Friday, November 2, 2007

Ronald Reagan in Private

The more I read of Jim Kuhn's memoirs, the more I realize why it was at the dollar store. The title sounds weird if you think about it too much, and a critical analysis it's not, but it does provide an interesting look into the day to day life of a President of the United States. Unfortunately, Mr. Kuhn manages at some points to sound as if the job of Executive Assistant to the President were rather like babysitting. There are also some annoyingly repetitive themes: Reagan was polite to everyone no matter who they were; Reagan was stubborn; Reagan didn't hold grudges; blah, blah, blah. The book in general wasn't well thought out - it awkwardly attempts to juggle both chronological and topical organization, doing neither well and often leaving me a bit confused. On the other hand, I've learned some interesting things about politics. Most of the President's interactions with others are choreographed, and every action, every movement is carefully planned to control the impressions created. But in many cases this is due to the incredible ramifications his or her actions have - a small slip up can be really bad when you're always representing the entire US! It has also been refreshing to get a window into a politician's life who (in Kuhn's eyes, at least) pursued the presidency out of a desire to serve and improve the lives of others. Sometimes I really think presidential candidates are all arrogant egotists seeking self-fulfillment. Please show me otherwise.

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