Maybe Republicans Didn’t Want Hologram Reagan Because They Didn’t Want a Snitch at Their Convention?

Last week, before we learned Mitt’s surprise speaker at the RNC was an actor speaking to an invisible President, there were rumors that the speaker would be a half-visible actor-President, hologram Reagan. But unlike Clint Eastwood’s invisible president, hologram Reagan actually exists. Only, the GOP didn’t think Mitt was up for the competition with hologram Reagan.

Despite some conflicting reports, Yahoo News has learned that a holographic projection of former President Ronald Reagan is in the works and was originally intended to debut outside the halls of the Republican National Convention this week. But its official unveiling has been put on hold until later this year or early 2013.

[snip]

However, Reynolds says he discussed the idea with a number of Republican activists who asked him to delay the project out of concern it would overshadow Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech.

“At the time he hadn’t chosen Paul Ryan, so I think they were a little worried about his energy,” Reynolds said. “Even in a hologram form I think Reagan’s going to beat a lot of people in terms of communicating.”

Or maybe there’s another explanation. Maybe the Republicans just didn’t want an FBI snitch reporting back on all the scandalous things they were doing at the RNC?

Reagan was more involved than was previously known as a government informer during his Hollywood years, and that in return he secretly received personal and political help from J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime F.B.I. director, at taxpayer expense.

[snip]

[O]one night in 1946, F.B.I. agents dropped by his house overlooking Sunset Boulevard and told him that Communists were infiltrating a liberal group he was involved in. He soon had a new purpose; as he wrote, “I must confess they opened my eyes to a good many things.”

The newly released files flesh out what Reagan only hinted at. They show that he began to report secretly to the F.B.I. about people whom he suspected of Communist activity, some on the scantiest of evidence. And they reveal that during his tenure as president of the Screen Actors Guild in the ’40s and ’50s, F.B.I. agents had access to guild records on dozens of actors. As one F.B.I. official wrote in a memo, Reagan “in every instance has been cooperative.”

But it wasn’t just alleged communists (which I presume the GOP wouldn’t mind). As Seth Rosenfeld, author of this op-ed and a new book on Reagan’s informant activities, Subversives: The F.B.I.’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power, goes onto explain, in exchange for his assistance Reagan got help from the FBI on at least two occasions, spying on his children.

It’s that kind of spying–sending out the FBI to find out whether his children and ideological children were shacking up with married people–the GOP might not like.

I think that’s why the GOP didn’t want Reagan. Who wants to invite a snitch to a great party?

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

11 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    I still think they’d have been better off if they had gone with the hologram. Less attention, for one thing, but they still would have needed to vet the speech, well, more thoroughly than they did with Eastwood.

  2. guest says:

    @Phil Perspective: Who besides Obama are these “democrats” you speak of? When the guy at the top of the ticket is trying to lead the Reagan worship, it’s kind of hopeless. Maybe someone should have vetted Obama better 5 years ago. I take it back, I guess they did find the best Republican to capture the Democratic party.

  3. Duncan says:

    Just last night, when someone I knew was jabbering about the possibility of Betty White doing a turn at the DNC, I suggested that the Dems should have a Reagan hologram instead.

  4. JTMinIA says:

    Forget the spying; you buried the lede.

    “And they reveal that during his tenure as president of the Screen Actors Guild in the ’40s and ’50s….”

    Are you saying that Saint Ronnie was not only the member of a union, he was actually the president of such? Sacrilege!

  5. P J Evans says:

    @guest:
    That’s the kind of thing I say to people claiming that Obama is socialist/Marxist/extreme left: he’s a nice Reagan Republican. (I doubt that Ronny ever really qualified as ‘nice’.)

  6. Bill Michtom says:

    @P J Evans “he’s a nice Reagan Republican. (I doubt that Ronny ever really qualified as ‘nice’.)”

    Excuse me. Murdering your fellow citizens is not exactly my idea of nice.

  7. Bill Michtom says:

    @P J Evans “he’s a nice Reagan Republican. (I doubt that Ronny ever really qualified as ‘nice’.)”

    Excuse me. Murdering your fellow citizens is not exactly my idea of nice.

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