- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 20, 2015

He was once one of their own, a matinee star who later became America’s 40th president. Hollywood has not always been kind to Ronald Reagan, his life or his legacy; made-for-TV movies and feature productions often sidestepped his authentic accomplishments for cheap shots and melodrama, or cast in the leading role such liberal-leaning talent as Michael Douglas or James Brolin — husband to Barbra Streisand.

Now along comes “Reagan,” a script by Mike Rosolio, a Los Angeles writer and actor. It has been included on “The Blacklist,” an influential insider list of the top most admired screenplays of the year. The designation is quite significant — about 300 films from “The Blacklist” have been produced, and many have had considerable success. And the much admired plot?

“When Ronald Reagan falls into dementia at the start of his second term, an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander in chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie,” is the official short description for the project.

The concept has enraged Craig Shirley, a historian who has written three meticulous books on Reagan, including the recently released “Last Act,” which recounts the president’s years after the White House. Mr. Shirley already has taken Fox News host Bill O’Reilly to task in recent days for his book “Killing Reagan,” which suggested Reagan’s ability to lead the nation was seriously compromised following the 1981 assassination attempt on his life.

“The Hollywood of Reagan’s era, in which the good guys won and the bad guys lost, and American values and truth were upheld, is a thing of the past. Now Hollywood for the most part is a cesspool of human garbage where the left is venerated and the right is eviscerated,” Mr. Shirley tells Inside the Beltway.

THE GOP WAR CHEST


SEE ALSO: Millennials may give Bernie Sanders boost in New Hampshire, Iowa


The mainstream media will likely ignore it: The GOP continues to have record-breaking grass-roots support. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says the organization has raised $95.6 million this year and is on track for a historic total by year’s end. In November, GOP fans donated $6.3 million; 99 percent of those donations were under $200, the average amount was $61.

“The overwhelming support from people across the country is allowing us to build and enhance our powerful data, digital, and ground game infrastructure to elect a Republican president,” notes the vigilant Mr. Priebus. “All of this is possible because of the enthusiasm for our party and our diverse and qualified field of Republican candidates.”

CRUZ PRESENTS HIS CHRISTMAS READING LIST

“The Grinch Who Lost Her Emails, How Obamacare Stole Christmas, Frosty The Speaker Of The House, Rudolph the Underemployed Reindeer, Auditing St. Nick (The Lois Lerner Masterpiece).”

— Parody titles suggested by Sen. Ted Cruz in “Cruz Christmas Classics,” a new campaign video done in slick TV marketing style, viewed close to a million times in the last 24 hours on YouTube. “Act now, and you’ll get a leader who does exactly what he says he’s going to do,” intones the eager announcer. See the video here

BEN CARSON CUES HIS SINGERS

Republican hopeful Ben Carson says he is “angry, but no longer shocked” by the recent budgetary antics of Congress, warning, “Our country has only years left before we drown in our own pool of debt incurred by the powerful, to be paid by the powerless. No member of Congress should dare ask for a pension let alone receive one, until the debts of their irresponsibility have been paid.”

Mr. Carson is appearing at serious policy events in New Hampshire — and staging unapologetic Christmas celebrations. His wife Candy — a concert-level musician and singer — has recorded a Yuletide album with Ricky Skaggs and Tony Orlando; on Monday, husband, wife and special guests stage a two-hour “Christmas Celebration” at a major arts center in Concord.

The couple repeats their seasonal outreach Tuesday in South Carolina; “Christmas Caroling with the Carson America Singers” in Charleston as night falls over the Palmetto State.

MAKING A CASE FOR JEB BUSH

“There definitely has been unanticipated resistance to the Bush name, and he seemed rusty in the early going, but the former Florida governor retains a robust war chest and still possesses, in our view, the most impressive leadership resume of anyone in the race,” declares The Tampa Tribune in an editorial supporting Jeb Bush.

“He remains the analytical and determined champion of conservative values that he was when he turned Florida’s bureaucratic status quo on its head. Bush thinks the polls are irrelevant now and the outlook for his campaign will brighten when voters get serious in upcoming primaries. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But he’s not going to reinvent himself to curry favor with voters who are impressed by anger and bombast. From dealing with the Islamic State to revitalizing the economy, Bush provides detailed — and realistic — strategies, not vague promises or grandiose boasts.”

POLL DU JOUR

53 percent of Americans say Hillary Clinton is “not honest and trustworthy;” 31 percent say she is, 15 percent aren’t sure.

51 percent say Donald Trump is not honest and trustworthy; 33 percent say he is, 16 percent aren’t sure.

35 percent say Ben Carson is not honest and trustworthy; 36 percent say he is, 30 percent aren’t sure.

35 percent say Sen. Ted Cruz is not honest and trustworthy; 29 percent say he is, 36 percent aren’t sure.

32 percent say Sen. Marco Rubio is not honest and trustworthy; 33 percent say he is, 35 percent aren’t sure.

27 percent say Sen. Bernard Sanders is not honest and trustworthy; 41 percent say he is, 32 percent aren’t sure.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 4-9 and released Friday.

Giddy ideas, serious wonk talk to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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