Poltiical Symbolism of an Umbrella:

I mentioned in my earlier post on Greatness that although I have read a number of books about Reagan and Churchill, there was much in this little book that I had not previously seen. Hayward provides one interesting vignette that links the two together symbolically (leaving aside the substantive fairness or accuracy of the comparison), involving an umbrella (p. 145-46):

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M (mail):
Hmm, Too bad for the example that Carter was right and Regan was wrong, and would create a huge national debt on stupid wepons (does the B-1 still look like it was a good idea to anyone?) that were not needed and which played no role at all in the end of communism.
5.3.2006 9:32am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
"Carter was right and Regan was wrong"

5.3.2006 10:15am
Timothy Sandefur (mail) (www):
Perhaps I'm misremembering, but I believe at Reykjavik, Reagan greeted Gorbachev, on an extremely cold day, and Reagan chose not to wear a coat, while Gorbachev was all bundled up. Reagan then led Gorbachev in with his arm on Gorbachev's shoulders, all of which gave the image of Reagan as the stronger partner in the negotiations, to viewers at home.
5.3.2006 11:26am
Didn't JFK refuse to wear a hat on his freezing inaugural day just to demonstrate his youth and vigah?

Another anecdote - supposedly, during the 1960 campaign, LBJ said something about the Kennedy brothers along the lines of "at least my father didn't carry Chamberlain's umbrella at Munich", heh heh heh.

B-1 looks like an excellent idea right now. It has done (and continues to do) strong work in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
5.3.2006 11:37am
M (mail):
Ah, but the work being done by the B-1 and and is done just as well, or even better, for vastly less money, by B-52's, among others. The things that supposedly made the B-1 good, it's ability to mach 2, for example, are actually detriments for the job it actually does- high-altitude bombing of people who can't shoot at high-altitude bombers. For the totally imaginary job is was designed and sold for it would not have worked anyway.
5.3.2006 12:34pm
Dylanfa (mail) (www):
Carter's opposition to the B-1 is the one unquestionably good position he took. Ideally, as M states, we would have spent the money on larger quantities of cheaper and more effective bombers. Either you have air supremacy and can use the slow and vulnerable bombers, or you need a B-2.

All of M's other comments about Carter vis a vis Regan are, of course, insane.
5.3.2006 1:23pm
James of England:
Dylanfa: Paul Volcker, and the Tokyo round of GATT stand out in my mind. If you extend it to his post-presidential life, I don't think that Habitat for Humanity is terribly controversial.

Carter may not have been as great a president as any of those who followed, but there's been no President who hasn't made a bunch of successful moves. Perhaps Harrison, but he had a pretty good excuse (and wasn't a bad guy before the presidency).
5.3.2006 5:30pm
hey (mail):
For the militarily ignorant, the B1 is a failure. It was designed to launch nuclear strikes against the USSR, obviously a complete fantasy of war mongering rightists. It was delivered a decade before the B2, and would have been delivered nearly 2 decades before the B2 but for Jimmah's unjustified cancellation of the program. But of course the B2 was a better alternative...

The continued US reliance on B52 is a significant problem, and was a glaring weakness up until its performance in Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraqi Freedom. Its short legs and slow speed does cause problem and entails more complex diplomatic considerations for launching an attack than does the B1 or B2. The environment the B1 was designed for was a lack of air superiority without B2 as a realistic possibility, and subsequent conflicts have highlighted how speed and endurance are valuable capabilities when we can not rely on allies to help us.
5.3.2006 8:14pm
Houston Lawyer:
I actually think it was our imaginary weapons that did the Soviets in. They recognized that if we were serious, and we appeared to be, we could seriously outspend and outgun them. They knew they couldn't compete with the strategic defense initiative unless they instituted internal reform. They lost control of the reform process and fell from power.

Only decades later are we coming up with lasers that can shoot missles out of the sky and a system to deliver them on target. How often were we told, by our fellow Americans, that this could never be done.
5.4.2006 11:14am