John McCaslin

While many admirers of Ronald Reagan want to see him join George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore, someone whom the former president used to describe as "a good friend and valuable adviser" is taking a different tack.

"Let's not just talk about putting Ronald Reagan on Rushmore, let's show it," says former ambassador Fred J. Eckert, a staunchly conservative former Republican congressman from New York. Mr. Eckert served two tours of duty as a U.S. ambassador under Mr. Reagan, and National Journal once ranked him as the member of Congress most supportive of the Gipper's agenda.

An award-winning photographer, Mr. Eckert has actually taken one of his images of Mount Rushmore and worked with acclaimed aviation artist Ted Williams, who has incorporated Mr. Reagan into the granite mountain next to Lincoln.

The result, which can be viewed at, is what former New York Rep. Jack Kemp calls "a classy work that just might ignite a successful movement to put Ronald Reagan up on Mount Rushmore, where he belongs among America's beloved great leaders."

Just this week, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich urged his readers to check out Mr. Eckert's Web site in his weekly "Winning the Future" newsletter.

And Craig Shirley, author of "Reagan's Revolution," says the former ambassador's Rushmore image "is so realistic that it looks like Reagan is really there."

"In time, he will be," Mr. Eckert replies, "but I want to help hurry the inevitable."


Speaking of gaining momentum, how about former Reagan Cabinet member-turned-best-selling author, cultural figure and national radio host William J. Bennett becoming the next vice president?

Before we get to that possible scenario, the former education secretary, among other presidential appointments, is set to lecture at noon today at the Family Research Council on "America: The Last Best Hope." The speech deals with what students know, do not know and should know about our country's history.

Along those lines, Mr. Bennett's "The Book of Virtues" sold more than 2.4 million copies and has been translated into 12 languages. His two-volume history of the United States, "America: The Last Best Hope," is a New York Times best-seller.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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