Skip to comments.Top 10 Things You Should Know About Ronald Reagan
Posted on 01/20/2006 11:30:24 AM PST by Reagan Man
10. Ronald Reagans conservative philosophy was formed from practical experience.
His guiding political philosophy was the product of his life experiences. He was the only president to pay income tax at the 91% rate, which was the top income tax rate in the early 1950s. He complained that it created disincentives for work and savings. Second, as president of the Screen Actors Guild, he came face to face with Communist penetration of his industry and became a lifelong opponent of Marxism. When asked by aide Richard Allen how he would characterize his hopes for future relations with the Soviet Union, he shot back, How about this? We win; they lose. Third, as spokesman for GE and GE Theater, he traveled the country meeting with workers and management and learning first hand about the inefficiencies of Big Government. As the Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial the week of his funeral, Mr. Reagan was the most consequential president since FDR because of his ideas.
9. Ronald Reagan had two full careers prior to entering elective politics which, I believe, contributed to his comfortable manner and easygoing personality.
As he once noted about his less than round the clock office hours, They say that hard work never hurt anyone, but I say why take the chance? He already had successful careers in radio, the movies and TV and did not enter elective politics until the age of 55. He was one of a few presidents of the 20th century who had a significant professional life before entering politics. The others would include General Dwight Eisenhower and Professor Woodrow Wilson. Reagan never considered himself a professional politician. He did not run for president to be somebody, but rather to do things. He had nothing to prove to anyone.
8. Ronald Reagan was very well prepared to assume the presidency in 1980.
Inaugurated at the age of 69, his work experiences and intellectual preparation were far more varied than most of his predecessors. From the movies he learned to interact with the public and to deal with the demands of fame and stardom. As president of the Screen Actors Guild, he learned how to represent his diverse membership and deal with sometimes autocratic studio heads. His travels with GE gave him time to reflect and think about the great issues of the day. Over the course of several decades, he wrote thousands of issue oriented letters to family and friends and then wrote his own scripts when he hosted his radio program in the mid 1970s. Finally, he served two terms as governor of the largest state in the Union opposite an often hostile legislature. Far from being a neophyte, he had more practical training and intellectual grounding than most new presidents entering office.
7. Reagans philosophy had a much greater strain of idealism than most presidents, certainly more than so called conservative presidents.
Far from being a hard boiled realist, he dared to see far more optimistic outcomes for his policies in the course of events. For instance, he believed strongly in freedom and the goodness of the individual which fueled his naturally optimistic nature. He focused his 1976 campaign against an incumbent Republican president on the presidents refusal to meet with the Soviet dissident, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn for fear of offending the Soviet Union. His belief in freedom as a universal imperative led him to implement a foreign policy that could not have been more distinct from détente, the then prevailing philosophy. President George W. Bush has borrowed generously from Reagans views in this regard. Finally, he was fond of quoting the radical colonial leader Thomas Paine, We have it within our power to begin the world all over again, hardly a conservative sentiment.
6. Reagan broke the Vietnam Syndrome of American self doubt, not only by rebuilding U.S. military power, but also by rediscovering and proclaiming American exceptionalism.
He believed Americans are a moral and decent people and that America is a country which supports freedom and democracy abroad. This view was in sharp contrast to the leftist critique, endorsed by John Kerry among others, of the 1960s and 1970s which held that America was a racist, immoral and imperial power. With Americas moral authority restored, he acted on those beliefs with the liberation of Grenada, the bombing of Libya, and the funding of the anti Communist Freedom Fighters in Central America. These were the first substantive American military actions since Vietnam and marked a turning point when America finally began to strike back at its enemies.
George Will has written that One of the unfortunate intellectual developments of the 19th century, principally in Europe, was the transformation of history into a proper noun. It denoted a vast impersonal force with its own unfolding logic, governed by iron laws of social development Such theories mock the idea of great persons, and the belief that the free choices of small groups could knock History out of its preordained grooves.
Ronald Reagan led one such small group that knocked Marxism from its preordained groove of world domination. In that belief, he is the quintessential American statesmen.
5. Reagan was an original thinker who thought outside the box on numerous policy issues.
In most of his major actions as president -- tax cuts, putting Pershing missiles in Europe, liberating Grenada, pursuing strategic defense, rebuilding American military power -- Reagan pursued policies distinctly different from what elite opinion or conventional wisdom would have dictated. He was also resolute in pursing those policies in the face of unrelenting opposition. As the New York Times remarked in early 1983, The stench of failure hangs over the Reagan White House. Reagan stuck to his guns and was vindicated in the end more often than not.
4. Reagan totally remade the Republican Party in his own image.
Before Reagan, the Republican Party was interested more in the size of the deficit rather than the size of government, in détente more than in freedom and a party hostile to social conservatism. Reagan remade the GOP into the party of tax cuts and smaller government, as proponents of a winning strategy to confront and defeat Communism, and as the party that defends the sanctity of life, especially the unborn. Before his inauguration, Republicans faced a deficit in party identification of 15 to 20 per cent. By the end of his term, the GOP was nearly at parity with the Democrats. In Reagans time, there were no blue states and red states, but 44 and then 49 states as well as Democrats and Independents saw the wisdom in what Reagan was preaching.
3. Reagan put aside a lifetime of hostility to the Soviet Union to deal with a man, Mikail Gorbachev, he believed he could work with.
That flexibility, when paired with new U.S. military strength and strong presidential support for anti Communist freedom fighters, resulted in the beginning of the end for Communism as first the Berlin Wall and then the Soviet Union itself came apart. As former President Bill Clinton once told Reagan, Too many people in my party are too willing to make a deal with the Soviets. Too many people in your party are never willing to deal with the Soviets. I think you have it just about right.(Reagan stories about old Soviet Union)
2. Reagan always saw himself as a soldier in a larger cause.
He spoke frequently in the plural as he did in his farewell address when he noted: We did it. We made a difference. We are stronger as a result of our actions. He was happy to turn the presidency over to George Bush. In his last Cabinet meeting the day before he left office, he noted the focus on the president elect rather than himself and calmly remarked, Its fine. The country is in good hands. Despite two terms as governor of California and as president of the United States, he never considered himself a professional politician, but rather as a citizen who temporarily occupied the office of the presidency and who did the best he could.
1. Like all great presidents, he leaves a legacy that can be easily summarized: He revitalized the economy, won the Cold War, and made Americans feel confident again.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
I got to meet him once when I was at Brooks AFB running a test with the human centrifuge.
Reagan side note Bump
Reagan Library in Simi Valley makes 1.3 million photos public
The one aspect of Reagan that seems to get little attention is that we was strongly against nuclear weapons and that he truly feared nuclear war. What bothers the liberals is that Reagan chose to negotiate from a point of strength rather than to simply do more of what was done by his weaker Presidential predacessors.
Reagan achieved results through strength.
Thanks be to the Almighty for Ronald Reagan.
Great post! Thanks!
Ronald The Great...The reason my mom's generation did not follow the loony left act from just before.
God rest his soul.
As a young life-guard, I believe "Dutch" (as he was called) saved over 70 people from drowning.
That's all anybody needs to know.
There will never be another man like him. Thanks to the Almighty that he was born in America-he would of been a formidable man.
It should be noted, that President Reagan majored in economics in college.
Plus he was a much better actor than the current crop of liberal scenery chewers!
Thought there would be more interest in the 25th anniversary of Reagan's first inauguration. A great day for American conservatism.
Thought you might like this article.
Did anyone watch that show "The Presidents" on The History Channel.
I hated how they depicted Reagan. Made it look like he was all HYPE.
Reagan changed this country forever.
Incorrect. Herbert Hoover was an engineer in the mining industry before he entered politics. In fact, he had such an outstanding reputation for his managerial skills that he was appointed by Woodrow Wilson to lead the U.S. relief efforts in Europe after World War I.
You lucky bastard!
bump for later
"I got to meet him once when I was at Brooks AFB running a test with the human centrifuge."
I completely and sincerely envy you.
Me too. meeting Reagan and all but those centrifuge things look so cool!!!!
You don't believe Wilson, Eisenhower and Reagan had "significant professional lives" before politics? What in the statement was incorrect?
I was pretty much just messin' with ya. I like Hoover a lot. His library/visitor's center in West Branch, Iowa is pretty cool. I lived out there for a while. Bottom line on Hoover, IMHO, he got the bum rap due to issues not under his control. I think the Dems were just as active mudslingers then as they are now.
Thanks for the post and link, backhoe.
Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, the Pope- there were Giants in the Earth, in those days, and we'll not see their like again.
Ironically, Dwight Eisenhower was the recipient of this award in 1960!
Couldn't agree more.
I started campaigning for Reagan in 1976. We actually thought Reagan would beat out PresFord and his worthless agenda, win the GOP nomination and get elected. Had to wait until 1980 for everything to fall in place. Reagan was good for America and his two landslide wins in 80&84 helped set the table for the big conservative victory in 1994. A lot of what Reagan accomplished is still with us today, but sasdly too much of the Reagan policy agenda has been turned on its head.
A good friend of mine once made that observation. :-D
My first vote, and my first Commander in Chief.
[snif] We miss ya, Ronnie...
Dubya may not have Ronnie's silver tongue, but he's doing things that will likely prove out to be just as world-changing. Recall especially how Reagan was portrayed in the media at the time: A doddering forgetful old fool that fell asleep in cabinet meetings. In the longer perspective, though, the stuff that matters is what forms history.
The "working with" stuff did get a number of conservatives bent out of shape (such as Evans & Novak I recall), but they didn't know how deep the Reagan plan to undermine the Soviets had progressed...and that working "with" the Soviets (but only after the defenses were rebolstered and SDI on track, and the "freedom campaign" underway) was part of the design! There was no personal ill-will against Gorbachev (or anyone who the system, in desperation would have thrown up) ...but Reagan understood that the Soviets "peace offensive" if actually followed up with anything other than words meant that their totalitarian distopia was finished...
He adroitly called their bluff on the peace offensive. The INF Treaty resulted from his forthrightly pushing for deployments...gaining the supposedly impossible-to-achieve, "Zero Option". And then there was the little matter of the Berlin Wall:
I've noticed how the media uses the same tired old lines about Dubya, describing him as a bumbling, barely literate oaf.
Time will tell, just as it did for Dutch. :-D
Great image. Thanks for the post.
The liberals hatred of Reagan was only matched by the hatred from the Rockefeller Republicans before Reagan became President. That shows how much he did transform the GOP.
The hate-filled RATs cannot accept these simple facts about Reagan, are mired in their hate for him and now show the same, equally-undeserved hate for President Bush. RATs are scum!
Sadly, many in the GOP seem to have returned to their old ways...
Reagan's style of leadership was a throwback to a populist style that might have seemed anachronistic when compared with modern politics, but it crossed party lines. His message really was about style over substance and ideas rather than agendas.
That may have been more the case in Reagan's second term, then his first term, but I don't really agree with your assessment.
Reagan came into office with a focused agenda that was packed with substance. The Reagan plan was to restore a failing economy, advance tax reform and limited govt, rebuild the military, end the Cold War and revive the American spirit.
When Reagan left office, the economy was soaring, inflation, interest rates and unemployment came tumbling down, income taxes were way down, social welfare and entitlement spending was reduced, the military was ready for bear and the American spirit was alive and well. And most importantly, Reagan won the Cold War, dismantling the Soviet Union and Euro-communism.
As the years go on, his legacy becomes all the more amazing.
I am proud that my first vote was cast for RR.
A great man, to be sure, although I cared little for his views on divorce.
Say what? Reagan was divorced from Jane Wyman. As far as I know, that was the extent of his views on divorce.
I guess what I meant to say was that he talked the talk and walked the walk. That made him more than just a great leader, it made him a great man.
Just for the record. Jane Wyman was married five times. Reagan was married twice. Wyman filed for divorce from Reagan. Reagan didn't want to divorce Wyman.
Wanna honor Ronald Reagan?
If I can thread poach a little... I know some of the people on this thread are already "FOLDING" but for those who aren't, there is now a major project by FReepers and others regarding protein folding and distributed computing. The effort is dedicated to Ronald Reagan.
FReepers are ranked nationally (almost top 400) in our efforts to help this massive science project. Please join us if you would like to contribute and "Fold one for the Gipper". Here is one of several threads that can help point you to start donating your unused CPUs if you are interested.