Earlier this week, an American icon passed. Nancy Reagan’s life and legacy are the things conservative legends are made of. Her devotion to both her country and her husband are (arguably) unparalleled in the history of US First Ladies.
As conservative millennials we revere the Reagans, but few of us remember the couple themselves or how they interacted with the American people or media. So this might come as a shock to some of you, but… classy Nancy Reagan? The woman didn’t take guff. From anybody. Seems to have been a trait the couple shared. No lip from Jimmy Carter, no lip from the Russians, no lip from the mainstream media.
On Monday’s NBC Today, a look back at Nancy Reagan’s various appearances on the morning show over the years showed her repeatedly combating liberal media bias demonstrated by the hosts with whom she sat down.
In one clip, former co-host Bryant Gumbel pressed: “When it’s suggested, as it often is, that you are the power behind the throne?” Mrs. Reagan immediately rejected the notion: “I am not the power behind the throne, but I’ve gotten to the point now where I think I can say it just so often and then if people are gonna keep on saying it, there’s nothing I can do about it, but it’s not true.”
The NewsBusters article continues with another story about Mrs. Reagan from Tom Brokaw,
When they first got elected, I said some things in the press that she thought were far too critical about his [Ronald Reagan] – not his childhood so much, but when he was a young man, he started making pretty good money right away and he was one of the highest paid people in Hollywood.
So I was told by the White House staff, “Stay away from her [Nancy], she’s really angry. But you’re going to be invited to a state dinner so you have to figure out what you’re going to say to her when you get to the receiving line.” And I’m walking up to the receiving line, and Meredith was with me, and Meredith is getting more nervous than I am, she keeps saying, “What are you going to say?” And I said I hadn’t figured it out yet. So I got to her, and I said, “Nancy, back to square one.” She laughed. [Holding up a picture] This was the moment in which she said to me, “Tom, back to square one.” This picture arrived the next day in my office, autographed by her, “Tom, back to square one.” That’s how good she was, how nimble she was, and how political she could be.
See what she did there with Brokaw? Classy but unshakeable. Also, she scared the crap out of Tom Brokaw. So kudos for that, Nancy. Nancy Reagan wasn’t about to stand idly by and let the press get away with lies and half-truths. But she also wasn’t above rebooting a working relationship with the press when they were willing to admit their errors and turn from their biased ways. She just did it with a little gentle humor.
Mrs. Reagan once said, “I am a big believer that eventually everything comes back to you. You get back what you give out.” But she didn’t just say it, she lived it. President and Mrs. Reagan didn’t just talk a good talk, they walked a good walk. Today, they’re together again. A legacy that’ll always be remembered, appreciated, loved. Godspeed to you, Nancy and Ronald. You’ll always be loved and missed.