• November 24, 2020

ESTRICH: Nancy Reagan red - Odessa American: Opinion Columnist

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ESTRICH: Nancy Reagan red

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Posted: Monday, September 7, 2020 5:45 am

Nancy Reagan was one of the most elegant women I have ever met: gracious, with impeccable taste. It must have been 1995 when I got an urgent call from the fellow I knew who ran the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, telling me that there had been an emergency cancellation for a panel the next morning with Newt Gingrich moderating, Mrs. Reagan attending and CNN taping. It would look terrible, he said, if the panel had no women; the cancellation was, of course, a woman. I was replacing a conservative woman. I would be the only non-conservative in the group. I told him not to worry; I would play nice.

And I did. I was ready for it. First question for me, out of the box, was how I would compare the presidencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Gingrich knew full well that I had been deeply involved in two campaigns to defeat Reagan. And I knew full well that if I praised just the two of them, the next question would be an attack on then-President Bill Clinton, a demand that I compare him to Reagan and Roosevelt. I was not going there. I said I respected the presidency of the United States and the person who held that office, whether it was Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton.

Nancy Reagan and her party smiled and applauded politely from the front row. Behind them, the crowd started what seemed to be an interminable hissing and yelling at me. Then the heavy booing started. Even Gingrich struggled to regain control. I made myself look deeply troubled for the camera.

I drove myself home, feeling terribly dispirited. It wasn’t so long ago that Republicans and Democrats said just what I did about the presidency. The booing and hissing terrified me, not because I was afraid for myself but because I was afraid for the country.

By the time I drove up to my house, there was an amazing flower arrangement waiting, along with a perfect note from Reagan. I found it the other day while cleaning out the garage. I had saved it in a special box.

That night, when I came in from the garage, I saw Kimberly Guilfoyle, girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., take to her podium in the most body-conscious red dress I’ve seen, with her cleavage highlighted. And all I could think of was Nancy Reagan, in her beautifully tailored outfits, and how Guilfoyle had put on red so that everyone would make the connection between her and Reagan.

I used to work with Kimberly at Fox News. She was always pleasant and friendly, the hot babe of “The Five,” cast as such, and she was having fun. I didn’t recognize the woman I saw hollering on the stage as if there were thousands gathered to watch her, when most of us were just sitting in our TV rooms. And as Ronald Reagan always understood, you don’t yell at someone in their living room. You talk to them.

Of course, Guilfoyle got exactly what she wanted: attention. So many people crave it. Nancy Reagan did not.

It wasn’t just the Nancy Reagan red that Guilfoyle had no business turning into her trashy style. If that wasn’t enough to get attention, surely, an attack on her ex-husband California Gov. Gavin Newsom would. So she went ballistic, describing California as a state out of control, needles on the sidewalks, bedlam on the streets. Really? Has she been here lately? Did she venture outside her fancy suites to see how real people have been hurt by the man whom she craves calling her father-in-law?

Every convention has bad moments. But the nominee is in charge of everything. Almost all speeches are vetted. Yes, outfits, makeup, the whole nine yards. Did anyone ever say they listened to TV?

The Trumpers who scripted the entire convention obviously had no problems with her little stunts and her rather revealing wardrobe. They had no problems with her literally yelling at us that America would turn into Cuba and Venezuela if Joe Biden is elected. Really.

The thing is, none of them — Guilfoyle’s screaming included — can get a handle on Biden. If you’re running against a rather unknown candidate, the rule is that you define and destroy him before people really get a chance to know him. But Biden isn’t unknown. He’s been around for years. He is widely liked. Some of us used to call him Uncle Joe, and trust me, it was a compliment. Joe Biden is a good man. No wonder Kimberly couldn’t stop yelling.

Odessa, TX

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