The "Amiable Dunce"*

Paul Kengor in today's National Review...

All of this came to a head on August 19, 1976, when Republicans held their convention at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, where Reagan, in the end, did not get the nomination, crushing his supporters. And it was then, at that precise moment, that Gerald Ford’s immeasurable graciousness was again put on display before the entire nation:

President Ford had just finished speaking. As a gesture of reconciliation and supreme good will, he waved from the podium to the Reagans, seated in a skybox. He beckoned Reagan to come down to speak. The Republican faithful exhorted, “Ron! Ron! Ron!” They chanted “Speech! Speech! Speech!”

A blushing Reagan refused, gesturing his hands downward, pushing delegates to sit down and shut up. “It’s his night,” he muttered to friends, deferring to Ford. “I’m not going down there.” Ford pressed on: “Ron, will you come down and bring Nancy?” National television audiences watched in anticipation, as ABC, CBS, and NBC news anchors peered through binoculars with moment-by-moment commentary.

Reagan eventually obliged. As he trotted down the corridors on his way to the podium, he said to Nancy, “I haven’t the foggiest idea what I’m going to say.”

This is what he said.

Can you imagine one, just one, of today's presidential candidates being able to pull that off the top of his or her head at a moment's notice?

Some "Dunce".

* Clark Clifford's description of Reagan. Yes, the Clark Clifford of BCCI fame.