I have been seeing many articles on myths about Ronald Reagan recently in newspapers. I don’t know why Reagan is mentioned so often these days. I guess it is related with American people’s growing frustration with the leadership of President Obama in handling health care and budget cuts issues.
Today's Washington Post carries the article titled "Five Myths about Ronald Reagan", in which I found the phrase "his colossus with gilded pecs, red-painted smile and an NRA-approved pistol in each manly fist".
It seems his acolytes led by Salah Palin are eager to reestablish Reagan’s patriarch image among American public. Does pec here mean muscular pectoral muscles? I understand red-painted nail, but what does "red-painted smile" mean? To me, it doesn't fit to his mascular image. And why his statue should have a gun?
The headline is followed by the following lines:
The sentimental colossus his acolytes are trying to erect today, with gilded pecs, red-painted smile and an NRA-approved pistol in each manly fist, bears no resemblance to the man I knew: in private a person of no ego and little charisma, in public a statesman of formidable purpose.