But for all of his success as a campaigner, Ronald Reagan had two handicaps. For one, the political scribes didn't care for his wife--many reporters dismissed Nancy Reagan as a dragon lady. Add to that the strained relationship between that president and his two biological children (in 1986, son Ron danced on Saturday Night Live in his underwear; daughter Patti didn't vote for her father in 1980, and later wrote a book in which she alleged that her father was cold and distant and that her mother was physically abusive).
Rudy Giuliani may or may not own a brown suit, and he definitely doesn't have much need for Brylcreem. Yet, ironically, he's the most "Reaganesque" of GOP candidates given the drama surrounding his wife and kids. Assuming that Rudy is Reaganesque in another way--ignore intrusive reporters, keep his personal life private, focus on big issues--he too can find success on the primary trail
Bill Whalen is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he follows California and national politics.