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Hullabaloo


Sunday, March 06, 2016

 
RIP Nancy Reagan

by digby
















She lived to be 94 years old and that's as long as anyone can hope for. Liberals should be somewhat happy that she was the First Lady during the Reagan administration because it's widely assumed that it was her influence on the president to take up glasnost which led to the thaw in the cold war that soon brought it to a close. (This was far more important than Reagan's vaunted military build-up that the wingnuts persist in saying was the cause.)  If the hardliners had had their way, it wouldn't have happened. In fact, Reagan was commonly seen as a weak sister among the hawks for doing it. It wasn't until Grover Norquist and the boys got together to form the "Reagan Legacy Project" that Republicans rallied around the Gipper once again as the avatar of everything right and good about conservatism.

She also meddled constantly and was relentless in her desire to control the people around the president. (And yes, she consulted an astrologer after the president was shot and had influence on his schedule throughout the administration.) It's clear that Reagan was slipping in his second term and Nancy protected him from scrutiny. All of which just shows that when Bill Clinton said a few years down the line, "you get two for the price of one," the outcry was just a little bit self-serving --- and all the years of caterwauling over Hillary Clinton having a role in the White House was little more than posturing.

Nancy Reagan was probably the most powerful first lady in American history, far beyond anything Hillary Clinton or Eleanor Roosevelt ever did. She was his closest adviser and lived with him most intimately. She knew very well that he was cognitively disabled at the time he was president. She kept it quiet.

That's not how it's supposed to work but it's how it happened. All these sexist right wingers who created the image of Clinton as Lady MacBeth must know on some level that it fits the Reagan myth much more closely.

The last part of her life was spent in devoted care-taking of her husband as he disappeared into the twilight world of Alzheimer's disease and she became a strong advocate for a cure, even flouting right wing dogma around stem cell research.   She had a long and interesting life and nobody can ask for more than that.

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