Happy Reagan’s Birthday

Today would be Ronald Reagan’s 106th birthday.

I’ve been writing about Reagan – who, along with PJ O’Rourke, Solzhenitzyn, Dostoevskii and Paul Johnson is the reason I’m a conservative today – as long as this blog has been in existence.  His eight years were not perfect, and I don’t beatify my presidents, even if they’ve been out of office for almost thirty years.  His last term wasn’t as stellar as his first, and his last two years were very difficult.

Still and all, he was the greatest president of the second half of the 20th Century.

But in these difficult times, after two terms of a President who promoted  fear and malaise in the guise of “change” and “doing something”, it’s worth remembering Reagan’s example; when times seemed at their most dire, Reagan walked onto the scene with a smile and a vision, and a backbone of steel, and cleaned up the mess lefty by his failed predecessor – something our next president will need even more of in 2016.

And the most important part? He did it by unleashing something that many, then as now, thought was dead – the inner, optimistic, take-charge greatness of the American spirit.

The best we can hope for from our current president is that he approaches the job with the same tenacity to match his vision that Reagan had.

Oh, there are those who say “today’s GOP wouldn’t nominate Reagan!” – to which I respond with a contemptuous sign, before telling the critic to listen to “A Time for Choosing”, and tell me who is more resembles; Arne Carlson, or Scott Walker?

Reagan’s gone. But that spirit, the one he understood, almost alone among American politicans of his era, lives on in the American people. Most of it, anyway.

So Happy Reagan’s Birthday, everyone!

NOTE: While this blog encourages a raucous debate, this post is a hagiography zone. All comments deemed critical of Reagan will be expunged without ceremony. You’ve been warned.

You have the whole rest of the media to play about in; this post is gonna be gloriously one-note.

23 thoughts on “Happy Reagan’s Birthday

  1. Mitch, you should change some of the is’es to was’es. It seems this piece was written with past occupant in mind.

  2. I went to the Reagan Library a few years ago. One of the exhibits that struck me was the one detailing the interregnum between his acting career and his political career. When he was traveling on behalf of GE, he spent a lot of time on trains criss-crossing the country; he spent much of that time reading and absorbing political philosophy. What made him effective as a communicator wasn’t the words he spoke, but rather the words and ideas he’d absorbed; he had a complete, well-thought out political philosophy and his messaging was only a small part of it.

  3. “today’s GOP wouldn’t nominate Reagan!”

    Yesterday’s GOP didn’t want to nominate him, either, the first time. He was the disrupter, and too radical, too conservative, too just about everything including “un-electable” in their eyes.

  4. As I was not alive for most of Reagans terms I shall remain neutral on him. Although for those who did would you say Trump parallels Reagan in populist and American optimism terms? Their styles couldn’t be more different yet I can’t help feeling that while Reagan might have been what this country needed badly in 1980 Trump is what this country needs (not necessarily wants as proven by the massively nasty GOP primary and the fact that he did only won 46% of the popular vote, in basically a 2 way race) now in 2016? Thoughts anyone?

  5. He was a pleasure to have in command. The country felt secure in his capable hands. Just wish he hadn’t done that damn amnesty deal. He gave the left too much credit for giving a shit about what is good for America, and they abused his kindness to let another 12 million deportables in.

  6. I believe his time with GE and delivering motivational speeches to its’ employees around the country gave him the opportunity for introspection and form the delivery of his message. he became an expert.

    I hardly think Reagan would have sat still last week when the BS was going on at UC Berkley, back in ’69 he didn’t let the “protesters” get away with any crap and squared up law and order on the campus in relatively short order.

  7. Although for those who did would you say Trump parallels Reagan in populist and American optimism terms?

    Absolutely not. Reagan was far more optimistic than Trump, and far, far less angry. He was looking to reform the economy, but also to reform how the US dealt with the tide of communist authoritarianism that was rising across the world.

    Reagan’s unflagging optimism is ironic in that he faced far more entrenched, powerful, and implacable foes. Between the idiots that wanted unilateral disarmament, nuclear freezes, and a media that provided no alternative methods by which to get information out and the minor annoyance of global communism in bed with the Democrats (read Kennedy’s attempt at a deal with the Soviets sometime), he really was facing impossible odds and yet still won.

    It’s ironic that the coalition that elected Reagan was much the same coalition that elected Trump. The GOP lost interest in blue collar voters very quickly after Reagan left office and the fact that both parties fell under the sway of globalist/crony capitalists really hammered the blue collar folks. I’m willing to bet that the eGOP will pull the same stunt after Trump.

  8. bold predicition, Trump may try to seek re-election under a hybrid populist-blue collar new party.

  9. His worst mistake was picking GHWB as his VP. Who stood in front of the Reagan Revolution and yelled STOP!

  10. Read a story a few years ago about Reagan’s concern for other people.

    This takes place as he’s being wheeled into the hospital after that psycho prick Hinkley shot him. According to one of the nurses attending him, he was looking around at the bevy of doctors, nurses and Secret Service surrounding his gurney and noticed that they looked scared. So, to lighten the mood, he quipped; “I sure hope that all of you are Republicans”. The laughter that ensued, she opined, made everyone realize that he was going to be fine.

  11. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 02.06.17 : The Other McCain

  12. Received a message earlier from a relative who recently retired from the military. He trained with and knew a number of the personnel lost in Jimmuh Carters botched Operation Eagle Claw and that time converted him from a Dem to Rep. Things so improved under Reagan (with basic stuff like fuel, spare parts, flight time, etc) that he has been a Republican since. He happens to be on ‘vacation’ this month in SoCal visiting his grandchildren and decided to head up to the Reagan Library for the 106th doings. He wound up sitting next to Michael Reagan as Reagan was regaling the gathered with stories about his father.

  13. Reagan is slightly larger than life (7 meters) in Budapest, where there are not one, but two, statues of him.


    The article features some snark from the head of the Hungarian Communist Workers Party, which makes the article even more gratifying. (Btw, I’ll be spending the month of June in Budapest, if anyone wants to come over and join me in a toast to RR in Freedom Square just let me know.)

  14. I once read an essay by a Polish dissident who claimed that American consumerism killed the USSR (sorry, can’t find it online).
    First the Soviets thought WWI was supposed to be end stage capitalism, then the Great Depression was supposed to be end stage capitalism, then WW2 was supposed to be end stage capitalism.
    And remember, the Soviets considered themselves the masters of history. They believed that only they understood the dialectic that dictated the historical narrative.
    But after WW2 the US became richer, not poorer. In the consumerist US, but not in the USSR, the workers had the things that the communist utopia was supposed to provide. Ordinary workers in the US had one car or two, a tidy, spacious house, and possibly had modest dashas of their own. The American workers’ shops were full of goods, including food that, in the USSR, was reserved for high party officials.
    Imagine that you were a Soviet citizen in the 1980s, and you had sacrificed for decades just to have the things the Americans seemed to have in abundance — and you had nothing.
    Reagan was a great president for the 1980s. Everything bad Reagan did is forgiven because he destroyed the USSR. The academics didn’t see it coming, all of the Democrats and most of the GOP did not see it coming, and of course our intelligence agencies didn’t see it coming (though the advice they gave Yeltsin contributed heavily to post-Soviet Russian rule by kleptocrats).
    A lot of the bad of Reagan — defying the Boland Amendment, amnesty, deficits in the hundreds of billions — were due to Reagan’s optimism and sunny disposition. He trusted people and institutions he should not have trusted.
    Let’s hope the current occupant’s more cynical attitude keeps him from making the same mistakes as Reagan.

  15. NW, that appears to be 7’2″, not 7 meters or about 22′, tall. :^) Wish I could join you.

  16. NW, I may actually be in Budapest and Prague in that time frame – we are working on timing right now. Would love to have a beer with yea.

  17. Stay in touch. Our plans call for flying into and out of Prague at the beginning and end of the month, and staying in Budapest for most of June (maybe a side-trip to Germany or Poland when I’m not working). Mitch has my personal contact info.

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