24 Hours of Ronald Reagan

On TCM, that is. This Friday, the world’s greatest TV channel will broadcast 15 of Reagan’s movies from 6 a.m to 6 a.m. In primetime, they’ll start with “John Loves Mary.” I hope my sister Mary, who married a man named John, gets to watch it. And then at 8 p.m. it’s the classic “Bedtime for Bonzo.” It’s actually pretty amusing to see Reagan as a young liberal college professor trying to prove the “nurture” side of the nature-vs.-nurture argument and saying that there are no bad kids, just bad environments. And then stay tuned for two of Reagan’s best, “Kings Row” – which gave him the title for his first autobiography, “Where’s the rest of me?” – and “Knute Rockne, All American,” in which he said for the first but certainly not the last time, “Win one for the Gipper.”

Now if only TCM would bump one of the lesser movies and stick in “The Speech” from 1964, we could hear Reagan say something more important, like

You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down – up to a man’s age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order – or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

And wouldn’t that be a welcome alternative to alternating images of Bushes and Clintons on our TV sets?

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