Wilber reports that Vice President George H.W. Bush’s flawless behavior at the time of the shooting got off to a rocky start. Frazzled White House aides could not get through to him in Texas on a secure phone line. They finally had to communicate with him via secure teletype transmission.
Interestingly, we learn that the crazed young man, Reagan’s would-be assassin John Hinckley, was a bi-partisan stalker of presidents. He apparently also had the hapless Jimmy Carter in his sights, planning to kill the president in Nashville in 1980. Police intercepted Hinckley at the airport with three revolvers, ammunition, and handcuffs.
Sounds like a good start for a David Baldacci fiction bestseller.
Police failed to delve more deeply into this disturbed young man’s background. If they had, they might have unearthed his journal in which he obsessed over how to make in impression on actress Jodie Foster. Today, of course, he might more harmlessly have taken to the pages of FaceBook or even eHarmony.
What’s basically wrong with liberal attempts at stealing Reagan’s body is this: Reagan’s policies were essential to his political success with American voters. The economy came out of a two decades long slough. American leadership was recognized in the world. And Reagan appealed powerfully to millions of supporters of traditional values, including especially, those concerned for the Right to Life.
Baldacci and Wilber apparently forget that it was after Reagan’s recovery that the New York Times could editorialize that his administration had about it “the stench of failure.” Liberals in 1982 and 1983 confidently expected to give Reagan a drubbing in the 1984 elections.
Yes, Reagan’s miraculous survival did create a deep and emotional bond with Americans. He seemed to dispel some kind of curse. After all, no other president had been hit by an assassin’s bullet and recovered.
We can easily disprove the liberals’ thesis that it was only Reagan’s “John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart all rolled into one” performance that explains his political success.
Just imagine if Hinckley had so grievously wounded Jimmy Carter.
Can anyone believe that that would have made 18% mortgage rates go away, forget “America held hostage” in Iran, chill out while lining up for gasoline, or learn to enjoy the era of limits and malaise? It’s time to reject this evasion of the body snatchers.