2018年3月30日 星期五

RCP Morning Note, 03/30/2018: Health-Care Concerns; Back Off Big Tech; Secret Wars; Reagan Under Fire


Carl Cannon's Morning Note

Health-Care Concerns; Back Off Big Tech; Secret Wars; Reagan Under Fire

By Carl M. Cannon on Mar 30, 2018 09:00 am

Good morning, it's Friday, March 30, 2018. Thirty-seven years ago today, a mentally ill drifter with a cheap .22-caliber revolver waited in ambush outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. His intended target was President Reagan, who was speaking to the AFL-CIO.

Not much is remembered about Reagan's speech that day. It got almost no press coverage at the time, given what happened a few minutes after he finished talking. But let's take a moment and recall the event.

Unlike many of his fellow Republicans (then and now), Ronald Reagan was never ill at ease with representatives of organized labor. His father had been a New Deal Democrat and loyal union man; in Hollywood, Reagan himself had been an activist president of the Screen Actors Guild.

That afternoon, Reagan mentioned with pride that he was the first U.S. president with lifetime membership in an AFL-CIO union. Perhaps because he was comfortable in such a setting -- or maybe because the start of the 1981 baseball season was approaching -- the Gipper opened with a humorous anecdote involving former Los Angeles Rams placekicker Danny Villanueva who, like Reagan, had found professional success as a sports announcer.

It seems that Villanueva had invited a young Los Angeles Dodgers player and his family over to the house for dinner. As the men talked sports and Villanueva's wife made dinner, the ballplayer's baby started to cry.

"Change the baby," said the young Dodger's wife.

"What do you mean, 'change the baby'?" replied the unnamed Dodger. "I'm a ballplayer. That's not my line of work."

"Look, buster," said the wife, hands on hips. "You lay the diaper out like a diamond, you put second base on home plate, put the baby's bottom on the pitcher's mound, hook up first and third, slide home underneath, and if it starts to rain, the game ain't called, you start all over again."

Yesterday's Washington Nationals game was called on account of rain, so today they'll start all over again. So will I, with additional details of Ronald Wilson's Reagan's near-death experience on March 30, 1981.

First, though, I'd point you to RealClearPolitics' front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

* * *

Could Health Care Come Back to Hurt GOP in Midterms? Caitlin Huey-Burns examines the pressures on the party from multiple angles, including base voters angry that repeal of Obamacare failed and Democrats pushing for single-payer coverage.

It's a Terrible Time to Regulate Big Tech. Mark P. Mills warns that government oversight often stifles competition and innovation.

Why Give Political Parties the Power of Redistricting? In RealClearPolicy, Dennis R. Bullock offers a history of gerrymandering and makes the case for a more neutral alternative.

Net Neutrality Endangers Freedom to Innovate. Also in RCPolicy, Brent Skorup looks at the legal context of the current debate over internet regulation.

The Pentagon's Secret, Permanent Wars. In RealClearDefense, Bonnie Kristian complains that Congress and the American people have been kept in the dark about U.S. military operations in "ungoverned" areas of Africa.

Military Families Deserve an Education Choice. Also in RCD, Lindsey M. Burke weighs in on the school-options debate.

Truth Is, Ike Loved Politics and Being President. In RealClearHistory, Richard Brownell explores Dwight Eisenhower's active political life after his presidency.

Special Ops Look to Drone Racers for Military Edge. In RealClearLife, Lee Ferran reports on Pentagon efforts to pick the brains of the sport's best practitioners.

* * *

On this date in 1981, "Rawhide," as the president's Secret Service agents called him, was walking to his waiting limousine after speaking to the AFL-CIO when the pistol shots rang out. At first it wasn't clear, even to the president, that he'd been shot. Reagan, who'd turned 70 the month before, initially thought he'd cracked some ribs when Jerry Parr, chief of his detail, shoved him into the car. But when Reagan arrived at George Washington University Hospital, it became apparent that a bullet had pierced the president's lungs.

Ernest Hemingway never articulated in his own writing his famous definition of courage. It came from a 1929 Dorothy Parker profile of the author in The New Yorker magazine. Parker asked him in their interview what he meant when he referred to "guts" in his fiction.

"I mean," Hemingway replied, "grace under pressure."

This line might not even be remembered today except for John F. Kennedy, who liked it so much that he included it in the opening pages of "Profiles in Courage." Kennedy displayed this trait many times in his own life, not least of which when his patrol boat was sunk by the Japanese in the South Pacific and he helped his men swim to shore. Ronald Reagan was not a war hero. He spent World War II stateside. But his guts came to the fore on the day he was rushed to GW hospital. By the time he arrived, Reagan was losing blood. Yet he walked under his own power into the emergency room before collapsing.

"Please tell me you're all Republicans," he quipped to the doctors as he was prepped for surgery. When Nancy Reagan arrived, the president sought to reassure his wife with an old Jack Dempsey one-liner. "Honey," he said with a wan smile, "I forgot to duck."

Post-surgery, with tubes coming out of his throat, Reagan requested a note pad. To assuage the fears of this staff, he wrote out a paraphrase of an old W.C. Fields line: "All in all, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

Reagan's grace under pressure was contagious. Dr. Joseph Giordano, the head surgeon on the team treating Reagan that day was, in fact, a Democrat. Impressed by his patient's positive attitude, however, he answered Reagan's quip in kind:

"Today," he said, "we are all Republicans, Mr. President."

Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

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