In comparison to the confused blundering of the Current Occupant of the White House, the political skills of his right-wing idol Ronald Reagan look good in hindsight.
When things went badly with troops in the Middle East, Reagan cut and ran. When tax cuts early in his term turned out to be ruinous, he agreed to raise taxes. When his advisers screwed up attempting to fight terrorists, he changed tack and recruited Beltway "wise men" to replace the ideologues.
His common sense in retrospect looks like sheer genius, and countless think pieces in recent years have highlighted his fence-building skills.
No doubt Reagan had charm, but he couldn’t seduce everyone. The President of the Heritage Foundation, Edwin Feuler, writes a piece based on the recently-released "Reagan Diares," using it to attack Reagan’s critics, but along the way he admits that in his time not everyone fell for Reagan.
Reagan occasionally failed. In 1983, he requested a meeting with photographer Ansel Adams. "He has expressed hatred for me because of my supposed stand on the environment." Reagan couldn’t bring Adams around. "I’m afraid I was talking to ears that refused to hear," he wrote.
Way to stand up for your beliefs and the planet, Ansel.
Update: Interestingly, a book on Reagan called "Reagan: A Life in Letters" reports what Adams said after he met the President in l983. In a footnote, the authors quote a letter he wrote to a photographer friend, saying talking to Reagan about the environment was "very discouraging…like confronting a stone wall." He left with "a sinking feeling this country is in very poor hands."