March 6, 2016, - 3:22 pm

Nancy Reagan, Made Ronald Reagan Conservative, RIP; My Family Connection to Glamorous 1st Lady Who Contrasted Obamas

By Debbie Schlussel

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I have mixed feelings about the late Nancy Davis Reagan, who died today, at age 94. She is the reason we had eight years of a conservative President in Ronald Reagan. She also brought style and glamour back to the White House. And my family has a personal connection to hers with her relatives bravely defending mine against anti-Semitism. But she also did some irksome things.

Nancy Reagan was born Anne Frances Robbins, but she was always called, “Nancy.” When she was six years old, her mother, an actress, married Loyal Davis, MD. Dr. Davis raised Nancy, and he was a staunch and outspoken conservative. He was also outspoken on medical issues and was chairman of the Department of Surgery at Northwestern University Medical School. It was there–at Northwestern University Hospital–that my great-uncle, Maurice J. Schlussel, MD, encountered anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic based discrimination in hiring and promotions. Loyal Davis bravely stood up for my great-uncle, beating back the anti-Semites, and he did it again at Veterans Administration hospitals in Chicago. My late father (who was very close to Uncle Maurice and spent summers in Chicago in my great-uncle’s apartment atop the VA Hospital which Uncle Maurice ultimately headed) always reminded us of this. It’s an example of how conservatives–back in the day when conservatism was rife with Jew-hatred–stood up for Jews.

Loyal Davis and my great-uncle Maurice (pronounced, “Morris”) also continued their friendship in the U.S. Army during World War II, where Dr. Davis was a Colonel in the Army and consultant in neurology in Europe, and Uncle Maurice became the chief medical officer for the South Pacific after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Among many other accomplishments and contributions, Davis was known for developing “a helmet to protect airplane crewmen from shrapnel and also improved the treatment of injuries resulting from high-altitude frostbite.”

Ultimately, Loyal Davis’ political influence on daughter Nancy Davis also reached her husband Ronald Reagan. Nancy Reagan convinced Reagan, previously a Democrat and actors union prez, to see the conservative way was the right way. And he became a Republican and eventually pursued a political career. Would we have had a conservative President Ronald Reagan without a Nancy Davis Reagan? I doubt it. And she deserves credit for that. A lot of credit.

After the Jimmy Carter years, during which America had a “Kick Me” sign on its back, Nancy brought glamour and style back to the White House, bringing designer dresses (especially those in her favorite color, red) and Hollywood actors and actresses–Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, etc.–to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Carters left the White House in a mess, with cracked ceiling and chipping paint, all of which Nancy fixed and restored. But she came under unfair and loud fire for redecorating the White House and buying expensive china, even though none of it was funded by the taxpayers (it was entirely paid for by private donations). In contrast, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Hussein Obama Idi Amin Dada has done a lot more redecorating, with little notice and no criticism.

While the ’80s are much-derided because of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, they were in fact a great time in America, and far better than what we have now. They were a time of revival, jobs, and economic growth. Plus we were respected around the world again, after the Carter Iran hostage crisis days. And the style that Nancy Reagan brought back to the White House was part of that culture. The Arnold Scaasi, Escada, and Bill Blass dresses she wore (which then also became a wardrobe mainstay on TV series like “Dynasty”) and stylish glamor, despite her impending senior citizen years, were a boon to not just the fashion industry, but many other areas of the economy. Remember the Jelly Bellies that were a White House staple? Or the horseback-riding and Western clothing? They all influenced the American culture we were living in at the time. And all for the better. Again, all of this despite constant media attacks on Nancy for this and her portrayal as sort of a Marie Antoinette figure. Contrast that with the barely an eyelash batted at Mrs. Obama’s several-thousand-dollar ugly dresses and shoes–all of which are praised and gushed over by an eager media groupthink.

But there were also the Nancy negatives. Of the three surviving Reagan children, only the one to whom she didn’t give birth, my friend Michael Reagan (on whose former nationally-syndicated radio show I used to be a regular), turned out to be a mensch (and the only one who turned out to be a conservative). And Nancy Reagan didn’t treat him well. It’s well known that Nancy Reagan ostracized Michael Reagan from his childhood and beyond. She treated him horribly. Like the hired help. No, actually, she treated him worse than the hired help. But Michael Reagan is classy and, instead of rightfully speaking out about how he was treated, he’s taken the high road today (as he always does). Check out his Twitter (follow me on Twitter) tweets below.

Muslim Hate for Nancy Reagan . . .

You Stay Classy . . .

The two kids to whom Nancy Reagan gave birth and then “raised,” turned out to be creeps and cretins. Ron Reagan, Jr. is a failed ballet dancer, actor, and leftist pundit. I appeared on both TV and radio shows he hosted, and I can unequivocally say that this guy’s an a–hole. Not nice and not very bright. And that has nothing to do with his politics. He’s just a schmuck. You can’t say much better about Patti Davis, a constant embarrassment while Reagan was in office and after he left. It’s not just that she posed naked in Playboy (she was the original Presidential Kardashian) or that she wrote a thinly-veiled “fiction” book attacking her parents. It’s also not just that she was another failed Reagan kid whose most promising “career” was as a concubine to celebrities (Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon and actors Timothy Hutton and Peter Strauss, among others). And it’s not just that she was publicly against her father’s policy–another failed leftist like brother Ronnie, Jr.). It’s that, like bro Ronnie, she was a selfish piece of crap of a “human being” (if you can call her that).

Parents can be the best parents in the world and still have one of their kids do bad things. But Nancy Reagan was a two-fer in this department. And you have to believe she had something to do with that. Her kids are lowlifes with fancy rearing.

Having worked on Capitol Hill in the waning years of the Reagan Presidency, I can tell you that it’s well known that Nancy wasn’t a nice person. At least not to the conservative rank and file Republican officeholders and activists. She wasn’t liked. My former boss, the late Congressman Philip M. Crane, and his late wife Arlene Crane, fit in the category of non-fans. They had story after story of what a creep Nancy was to them, even after Crane lost his Presidential bid running to the right of Reagan in 1979 and enthusiastically supported Reagan.

And, then, there are the nutty things, which earned the bad press they got. There was the astrology stuff, and the fact that Nancy Reagan used astrologers to schedule important Reagan speeches and policy moves. Although it turns out that most of these were just issues of timing and not policy substance, you just can’t have a White House and a President who operates at the direction of Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Network (although that would still be preferable to a White House operating at the direction of Valerie Jarrett’s Ms. Thang Network and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright “G-d D-mn America!” Alumni Club).

Nancy Reagan’s program to combat drugs–the “Just Say No” campaign–was laudable but had mixed results. You can’t blame her, though. She gave it the old school try, appearing on shows like “Diff’rent Strokes” and making public speeches with Michael Jackson (at the time, we didn’t know he was the ultimate drug addict and a possible child molester). And I’d much rather have Nancy Reagan telling kids not to do drugs–which is a good and legitimate goal–than have fatass Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Hussein Obama Idi Amin Dada getting into people’s kitchens and refrigerators, starving America’s school children, and making stupid, uber-narcissistic, self-congratulatory exercise and rap videos. And the Nancy Reagan First Lady reign, though glamorous and fashionable, was never about, “Look at me, look at me, looookaaatmeee, Memememememememe, look at my arms, look at my arms, look at me with my zillion-dollar trainer, me me me me memememememe.” Nancy Reagan had grace, humility, dignity, and class–all things sadly missing from her fellow Chicagoans currently in the White House.

Say what you will, but know that Nancy Reagan never attended dinners with Jew-hating Islamic terrorism supporters Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi or gave them a standing ovation.

But there were other Nancy Reagan politics–after Ronald Reagan’s announcement of Alzheimer’s and later after his death–that should have been unwelcome. She embraced the Obamas, gave interviews attacking conservatives, endorsing RINOs (like John McCain), and saying she’s pro-abortion and pro-stem cell research. Nancy Reagan should have stayed retired from politics, but sadly she did not. And like Barry Goldwater, in her less lucid years she went liberal left.

Overall, I think Nancy Reagan was a good First Lady and probably the most underrated and unfairly-criticized First Lady in contemporary times. She loved and supported her husband. And she did things that were good for America, both socially and psychologically. She is in no small part responsible for bringing America the man who would lead us into many years of prosperity and strength, characteristics both sadly gone today. Regardless of how she was personally, Mrs. Reagan was an American patriot and a loving wife who gave us a great President with great politics.

And for that we should all be eternally grateful.

Nancy Reagan, Rest In Peace.

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23 Responses

Beautifully done! Thanks Debbie!

PDMac60 on March 6, 2016 at 4:14 pm

NICE PIECE DEBBIE

REAGANS BROUGHT THAT “IT” FACTOR TO THE WH, THE OBAMAS BROUGHT SH*T…

harv on March 6, 2016 at 4:54 pm

A fair, honest assessment. Ronald and Nancy (and Michael) truly embody the kind of class and sophistication that is lacking today.

Having little desire to keep up with the details of her life after Ronald, my only gripe with her, until your article, was the astrology. It’s probably THAT negative influence most responsible for her ensuing Liberal tendencies. It’s one of the practices God warns against, time and time again, for good reason.

YCHtT on March 6, 2016 at 5:02 pm

I am glad that you wrote this piece. You showed Nancy Reagan at her best and at her worst, but did not dwell unduly on the worst aspects. I did see some of your classy Twitter critics. It amazes me that such people do not realize that their remarks reveal more about them than the object of their hatred.

worry on March 6, 2016 at 6:14 pm

Theirs was a real love story,not some put on! She only did astrology after her husband was shot and nearly died, hoping for insight into the future to protect him from situations, that may have harmed him, she stayed with him thru his illness, How many of you would?

E Jackson on March 6, 2016 at 7:13 pm

And then there was Nancy’s friendship with “60 Minutes” schmuck Mike Wallace, all the while he was trashing Ronnie and his administration, from what I recall reading this very site. I’m sure that Donald Regan (former Treasury Secretary and White House Chief of Staff) would have attested to Nancy’s nastiness behind-the-scenes. But I would agree, a balanced obituary, the kind you would never have seen on the “mainstream” media – not even Fox.

ConcernedPatriot on March 6, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Heyyyyyyy, Debbie, I see a section called “From around the Web.” Is this replacing “You May Also Like?”

AfPR: No. Both should show up. If you or other readers aren’t seeing both, please let me know. Thanks, DS

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on March 6, 2016 at 9:40 pm

If both Ron Jr. and Patti turned out as a-holes, it probably was due to Nancy. Being an effective spouse doesn’t necessarily mean she knew how to raise children effectively.

DS_ROCKS! on March 6, 2016 at 10:39 pm

Well, Nancy Reagan may have been a devotee of astrology, but at least she did not channel Eleanor.

Re your great-uncle, he had to have a great deal of ability to become a physician in the earlier part of the 20th Century. Discrimination against Jews in medical schools at that time was intense. Much worse than in law schools.

And it is sad to see conservatives succumb to leftism in their declining years. Unfortunately it is far too common.

Little Al on March 6, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    QUOTE: And it is sad to see conservatives succumb to leftism in their declining years. Unfortunately it is far too common.

    This is indeed a real phenomenon. The reason is that real conservatives have principles and standards, whereas Leftists will do anything to gain and hold power.

    For every influential aging conservative, there will always be a bevy of leftists (often female) willing to provide company and more personal comforts as they maneuver him to sell out conservative positions.

    Guardian Angel on March 7, 2016 at 2:35 pm

I wonder if the fact that the two children she had with Ronnie – Patti and Ron Jr. – ultimately became leftist, was a harbinger of which winds Nancy would blow after her husband’s death.

ConcernedPatriot on March 7, 2016 at 12:56 am

Dear Debbie:

Your knowledge of Dr. Loyal Davis and anti-Semitism is not consistent with my own father’s experience. I’ll leave it at that.

Nancy Reagan is also the person most recognized for the turnover that brought James Baker in as White House Chief of Staff. Baker was her choice for the job. The general consensus is that Baker was/is an anti-Semite.

The only thing I’m grateful to Nancy Reagan for is this: She didn’t try to leverage her time in the White House to run for public office and eventually President of the United States. That trick would be played out two decades later.

Sincerely,

There is NO Santa Claus (aka TINSC)

TINSC: These are good points. But she was pro-Israel, and so was Ronald Reagan. The Baker thing was bad, I agree. You should, indeed, tell us about your father’s experiences with Loyal Davis. So please comment on them. DS

There is NO Santa Claus on March 7, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Deb:

    Hi Deb.

    My father’s experience with Dr. Davis is a confidential family matter. I shall offer no further comment on it.

    If Nancy Reagan was pro-Israel, I never witnessed it for myself. Ronald Reagan was sufficiently pro-Israel; especially compared to today’s standards. Still! When pushing for the E3 AWACS sale to Saudi Arabia, President Reagan failed to take issue with Republicans who pushed the anti-Semitic dual-loyalty button. “Reagan or Begin” was the battle cry among these creeps and I did not witness President Reagan ever urging these supporters (Charles Percy, John Tower, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms and others) to temper their remarks. In fairness, I remember that President Reagan DID make comments re-assuring Americans of his support for Israel during the contentious Senate debate over the sale. I would have taken more comfort from these comments had he taken issue with those in the GOP who were “playing dirty”.

    President Reagan also sanctioned Israel and delayed delivery of jet fighters after Israel bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq. This too spurred anti-Semitic rhetoric from some GOP ranks which the President did not temper. (George Bush Sr., James Baker, Casper Weinberger, and Sen. Charles Percy were outspoken ring-leaders of the lynch mob insisting on sanctions.)

    Like you, I loved Ronald Reagan. I supported him in 1976 when only “dangerous right-wing maniacs” supported him. He was sincerely pro-Israel, but the record of his time in the White House has spots which cannot be ignored.

    Nancy Reagan came out of Hollywood during an era where it was more common for motion picture actors to support Israel. I never bought into the hysterical criticism leveled against her. I’m happy to remember her as pro-Israel. Knowing you as I do, I take comfort that there is likely substantial evidence that she was pro-Israel, but I cannot remember personally witnessing her sentiment on the matter.

    Sincerely,

    There is NO Santa Claus (aka TINSC)

    There is NO Santa Claus on March 8, 2016 at 12:08 am

Good day Dear Debbie and God Bless you always! Beautiful photos of President Ronald Reagan and our Beautiful Nancy Reagan! If you would Kindlly place my comment written here underneath my first and last name Tirdad Gharib on Google USA (America)USA Homepage: Thank you so much Dear Debbie!it would mean the world to me! Today i would like to say: my heart is very sad when Learning that Our Beautiful,Wonderful Former First lady Nancy Reagan has left us and died of heart Failure at 94.I will always and Forever keep the Beautiful letters and the Beautiful pictures(Photos) sent to me on behalf of Nancy Reagan on my wall next to her husband President Ronald Reagan that i Love so very much! Rest In Peace To our Beautiful Former First Lady Nancy Reagan! We Love Nancy Reagan for life! very sincerlly! With All my Respect! Tirdad Gharib.

TIRDAD GHARIB on March 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

I also find it ironic that the media, in the ’80’s, piled on Nancy as a “Marie Antoinette figure,” while today they gush over First “Thang” Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Hussein Obama Idi Amin Dada who truly is a Marie Antoinette in her disdainful attitude towards the “proletariat” that is almost “Let them eat cake” – I say “almost” because with her getting into everybody’s fridges and cupboards, it’s more like “Let them eat arugula.” Not just what was written in this article about Ms. Thang’s “several-thousand-dollars ugly dresses and shoes.”

ConcernedPatriot on March 7, 2016 at 9:30 am

The media has always demonized GOP First Ladies & praised the Dem First Biatches. Jackie spent a ton of taxpayer dollars to put her personal touches on the WH. Hellary, the same but never a peep from the sheep. I remember those glorious Carter days when he would tell us to turn the thermostat down a few degrees & wear a sweater indoors. And his confidence building speech about America’s best days being behind us. What a maggot he was, and still is. The only thing bad I can say about Ron & Nancy is that they mad two really defective children. I’ll bet they would have liked to have a do over on those two.

MuzzCrusher on March 7, 2016 at 10:58 am

I loved the great Ronald Reagan. He will be for me one of the greatest presidents and so far the four that have come after him especially the latest dimwit pale in comparison. On that note I would like to say that next to every great man stands a greater woman and Nancy Reagan for all of her faults was a great First Lady and a great wife to RWR. She more than many times went to bat for him when the liberal morons in the democrat party, the lame stream media, etc. come out against him. It does crack me up to no end that the liberal dunces back then made fun of her when she put her own touches to our White House. The same thing that Jackie Kennedy, Rose Carter, Killary Benghazi(before she stole most of it) and the school lunch killer Sasquatch have done. To those fools it was like Nancy “Oh no she din’t do dat to da Whithouuuze!” but the other “ladies” it was all good. She was strong willed but not an overbearing harpy like Killary and O’Bigfoot were. Sure their two kids turned out to be losers. I once saw Reagan Jr. on CNN during the height of the Iraq War and his punditry was more like putridity. The guy was a lib hack mess. But look at Chelsea Clinton and how she turned out. Beauty queen(inside and out) she isn’t. And please don’t get me started on the Obama urchins Sullen and Malignant. With their parental influences it will be any wonder if they don’t turn out like the Clinton’s spawn. Spoiled annoying and stupid is no way to go through life. Nancy Reagan had her faults like I said but she was head and shoulders above the rest of the FLOTUS’s that came after her. Proof of that is what we have now and what’s running for president. Rest in peace Nancy and thank you for your help in giving us a truly great man as President.

Ken B on March 7, 2016 at 11:48 am

Hollywood made Reagan conservative. Pity it doesn’t have that effect on most people.

Mochizuki Koga on March 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm

I was in the USN during the “The Peanut King, Jimmy Carter” and remember being spat upon in Norfolk Va, while in uniform. I did not wear my uniform off base until the second term of the best president of my time. He loved the military. I think that the thing that clinched my admiration for him was the Iran Hostage Crisis and how the Iranians knew that he would send them on the way to their “77 virgins”, if they were not released. A far cry from the “closet Muslim” we have in office now.

Bruce Burr on March 8, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Mr. Burr,

    I salute you sir and thank you for your service to this great nation of ours. I came in on the tail end of Reagan’s last term and had to survive BJ Clinton’s “loathing of the military.” Yes Jimmy Karter who is now cancer free might just live to be 100. That way his stupid mug will be either in the news or writing books still trying to rehabilitate his forever earned image as the second worse president ever. We all know who the worst is so far.

    Ken B on March 8, 2016 at 8:11 am

That’s funny that you mention your great-uncles name being pronounced “morris.” I noticed the same thing lately about Maurice Gibb. I was watching some shows about the Bee Gees and everyone kept pronouncing his name “morris.” I thought all of these people were pronouncing it wrong but it finally dawned on me that his name has a different pronunciation.

Good discussion of Nancy Reagan, the good and the bad. Its hard to believe that she started out as a Conservative. Kind of makes me wonder how conservative she really was.

Daniel Middleman on March 8, 2016 at 10:55 pm

May you and your followers burn in great furnace one day for your evil ugly comments about our nation’s leader and wife. You are worse than vomit.

Obamasarethebest leaders on March 9, 2016 at 2:24 pm

So you can’t have a president who believes in Astrology… but you can have one that believes God tells him to invade countries… and you actually WANT your president to believe he hears voices. Madness.

Darc on May 11, 2016 at 4:59 pm

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