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Conservative columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan doesn’t like people demeaning the Gipper’s legacy, not even Sarah Palin, and not even if she’s only talking about the former president’s Hollywood career.
She writes in her latest column of a recent incident in which Sarah Palin attempted to explain away a Karl Rove criticism over her “reality show” by drawing parallels to former president Ronald Reagan’s silver screen career, including his roles in movies such as “Bedtimes for Bonzo, bozo or something”:
Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I’ll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president.
“The point is not ‘He was a great man and you are a nincompoop,’ though that is true,” Noonan continues. “The point is that Reagan’s career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn’t in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn’t in search of fame; he’d already lived a life, he was already well known, he’d accomplished things in the world.”
Though Noonan’s piece is not simply a jab at Palin, but rather a larger message about the real political significance of one’s actions and accomplishments, as well as the necessity to “earn your way into politics,” it’s also worth noting that Noonan has never shied away from writing confrontational columns about the former Alaska Governor.