Former President Ronald Reagan’s youngest son suggests in a new book that his father showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease while he was in the White House.In the book titled “My Father at 100,” which is due out next week, Ron Reagan writes, “Three years into his first term as President … I was feeling the first shivers of concern that something beyond mellowing was affecting my father.”
And before anyone says anything, I’m not blanketly slamming Reagan. I thought at the time – and still do – that he was unfairly maligned during the 1980 campaign. First, I still don’t think he was senile at that point. Second, even if he was senile he still came off looking more on the ball than did incumbent Jimmy Carter – which still is something that should reflect more negatively on the Democratic Party for not going with either Ted Kennedy or Jerry Brown than on the Republican Party for picking Reagan the crypto-christianist movie star over moderate John ‘if I wore sunglasses I could be the albino Blues Brother’ Anderson.
I don’t think he was senile in 1980 – and, lets be fair here: He did take a bullet for (unwittingly) defending a closeted lesbian from a whacked out rich kid (who, to his credit, unlike the moron who did the shooting in Arizona last week didn’t give the world a mugshot in which he looked like a lobotomized Vic Mackie.) You take a bullet at 70, and I bet that, no matter how well your body recovers, your brain is going to be a bit rattled.
In short, I’ve always thought that Reagan was not senile in 1980, but had definitely started wandering down the long hallway by the time he left office. I’d just thought that the drifting began around 1986 or so.
Having said that…
Will those who claim to be christian but actually worship Reagan and money now apologize to Jello Biafra?