Reagan, Roosevelt, Reid, Redford
and the jockocracy


Expanded from the Sunday, 12-7-2003, Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
12-12-2003 Comstock Chronicle

"If you can't say anything nice about someone, sit right here by me."

Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth

If you find not one thing in this column even remotely maddening or offensive, then I apologize for not doing my job.

MEMORY LANE. Now that "The Reagans" is being cablecast on Showtime, the public can make judgments on content rather than prejudice.


Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004
A personal memoir from Nevada's undercover Reagan-Bush PR man

Analyzing the
Presidential Character


Those desirous of making Ronald Reagan the GOP's first saint since Lincoln have plenty of grist for the mill remaining after this biopic. As ABC News reporter Sam Donaldson once said, "you can never hurt your friends by telling the truth about them."

If, as portrayed in "The Reagans," Nancy Reagan tried to intercede with her husband on behalf of AIDS victims, and if Ronald Reagan did indeed have a recurring dream of being a young lifeguard intent on saving a drowning person — and if that sentiment carried through to parts of his public life — then this film has been kind to them indeed.

Because it showed an aspect of caring for others, it redeems some of the harm they caused. Ronald Reagan is an interesting enough guy that he needs neither revisionists nor dogmatists covering for him. He belongs in the purview of historians.

As Oscar-winning ("Chicago") producer Craig Zadan said, "once the movie aired, people saw it wasn't a hatchet job. It was a love story. Politics was only the backdrop."

Nancy Reagan's famous protectiveness shone at its brightest when the film depicted her trying to keep her husband away from the impeachable offenses he committed in authorizing arms sales to Iran to fund death squads in Nicaragua.

Reagan avoided trial and removal from office because he was a genuinely nice guy personally. As I've written many times, Reagan was essentially a passive, laid-back personality. He simply assumed acting the role of his idol, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his public appearances. Kudos to Nancy Reagan for her statement that her husband would oppose replacing Roosevelt's image with his own on the dime. Classy.

NAPOLEAN REDUX, PART DEUX. Like Ronald Reagan, Chris Ault is impossible to personally dislike. Like Reagan, his conduct in office leaves a lot to be desired, such as skimming student health services funds to support the jockocracy for two decades.

The Little General will profit humongously from his third stint as head football coach. Ault is vested in the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System, benefits from which are determined by highest 36-month average pay. This perhaps explains why double-dipping retiree Richard Kirkland stepped down as head of Nevada DMV/public safety after about three years on the job. The former Reno police chief and Washoe County sheriff put in just enough time to up his average, then quit mere days before the $32 million Nevada Highway Patrol communications system debacle was uncovered.

Ault's pay as athletic director was a handsome $188,000 per year. As football coach, it will jump to $300,000, with fifty grand or so more in perks and benefits. If he remains as coach for three years without another raise, the extra $112,000 in annual salary will increase his permanent retirement income by $101,000 per year. Guess he can afford to go to Harry Reid's party today.

MAROONED AT RANCHARRAH. Not that I could have afforded to go to Sen. Reid's fundraiser with Robert Redford in south Reno today, but the invitation I got was addressed to one Marew Barbano. Somewhere out there, I apparently have a rich relative and thanks to Mr. Reid, I know about it.

LESS EXPENSIVE POLITICAL ENTERTAINMENT. The documentary film "Uncovered" is being presented at several locations in the Truckee Meadows. In addition to a screening at Bruka Theatre, it will also be presented at 6:00 p.m. this evening in room 129 at UNR's Frandsen Humanities Building. Enter the campus at Ninth and Center streets, go up the hill and you will find Frandsen on the left past the parking lot.

"Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War" is a documentary which clearly describes, in the words of experts and former intelligence officials, how President Bush and his administration manipulated evidence to take our country to war.

The video will be viewed at many locations across America simultaneously, along with a cross-country conference call. Those arriving by 6:30 may take part in a question and answer session with the director, Robert Greenwald. (Info courtesy of the list-serve.)

According to information provided, "Uncovered" combines expert interviews with extensive research to go behind the walls of government. Interviewees include Joe Wilson, the former Ambassador to Iraq who exposed that the famous "16 words" in Bush's State of the Union address about uranium in Niger were false. In retaliation, senior White House officials appear to have blown the cover of Wilson's wife, an undercover CIA agent. Other interviewees: John Dean, White House lawyer for President Nixon during the Watergate scandal; Rand Beers, former special assistant to the president and senior director for combating terrorism; David Albright, a physicist, nuclear weapons expert, and former weapons inspector with the International Atomic Energy Agency action team and Rt. Hon. Clare Short, the British Member of Parliament who recently resigned her position as Tony Blair's secretary for international development because Blair did not support a UN coalition to rebuild Iraq.

The whole shebang is sponsored by, the same folks currently airing the rather ineffective anti-Bush TV ads in Nevada and several other swing states.

GOOD ADVICE FROM SEN. REID (forwarded by reader Jill Ransom): "A legislator would have to have rocks in their head to agree to something they haven't yet read." Too bad the Nevada Legislature didn't share that mindset earlier this year.

FROM MY SPY AT KOZZ: I was boring my parents with political talk while visiting tonight on the subjects of how likeability can protect a President and comparing Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. I said, "They can say what they want about Reagan, but I'm convinced he was smarter than Dubya."

My Dad shot back immediately, "He probably still is."

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Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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