Publisher HarperCollins has announced they have reached a deal with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation to publish the diaries of the nation’s 40th president, which will be released in 2006.
It will be a breath of fresh air to read about the Reagan presidency first hand, unfiltered by semi-disconnected authors or agenda driven television writers and producers, where facts are often confused to the point that they’re lucky to even get the hair and the names right.
For me, the diaries should offer fascinating insight into the first person I ever pulled a lever for in a presidential election. I first voted for Reagan in 1984 (a small part of the reason I did is that I didn’t want to be known for the rest of my life as, “One of the three guys who voted for Mondale”). Reagan got my vote because he came across, at least to me as an 18-year-old, as the father figure to a nation that had spent the better part of a decade as orphans, abandoned by Vietnam, Watergate, malaise, the ‘misery index’ and disco.
During the 80’s, Ronald Reagan was even successful at convincing those who had never voted for a Republican in their lives to give him a chance. These were the so-called “Reagan Democrats”, who were coming off Jimmy Carter’s presidency still reeling from an economy that was misfiring like the original spark plugs on a ’61 Ford Galaxie. Reagan Democrats were Americans who had lost their jobs in droves, perhaps had their Trans-Ams repossessed, suffered from “general malaise”, and had wives who spent a good deal of what little money there was to get a hairstyle like Dorothy Hamill. They, understandably, lost their will to support Carter, and voted for Ronald Reagan Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in two successive elections.
The “Reagan Democrat” voting bloc evolved, some of them into yuppies, then maybe angry white males, soccer moms, technician dads, office dads, waitress moms, and NASCAR dads, but they never evolved out of an interest in Reagan and his presidency.
The Reagan diaries will be a big seller.