Magazine article The Nation

The Dish on Nancy

Magazine article The Nation

The Dish on Nancy

Article excerpt

Gossip serves as justice in a corrupt world. In a more perfect place, Nancy Reagan would have been brought to trial for crimes against sincerity, candor and taste, and surely judgment would have been terrible and swift. The United States penal code, however, omits such offenses, so there's only Kitty Kelley to even the scales. We can all sleep more easily now that gross hypocrisy has been exposed and moralism revealed as turpitude.

In a real sense, the Reagans are getting the comeuppance they deserve. They created a myth about themselves and their "values" that had a specific purpose of social manipulation volunteerism, charity, common sense and old-fashioned morality were not just broadcast but targeted to a generation, a cultural sensibility and a political class that had very different ideas about how to behave in this day and age. Institutions-schools, foundations, corporations-responded to the Reaganite canon, which is what truly has been politically correct in America since the couple came to power.

Now the myth has been punctured, perhaps for good. Many of the revelations in Kelley's book have been known, or at least suspected, for years, but Americans and their media minders have until now not seen fit to believe them. Exposes have their historic moments, which are impossible to predict. Washington's political set knew all about John Kennedy's wicked ways (they called him "Mattress Jack") from the start, and reporters and rival candidates on the 1988 campaign trail bandied about stories of George Bush's extramarital affair(s), which Kelley also retails. …

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