Was Brit Hume Right About Reagan?

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Last Week’s CW: Obama a lock! This Week’s CW: Obama in Deep Trouble! Brit Hume defends the current GOP presidential field:

“Thirty-two years ago, 1979, the Republican field was in chaos,” Hume said. “It had the aged former actor followed by the right named Ronald Reagan. It had an assortment of other candidates that nobody thought was presidential timber as the election year approached, and look what happened.

Hmm. Is Hume right about Reagan being considered a non-serious candidate in 1979? That’s not how I remember it. Reagan had already come from right field in 1976 and almost wrested away the GOP nomination from an incumbent president, Gerald Ford. Sure, the Eastern establishment considered him a right-wing extremist in the Goldwater mold, and they assured themselves he could be similarly beaten. (If you lived in California you were much less likely to think that.)  But I don’t think Reagan was considered in any way a fringe candidate or a freak or a flake or a newbie or political lightweight. Nor did he give off the negative pheromones of a guy who had his shot the last time around and couldn’t make the sale, as Mitt Romney does.  Unlike Romney, Reagan had done much better than expected. …

P.S.: The “assortment of other candidates” to which Hume refers included Howard Baker, Bob Dole, John Connally and George H.W. Bush. These were people “nobody thought was presidential timber’?  Really?… Well, Bush maybe.

P.P.S.: Give P. Noonan credit for kicking off the backlash to the “Obama will win” CW. It was fresh when she wrote it 10 days ago.  …

Mickey Kaus