As opposed to LBJ.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:42 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


people who are eager to hang this behavior around the neck of only a single party

Democrats can either be a circular firing squad or they can be an identity cult, not both. Somehow, though, they manage to bear both of these crosses at once, as if they weren't self-contradictory. The notion that Democrats won't readily jettison their own (for good reasons or bad) is entirely Republican projection.
posted by klanawa at 5:43 PM on July 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


LBJ had many, many flaws, but while he may have been a racist in some ways he also pushed for unprecedented civil rights reforms and signed the Civil Rights Act. He was far from perfect but he was a goddamned saint compared to Reagan.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:33 PM on July 31, 2019 [32 favorites]


Damn, that NYT Nairobi ad kerfuffle should be its own FPP.
posted by xigxag at 6:47 PM on July 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


George Bush:10th United States Ambassador to the United Nations in office
March 1, 1971 – January 18, 1973

posted by clavdivs at 7:28 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


>"What gets me is that this wasn't redacted in the 1970s, this was redacted in 2000..."

By 2000, Reagan's Alzheimer's had progressed to the point where he was mostly unable to leave his home. Unwillingness to be perceived as beating up on a sick old man probably played a role in the timing of the redaction.

It's possible that something good can come out of this overdue acknowledgment of Reagan's loathsomeness: Maybe now his name can be removed from all those places that the GOP plastered it after he left office.

A good place to start would be returning "Reagan National Airport" to its real name. Here in DC, we never stopped calling it "National Airport".
posted by bcarter3 at 7:35 PM on July 31, 2019 [38 favorites]


>1971 was an ugly period in American politics

LOL. Put all the years from 1776 and up on a dartboard & take a toss. Politics == disease.

Ran into this astronaut quote yesterday:

"From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.'"
-- Edgar Mitchell
posted by Twang at 9:51 PM on July 31, 2019 [17 favorites]


Despite what the GOP might tell you today, racism was always part of the party.

This is of course no shock to anyone here. Geez, Strom Thurmond was a sitting Senator into the new millennium.
posted by Mitheral at 11:02 PM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think Bree Newsome Bass said it best: (Twitter thread)
Why did people need to hear Reagan referring to African leaders as monkeys to know he was racist? What do y'all think racism is exactly? You think that a system of discriminatory policies & practices based on physical appearance, ethnicity & ancestry isn't racist so long as no one ever says "monkey", "n*gger" or "go back"?
That’s the difference between Reagan and LBJ/ Democrats - whether they said racist things or harbored racist thoughts is less important than a powerful person advocating for a system that discriminated against people based on appearance, ancestry and ethnicity. I think it’s awful for some republicans to hear that Reagan was a regular racist because they think it’s ok to advocate for policies that discriminate as long as you are nice about it. That’s why they are so focused on actual racist words and argue that anything short is “not racist.”

This tape blows up that fiction for some people. The rest of us were clear that Reagan was obviously a racist based on his actions (and “welfare queen”)
posted by rainydayfilms at 3:39 AM on August 1, 2019 [22 favorites]


You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.'

It wouldn't work.
posted by qntm at 3:39 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's hard to imagine that anyone who was an adult in the '80s is even slightly surprised by this. His whole platform was built on racial resentment; he picked off the racist white "Reagan Democrats" by promising to take benefits away from "welfare queens" and "strapping young bucks".
posted by octothorpe at 4:53 AM on August 1, 2019 [13 favorites]


To me, as a librarian, the way it was redacted is the real story. I've always wanted to visit the Reagan and Nixon libraries out of curiosity, but I feel even less inclined to see Reagan's now... Not like I trusted them in the first place.

I am writing this comment on my phone, which means I won't quote Pat Brown's bitter and scathing critique of Reagan's first term as governor, Reagan and Reality. (It's one of my favorite books.) But, just like the Bree Newsome Bass quote above, just looking at his policies Reagan didn't need to say the n-word to show he was racist. His appeals to "law & order" and his campaign platform of repealing the Rumford Fair Housing Act sent the message to scared, racist white voters that he would take care of them. This news article from 1966 after he was elected talks about how Reagan benefited from the racist backlash of white voters, but that he wasn't racist himself. Bullshit. It's true that he wasn't as openly racist as some extreme right-wing politicians at the time, but he was always racist. I could go on more, but really just read Reagan and Reality.

(And someday I'll write an FPP about the 1966 California Gubernatorial race nobody asked for.)
posted by kendrak at 5:42 AM on August 1, 2019 [16 favorites]


To paraphrase Public Enemy: "Reagan was a hero to most..."
posted by djrock3k at 6:23 AM on August 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


This tape blows up that fiction for some people.

Would that it were true.

I suspect that anyone who wasn't already aware that he was horrible, hateful, shameful man isn't going to be fazed by this info.
posted by she's not there at 6:31 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Although none of this is surprising, I hope I never stop finding it shocking.
posted by Flexagon at 6:45 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


At this point, the onus is on anyone who identifies as a Republican to demonstrate that they aren't a racist, given the obvious and overwhelming evidence out there...they hate it and defend themselves against the "race card" all the time, but usually wind up just confirming it in the same argument by explaining themselves.
If I start a conversation by asking why you hate America and love communism, there is not a lot of chance our conversation is going to discover any common ground or lead to any change in your thinking. If your goal is to consolidate the opposition in their beliefs, good plan. I would prefer to actually change the minds of folks that actually are losing thanks to Republican policies, but aren't aware of it. Having said that, I too have some colleagues that I have had to decide are simply closet rascists who I avoid any political discussion with (except when I can't stand it any longer, and then I later feel like I fell off the wagon).
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 7:04 AM on August 1, 2019


So the US elected an FBI informer and mid-level actor a few generations ago and now they've gone with a reality TV personality and con man?

There is more than racism wrong with this picture.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:10 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


> At this point, the onus is on anyone who identifies as a Republican to demonstrate that they aren't a racist...

If I start a conversation by asking why you hate America and love communism, there is not a lot of chance our conversation is going to discover any common ground or lead to any change in your thinking. If your goal is to consolidate the opposition in their beliefs, good plan.

If you ask someone to oppose white supremacy and all that comes out is hemming and hawing and dissembling then any common ground you might have "discovered" by shying away from putting the onus on them to at least make the mouth sounds, is false common ground.

Nothing at all is served by walking on eggshells around racism at this point, other than abetting and furthering the objectives of that racism.

By failing to confront racism you'll end up convincing yourself that others' views are more reasonable and less atavistic than they really are—through the exact same mechanism that they've convinced themselves of it, through leaving their views on issues of race unexamined.
posted by XMLicious at 7:26 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


If I start a conversation by asking why you hate America and love communism, there is not a lot of chance our conversation is going to discover any common ground or lead to any change in your thinking.

Okay but my friends and I do start a lot of conversations with each other like this because we all hate America and love communism so like the issue the bad faith, not the actual question.
posted by an octopus IRL at 7:39 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


"I have always considered Reagan a scumbag. And I get pushback. He's really a smart man. He's the great communicator. No. Fuck that and fuck him."

THANK YOU. Sometimes I think I'm the only person who recalls what he was like. Perhaps more people will recover their memory after this.
posted by corvikate at 7:42 AM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


The folks who got brutalized at People's Park after Reagan called for "a bloodbath" knew what he was like.
posted by delfin at 8:00 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


You think that a system of discriminatory policies & practices based on physical appearance, ethnicity & ancestry isn't racist so long as no one ever says "monkey", "n*gger" or "go back"?

Well, but of course that’s exactly what people think. A large part of the problem is that white people have been taught through years of miseducation in schools, like being taught to treat “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a sacred text, that all racists say “N*****.” Ergo, if you don’t say that word, you’re not a racist. See? Easy! Hell, I knew people growing up who said that word all the time, and yet insisted they weren't racist. "I just mean the bad ones."
posted by holborne at 8:54 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Sometimes I think I'm the only person who recalls what he was like.

I don't because I was too young to be politically aware at the time, and damn, the Republican Party really worked hard to portray him as a president everyone respected and liked. I think it was a really effective strategy - it wasn't going to fool politically engaged people on the left, but for me, who didn't yet know very much about politics, it helped gave the Republican Party the benefit of the doubt. If Reagan could be a successful president, then perhaps the Republican party had some okay policies! I was always pretty left leaning so I would never have voted Republican*, but I can see it working on people who are more right leaning.

It didn't help that mainstream Democrats were too afraid to push back against it, for fear of being seen as disrespectful and partisan. I didn't find out what a monster he could be until ... well, the internet.

* I went through a typical phase where I refused to identify and insisted I would evaluate all candidates objectively, and even vote Republican if I liked their policies more. Strangely, though, I never found that magical "good" Republican candidate who wasn't a hateful bigot. Weird!
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:11 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]



If I start a conversation by asking why you hate America and love communism, there is not a lot of chance our conversation is going to discover any common ground or lead to any change in your thinking.


It would lead to a change in my tactics, for sure. Leading a conversation like that says a lot about the person making the statement.

On the other hand, I have no qualms making it absolutely clear that I am anti-Nazi. I have no problem leading with that, and if the person with whom I'm "conversing" doesn't agree with me, we've done some level setting.

AFAIK, nobody leads a conversation with "You're a racist..." you get there, sure, but it isn't usually the main point - racism often comes up in a couple of ways: the person being accused of racism makes a racist statement and is called out for it; the person who is a racist tries to head it off at the pass by claiming that everyone assumes he/she is racist, and then denies being racist; the person supports other racists and gets their panties in a bunch when that support is considered tacit racism. Most racists deny being racist, so it can be tricky. Many people don't even know they're racists, but they are. People who love America and are not communists can easily defend themselves against both accusations without playing the victim. Projection is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon - someone who would lead a conversation with "why do you hate America and love communism?" is already setting up their strawman argument - odds are they can't even define communism, it's just something that Reagan used to be against and they heard it a bunch of times on Fox "news," (excluding the folks who lived through the Cold War, of course). There is a difference.
posted by Chuffy at 9:12 AM on August 1, 2019


Sometimes I think I'm the only person who recalls what he was like.

I was a teenager when he was president. I never liked him, but a lot of people did. Propaganda and mythology work that way. He was objectively terrible.
posted by Chuffy at 9:19 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Reagan went from President of SAG to being (in)famous for busting unions. That's pretty much all you need to know about his character.

"I have always considered Reagan a scumbag. And I get pushback. He's really a smart man. He's the great communicator. No. Fuck that and fuck him."

One of the problems with fighting perasive racism is the perception that a nice/smart/religious/funny/charming/educated whatever person can't be a raging bigot. That only white trash rednecks are capable of racism.
posted by Mitheral at 9:42 AM on August 1, 2019 [8 favorites]



The folks who got brutalized at People's Park after Reagan called for "a bloodbath" knew what he was like.

Exactly. He launched his campaign in 1966 vowing to "clean up" U.C Berkeley, and then once he was governor supported the cops firing shotguns at protestors (killing a bystander and blinding another) and had the National Guard spray teargas on the campus from a helicopter. He was a consummately evil bastard long before he was even president and got elected anyway.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:51 AM on August 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


One of the problems with fighting perasive racism is the perception that a nice/smart/religious/funny/charming/educated whatever person can't be a raging bigot. That only white trash rednecks are capable of racism.

As a society, we have now accepted that racism is bad (which was not the mainstream opinion before, say, 1945). The bad news is that the consequence of this has been mostly the conclusion that it is unacceptable to call anyone, especially if they have any sort of social capital, let alone power. Thus, as a society, we go out of our ways to not call anybody a racist unless they're already outside the margins of acceptable society, which excludes most people without prominent swastika tattoos. If there is any doubt, we resort to euphemisms like “racially charged” that mean, essentially, yes, they're a racist but what is anybody going to do about it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by acb at 12:59 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]




With regards to racism, we need to stop thinking about it as just an "individual belief" or orientation that can somehow be separated from more fundamental issues of social identity. Racism (or at the very least, racially-based thinking) is at the root of the very concept of "whiteness." Racism is a manifestation of one's basic structure of thinking about self and other, what counts as the "natural" order, etc. Racism, or the racist, cannot be converted simply by the presentation of examples contrary to their stereotypes, or even by demonstrating the negative consequences of racism on the racial other.

Re: Reagan...

People do not vote based on policies, or even necessarily on explicit ideology. People vote based on a shared sense of identity with the candidate. Those who have and will continue to defend Reagan as a great leader do so regardless of facts, evidence, etc. It is because an attack on Reagan is an attack on them, on the ideal-ego that Reagan represents for them.

It is the same with the frenzied, near cultic levels of fervor for Trump. I'm willing to wager that the majority of people who support him do so because they either want to be him, or they want him as their boss/mentor/father figure/lover. Probably mostly men in the former category, and mostly women in the latter (not to insist on the gender binary, but most of those who support Trump probably think exclusively in those terms, so it makes sense that they would divide along "traditional" gendered positions). In psychoanalytic terms, the former want to possess the raw masculinity/power he represents, and by supporting him figure themselves as his surrogate children, to "inherit" his maleness. The latter want to be possessed by him, and so they become what they think he wants: loyal soldiers who will abase themselves for his pleasure. The more one insists on passionate devotion to him, the more feels desired and loved by him.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:03 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Someone on Twitter:

if you think you're bad at your job, there's a Ronald Reagan biographer who didn't realize he was a racist until a week ago
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:29 PM on August 1, 2019 [19 favorites]


This reminds me of the the old SNL bit where an actress playing Pat Nixon tells a story about how someone used an racial/ethnic slur in front of Dick Nixon and "Dick said that was wrong!"[you assume that he's going to be calling someone out on their racism] "Dick said they're called [ethnic slur #2} not [ethnic slur #1]!" So, Nixon's racism was well enough established to be the subject of TV parody. I wonder if this will stick to Regan's legacy or not.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 5:49 PM on August 1, 2019


By 2000, Reagan's Alzheimer's had progressed to the point where he was mostly unable to leave his home. Unwillingness to be perceived as beating up on a sick old man probably played a role in the timing of the redaction.

Maybe, though I'd bet it was still 98% about protecting anyone who was surreptitiously recorded by Nixon. "Don't reveal anything the still-living unwillingly-taped recordee would want to keep private" is obviously a problematic approach, but it's probably less fraught than trying to make decisions based on noteworthiness or the notoriety of the person Nixon was recording.

My initial reaction was similarly what bullshit about keeping it redacted but with a day's remove it's hard to think it would have changed a single person's opinion. You don't need to look any further than the gyrations that go on all the time about giving Trump a pass for things before he was a Changed Man in some magical unidentified way. It would have at best been something for those of us who already knew about Reagan to say to folks who would then wave it off.
posted by phearlez at 9:12 AM on August 2, 2019


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