The danger with the Mueller investigation

As readers know, Ronald Reagan is such a, uh, touchstone that his influence persists even in our contemporaneous scandals. What most dispirited me about Iran-Contra was the determination of the Tower Commission not to even whisper “impeachment,” despite abundant evidence from newly hired chief of staff Howard Baker and the remains of outgoing chief ofContinue reading “The danger with the Mueller investigation”

Trump’s America, Chapter 312

I reread the NYT’s 2004 obit for Ann Grusuch Buford. This paragraph struck me: In appointing her administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, President Reagan made Ms. Burford a leader in his effort to bring economic discipline to environmental cleanup and to give the states greater enforcement powers on matters like clean air and water,Continue reading “Trump’s America, Chapter 312”

Your dad’s sane GOP

Notes on Donald Trump’s self-immolation: * Actually, the Republican Party has had people like Donald Trump in it who impugned the patriotism of war heroes. In Georgia a man named Saxby Chambliss beat Democrat Max Cleland in a Senate race with this ad, released at the height of Saddam Hussein-induced hysteria in 2002. Cleland, whoContinue reading “Your dad’s sane GOP”

Elie Wiesel — RIP

To others I will leave the responsibility of eulogizing one of the late twentieth century’s most searing novelists, for I’m not as familiar with his work as I should be; but my first acquaintance with Elie Wiesel was in 1985 when he accepted the Congressional Gold Medal and, to the astonishment of the crowd, admonishedContinue reading “Elie Wiesel — RIP”

Sadism and the American foreign policy elite

If foreign policy hasn’t emerged as a subject this primary season other than as metonym for incoherence in Syria or insanity about forcing Mexico to pay for a wall it doesn’t want, it’s because no one has presented saner alternatives. In the last twenty-four hours Ted Cruz has given watchers ample reasons why the “movementContinue reading “Sadism and the American foreign policy elite”

Homosexuality in the Reagan administration

The Reagan White House, reports Steve Weisman as quoted by Charles Keiser, “was definitely a place where you would hear one staff member call another staff member ‘a fag’ behind his back.” he Reagans came from a Hollywood milieu that had always embraced discreet homosexuals; that was probably the reason for their occasional displays ofContinue reading “Homosexuality in the Reagan administration”

Nancy Reagan — RIP

Not long before her Ronnie’s landslide reelection in 1984, Nancy Reagan could afford to be gracious to Andrei Gromyko, an eminence as integral to the ornamental functioning of the Cold War as the Pledge of Allegiance (Gromyko was tolerated because tolerance of the Soviet foreign minister represented the institutionalizing of the fifty-year-old conflict). Does yourContinue reading “Nancy Reagan — RIP”

The surly bonds of earth: the Challenger explosion

For South Florida it was an astoundingly cold day: low to mid thirties. The morning the Challenger exploded coincided with the José Martí Parade, an annual ritual during which Miami private schools commemorated the Cuban journalist-poet-patriot by wearing leotards too tight to fit puberty-swollen bodies and instruments too adult to handle. I don’t remember ifContinue reading “The surly bonds of earth: the Challenger explosion”


Frequent guests to HTV know my fascination with Ronald Gatsby, sovereign of the United States for eight years. Forget the sycophants and mountebanks. Unless declassified FBI files revealed that he and Mikhail Gorbachev had joyous, unprotected sex in the Rose Room, nothing I’d learn in 2016 would surprise me about Reagan. But as the presidentialContinue reading “REAGAN REAGAN REAGAN”

Reagan Agonistes — Thomas Mallon’s ‘Finale’

Confronted with the enigma of enigmas, Christopher Hitchens throws up his hands: He wondered if all the effort that Reagan’s nasty lieutenants put into figuring out his nullity – and perhaps projecting something onto it – didn’t give his government a peculiar centripetal energy. Did this grinning, infirm film star, himself so entropic and gaseous, actuallyContinue reading “Reagan Agonistes — Thomas Mallon’s ‘Finale’”