|This article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2008)|
January 29, 1937|
Washington, Wilkes County
|Died||May 21, 2013
|Occupation||Journalist, Syndicated columnist|
Charley Reese (January 29, 1937 - May 21, 2013) was an American syndicated columnist known for his conservative views. He was associated with the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001, both as a writer and in various editorial capacities. King Features Syndicate distributed his column, which was published three times per week.
Early years 
Reese was born in Washington in Wilkes County in eastern Georgia, and reared in Georgia, East Texas, and the Florida Panhandle. He worked summer and weekend jobs starting at the age of eleven; at the age of thirteen, he became a janitor in a printing shop. In 1955, he became a cub reporter for the Pensacola News in Pensacola, Florida. Later that year, he bought a one-way ticket to England, where he took a job as caption writer with Planet Newspapers Ltd. in London.
In 1957 Reese returned to America and served two years in the United States Army as a tank gunner. He returned to reporting after spending six years in advertising and public relations, having also worked as an advance man and speech writer in various political campaigns from 1969 to 1971.
Political views and affiliations 
Reese was a conservative, with many libertarian views though he repudiated libertarianism and criticized the existence of third parties. Nonetheless, he contributed regularly to libertarian websites such as LewRockwell.com and Antiwar.com. He was last a registered Democrat but had been previously a Republican as well. In his December 26, 2005 column he writes that he switched from Democrat to Republican when John F. Kennedy became U.S. President. He considered Kennedy a failed president, but his harshest presidential criticisms were reserved for his fellow native Georgian, Jimmy Carter. After the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush of Texas, Reese returned to the Democratic Party because he considered the first Bush a "Rockefeller Republican".
Although he disavowed the term, saying "I am a traditional conservative, not a neo- or paleo- or any of those other buglike classifications," Reese's views were quite similar to those expressed by paleoconservatives. He was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and in the past had been a member of the League of the South. Defending the South's position in the Civil War is a common theme of his writings, in which he frequently uses Confederate anecdotes as illustrations. His writings have repeatedly praised Robert E. Lee and vilified Abraham Lincoln. He was a member of the National Rifle Association and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and critic of gun control. In recent years he devoted many of his columns in support of a non-interventionist foreign policy.
Reese strongly supported Patrick J. Buchanan for President in the 1996 Republican primaries against Robert J. Dole. Although he supported George W. Bush for President in 2000 (and his endorsement was seen as having been important to Bush's victory, given the closeness of the Florida election numbers), he was thereafter an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and an opponent of the War in Iraq. In 2004, he supported John Kerry's presidential campaign because of his criticism of Bush.
He writes for the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs. According to his August 30, 2008 column at lewrockwell.com Reese retired and no longer did any writing. The site had been running his old columns for several weeks stating that Reese had been on medical leave.
In 1999, when C-SPAN viewers were asked to vote for their favorite columnist, Reese finished in first place. The following year, U.S. Representative John Duncan, Jr., a Tennessee Republican, entered Reese's column into the Congressional Record, in opposition to the actions taken by Janet Reno's Justice Department in the Elian Gonzalez affair. More-recently, Congressman Duncan has cited Reese's work, in multiple speeches on the House floor, to support the contention that the Iraq War violates conservative principles.
An article written by Reese for the Orlando Sentinel on March 7, 1995 under the title Looking For Someone To Blame? Congress Is Good Place To Start was widely read and distributed in modified form via e-mail during 2008 United States presidential campaign under the title The 545 People Responsible for America's Woes. The article commonly forwarded in 2008 was slightly modified from the 1980s version, substituting Nancy Pelosi for Tip O'Neil and adding a reference to Iraq. It is not clear if the modifications were made by Reese, as the e-mail claimed. Quote from the original 1985 article:
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 235 million – are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
At the end of each calendar year, Reese wrote his annual "conflict of interest" column, in which he disclosed his sources of income, his political affiliation and the organizations of which he was a dues-paying member. He also stated his basic political philosophy and other core beliefs in this annual column. He stated that readers should have an idea of a columnist's background from which conflicts of interest could arise, but to his knowledge he was the only columnist that carried out this practice.
Charley Reese wrote his last column for the Orlando Sentinel on July 29, 2001, but continued to supply columns for distribution by King Features Syndicate until 2008. In 2011, he resided in Casselberry in Seminole County in east central Florida.
Charley Reese died in Orlando, Florida, on May 21, 2013, after 3 1/2 months of hospitalization.
"But regardless of whose fault it is, most politicians today are not human beings. You want to pry open their mouths and shout into the darkness, 'Hello! Is there a human being in there?' Buried under all that lust for office, all that fear of offending a contributor? I know there must be." (Conservative Chronicle, September 8, 1993, p. 17)
"No sin blots American politics today more than the betrayal of the Serbs."
"Croats are the people we help to kill the Serbs, who stood with us against the Nazis."
- Great Gods of the Potomac 197 pages, Sentinel Star (1978) (No ISBN)
- Common Sense for the 80's 170 pages, Sun Belt Syndicate (1981) (No ISBN)
- Orlando Sentinel via web.archive.org Why I am not a libertarian. Charley Reese. April 15, 2001.
- www.lewrockwell.com Baring Souls and Cupboards. Charley Reese. December 25, 2004.
- lewrockwell.com The Real Lincoln. Charley Reese. February 26, 2005.
- Arm Yourself Charley Reese. January 22, 2008.
- Antiwar.com Link to list of Reese's articles carried by the site. Does not specifically support this sentence.
- Reese, Charlie. "It would be worth switching back to the GOP if Buchanan runs." Orlando Sentinel. March 2, 1995.
- Buchanan for President, Internet Campaign Headquarters. Charley Reese on Pat Buchanan. September 4, 1995. Accessed July 17, 2009.
- lewrockwell.com Goodbye. Charley Reese. August 30, 2008.
- Duncan, John. "Show of Force Was Not Necessary." Text from the Congressional Record. May 17, 2000.
- Orlando Sentinel Archives "Looking For Someone To Blame? Congress Is Good Place To Start". Charley Reese. March 7, 1985.
- The 545 People Responsible For All of America's Woes. Charley Reese. via AFPN.org Undated.
- Just 546 people to blame for U.S. errors. Charley Reese. Chronicle Telegram. Elyria, Ohio. Sunday, July 17, 1983. Page 40.
- Conflicts Of Interest. Charley Reese. January 13, 2004.
- No Conflicts of Interest. Charley Reese. January 1, 2008.
- Serbs, Croats: Whose Side Are We On, Anyway? Titusville Herald. Titusville, Pennsylvania. Monday, August 10, 1998. Page 4.
- Biographical pages in Great Gods of the Potomac and Common Sense for the 80's
- Charley Reese biography at King Features Syndicate (archived)
- Charley Reese archive at LewRockwell.com
- Charley Reese archive at Antiwar.com
- A collection of Charley Reese's columns from 1998