CBS is backpedaling as fast as it can on its Ronald and Nancy Reagan movie. The executives who commissioned the piece must have been thinking that the 15 years since the Gipper left the White House would be enough time for the public to forget its deep affection for the man who more than any other American brought down the Iron Curtain.
CBS was wrong. The vast majority of Americans still honor Reagan and deeply resent even the idea of an attempted smear upon his good name.
Even though the film will now only be shown on CBS’ sister pay-cable network, Showtime, the particulars of the film remain up in the air as desperate editing has been under way.
But the public is aroused and the scrutiny on the final product will be intense.
Even Barbra Streisand is distancing herself from her husband’s big role, declaring at her website that she hasn’t seen the movie even though she’s sure it will be “a very interesting and well-made movie.”
The movie will eventually appear, and it will be a big silly flop, produced by individuals whose ignorance of history will spill out of every frame. Most of the left coast and most of elite media didn’t understand Reagan even as he blew through Jimmy Carter and then Walter Mondale. They didn’t understand the boldness of the move against PATCO, the economic genius of the tax cut, the grace under literal fire at the time of the assassination attempt, the steely resolve to deploy the Pershing and cruise missiles in Europe, the breathtaking vision of SDI, or the enduring and endearing convictions of a man who understood the average American in a way no convention of editorial writers ever could.
The Democrats never figured out Reagan. Gorbachev never figured out Reagan. The sneering and now forgotten experts of American politics who wrote him off as a cowboy and an actor never figured out Reagan.
These were shortcomings of his opponents, not of the president.
So now, some second-rate producers and a second-rate cast got together to make a second-rate movie. So what? It does not add a page to history’s record, and it does not delete a paragraph from Reagan’s long record of extraordinary achievement.
The most significant American of the second half of the 20th century will forever be remembered as a brilliant and inspiring leader of the bright, shining “City on the Hill,” and as a captain of freedom who always refused to abandon the captive peoples of the East.
President Reagan would have laughed at another round of vain posturing from the little people of the left.
So should we all.