What a memorable week, politically speaking, it was be for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California, starting with the April 28 appearance by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and culminating with the first Republican presidential debate of the 2008 campaign on May 3.
“As an occasional visitor, a donor to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and as a great admirer of President Ronald Reagan, I must voice my extreme displeasure over the planned Reagan Forum on [April 28],” Rick Reiss wrote to library officials in advance of Mr. Kennedy’s lecture, the letter posted by the Conservative Revolution blog. “To put it simply, Senator Kennedy is an unsuitable and inappropriate figure to be given the privilege of lecturing at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.”
Such protests didn’t prevent the lecture by the Massachusetts Democrat, nor did it stop Nancy Reagan from escorting the senator — arm-in-arm — to the stage to address the 600 in attendance. Mr. Kennedy, according to the Ventura County Star, lectured for one hour on the need for a “diplomatic surge” if the United States is to be successful in Iraq. Otherwise, he opined, the war cannot be won unilaterally.
“We have learned again, as President Reagan told us, that might alone cannot make America right,” Mr. Kennedy said. “Ending it is essential to our security and to regaining the respect of the world.” conservation like this is more than just common sense — I tell you it is an act of patriotism.”
Mr. Edwards: “We ought to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war. To be willing to conserve.” And in the “moral leader” arena: Mr. Carter: “This kind of summarized a lot of other statements: ‘Mr. President, we are confronted with a moral and a spiritual crisis.’ ”
Mr. Edwards: “I don’t think I could identify one person that I consider to be my moral leader.”
There were other comparisons where these came from. Of course, this isn’t the first examination of similarities surrounding this pair of southern politicians, albeit of two different generations and worlds.
“This John, with his winning smile and aw-shucks manner, looked like the latest version of the Southern savior,” Gerard Baker, the U.S. editor of the Times of London, opined in February.
However, the “channeling” we referred to doesn’t stop with Mr. Carter, or so Mr. Baker pointed out: “The man who was catapulted from obscurity to the front line of American politics because he sounded like Jimmy Carter and seemed to think like Bill Clinton is hoping to win the presidency on a platform borrowed from George McGovern.”