The Times To Bush: You're No Ronald Reagan - June 15, 2004 -

Times Watch for June 15, 2004

The Times To Bush: You're No Ronald Reagan

So much for keeping the Reagan remembrance free of partisan politics. Reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg gets a full story out of a line spoken by Ron Reagan Jr. at his father's eulogy.

Stolberg's clip file is full of "soft-spoken" Democrats and "dignified" Republicans who share one thing (besides wonderful personality traits): They're all reliable Bush critics. Tuesday's entry fits that theme.

Her story "Reaganite by Association? His Family Won't Allow It" begins: "As Republicans try to cloak President Bush in the mantle of Ronald Reagan, their biggest obstacle may be Mr. Reagan's own family. Even before Mr. Reagan died, Nancy Reagan and her daughter, Patti Davis, made their opposition to Mr. Bush's policy on stem-cell research well known. But on Friday, at the culmination of an emotional week of mourning for the former president, his son Ron Reagan delivered a eulogy that castigated politicians who use religion 'to gain political advantage,' a comment that was being interpreted in Washington as a not-so-subtle slap at Mr. Bush."

After rehashing some of Ron Reagan Jr.'s harsh anti-Republican comments from the past, Stolberg wraps up by airing the Reagan family's advocacy of stem-cell research, an issue opposed by pro-life conservatives (of which Ronald Reagan was one): "[Reagan's daughter Patti] Davis wrote passionately about her father's illness in the online version of Newsweek, this week and last month. 'A messy, horrible war that has spun out of control could very well determine the next election,' Ms. Davis wrote before her father's death. 'So should the miracle of stem-cell research-a miracle the Bush White House thinks it can block.' Such pronouncements could spell trouble for the president, said James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University."

Never mind that the benefits of stem-cell research on Alzheimer's is cloudy at best. As the Washington Post reported last week, "of all the diseases that may someday be cured by embryonic stem cell treatments, Alzheimer's is among the least likely to benefit."

And what about Michael Reagan, son of the president and a conservative talk show host? He's not even mentioned. As The American Spectator's George Neumayer notes on the story's headline: "By 'family' here, the New York Times means the Reagans who agree with its editorial board. The Times makes sure to ignore Michael Reagan's support for Bush's policies. Patti Davis, however, receives a careful hearing from the Times, even though her name change indicates that she's never wanted to be considered a 'Reaganite by Association.'"

For the rest of Stolberg's piece on Ron Reagan Jr., click here.

" George W. Bush | Ron Reagan | Ronald Reagan | Science | Sheryl Gay Stolberg

Swiping at Cheney from Baghdad

In the middle of Edward Wong's Tuesday story from Baghdad about the insistence by human rights groups that Saddam Hussein be charged with a crime, Wong takes a detour to Florida to disparage Dick Cheney: "Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that Mr. Hussein had 'long-established ties' with Al Qaeda, The Associated Press reported. He offered no details to back up his assertion in a speech here before James Madison Institute, a conservative research group. In making its case for war in Iraq, Bush administration officials frequently cited what they said were Mr. Hussein's decade-long contacts with Qaeda operatives. They stopped short of claiming that Iraq was directly involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, but critics say administration officials left that impression with the American public."

In the next paragraph the scene reverts back to Iraq ("In an interview Monday on Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based television channel, Iraq's interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi".") leaving readers wondering what the Florida detour was in aid of-besides letting the Times make a quick hit on Cheney.

For the rest of Wong's story from Baghdad (with a stop in Florida), click here.

" Dick Cheney | Saddam Hussein | Iraq War | Edward Wong

Reagan and Bush, "Panderers to the Religious Right"

Editor Frank Rich, who's never made a secret of his distaste for the Reagan administration, revels in the former president's "performance chops," if only to make George W. Bush look callow by comparison.

Rich does find similarities between Bush and Reagan-and as you can imagine, they're distinctly unflattering: "The White House's efforts to follow the Reagan playbook have been nothing if not relentless. As Michael Deaver's crew famously would have Reagan cut ribbons in front of nursing homes even as he cut funds for their construction, so Mr. Bush can be found communing with nature each time his administration takes a whack at the environment".Those who dislike both men see less salutary parallels. Both presidents tried every stunt imaginable to create the illusion that their wartime service had not been confined to the home front. Both pandered to the religious right by impeding urgently needed federal medical research that would have saved lives (Reagan with AIDS, Mr. Bush with stem cells)."

For the rest of Rich on Reagan, click here.

" AIDS | George W. Bush | Ronald Reagan | Frank Rich | Science