A Book I’ve Been Reading For Months!
I’ve finally completed “Ronald Reagan in Private,” by Jim Kuhn. Mr Kuhn was President Reagan‘s “Executive Assistant to the President” during “Ronaldus-Magnus’” second-term. Prior to that, he was Mr Reagan‘s personal assistant and the White House ‘advance man’ for official trips.
Anyone who knows me personally, can not doubt the highest esteem I have for Ronald Reagan; secondarily for his grasp of economic and tax issues, but primarily for the lofty perch on which he placed the office of the President of the United States. This book is one of the best ‘reads’ I’ve found on President Reagan‘s two-terms in office. Mr Kuhn not writes about the activities you and I know, but such things as:
President Reagan being responsible for a child’s pet fish;
[(This occurred during a Reagan-Gorbachev meeting in Geneva, Switzerland) Mr Kuhn writes: Reagan had been faithfully feeding the fish belonging to the son of the Aga Kahn, but later than afternoon he suddenly noticed that one of them was, clearly, quite dead. It was floating belly up at the top of the boy’s fish tank. The president felt terrible about it. I wondered what we were going to do and then decided that we would replace the fish. I asked two of our advance team to go out and purchase two fish (one for backup) of the same size and breed. We got the replacement fish but, unfortunately, our advance guys had told enough people about the dead fish, so the story got out that the president had killed the little boy’s fish. The president left the boy an apologetic note. “I don’t know what could have happened,” the note said. He told the boy he’d replaced the fishe woth two other fish. “I hope this is all right.” He signed the note: “Your friend, Ronald Reagan.”]
President Reagan speaking to Soviet college students;
[(This occurred on one of the Reagan‘s visits to Moscow; President Reagan making a scheduled speech to students at Moscow State University, with a follow-on Q&A period) Mr Kuhn writes: He (President Reagan) did a question-and-answer session with the students, telling them that he looked forward to a day when there would be no more nuclear weapons in the world. One student asked him if youth had changed since he was a student. Reagan smiled, recalling the day when he was California governer when “I could start a riot just by going to a campus.” But all that has changed, he told the Moscow State students, “and I could be looking out at any American student body as well as I’m looking out here and would not be able to tell the difference between you.” That was, in my mind one of the most symbolic events of President Reagan‘s extraordinary eight years in office. The aging cold war warrior, entering the twilignt of his presidency, sahring his thoughts and wisdom with young people in a country he had once considered the font of all evil in the world.]
President Reagan‘s ease with–and without–his ‘perks-of-power;’
[This occurred late in President Reagan’s second-term, as he played off a remark made by LBJ when told ‘his helicopter was ready;’ President Johnson told the sailor “Son, they’re all my helicopters.” Mr Kuhn writes: “Which one is ours?” I asked someone as we walked with President Reagan. Overhearing me, Reagan turned to me with a wicked grin. “Jim, they’re all my helicopters.” We all burst out laughing, including the president. We knew he didn’t meant it-in face, that was the joke. [….] That was Reagan. Don’t take the perks of power too seriously-they are ephemeral and fleeting. As his remarkable eight-year tenure wound down, he didn’t regret losing those benefits-or the job itself.]
With the book finally finished, with ‘well tabbed’ important–at least to me–passages; it will now go to the ‘Ronaldus-Magnus‘ Wing of my personal library. I think everyone should have a WELL READ copy in their libraries; you should get yours!!