I’d be remiss if I missed the fact that today is the official Shot In The Dark holiday – Ronald Reagan’s birthday.

Reagan is a great conservative hero for what he wasn’t as well as for what he was.  In an era when people thought the entree to political leadership was a degree from an elite university and a lifetime spent currying favor and working within the establishment, Reagan was a small-town midwesterner who’d gone to an obscure college and spent most of his adult life doing other things; a sportscaster, an actor, a pundit.  He was well into middle age before he got into electoral politics.

This confounded his critics, who believed that the true measure of a 50-something man of accomplishment was a degree he’d gotten when he was 22.

He was, in short, pretty much like the rest of us – as Dinesh D’Souza noted, an ordinary man who became an extraordinary president.

He really had two great accomplishments.  For starters, he had an uncommon gift for translating immensely high concepts – the economics of Hayek, the philosophy of the Federalists – into terminology that resonated with people who’d never sat through a politicial science seminar.

He also had a singular knack for envisioning a goal, and focusing on it with a genial ruthlessness that drew his supporters down the path, no matter how difficult, and outlasted his opponents, no matter how well entrenched.

He convinced a demoralized nation coming from an era of spirit-sapping lethargy that we were a shining city on a hill:


 And he talked the greatest criminals in history into putting down the gun and putting their hands up:


 Conservatives need to constantly remind themselves that a leader like Reagan only comes along once in a lifetime, if that.

And yet today we may be seeing the ultimate tribute to Reagan.  Millions of Americans are rising up and doing the Reagan thing for themselves.  Knowingly or not, they’re standing astride the Keynesian stream and yelling “Hayek”.   They’re going to the polls in places like Massachusetts and saying “If you want prosperity, tear down this stupid statist tradition”.  They’re gathering in their hundreds of thousands and saying “our nation is a shining city on a hill – and it’s not because of our bureaucracy; it’s because of our indivisible prosperity and  sacred liberty!”.

That millions of Americans are channeling the best of Reagan as we approach his centenary – he’d have been 99 today – is perhaps the best legacy of all.

15 thoughts on “Reagan

  1. Pingback: The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Reagan

  2. And to you liberal/socialist drones out there, I have one thing to say.
    “Go ahead. Make my day.”


  3. Just finished watching Palin speak at the Tea Party convention. More than one mention of Reagan and the ‘shining city on the hill’. Very different from Obama’s “You’re all stupid and we’re all screwed” speeches.
    I popped over to Andrew Sullivan’s place (he’s liveblogging her speech) to see if her speech would give him an aneurism , but no such luck. First Sullivan proclaimed that she was running for president and then he criticized Palin, a private citizen, for dumping on Obama’s tax-and-spend policies while offering no specific policies of her own. Apparently the Andrewmeister believes that Obama’s genius lies in doing those things which he had no choice but to do.

  4. St. Ronnie’s Day already, is it? Ah, the good old days. The high-water mark of wingnuttery, never to be equaled.

    Sounds like Terry thinks that hottie who quit as Alaska governor is the second coming of St. Ronnie. Well she’s dumb and photogenic, Angryclown will give you that. But is there nothing more to the wingnut presidential template? A pretty face reading Hallmark sentiments off a teleprompter while doing the bidding of the rich?

    “Mr. Putin, tear down the Bering Strait!”

  5. A pretty face reading Hallmark sentiments off a teleprompter while doing the bidding of the rich?

    You are getting Obama and Palin confused, Angry Clown.

  6. You attach a pro-Obama link from MicrosoftNBC? After complaining that Palin does the bidding of the rich?
    Too funny.
    Back to your cave, Angry Clown. I’ve banned you again.

  7. In all the schools of Shamanic sorcery, from those of the Assyrian Accadian to the widely-spread varieties of the present day, the Exorcism forms the principal element. An exorcism is a formula, the properties or power of which is that when properly pronounced, especially if this be done with certain fumigations and ceremonies, it will drive away devils, diseases, and disasters of every description; nay, according to very high, and that by no means too ancient, authority, it is efficacious in banishing clowns and it is equal to Persian powder as a fuge for poltroons, but is, unfortunately, too expensive to be used for that purpose save by the very wealthy. It has been vigorously applied against the punchinello, the madcap, the harlequin, and comedians in the United States, but, I believe, without effect, owing possibly to differences of climate or other antagonistic influences.

    As you can see, I am not one to be trifled with, Angry Clown.
    Your impertinence has been noted.
    This is your final warning.

  8. Hey shithead, it’s video. Same on MSNBC as on FAUX.

    Oh wait, they cut off the feed on FAUX News cause Obama was kicking too much ass.

  9. Hey angryclown, the video you chose is from MS+NBC. You know: the Corporate+Media cheerleaders for the President. Immediately after incessant whining about corporate influence in the opposition. Yeah, you are pretty funny, angryclown.

  10. We have 364 days until the Gippers 100th birthday. I say it is time to rename something in the Twin Cities after the 20th century’s greatest President. A major highway perhaps.

  11. AC’s just grouchy because the past few democratic presidents are remembered for 10% unemployment, Monica Lewinsky, and malaise. I’ll take “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” over “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” any day as a picture of a Presidency.

    Or even ” I will not make an issue of my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” over “hope….change……corpseman”.

  12. angryclown Says: “St. Ronnie’s Day already, is it? Ah, the good old days. The high-water mark of wingnuttery, never to be equaled.”

    “If all of this seems like a great deal of trouble, think what’s at stake. We are faced with the most evil enemy mankind has known in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. There can be no security anywhere in the free world if there is no fiscal and economic stability within the United States. Those who ask us to trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state are architects of a policy of accommodation.” – Ronald Reagan –

    Wingnuttery AC? If so I can live with it.

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