A couple of days ago the New York Times ran an op-ed column in which one Richard V. Allen praised Reagan for his bipartisan smarts in appointing right-wing Democrats like Jeane Kirkpatrick to his foreign policy team.
Who, you may ask, the hell is Richard V. Allen? He was Reagan’s chief foreign policy adviser until 1982, when Nancy eased him out of the White House after he was accused of having taken a bribe to arrange an interview with her for Japanese journalists.
It was such a pleasure to run across Mr. Allen’s name again that I hurried to Google to renew our acquaintance. It turned out that the bribery charge was never proved. But it also turned out, from an interview with him for an oral history project, that back in the day he and Nancy were a real fun couple:
Interviewer: Right. Did you have any other direct interaction with Mrs. Reagan?
Allen: Oh sure, all the time. On this issue? No. Not in the slightest. She was, she’s really a great lady. She’s a lot of fun, and has a great sense of humor. As an example, back when we traveled overseas well prior to the 1980 campaign, I told her when we went to Asia that first time back in ’78, “Now, Nancy, the thing is, if in Asia you admire something, they’re likely to give it to you. So what I would suggest is you and I have a ‘trolling contest,’ so you can troll for more good stuff on this trip.”
I explained what the rules would be and I set up some rules, a little certificate thing, ‘The International Trolling Society,’ or something like that. She would go into a Chinese home and she’d give me an eye like that and say, “Oh, Mr. Shin, that painting is so marvelous.” [laughter] and so it went. She was a lot of fun.