Sunday, May 27, 2007

Catching Ronnie

Continuing my life long pursuit of dead Presidents, I convinced my family to take a break from viewing Southern California colleges and drive over to Simi Valley to view the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I caught up with Ronnie in a beautiful replica of the South Lawn of the White House which had been paid for by Merv Griffin. Back in the 1960s, I used to watch the Merv Griggin show a lot during the summer. When the movie "Lost Horizen" was remade during that period, Merv had the sitting Gov., Ronnie Reagan on his show, along with other Hollywood luminaries to celebrate the event. Merv and Ronnie, I think actually, Nancy and Merv stayed close for years and when Ronnie decided where he wanted to be buried, Merv was nice enough to pick up the tab for the landscaping.Merv has made and lost and remade a lot of money, but as long as his production of the "Wheel of Fortune" stays on the air, no one will be holding any benefits for him.He did the Reagans proud with his recreation of the white House lawn. It is beautiful, and set in the climate of southern California, a lot more comfortable than the original.

So there was Ronnie, somewhere under the ground, and me looking down on him as I have so may of his presecessors, from Washington to Lincoln to two Roosevelts, two Johnsons, a Polk, a Taft,a Kennedy, a Jackson, two Adams,Wilson, Jefferson and Nixon. I'm typing this in a hotel lounge, so I'm sure I have left out a few. They all had at least two things in common. They had all been President, and they were all dead. Most of them have very nice gravesites, even if Merv did not pay for them.

I never was a political supporter of Reagan while he was alive. But I have come to recognize that he was a great President. Certainly one of the ten best. That's not as hard a list to make as you might imagine. The current officeholder shows how even medioctity is appreciated in the White House. God, if we only had mediocrity now ! Old Millard Filmore is mostly forgotten, but that's not only because he was not great. It's because he never screwed things up so bad that it will take generations to get things straight again. The current office holder will be remembered for a long time. Not as many people will drop by his gravesite as they do Reagans. Merv Griffin is not going to recreate any part of the white House lawn for him. George will probably lie quietly on the ranch in Crawford.

The election of an American President is a crap shoot. Some guy has an electable name, or gets to run against a duffus, and he can sneak in. The White Houise has been full of Zachary Taylors, Warren Hardings, U.S. Grants, and George W. Bushes. But George has a chance to eclipse them all. I may beat George to the grave, which is too bad for a number of reasons. But one is that Crawford is so close that I would like to drive on up and pay my respects when his time comes. Make damn sure he's really down there.

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