Our president should have studied Ronald Reagan more closely.
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Reagan, in fact, attended the daily intelligence briefing. I could lay this out at great length, but here I’ll offer just two Reagan sources, both still living, who can speak to this:
One source is Herb Meyer, special assistant to CIA director Bill Casey and vice chair of the National Intelligence Council in the 1980s. Meyer was Casey’s right-hand man. I emailed Meyer. He wrote back: “Of course Reagan attended all those daily briefings. And after the briefers returned to CIA headquarters, Bill [Casey] would meet with them just to be sure the President (and Haig & Weinberger) got answers to whatever questions they may have had. In short, it was a very — very — serious business.”
Another source is Bill Clark. Clark was Ronald Reagan’s right-hand man in foreign policy, the head of the National Security Council during a pivotal time. No adviser was more closely involved in helping Reagan take down the Soviet Union. Clark and Reagan saw Poland in particular as vital to a strategic plan to collapse the Soviet empire and bring freedom and democracy into the communist world. I know Clark very well. I’m his biographer. Clark is 80 years old and lives in California. Clark told me this about Reagan and the PDB:
Bill Casey would, by courier, send the President’s Daily Brief each morning at about 5:00 a.m. to our war room downstairs in our [National] Security Council. It was a very limited edition, five colors showing the activity across the globe for the preceding 24 hours. It would be delivered to the president in his residence before he came over [by 7:00 a.m.]. His first question for a long period of time was usually, “What is happening in Poland this morning?” He’d write questions all over the margins about things that weren’t clear in the briefing. And, of course, the agency [CIA] would come down with further explanations.
Clark recalls how Reagan craved that regular morning update. He would read it and then they would meet. Reagan ate up these briefings. He didn’t skip them. He asked questions of his advisers. He probed for ideas. There was give-and-take. Reagan attended the briefings and used them as presidents should and always have — until now, apparently. That’s presidential decision-making.
When Reagan finished his presidency, after two terms, genuine freedom and democracy were surging all over the communist world, beginning in Poland.
As for Obama, if he’s in the process of finishing his presidency, after one term, he’s facing a surge of radical Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, and the dashing of hope for freedom and democracy. Can any of that be blamed on Obama’s failure to attend these routine briefings? Maybe, maybe not. It certainly can’t help. But do enough Americans even care?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?