After last week’s Republican presidential debate at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., reporter Adam Nagourney took advantage of the spotlight to review on Tuesday both the Reagan and Nixon libraries, located some 80 miles apart on opposite sides of Los Angeles: “An Admiring Approach at the Reagan. History, Warts and All, at the Nixon.” His main concern: Not enough critical coverage and mentions of scandal at the Reagan library.
The result at the Reagan library is a decidedly modest accounting of the Iran-contra affair, the major scandal that hit the administration, which avoids laying blame on anyone. There is also a sympathetic accounting of the impact of Reagan’s economic policies that has drawn questions from Democrats and economic historians.
A photo caption repeated Nagourney’s criticism: “The Reagan library offers a modest accounting of the Iran-contra scandal. There is also a sympathetic review of Reagan economic policies that has drawn questions from Democrats and economic historians.”
The mention of Reagan’s first wife, the Oscar-winning actress Jane Wyman, is so fleeting that it is easy to miss under the flurry of exhibitions about Nancy Reagan’s gowns and dedication to her husband. While the Nixon library marked the 40th anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers by declassifying the documents -- a gesture that was more symbolic than anything else -- there is no plan to mark the 25th anniversary of the Iran-contra scandal, Reagan museum officials said.
Is anyone on Planet Earth actually anticipating that anniversary?