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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feeling Good

While I was alive during the Kennedy administration, I don't remember any of it.  I was all of 23 months old when JFK was assassinated.

I have a feeling that if Kennedy had a chance to reflect on his time in the White House, he'd say that the Peace Corps and the investment in the space program were his proudest accomplishments.

The first head of the Peace Corps, Sargent Shriver, died Tuesday, at the age of 95.  He had Alzheimer's Disease.

And, that brings us to another president, Ronald Reagan.

Reagan's son, Ron, has a new book, in which young Reagan says he believes his father had signs of Alzheimer's as far back as his first term in office.

I admired President Reagan for something other than his policies.  Reagan got this country feeling good about itself again after the dark years of the Carter administration.  Jimmy Carter is a good man who was a bad president.  Reagan brought respect and dignity back to the office.  He got us to believe that things could and would be better in the future.  This country really needed that at the time.

Reagan was far from perfect.  It is said he wasn't "hands on."  He delegated authority to people who took advantage of it.  The Iran Contra scandal is a prime example.  It was also said that Reagan lacked compassion for AIDS patients and the less fortunate.  I'll leave those debates up to the historians.

In Lesley Stahl's book, "Reporting Live," she writes that Reagan appeared out of it during a visit to the Oval Office in the tail end of Reagan's second term.  After all, he was an elderly man with a variety of health issues.  The CBS News correspondent says Reagan didn't perk up until they started talking about Hollywood.

It's taken me a long time to get to the point, and here it is.  I'd be more comfortable with Ron, Jr.'s comments concerning his father if he made them to an Alzheimer's support group or a medical conference.  It just looks like a shameless attempt to sell some books.

By the way, Kennedy was sworn in on this day 50 years ago, and it's also the 30th anniversary of the first Reagan inauguration.