Reagan had his cultists too

“Ronald Reagan seemed to be regarded by certain members of his inner circle not as the powerful and utterly original leader that he was, but as a sort of supreme anchorman whose public persona was the most important element of the presidency,” observed his former Chief of Staff Donald Regan. “Every moment of every public appearance was scheduled, every word was scripted, every place where Reagan was expected to stand was chalked with toe marks.”

Back in 1980, Reagan’s campaign had a brilliant grasp of the president as communicator. “The primary leadership function of the American president is to reaffirm constantly the country’s highest purposes and the potential for individual efforts to alter the course of the future in a positive direction,” Reagan’s confidential 1980 campaign plan read. And no president affirmed like Reagan.

Reagan, not unlike Obama, campaigned on a “cult of personality.” One poster exhibited Reagan’s large image looming over the White House. “Let’s make America great again,” it read, as if the nation was not great unless Reagan led it…

During the 2004 Republican convention, social conservatives held a gathering at Tavern on the Green. I asked Ann Coulter whether she was upset at W. over any issues.

President Bush “is not our ideal,” she replied, “no human can be the ideal unless he’s Jesus Christ.” And, she added, “Reagan was as close to Jesus Christ as we got.” Coulter was only partly joking.

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