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Reagan's Jellybeans

February 13, 2008 | 3 Comments

Dear Mr. Keillor:
I was really disappointed by your positive treatment of Ronald Reagan on February 6th on Writer's Almanac. Reagan ranks among the two or three worst presidents in American history. His notable "accomplishments": the Iran-Contra Scandal, the funding of Saddam Hussein, the tripling of our National Debt, and increasing the gap between the rich and poor.

I would have been much more pleased by hearing more about Tom Brokaw, who shares the same birthday, but who got one sentence from you.


The little spritz on Mr. Reagan didn't try to rank him as a president, only to give some novelistic details about his life — his early start in radio, his start in movies, his fondness for jellybeans, and so forth. What some might call trivia, but if you were a novelist writing about the man, you'd treasure facts like that. We did something similar on James Joyce, and Lincoln, and Washington. No judgments implied. Sorry we disappointed you.


I just listened to the Writer's Almanac in question and counted THREE sentences pertaining to Tom Brokaw...

...and two of those were run-ons!

Keep up the good work.

I am a Democrat and lived through the Reagan years with much discomfort. But I also happened to be with Jim and Sarah Brady on the night the former President died. They talked about how kind he was to Jim for years after the assassination attempt, even as they became outspoken on an issue - guns - that made many Republicans uncomfortable. I still won't rank Reagan among my top Presidents. Not even close. But kindness counts for something.

I enjoy your show and even 33 year old Republicans with a wife and three kids like me listen weekly! My kids 11,9,6, really enjoy the funny skits. We don't watch much T.V., but I guess you could tell that by how many kids we have....Keep up the good work!

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