By Roger Stone On Thanksgiving Day Fox aired it's six part series on the American Conservative movement called "Right from the Start" narrated by Brit Hume. It is excellent with archival footage of Eisenhower, Nixon, Goldwater, Buckley and Reagan interspersed with interviews with conservative movement founders like Bill Rusher, Richard Viguerie and Phyllis Schlafly. Disturbing however, were revisionist interviews of former White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld of who claimed great affinity for the policies of and person of Ronald Reagan. Rumsfeld worked aggressively to keep Reagan from the White House as an operative for accidental President Gerald Ford. He subscribed to the world-view of Dr. Henry Kissinger that the Soviets could not be defeated and that the US had to accommodate the Communists - a policy called detente which Reagan forthrightly rejected. Why Kissinger continues to be revered as the Grand Old Man of Republican Foreign Policy, being trotted out by the Obama White House only last week to back the Arms treaty, is a bit of a mystery. Reagan's election meant the end of Detente, and more confrontational foreign policy which ultimately brought the Soviet Union down, something Kissinger thought impossible. Kissinger's world view was proven wrong. History proved Dr. K wrong - and President Reagan right. With Rumsfeld as his Chief of Staff:
  • Ford offered Reagan the job of Secretary of Transportation (!) not to challenge him in 1976.
  • The Ford campaign ran TV ads in California saying "Governor Reagan couldn't start a nuclear war but President Reagan could".
  • Ford continually called Reagan's opposition to the policies of Kissinger "irresponsible" and "extreme".
Nor did Rumsfeld repair to the Reagan banner four years later as Ford supporters like Drew Lewis did. His warm support for Reagan seems to have developed after Reagan was a successful President and after he reversed the foreign policy of the Nixon-Ford years. Revisionism indeed. For the definitive story on how the Ford-Kissinger-Rumsfeld-Cheney combine tried to thwart Reagan's Presidential campaign see Craig Shirley's excellent "Reagan's Revolution" by far the best chronicle of the 1976 campaign: