William Blaze at American Dynamics reminded me once again just why the hell I link to him. He has an excellent retrospective on Ronald Reagan’s career as president and just how quickly the Republican party is going to anxiously flog his more salient and desirable memories. If you thought the exploitation of 9/11 has been crass, wait until George Bush tries to ride Reagan’s coffin back into the White House. More details in:
Now I don’t particularly think its worth criticizing or attempting to judge the pros and cons of an actor presidency. I see it as an emergent property of our media age. The presidents job is to lead, and in this day and age that means leading via the newsmedia. The president needs to be able to communicate on camera, and no one is better prepared for this role then an actor. One can critique the need for an executive branch, or the necessity of a mass media, but as long as both exist, the president’s job is an actor’s job.
That’s no excuse for Reagan though. Actor’s job or not the presidency comes with power. As leader in the media age Reagan played the role fantastically, but he failed utterly when it came to the power. We might need an actor in the White House, but that actor needs to be aware of what’s going on around him. Be able to make decisions, know when his staff is abusing his position…
The logical conclusion indeed. Reagan was a good president, but the hype of recent days belies a history that had it’s good memories as well as it’s bad.