I’ve frequently made a mea culpa for failing to appreciate Reagan when he was president. I was too steeped in my Democrat upbringing (Democrat household, Democrat community, Democrat city, Democrat university) to see what was right before me. I hope, though, that in my small way I’ve made up for that spectacular lapse in good judgment and common sense.
In any event, one man thinks I have redeemed myself a little bit, because he asked me to share with you a website he’s set up to make available actual memorabilia from the late, great Ronald Reagan. Peter Johnson isn’t just a newcomer to Reagan, as I am. He figured out in the 1960s that Reagan’s vision was the right one for a strong, vital America.
I’m going to quote directly from Mr. Johnson’s email to me, in part because it does inspire hope. When Mr. Johnson turned to Reagan, another Johnson — President Lyndon Baines Johnson — was busy imposing the Left’s “Great Society” vision on America and America’s streets were witnessing the upheaval of the Free Speech Movement, the Hippies, and the anti-War protestors. The economy was strong, but the country was flailing. Reagan kept the faith, he took the White House, and he shepherded in an America so strong it took several decades (plus just five years of Obama, of course) to begin its destruction. If we keep the faith, maybe we too can turn America around.
You’ll notice as you read that Mr. Johnson is using the website both to promote Reagan’s legacy and to make a little money for himself enabling others to have a piece of that history. I think Reagan, that ardent capitalist, would have approved, so I say more power to him.
Anyway, here’s Mr. Johnson’s email to me:
Those who admire Ronald Reagan might find the web site “ReaganMemorabilia.com” of interest as it reflects on the details of Reagan’s first steps up the ladder towards the Presidency by his then Schedule Director and a Campaign Vice Chairman, Peter Johnson, with his background observations on working with Reagan as he planned and directed Reagan’s schedule for his campaigns in 1966 and 1970 for Governor of California.
I was a Vice Chairman of Reagan’s first campaign and also his Northern California Schedule Director in 1966. Later I served in his first administration. In his second campaign, in 1970, I was asked to serve as his Schedule Director for the entire state during the primary to train his campaign team for the general election.
The website presents memorabilia from those campaigns for sale including nine personally signed letters from Reagan and highly detailed materials from the actual schedules as well as the 57 page manual used by the campaign’s advancemen. The master campaign schedule for Reagan’s second primary campaign alone comprises a notebook of 134 pages. It is a virtual tutorial on how a campaign was run at that time. The archivist at the Reagan Library has said that they “would love to have a copy”. The website catalogues all of the materials and includes extra copies that could be contributed to the Library.
In addition to listing the terms for sale, as noted, the site also contains the personal history of my interest in politics that led to my participation in Reagan’s campaigns and relates a number of otherwise unknown campaign incidents and my observations occurring during those years.