[Getty Images, Meyer Lansky, 1958]
Driftglass has a fine memorial to Gore Vidal up on his blog. Mr. Vidal died yesterday in California, at the age of 86. The Driftglass piece is mostly composed of various youtubes of Vidal in action, i.e., discourse. There are countless such pieces--one could spend a day watching Vidal. He was as good as it gets as a conversationalist, capable of matching wits with other champions, including William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer. One of the "tubes" Driftglass features is a short piece in which Vidal makes the point--quite correctly--that Saint Ronald Reagan was in fact an explicit racist, having supported racist governors in the south in their campaigns in the '60s, as well as having supported John Birchers running for national office. Vidal cites the names and dates.
In general, Mr. Vidal was unafraid, throughout his whole life, of speaking truth to power. He should be much better known and appreciated. That he isn't is a testimony to the cowardly centrism of our national media, a state of affairs which has betrayed the fundamental duty of the media pretty much since the end of World War II--assuming one can at least give some nod to war-time fudges such as the loss of thousands of American soldiers in amphibious exercises just prior to the Normandy landings.
But let's cut to the real chase. You know how youtube gives you links to other videos of possible interest after you watch the first one. Here's a link to a short Ronald Reagan clip which I happened to watch after seeing the Vidal piece on Reagan's racism. It's pretty remarkable. The right wing wants to put his likeness on the dime, which would of course fulfill their generations old dream of erasing FDR from history. As it is, Mr. Reagan owns the income cap on social security withholding--a feature of his legacy which keeps the Social Security program always on tender hooks--which was exactly his design.
The driftglass link is as follows:
Someone ought to ask Mr. Romney about Reagan's views on the Holocaust. After all, he's