"Visitors to the Reagan Library will be able to board the Air Force One that served as the 'Flying White House,' for President Reagan and six other U.S. presidents from 1973-2001," according to the Reagan Presidential Library website. Tonight's Republican "debate" will be held upon the stage shown in the above screenshot, right across the room from said Air Force One.
Chris Matthews is clam happy, and for once, we're feeling his warm, fuzzy happiness too. The little motor mouth is in his element, cast as the star of tonight's ten-little-Indians Republican "debate." According to what we think we heard him say yesterday, Nancy Reagan herself invited Matthews to moderate tonight's state-of-the-art extravaganza, to be broadcast on MSNBC at 8 p.m. from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. MSNBC has spent the whole day covering the story most expertly, with the once disgraced Mike Barnicle taking us on a totally fascinating guided tour with the Museum's director. Then there was live coverage of the prospective candidates practicing standing and speaking at their podia in the totally awesome stage set for tonight's presentation. Ronnie's Air Force One is right there beyond the audience chairs for all the power-crazed wannabes to ponder as they try to capture the electorate's imagination and thence the Oval Office. Oh, Lord, thy Reagan legacy is so large, and my all-about-me boat is so small. The stage is set:
It has been nearly 20 years since Ronald Reagan had a direct role in American politics, but the 40th president of the United States will be a dominant image today as 10 GOP presidential hopefuls jostle to seize the Reagan mantle in time for the 2008 election.
The 10 Republican candidates will gather for their first official debate of the campaign, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, a week after the Democratic field debated in South Carolina.
ScrappleFace, as usual, catches the conscience of the kingmakers:
“The Reagan mantle and the legacy are not items that anyone can just casually pick up and carry around,” said the unnamed librarian, “although it was President Reagan’s intention that they be kept in circulation, so far no one able to bear them has appeared.”
As for the 10 Republican presidential candidates, the librarian said, “They may come. They may look and talk, but they can’t touch this.”
We hadn't meant to watch MSNBC, but our reflexive cable channel of choice, the ever trashier Fox News, made the mistake of interrupting Defense Secretary Robert Gates's riveting address today:
Five times over the past 90 years -- after the First and Second World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and most recently, after the Cold War -- the United States has slashed defense spending or disarmed outright in the mistaken belief that the nature of man or the behavior of nations had changed, with the end of these wars.
As we were saying, Fox News made the mistake of interrupting Secretary Gates with the latest pressing news about Anna Nicole's mother and such, so we surfed on over to MSNBC and got stuck. It didn't hurt that cutie-pie Tucker Carlson was anchoring the late-afternoon show. 'Haven't checked back with Fox, even for our beloved Neil Cavuto, since. We had emailed Fox News only yesterday in disgust when they interrupted the President's press conference with the Colombian President:
Real news in the making . . . LIVE . . . The Colombian President is speaking beside the Leader of the Free World.
And what do Fox News producers do? Cut him short to move on to the latest entertainment news.
I am furious. There is no source for viewing real news. I am at your mercy.
Big mistake. Meanwhile, back on MSNBC -- who is definitely on a roll -- Tom Brokaw is telling Chris Matthews re Ronnie:
He had almost a pitch-perfect ear for America.
Nancy is a genius.