Patterico's Pontifications

3/6/2016

Nancy Reagan Dead at 94

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:48 am



[guest post by Dana]

Nancy Reagan has passed away at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94 years old. The beloved wife of President Ronald Reagan was known to wield tremendous influence over her husband, both in and out of the White House. She was fiercely protective of the president and remained as wholly devoted to him as he had been to her.

About her relationship with President Reagan, Mrs. Reagan said,

“My life really began when I married my husband.

Thank God we found each other. Can’t imagine life without him.”

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The Ronald Reagan Foundation and Presidential Library has put up a memorial page for Nancy Reagan here.

God bless Ronald and Nancy Reagan as they are reunited in love.

ADDED: I’m adding this eloquently intimate declaration of love Ronald Reagan made to Nancy Reagan:

“I more than love you, I’m not whole without you,” Ronald Reagan wrote in a letter to his wife on their 31st wedding anniversary. “When you’re are gone I’m waiting for you to return so I can start living again.”

–Dana

117 Responses to “Nancy Reagan Dead at 94”

  1. Good morning.

    It is a beautiful thing to be remembered most for the undying love one had for their spouse.

    Dana (86e864)

  2. Though it was ridiculed by many (especially on the left) at the time, Mrs. Reagan’s ‘just say “no” ‘campaign was one of the best things a First Lady has ever done. I know for a fact it resonated with our children and their friends. May she rest in peace.

    Colonel Haiku (676dac)

  3. May she ride with the Angels into eternity with her husband. The last remnants of a special generation slowly passing into our Lord’s hands. God bless.

    Rodney King's Spirit (3adc86)

  4. R.I.P.

    Icy (bc5821)

  5. Like Beldar, I well remember all the nasty things said about Mrs. Reagan throughout her life, as well as the scurrilous commentary by that so-called biographer of her. I repeat: what kind of people say and write such things? Then I go look at Twitter or Facebook, and I know.

    Anyway, I had to hear over and over again how stupid and nasty Reagan was. Then I read his letters, after his death. I recommend them. Like the nonsense that GWB is stupid, it was all politics. Reagan, whether or not you agreed with him, was quite smart and savvy.

    And he loved his wife very much, as seen in his many letters. May she rest in peace.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  6. RIP to the best first lady of my lifetime. All class all the time. Tell your husband thank you from me when you see him again.

    njrob (8f1b10)

  7. I admired Nancy’s ‘just say NO’ to drugs campaign, and I admired President Reagan’s ‘just say NO’ to left wing policies campaign.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  8. Anyone catching Sam Donaldson on Fox News talking about her and Reagan on TV?

    Of all people? Sam was a monumental jackass to Reagan. Sam also lied about Reagan and went along with smearing him.

    Now this Piece of Human Filth gets on TV laments our current political discourse …. LOL, Sam was one of the pioneers of Advocacy Journalism which is one big reason why things are as they are.

    Some folks can’t go soon enough … Sam Donaldson is one of them. Dear god was a monumental piece of crap.

    Rodney King's Spirit (3adc86)

  9. Encountered Nancy Reagan at an event in Rockefeller Center in the early 1990’s. Surprisingly petite, frail and waxen in pallor even then, yet instantly engaging with a warm personality and bright, electric eyes.

    Her time as First Lady was a cake walk compared to the responsibilities for caring for her husband stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease. My admiration for Mrs. Reagan’s strength and devotion through the ‘long goodbye’ is unbounded, having dealt with it myself. Regardless of the resources on hand, the ’36 hour day’ is a challenge at any age and Nancy Reagan is a model for managing it with strength and grace.

    Rest in peace, Nancy Reagan. Well done.

    DCSCA (a343d5)

  10. Sam Donaldson and Donald Trump must go to the same hair salon.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  11. Mrs. Reagan was a public servant, although she never held office. Without her support, Ronald Reagan couldn’t have been the transformational president that he became. May she rest in peace, freed at last from the venomous personal barbs and taunts of the vile Left who demonized her along with her husband.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  12. I’ve read people in the political world saying that DC experienced a nice social lift or buzz during the Reagan years, due in part to the nature of Nancy Reagan.

    Partisanship aside, the personal writings of Ronald — particularly to his wife — and the steady, honorable hand of Nancy indicate they were fairly nice, good people behind closed doors. If the same thing could be said about all their predecessors or successors, such as the volatile, flaky (to say the least) former First Lady now campaigning for the presidency, I’d have a tough time being so turned off by such public figures.

    For contrast, Jimmy Carter was and is ideologically defective, and is deficient in charisma, but I don’t grimace about him in quite the same way as I do towards many of the more recent Democrat administrations before and after him—JFK’s behavior in private was far more brazen and reckless than originally believed, while the skeletons in the closet of the current president are rattling very loudly.

    Mark (f09713)

  13. Truly a lovely woman.

    Steve57 (1ace39)

  14. Nancy Reagan stood by her beloved Ronnie’s side as he gave hope to the oppressed, shamed the oppressors and ended an evil empire. The Reagan Years saw a restoration of prosperity, peace through strength and an invigoration of the American people.

    Rest in peace dear Nancy. A grateful nation thanks you for your service.

    Political Clown Parade (3a9294)

  15. There’s this wonderful scene in Del WIlber’s “Rawhide Down” about the Secret Service agents trying to talk Nancy into NOT going to the hospital where they’ve taken her husband after the shooting. She threatens to go out the gate and walk if they don’t get her a car right away.

    Only a block or two from the White House, the small motorcade encountered heavy traffic and came to a stop. They were stuck for just a few minutes, but to Opfer the wait seemed interminable.

    Soon two hands gripped Opfer’s shoulders from behind. “When am I going to get there to see him?” the first lady asked.

    “We’re moving,” Opfer replied. “We’ll get there soon.”

    A minute later, she seized his shoulders again. “George, I’m going to get out and walk. I need to get out and walk.”

    “No, no, we can’t do that, it’s not safe,” Opfer said.

    “I need to walk,” she said. “I have to get there.”

    At last the traffic eased and they began making good progress. As soon as they reached the ER entrance, Opfer opened the car’s rear door. He watched a blur of red raincoat run for the emergency room doors and then hurried to catch up.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  16. Her husband made me a Republican. For that I will be forever grateful.

    I’ve missed him; I’ll miss her too.

    The photo really captures them both.

    ThOR (a52560)

  17. I was a child in the 1980s, and I did not like Mrs. Reagan then.

    But the *love* she showed during her husband’s long goodbye? That was the stuff of heroism.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  18. Colonel Haiku – as a child of the (late) 1980s, I would observe that “Just Say No” was ridiculed by pretty much everyone I knew as a kid. So the program’s effectiveness may have varied intently by region.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  19. Nothing quite demonstrated the difference between northern and southern California than people’s attitudes towards the Reagans.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  20. So the program’s effectiveness may have varied intently by region.

    It was ridiculed by those who didn’t like the person delivering the message and who had a different agenda.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (eb7063)

  21. You know, I would take the nasty minded detractors of NR more seriously if they didn’t idolize MO.

    Again, it’s about appearing somehow hip.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  22. #18 Curious for an explanation. Never heard that one.

    Rodney King's Spirit (3adc86)

  23. Will Obola get to the funeral? Or is she a typical white person undeserving or something??

    Rodney King's Spirit (3adc86)

  24. The success of “Just Say No” might have varied by generation more than by region. What seemed simplistic and silly to young people then seems like good advice to some of those people now that they are parents. My college roommate is one of them. As college students, my roommate and her spouse were frequent marijuana users and they laughed at “Just Say No.” Their son died of a drug overdose 20+ years later. I doubt it is funny now.

    DRJ (15874d)

  25. I was a child in the 1980s, and I did not like Mrs. Reagan then.

    But the *love* she showed during her husband’s long goodbye? That was the stuff of heroism.
    aphrael

    And I came to appreciate the lifelong marital love and devotion these two had towards each other.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  26. It’s mourning in America.

    DCSCA (a343d5)

  27. Nancy Reagan wasn’t just a woman. She was lady. The lady who you needed to shave even if you shaved six hours ago and put on a tie just to present yourself lady.

    Steve57 (1ace39)

  28. RKS,

    At the time (the 80’s) Southern California was pretty reliably center-right, while Northern Cal had never been anything but left-to-hard-left. The immigration from the east (“L.A.’s the Place!”) that happened during the 80’s and 90’s changed all that, of course, but it hadn’t happened yet.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  29. To be bipartisan I’d put Rosalynn Carter in the same category. The fact that I can’t ascribe the sins and failings of her husband to her is probably exhibit A that she comported herself as a lady.

    But right now I’m missing Nancy Reagan.

    Steve57 (1ace39)

  30. I’ll never forget the outpouring of sympathy from women’s groups when Nancy had a mastectomy in 1987 after a cancerous lesion was discovered.

    Oh. Wait. They didn’t. They took her to task for having the mastectomy instead of a less radical surgery.

    Nancy Reagan, who had a mastectomy last October, said in an interview prepared for broadcast last night on ABC’s ”20/20” that, despite widespread criticism, she felt she had made the right choice in having her whole breast removed, rather than just the malignant lump.

    Mrs. Reagan said that she made her choice in part because the less extensive surgery, known as a lumpectomy, probably would have required follow-up radiation treatment or chemotherapy, and that would have interfered with her schedule as First Lady.

    If you hate someone enough, everything is controversial.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  31. Mrs. Reagan’s ‘just say “no” ‘campaign was one of the best things a First Lady has ever done.

    As opposed to the current First Lady’s agenda, in which public schools have been goaded and forced into redoing their lunch programs to either limited or negative effect. She’d have been more helpful if, as in the case of Nancy Reagan, she incorporated a “just say no” approach. But aimed not at narcotic usage but at all the food industry’s products saturated with sugar, the fake type being even worse than the real one.

    Of course, the sugar industry would have been miffed at her, but victims of today’s soaring rates of obesity and diabetes (eg, Paula Deen) need a “just say no” lesson or two—versus a nanny-Bloomberg approach, which prefers forbidding instead of educating.

    Mark (f09713)

  32. Mark,

    This is the difference between leading and policing.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  33. Best first lady in history. She will be greatly missed. Another shadow has cast on the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

    The Emperor (98cabe)

  34. #28 To my point about dragging out these old men who were vile in their time to now laud Reagan. I never forgot and I was but a teenager at the time.

    The Media really tried to smear Reagan in every way possible and failed at it — including using his (lefty twat waffle) children to mock and insult him. Even Iran Contra by today’s standards is a joke. Just look at how they have covered Benghazi and the arms hustling to Syria.

    What is worse is the GOP went back to Elites as usual in 1988 with Bush and it has been a big problem ever since losing booth the Culture Wars and Policy Debates.

    Rodney King's Spirit (3adc86)

  35. I have added to the post this eloquently intimate declaration of love Ronald Reagan made to Nancy Reagan:

    “I more than love you, I’m not whole without you,” Ronald Reagan wrote in a letter to his wife on their 31st wedding anniversary. “When you’re are gone I’m waiting for you to return so I can start living again.”

    Dana (86e864)

  36. I used to ridicule Just Say No by pointing out it lacked mannerliness – shouldn’t it be Just Say No, Thank You?

    It is interesting to think about the devolution of nannnying from drugs, to drink, to French fries. What’s next? Maybe the Breatharians will have a comeback? Maybe not: too much C02.

    Compared to the the reactionary neo-prohibitionism of Libby Dole or the food fetishism of Michelle Obama, Nancy’s campaign seems modest and reasoned. The same people who are today warning of the dangers of comfort food, thirty years ago thought Just Say No was the height of Victorian foolishness.

    ThOR (a52560)

  37. Leave it to the WaPo obit writer to trash NR in the first paragraph: Nancy Reagan had an undeniable knack for inviting controversy. There were her extravagant spending habits at a time of double-digit unemployment, a chaotic relationship with her children and stepchildren that could rival a soap-opera plot, and the jaw-dropping news that she had insisted the White House abide by an astrologer when planning the president’s schedule.

    No linky love.

    The writer could have learned some tips on grace and class from Mrs. Reagan.

    Dana (86e864)

  38. There were her extravagant spending habits at a time of double-digit unemployment…”

    That qualifies as one of the most insane left wing complaints of all-time.
    After all, isn’t the left wing premise that government needs to spend MORE money in order to lift the country out of a recession?
    If a Democrat First Lady had spent money on redecorating the White House, they’d characterize it as ‘injecting money into the economy.’

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  39. Good thing the Obamas don’t spend money like it was going out of style. But, wait, these are good times, right?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  40. it just goes to show you, projection is all three courses,

    narciso (732bc0)

  41. Rancho del Cielo was the Reagan’s California retreat. The main building was a modest, tract-style home on a remote acreage, high in the hills overlooking Santa Barbara. Ronnie liked riding horses and splitting wood while relaxing in veritable isolation. It was rustic and remarkably simple. Compare that to extended golf vacations in Palm Springs and seaside retreats on Martha’s Vineyard.

    The press and the Left hated Reagan, just as they hated Nixon. The hatred was both irrational and virulent, as hatred usually is. But that’s who the Left is. They have no opponents, only enemies.

    ThOR (a52560)

  42. Thor,

    Rancho del Cielo is actually even more modest than that. It wasn’t tract style—it was an 1870s little adobe/ranch house. It was about 850-and some square foot when they bought it. They expanded it to about 1500-something square feet.
    But you’re right, it was very modest.
    This was not the Ponderosa.

    Reagan built fenceposts and the little dock at the pond.

    The liberal media tried to slander him with the inference it was some great mansion.

    There’s some nice footage of Reagan clearing brush and so forth on youtube.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  43. Thanks.

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw pictures of the property, years after the Reagans had moved out.

    The press disgusts me.

    ThOR (a52560)

  44. Thor,

    This is probably the only video of the interior.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4HkqIeXeIo

    It’s a little shaky at first, but hang with it, it gets better. Where else will you get to see the interior?

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  45. Haiku – as a child of the (late) 1980s, I would observe that “Just Say No” was ridiculed by pretty much everyone I knew as a kid. So the program’s effectiveness may have varied intently by region.

    aphrael (3f0569) — 3/6/2016 @ 12:00 pm

    Probably also depended on how they were raised, aphrael. If you lived in New York, ’nuff said.

    Colonel Haiku (d1ec67)

  46. certainly, the cultural drivers, that contributes to early adopters, is one of the real demand problem, I guess it began with the beattles, which are like chopin to this generation of melodic mind arson, on spanish tv, there are no fewer than 5 telenovelas that have glamorized the drug
    smuggling and taking habits,

    narciso (732bc0)

  47. 29… true that, Mark!

    Colonel Haiku (d1ec67)

  48. the left is relentlessly political, red queen is proof of that, ‘she won’t let us be uninvolved’
    as her push for hillarycare proved,

    narciso (732bc0)

  49. Everything the LEFT thinks and does is political. Politics is their weapon. Ronald Reagan represented EVERYTHING that the LEFT hates. American exceptionalism being #1 hate of libs.
    They will never grow up, their Mommy …big gubmint, allows their hate.

    Gus (a084f0)

  50. Will Obola get to the funeral? Or is she a typical white person undeserving or something??

    Rodney King’s Spirit (3adc86) — 3/6/2016 @ 12:43 pm

    If he couldn’t be bothered to set enough time aside to go to the funeral of a sitting Supreme Court justice, just what do you believe would compel him to go to the funeral of a long-retired First Lady?

    If I can arrange it, I would like to attend the public service for her at the Reagan Library. Assuming of course there is one. Simi Valley isn’t that far away.

    Bill H (dcdd7b)

  51. Colonel Haiku – I lived in southern California at the time. I didn’t live in NY until 2011. :)

    The thing is that I was a few years *after* the heyday of ‘just say no’ – I was in high school from 1987 – 1991 … and among everyone I knew, both those who were anti-drug and those who used drugs, it was a joke because it was *ineffective* in persuading people.

    Maybe it was more persuasive half a decade before; it’s hard for me to judge.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  52. >What seemed simplistic and silly to young people then seems like good advice to some of those people now that they are parents.

    It’s not that it was bad advice per se; it’s that it was unlikely to be persuasive – and if you didn’t think it was persuasive when you were sixteen, why would you expect sixteen year olds today to find it persuasive?

    I’ve got a good friend with a teenage child, and his approach is along the lines of “I don’t have any problems with drug use per se, BUT it’s bad for you *because your brain is still developing* and so, even if you want to try it, you should wait until you’re older”, and so far that seems to work.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  53. Bill H – I think there’s a *strong* argument that the presence of a President at the funeral of a former First Lady is a higher priority, in terms of formal protocol, then the presence of a President at the funeral of a sitting Associate Justice.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  54. #51 aphrael,

    There’s always an excuse for Barack’s poor behavior.

    With Scalia’s funeral, it was that Barack “already” had some very important unspecified plans to be busy. Of course, that’s always the case with anyone’s funeral—because the person in question usually dies without making advance plans.
    But when you’re President, you have to go to a Supreme Court Justice’s funeral—even when you’d rather be watching a cool basketball game on ESPN.
    The “Associate Justice’s” funeral was less than a mile away from Barack. Nancy Reagan’s funeral will be about 2,800 miles away…BUT, that will be 100 miles away from a few of Barack’s favorite golf courses.

    We’ll see.
    Barack didn’t send anyone to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. And he had Bibi Netanyahu use the back doorway to the trash bin.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  55. aphrael @51. I think there’s a *strong* argument that a respectful President would be present at both. But no one has accused Obama of having dignity and it is unlikely anyone will.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (eb7063)

  56. I heard fat mouth liberal Larry King interviewed about Nancy’s passing. This slime bobble head used Nancy to bad mouth the republican party…. Nancy was embarrassed about this republican campaigned he said….. For all the problems republican candidates have theirs doesn’t begin to touch the shame and embarrassment and evil that is the democrat party.

    jrt for Cruz (bc7456)

  57. Colonel Haiku – I lived in southern California at the time. I didn’t live in NY until 2011. :)

    The thing is that I was a few years *after* the heyday of ‘just say no’ – I was in high school from 1987 – 1991 … and among everyone I knew, both those who were anti-drug and those who used drugs, it was a joke because it was *ineffective* in persuading people.

    Maybe it was more persuasive half a decade before; it’s hard for me to judge.

    aphrael (3f0569) — 3/6/2016 @ 10:42 pm

    ————————————————————–

    My children and their friends were in elementary school, aphrael, and they benefitted from the message. Not old enough to be jaded, or unduly influenced by the drug-espousing media. And, it appears, they also had parents who reinforced the message at home.

    Colonel Haiku (d1ec67)

  58. Rev. Hoagie, at 53 – I agree, and I said here that I thought President Obama ought to have attended Justice Scalia’s funeral *unless the family asked him not to*.

    However, I think there’s a difference in protocol between attending the funeral of a member of the highest court and attending the funeral of a former first lady; the latter strikes me as being much more an executive branch occasion, and more demanding of attendance.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  59. Colonel Haiku – the thing is, I don’t know a single person whose choice to not use drugs was based on that campaign. Which is to say: lots of people didn’t use drugs. In high school I was completely anti-drug and would *never* have touched anything other than coffee (including alcohol) — but the campaign struck me, and my similarly anti-drug friends, as *lecturing* from people who did not have the *personal* standing to so lecture.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  60. aphrael,

    Do you believe people are eating broccoli because Michelle Obama asks them to?

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  61. I understand where you’re coming from on the protocol point aphrael, but I’m talking class, not protocol. Unless he was at some major international conference or some important meeting of State humility ( which we all know he doesn’t have ) and appearances would dictate he attend both. Not play golf. Not have dinner with the family of friends. Not watch a movie. So in the absence of anything of great importance which needed his undivided attention he looked like a petty, low class bum. I hope he does not repeat it with Nancy. He showed his usual vulgar crassness by not attending Margaret Thatcher’s funeral and not even sending a senior administration representative.

    Some men can dress in white tie and tails and still look the clown.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (eb7063)

  62. ….. the campaign struck me, and my similarly anti-drug friends, as *lecturing* from people who did not have the *personal* standing to so lecture.

    That’s the difference between conservatives and liberals. The former may lecture you but the ladder passes a law and fines an jails you if you don’t comply. So please, lecture me.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (eb7063)

  63. Cruz Supporter – no, I don’t. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  64. Rev. Hoagie – sure. But the thing is, lecturing from strangers is *very* unlikely *as a tactical matter* to be effective with teenagers – there are exceptions, to be sure, but by and large, it’s a tactic which offends them rather than persuades them.

    So as an adult, I look at people trying to lecture teenagers who they don’t have personal standing with and shake my head; those people are hurting their cause more then they are helping it.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  65. Mrs. Thatcher is an interesting case. I don’t think the leader of the US *generally* has a responsibility to attend the funeral of all former leaders of close allies. I don’t think, for example, that President Bush attended Willy Brandt’s funeral. So it’s unclear to me why Margaret Thatcher is *different*, except that she’s a political hero to conservatives.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  66. aphrael, it just seems like there’s too many excuses made for Barack.
    Margaret Thatcher died—so man up and do the duty of the American President and go to her funeral. Or if you already have a sexy golf vacation planned for that weekend, then send Joe Biden.

    But don’t play the “Well, there’s no governing authority which elicits us to go, and blah, blah, blah.”

    This is all part of the American Presidency. If you’re a detached guy who prefers to sit on the couh and watch a cool college basketball game on ESPN, then maybe you shouldn’t have run for President in the first place.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  67. Cruz Supporter – what i’m debating here is whether or not the American president has a *duty* to go to the funeral of a former leader of an ally.

    Like I said: was it wrong of President Bush to not attend Willy Brandt’s funeral? If the answer to that is *no*, then how is Margaret Thatcher different? If the answer is *yes*, then why the opprobrium against President Obama?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  68. Apparently Mrs. Reagan’s funeral will be closed to the public, but there will be a visitation at the library.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/nancy-reagan-funeral-plans-announced-37469849

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  69. aphrael,

    Oh, God, please stop with the nonsense—pretty please?
    Willy Brandt died during the tail end of Bush’s re-election campaign in 1992.
    Doing the right thing is not predicated by what someone else did or didn’t do 24 years ago.
    (LOL)

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  70. So it’s unclear to me why Margaret Thatcher is *different*, …..

    I never said Thatcher was different I any way from Brandt. Both funerals should have been attended by the President at the time barring something major prohibiting it. Things like that help the perception that Americans have no class.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (eb7063)

  71. That’s “in” any way.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (eb7063)

  72. Cruz Supporter – my *overall* premise is that there is no expectation in international relations that the sitting head of state attend the funeral of an ally’s *former* head of government.

    I am citing President Bush’s failure to attend Mr. Brandt’s funeral as an example of the principle. Similarly, the *other* President Bush did not attend the funeral of James Callaghan. Nor did President Clinton attend Harold Wilson’s funeral.

    So: in my view, President Obama is being criticized for failing to do something that there has historically been no expectation of him doing.

    So what makes Thatcher different?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  73. I think Obama went to Mandela’s funeral, a former head of state of a nation that is a tenuous ally at best. On the other hand, England is a long-standing ally and Thatcher was a stalwart friend of American interests abroad.

    Of course, Obama likes Mandela and dislikes England and Thatcher, so he probably made his choices based on those feelings. But he is supposed to put America’s interests above his personal feelings. He rarely seems to do that.

    DRJ (15874d)

  74. I don’t think it was South Africa’s status as a quasi-ally which impelled President Obama to go to Mr. Mandela’s funeral; I’m pretty certain that if FW de Klerk were to die tomorrow, President Obama wouldn’t go to that funeral.

    Which, I think, brings up the question: on what basis should a US President decide to attend the funeral of a former foreign leader? (Note that I’m being *very careful* to distinguish *former* from *current* heads of state and heads of government).

    I keep seeing President Obama be criticized for his failure to attend the funeral of a former leader of an allied state – but as far as I can tell, that’s been *normal practice*. I cannot find a single instance of a funeral of a former British PM which was attended by the sitting US President. Nor can I find a single example of a former German Chancellor. The only *former* French President whose funeral was attended by a US President was Charles de Gaulle (although President Nixon also attended the funeral of Georges Pompidou, who died while in office).

    So that putative tradition doesn’t exist – and while I think it’s fair to argue that it *should* exist, I don’t think it’s fair to use President Obama’s adherence to historical tradition as grounds for criticism, at least not without forthrightly arguing that the historical tradition is wrong.

    On the other hand, maybe there’s some other tradition. Attending the funeral of former *unusually transformative* leaders of allies, perhaps; that would justify Mr. Mandela’s funeral and might require Mrs. Thatcher’s funeral (although it would seem to me that it should also have required Mr. Brandt’s funeral, and possibly Mr. Trudeau’s funeral).

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  75. Aha! I take that back. President Johnson apparently attended Konrad Adenauer’s funeral.

    But none, for Germany, since then.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  76. Johnson didn’t go to Churchill’s funeral and he was roundly criticized for his decision. Obama should be, too.

    DRJ (15874d)

  77. DRJ – is President Obama’s decision not to attend Mrs. Thatcher’s funeral worse than his decision not to attend Helmut Schmidt’s funeral? If so, why? If not, why does it get talked about so much when nobody *ever* talks about Mr. Schmidt’s funeral?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  78. aphrael,

    As President of the USA, it’s not necessary to engage in an existential Hamlet ‘to go to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral or not to go to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral’ question.

    Rather, you go because you believe it’s the right thing to do as the titular head of the USA.
    You’re not just a politico who won an election.
    What Bush 41 did or didn’t do during the October of an election 24 years ago is completely irrelevant to what Barack does in 2016 when he’s not facing re-election. The irony of being a liberal is that you think that you’re better than your predecessors anyhow—right?!

    Again, doing the right thing is not incumbent upon what your predecessor did. If that were the case, then slavery would never have been outlawed.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  79. I don’t think it’s fair to use President Obama’s adherence to historical tradition as grounds for criticism,……

    I don’t believe he was exercising “historical tradition” but rather using it as an escape clause. For a guy who loves to jet all over the planet to preach about how bad it is to jet all over the planet he picks his trips based on what he wants to do not what he should do as President of the United States.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (eb7063)

  80. ……….when nobody *ever* talks about Mr. Schmidt’s funeral?

    Because nobody knows Schmidt’s dead.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (eb7063)

  81. England, not Germany, is our foremost ally but Obama has done his best to undermine it. Here is a list of Obama’s insults as of 2011. Avoiding Thatcher’s 2013 funeral was a continuation of that pattern.

    DRJ (15874d)

  82. Send the VP, aphrael. It’s what VP’s are there for and it would let a President avoid most of the criticism. Obama makes these choices for a reason.

    DRJ (15874d)

  83. It’s amazing how childish he has been.

    DRJ (15874d)

  84. Anyone’s attendance at a funeral — POTUS, peasant, poet — everyone’s attendance is symbolic. Nothing more, compelled by nothing but that.

    But is is very, very powerful symbolism. In the case of certain sorts of prominent people who’ve been terribly significant in some way to the course of human events, there is a loose and subjective expectation that particular people, and groups of people, connected to them may, therefore, be “expected” to attend, despite the fact that it’s just symbolic and there are no rules.

    Circumstances also matter, and can excuse.

    In my judgment, Pres. Obama was expected by the nation (amorphously defined for this purpose) to attend Justice Scalia’s funeral, purely in Obama’s official capacity as the current, sitting head of one of three branches of government. That they had served together in the same government throughout all of this POTUS’ tenure — and in Justice Scalia’s case, for many years before — enhances that expectation. And there were no excuses. In these circumstances, given nothing more than just the job titles and the dates, anyone must conclude that Obama’s failure to attend was exactly as much of a symbolic act in these circumstances as his attendance would have been. It just sent the opposite message: It was an insult, meant and correctly perceived as such by any fair-minded observer.

    I don’t think there’s nearly the same degree of legitimate expectation, on a sort of institutional level, that the sitting POTUS attend the funeral of a First Lady whose spouse was POTUS in the 1980s. That it would require travel for this POTUS is, objectively, a mitigating factor, and in many eyes an adequately excusing factor.

    So I don’t think there’s nearly the same kind of “institutional-level insult” in Obama’s non-attendance at Mrs. Reagan’s planned funeral. Given this POTUS’ immaturity and the frequency of his petty behavior, his private-level insults are now so numerous that there’s no point continuing to catalog them.

    And that is the silver lining: He surely doesn’t want to be there, on an individual (non-institutional basis), and while the POTUS might be welcome, this particular individual occupant of that office surely won’t be missed, and might not be terribly welcome.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  85. I’m confident you could get a unanimous decision, indeed a per curiam summary ruling without argument or briefing, at the SCOTUS if the question presented is: Did the POTUS insult the SCOTUS by staying away from a SCOTUS member’s funeral? In institutional terms, it’s not a close question.

    In any event, it’s “nonjusticiable.” No one has standing to sue Obama for this, and the dispute is confined to the court of public opinion.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  86. The British rarely honor former Prime Ministers with a state funeral. Churchill and Thatcher are the only two in the modern era, and Democratic Presidents refused to honor both.

    DRJ (15874d)

  87. Cruz Supporter – I guess my question is, when did “attend the funeral of a former leader of an allied state” *become* the right thing? From what I can tell, doing so has been extremely rare in the modern era … so the criticism of Obama rings, to me, as being misdirected. I don’t think the issue is really that he violated some protocol and insulted our ally by not attending the funeral of a former leader — because not attending the funeral of a former leader is *normal behavior*. I think the issue is that conservatives feel insulted because he didn’t attend the funeral of a leader whom conservatives idolize.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  88. Beldar – when it comes to Justice Scalia, I’m not disagreeing with you; i’ve been consistent in my comments here that he should have attended *unless the family asked him not to*.

    Similarly, I’d expect him to attend the funeral of any Congressman who died in office.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t expect him to attend the funeral of a former Congressman or a retired Justice.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  89. I agree with Beldar. Nancy Reagan’s funeral is not a matter of state or protocol, and Obama can do what he wants — which is all he cares about anyway.

    DRJ (15874d)

  90. Not attending or sending a high official to a state funeral is a breach of protocol. We expect other countries to honor our dead at state funerals, and we should do the same for their’s. It’s why the rules and practices for who gets a state funeral are so strict. Churchill and Thatcher are the only two former prime ministers in modern British history to be given that honor. Who ae we to ignore that?

    DRJ (15874d)

  91. The argument that a formal state funeral makes it different is a good one.

    And yet: President Clinton did not go to Pierre Trudeau’s funeral, nor did he send the VP. President Carter did not go to John Diefenbaker’s state funeral. President Nixon did not go to Louis St. Laurent’s state funeral or Lester Pearson’s state funeral.

    So – again, historic practice seems to be on President Obama’s side here.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  92. mom met this lady and barbara bush

    worked with them both on fundraisers/rallies

    she had very nice things to say about barbara

    happyfeet (831175)

  93. I’m not really interested in participating in this discussion, but aphrael asked the question what was special about Thatcher:
    1) I do not need to be reminded who Thatcher was, I had to be reminded about Brandt, and other than Trudeau, I have no idea who those other people are
    2) Thatcher has been included in the same breath as Reagan and Pope John Paul II as the trio who won the cold war

    Those are two reasons why Thatcher is different
    Besides, her granddaughter did an awesome job reading from Eph. 6,

    MD not exactly in Philly (deca84)

  94. MD in Philly – the other people I’m naming have all been the prime minister of close allies. The last list was all Canadian prime ministers who have been given state funerals by Canada.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  95. 87.I agree with Beldar. Nancy Reagan’s funeral is not a matter of state or protocol, and Obama can do what he wants — which is all he cares about anyway.
    DRJ

    I never suggested Nancy Reagan’s funeral is a matter of state protocol, it’s a matter of class and he has none. And being across the country or on Hawaii or Timbuktu makes no difference to him as we’ve seen in his previous travels.

    I guess that’s it then. Historic practice wins! Screw Nancy. BTW, do you think he’d skip Sharpton’s or Jackson’s funeral? Just askin’.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (eb7063)

  96. 91. I’m not really interested in participating in this discussion…

    MD not exactly in Philly (deca84) — 3/7/2016 @ 3:54 pm

    I hope I wasn’t involved.

    Steve57 (1ace39)

  97. mrs. thatcher was very substantive she makes a very interesting contrast with nancy reagan i think for that era

    happyfeet (831175)

  98. Rev. Hoagie – I have no idea! Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are, to me, divisive figures from the past who have no meaning in my life or in the modern political life of the nation; the *only* time I ever hear them mentioned is when they are brought up by people who dislike them because of things that happened before I was politically aware.

    So what might happen at their funeral is something that I literally *never* think about. :)

    As an aside, from what I can tell, Mrs. Reagan’s funeral is *closed to the public*. So I expect that President Obama won’t be there, just like other public dignitaries won’t be there.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  99. The Democratic Presidents are your problem but I hope Nixon sent an American delegation with senior officials, preferably including a VP. If he did not, it is not a pattern. It was wrong.

    DRJ (15874d)

  100. DRJ – in the case of Mr. Trudeau, apparently President Clinton sent a delegation headed by former President Carter. But then, President Obama sent a delegation headed by former Secretaries of State Schulz and Baker.

    I take it that your sense of protocol would have been satisfied if President Obama had sent a delegation headed by the VP. But then the issue isn’t his *personal* non-attendance; it’s that the delegation he sent wasn’t high-ranking enough.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  101. Like Clinton, Nixon sent former President Eisenhower to St Laurent’s funeral (because VP Agnew was discredited and would soon resign). I think that shows appropriate respect. Obama didn’t even bother to send current government officials, let alone a high-ranking official or a VP. That would be taken as an insult in diplomatic circles — because it is, and that’s how it was intended. That is not acceptable.

    DRJ (15874d)

  102. aphrael,
    I believe you made my point, rather than undermined it.
    There are allies, and there are allies.

    I don’t care whether Obama sent someone to Thatcher’s funeral or not, he had already displayed the disdain he has for GB,
    You asked what was different about Thatcher and I told you. No Canadian PM, German Chancellor, or King of Sweden was included in the list of those who won the cold war,
    Of course, that is a bug for leftists

    MD not exactly in Philly (deca84)

  103. And she is awesome.

    happyfeet (831175)

  104. Mrs. Thatcher is an interesting case. I don’t think the leader of the US *generally* has a responsibility to attend the funeral of all former leaders of close allies. I don’t think, for example, that President Bush attended Willy Brandt’s funeral. So it’s unclear to me why Margaret Thatcher is *different*, except that she’s a political hero to conservatives.

    aphrael (e0cdc9) — 3/7/2016 @ 11:54 am

    Yah, it’s more than just a close ally. We’ve had, on a national basis the type of friendship with Great Britain where not only do they know where the bodies are buried, they help us put them there. Also, it was Reagan’s alliance with Thatcher and Pope John Paul that finally ended the Cold War with a decisive victory for the West. Sorry, but in my eyes that makes her just a bit more important than Willy Brandt.

    I get that the President can’t be, and doesn’t need to be at everybody’s funeral. But if he can show up at Mandela’s funeral snapping selfies with the Prime Minister of Norway, this is one he should have been at. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised seeing as how insulting he’s tried to be towards Britain over the last 7+ years.

    Bill H (dcdd7b)

  105. maggie, she put ideas into action and got results

    she’s not at all like a republican

    she’s the answer to the question the republican party is not asking, is what she is

    happyfeet (831175)

  106. The funeral snub that really appals me still is Obamas refusal to send anyone to the funerals of the two assassinated Nyc cops.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  107. “When I got invited to the White House to meet Ronald Reagan in 1983. Nancy Reagan was campaigning to get kids to say no to drugs, and they heard about me going round schools telling kids to stay away from drugs. It was a real honour for a black kid from the ghetto who grew up on welfare.
    I mourn the death of First Lady Nancy Reagan, who was Very Special to me…”

    – Mr. T (@MrT) March 7, 2016

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/03/07/mr-t-says-goodbye-to-nancy-reagan-with-sweet-tweets/?platform=hootsuite

    Colonel Haiku (d1ec67)

  108. ^ I just glanced at an article linked at the Drudgereport about Nancy Reagan as seen through the eyes of a correspondent for Vanity Fair who previously was an editor at a magazine owned by Andy Warhol. The writer’s likely political orientation is pretty much a given, but the qualities he touts of Ronald Reagan’s wife and presumably those of the former First Couple in general are things I like to think all Americans can respect and feel good about. And in a truly non-partisan way too.

    Which makes me realize that if other occupants of the White House along the lines of a Bill and Hillary (not to mention the current residents at 1600) had the exact same personal, behind-the-scenes characteristics of Ron and Nancy (although the writer doesn’t include the quality of basic honesty—at least that which is far above the level of a Clintons), and even if such people were no less liberal, I’d have a tough time not admiring — and respecting — them too.

    Vanityfair.com, March 7: In a few words, here is what Nancy Reagan meant to me as First Lady—and, I think, to America: Dignity. Glamour. Loyalty. Fidelity. Discretion. True love. Common sense. Good manners. Strong values. An unshakeable sense of propriety.

    Mark (fe2e4b)

  109. aphrael,

    As is usual for them, the Obamas are using Nancy Reagan’s death to talk about … themselves.

    I don’t expect proper protocol from them. They have proved that quality is beyond their ability, but is consideration and grace too much to hope for? Apparently so.

    DRJ (15874d)

  110. The sad part, DRJ, is that the Obamas are really a mirror of the souls of too many people in our nation.

    Simon Jester (348f4a)

  111. Note that from the earliest weeks of the Obama Administration, the protocol “mistakes” have been focused on Britain, and they haven’t stopped. He hates Britain but being President isn’t a chance to settle personal scores. He shouldn’t use protocol to snub Britain and he shouldn’t use the IRS to hurt conservatives, but he has and he’s a disgrace.

    DRJ (15874d)

  112. Perhaps so, Simon Jester. They are either self-centered or lemmings, and I’m not sure which is worse.

    DRJ (15874d)

  113. Who could forget when Barack gave the Queen an iPod loaded with his greatest speeches? They say that it’s the thought that counts vis a vis gifts. And naturally, Barack was thinking of himself.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  114. aphrael,

    Diplomacy is and always has been a (largely futile) hope that reason, not force, can guide our actions. Former Presidents respected protocol as a nod to the goals of diplomacy. Obama has used protocol as another tool in his “getting even” arsenal, which ultimately undermines diplomacy.

    DRJ (15874d)

  115. I suppose if it’s true that President Coolidge didn’t travel to the funeral of Latvia’s Minister of Finance back in 1924, we can’t expect Barack to have attended Thatcher’s funeral in 2013.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  116. DRJ, I must disagree with your comment @112. Diplomacy is perhaps reason. But it’s either backed up by force or it doesn’t work.

    When it’s not backed by force, that’s when it’s futile.

    Steve57 (0fcd57)


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