- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ronald Reagan was a committed commentator on his own presidency, keeping meticulously maintained diaries that recorded the stress of his work and his frustration with trying to keep peace in his own family, according to a newly published compilation of his writings.

Mr. Reagan scoffed at the assertions of his one-time chief of staff, Don Regan, that the president and his wife, Nancy, had relied on astrological advice about Mr. Reagan’s stewardship of national affairs. And he ranted about difficulties he was having with son Ron and daughter Patti.

“Tomorrow, I stop being president,” he wrote on Jan. 19, 1989, according to diaries in the custody of Mrs. Reagan and edited by historian Douglas Brinkley for a book. Excerpts of the diaries, which Mr. Reagan kept during his two terms in office, were published in the June issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

Mr. Reagan’s innermost thoughts were kept in 8-by-11-inch, maroon leather books. The president made a habit of keeping them current, even taking a diary with him on his many overseas trips.

His diaries painted a picture of an uncomplicated, amiable president — sometimes too easygoing for his own good.

In May 1988, Mr. Reagan groused privately that “the press have a new one thanks to Don Regan’s book. We make decisions on the basis of going to Astrologers. The media are behaving like kids with a new toy — never mind that there is no truth in it.”

Trouble with his children was a painful experience that Mr. Reagan, who died at 93 in June 2004, often chronicled in his diaries.

At one point, Mr. Reagan notes: “Ron called this evening all exercised because S.S. [Secret Service] agents had gone into their apartment while they were in California to fix an alarm on one of his windows. I tried to reason with him that this was a perfectly O.K. thing for them to do. … I told him quite firmly not to talk to me that way & he hung up on me. Not a perfect day.”

A few weeks later, he wrote, “Nancy phoned — very upset. Ron casually told S.S. he was going to Paris for a few days. I don’t know what it is with him. He refuses to cooperate with them. [Redaction]. I’m not talking to him until he apologizes for hanging up on me.”

In an April 1984 entry, he wrote: “Patti screamed & complained so much we took the S.S. detail away at her request.

“Now, S.S. went to her & asked if she would accept it for no more than a week until they could get this information out of Lebanon & check the story [about an apparent threat]. She said yes. But today’s the 4th day & she’s screaming again about her invasion of her privacy & last night she abused the agents terribly. I said take them away from her so she’s again without protection. Insanity is hereditary. You catch it from your kids.”

But Mr. Reagan also wrote frequently of his love of his wife and how comforting that was to him.

A few weeks before he was shot in a 1981 assassination attempt, he wrote, “Our wedding anniversary. 29 years of more happiness than any man could rightly deserve.”

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