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Why Ronald Reagan is still relevant


 

I did not share most of his politics, but I can acknowledge that Ronald Reagan was the most significant U.S. president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He brought conservatism into the mainstream and many of his politics did much to prepare America for the challenges of the next century. The man had his flaws, but he bonded with his people and his memory does not diminish with the years.

To Republicans, he embodies character, vision, and greatness. While he swept to office as the most ideologically driven president in a half-century, he governed in a most pragmatic way. Most notably, his conservative mantra of balanced budgets and reducing the size of government quickly gave way to compromise and incrementalism. By the time he left office, Reagan had never balanced a budget and defence spending grew as never before under his watch.

Reagan would probably be uncomfortable with the GOP style of today. The political climate in America today  is very personalized. We are far from the days of Reagan and Tip O’Neill sharing a joke and a drink on the way to finding common ground.

Today’s Republicans are nonetheless wise to flaunt his legacy because his was a way to put America ahead of party politics. If the Republicans wish to recapture the White House someday, Reagan’s optimism, clarity and openness to finding middle ground is a better formula for success than polarization and exclusion.

Democrats are understandably more ambivalent about the Gipper than their Republican counterparts. He did more to demonize liberalism than any GOP leader in history. Unlike Reagan, Eisenhowser and Nixon, two conservative predecessors, did little to dismantle the legacy of FDR. (Ironically, Reagan was once a FDR supporter—before he was elected declaring that “governement is not the solution; government is the problem.”)

Today, Barack Obama lauds Reagan as a transformational president and has actively promoted Reagan’s legacy by reading Lou Cannon’s acclaimed biography of him. Moreover, of late, Obama seems to be taking a page out of Reagan’s style of governing, with the corresponding spoils (higher approval ratings).

This Sunday will mark Ronald Reagan’s 100th anniversary. Like him or not, this two-term President was a major contributor to bringing the Cold War to an end that favoured the West. His optimism, his humility and his steadfast character made him a leader that transcended partisan politics. He left office more popular than any of his predecessors. Today, he is a model for the current President. That in itself keeps him relevant 23 years after he left office.


 

Why Ronald Reagan is still relevant

  1. Relevant?? He wasn't relevant when he had the office. He was a mouthpiece for whoever his handlers were, just like W. The only reason he got into power was because the ocuntry was dupped into believing he actually would get rid of abortion; which he didn't. That he would cure the countys financial woes; which he didn't. He only postponed it , and with the haelp of te Bush's managed to trap us into $17 trillion dollas of debt which they now claim id everybody elses fault. Relevant????? He was a desaster movie in real life.

  2. Relevant?? He wasn't relevant when he had the office. He was a mouthpiece for whoever his handlers were, just like W. The only reason he got into power was because the ocuntry was dupped into believing he actually would get rid of abortion; which he didn't. That he would cure the countys financial woes; which he didn't. He only postponed it , and with the haelp of te Bush's managed to trap us into $17 trillion dollas of debt which they now claim id everybody elses fault. Relevant????? He was a desaster movie in real life.

  3. Reagan was probably the first 'faux president', at least in modern times. His Alzheimers started well before it was publicly acknowledged and certainly well before he left office. He wasn't there to think, he was there to make sound bites and act the part of president. To be fair, lots of people who claimed he couldn't act were proven wrong in the end.

  4. Reagan was probably the first 'faux president', at least in modern times. His Alzheimers started well before it was publicly acknowledged and certainly well before he left office. He wasn't there to think, he was there to make sound bites and act the part of president. To be fair, lots of people who claimed he couldn't act were proven wrong in the end.

  5. Barack Obama… has actively promoted Reagan's legacy…

    … by inviting his surviving relatives to a White House party in his honour and praising him for his accomplishments?

    … by declaring an annual national holiday in his name?

    … by stating publicly that he has chosen a course of action because "that's how the Gipper would've handled it"?

    Nope!

    …by reading Lou Cannon's acclaimed biography of him.

    We have an altogether novel definition of the word "actively."

  6. Barack Obama… has actively promoted Reagan's legacy…

    … by inviting his surviving relatives to a White House party in his honour and praising him for his accomplishments?

    … by declaring an annual national holiday in his name?

    … by stating publicly that he has chosen a course of action because "that's how the Gipper would've handled it"?

    Nope!

    …by reading Lou Cannon's acclaimed biography of him.

    We have an altogether novel definition of the word "actively."

  7. reagan started the mess the US got into with deregulation .Nixon ,JFK and Truman did more to win the Cod War >The Alzeimer thing is more truthful than his lackeys admit .My fear is Palin could be a reincarnation of Reagan . Yikes !

  8. reagan started the mess the US got into with deregulation .Nixon ,JFK and Truman did more to win the Cod War >The Alzeimer thing is more truthful than his lackeys admit .My fear is Palin could be a reincarnation of Reagan . Yikes !

    • "the Cod War…"

      No, that was Brian Tobin. HE won the Cod War.

    • Reagan did not start deregulation, nor was he responsible for the majority of things that were deregulated:

      Capital account deregulation — Nixon (end of Bretton-Woods system)
      Railroad deregulation — Ford/and later Carter (1976 Railroad Revitalization and Reform Act)
      Airline deregulation — Carter (1978 Airline deregulation act)
      Energy deregulation — Carter (natural gas choice programs)
      S&L deregulation — Reagan (1982 Garn St. Germain act)
      Loosening of restrictions of commercial bank underwriting — Greenspan (reinterpretation of statutes by the Fed in 1986)
      Bank branching deregulation — Clinton (1994 Riegle-Neal Act) (though most states had effectively ended restrictions anyway)
      Communications — Clinton (1996 Telecommunications Act)
      End of last vestiges of Glass Steagall — Clinton (1999 Financial Services Modernization Act)
      Legalization of Derivatives trading — Clinton (2000 Commodity Futures Act)

  9. I should add Reagan did nothing for civil rights and healthcare .Yeah , happy birthday . Right wingers love to create myths .

  10. I should add Reagan did nothing for civil rights and healthcare .Yeah , happy birthday . Right wingers love to create myths .

  11. Leftist authors like this writer have either very short memories, or they are twisting the facts to suit their liberal agenda – probably a bit of both. Politics were polarized long before today, liberals are only using the 'polarized' schtick because they're having such a hard time ramming a left wing agenda down the throats of the American people. Americans are rightly worried about the whole bankruptcy thing.

  12. Leftist authors like this writer have either very short memories, or they are twisting the facts to suit their liberal agenda – probably a bit of both. Politics were polarized long before today, liberals are only using the 'polarized' schtick because they're having such a hard time ramming a left wing agenda down the throats of the American people. Americans are rightly worried about the whole bankruptcy thing.

    • Bang on. I think though that the advent of the internet in today's age is what's made it so hard for the liberal media. Now people can give and find voice to their true opinions, rather than just passively receiving whatever was on the radio or TV.

      Make no mistake though, radio and TV are still completely relevant, it's just now the people have a chance to respond, and the media can't get away with anything anymore.

    • Has nothing to do with left or right .The guy was a dunce .not too smart and he is now becoming a myth . Obama is using the myth .

      • Sorry, but your comment indicates that you're stuck on the 80's media mantra, it wasn't true then and it isn't now.

        Obama is desperately trying to associate himself with great Presidents, but it isn't working, the little emperor has no clothes and the public knows it.

        • And sarah palin will continue reagan,s great tradition !

        • If he is trying to associate himself with Ronnie then he isn't trying to associate himself with great president.
          Useless doesn't even begin to describe him.

  13. Bang on. I think though that the advent of the internet in today's age is what's made it so hard for the liberal media. Now people can give and find voice to their true opinions, rather than just passively receiving whatever was on the radio or TV.

    Make no mistake though, radio and TV are still completely relevant, it's just now the people have a chance to respond, and the media can't get away with anything anymore.

  14. Has nothing to do with left or right .The guy was a dunce .not too smart and he is now becoming a myth . Obama is using the myth .

  15. "the Cod War…"

    No, that was Brian Tobin. HE won the Cod War.

  16. Sorry, but your comment indicates that you're stuck on the 80's media mantra, it wasn't true then and it isn't now.

    Obama is desperately trying to associate himself with great Presidents, but it isn't working, the little emperor has no clothes and the public knows it.

  17. And sarah palin will continue reagan,s great tradition !

  18. If he is trying to associate himself with Ronnie then he isn't trying to associate himself with great president.
    Useless doesn't even begin to describe him.

  19. jews

  20. jews

    • moooslaksa a

  21. Reagan did not start deregulation, nor was he responsible for the majority of things that were deregulated:

    Capital account deregulation — Nixon (end of Bretton-Woods system)
    Railroad deregulation — Ford/and later Carter (1976 Railroad Revitalization and Reform Act)
    Airline deregulation — Carter (1978 Airline deregulation act)
    Energy deregulation — Carter (natural gas choice programs)
    S&L deregulation — Reagan (1982 Garn St. Germain act)
    Loosening of restrictions of commercial bank underwriting — Greenspan (reinterpretation of statutes by the Fed in 1986)
    Bank branching deregulation — Clinton (1994 Riegle-Neal Act) (though most states had effectively ended restrictions anyway)
    Communications — Clinton (1996 Telecommunications Act)
    End of last vestiges of Glass Steagall — Clinton (1999 Financial Services Modernization Act)
    Legalization of Derivatives trading — Clinton (2000 Commodity Futures Act)

  22. There are two key parts of the Reagan legacy that we should not take for granted. Firstly, Reagan deserves some credit for American victory in the Cold War. NOT because the military buildup forced the Soviets to collapse – the historical record does not support that. Rather, Reagan deserves credit for his reversal after 1983, and successful rapprochment with the Soviets.

    Secondly, Reagan deserves some credit for fighting stagflation. His tax cut and political skills gave Volcker the cover he needed to hike interest rates, and lick inflation. The restoration of price stability was an indisputable net boon for the economy.

    Unfortunately, discussions of the Reagan legacy tend to come down to ideology – though they shouldn't. Reagan is no more responsible for financial deregulation than Greenspan or Clinton. Right-wingers remember the 1981 tax cut, but forget the subsequent tax hikes. They also forget that Reagan granted amnesty to illegal immigrants.

    In honour of Reagan's 100th birthday, lets discuss the actual Reagan, and not the caricatures put forth by the left and the right. Reagan was not a great conservative, or an utter dope. Rather, he was an important President who should be studied accordingly.

  23. There are two key parts of the Reagan legacy that we should not take for granted. Firstly, Reagan deserves some credit for American victory in the Cold War. NOT because the military buildup forced the Soviets to collapse – the historical record does not support that. Rather, Reagan deserves credit for his reversal after 1983, and successful rapprochment with the Soviets.

    Secondly, Reagan deserves some credit for fighting stagflation. His tax cut and political skills gave Volcker the cover he needed to hike interest rates, and lick inflation. The restoration of price stability was an indisputable net boon for the economy.

    Unfortunately, discussions of the Reagan legacy tend to come down to ideology – though they shouldn't. Reagan is no more responsible for financial deregulation than Greenspan or Clinton. Right-wingers remember the 1981 tax cut, but forget the subsequent tax hikes. They also forget that Reagan granted amnesty to illegal immigrants.

    In honour of Reagan's 100th birthday, lets discuss the actual Reagan, and not the caricatures put forth by the left and the right. Reagan was not a great conservative, or an utter dope. Rather, he was an important President who should be studied accordingly.

  24. Reagan would probably be uncomfortable with the GOP style of today.

    Wrong. One thing we have learned from history is that Liberals never had the slightest approval for what Reagan was thinking, and for extremist leftist Liberals like Parisella to have the audacity to attempt to claim he speaks for Reagan is beyond the pale.

  25. Reagan would probably be uncomfortable with the GOP style of today.

    Wrong. One thing we have learned from history is that Liberals never had the slightest approval for what Reagan was thinking, and for extremist leftist Liberals like Parisella to have the audacity to attempt to claim he speaks for Reagan is beyond the pale.

  26. Barack Obama lauds Reagan as a transformational president and has actively promoted Reagan's legacy

    What a laugh. Obama is the anti-Reagan. Obama made a speech to the chamber of Commerce today that drew applause twice in 35 minutes!! Typical Parisella – Parisella was the one claiming the Democrats would win the 2010 elections.

    Reagan spent his first two years undoing Carter's destruction of the economy and ushering in 20 years of prosperity. Obama spent his first two years emulating Carter's destruction of the economy. Obama has been an economic disaster. But hey, what's the point of facts when Parisella's fantasies are available?

  27. Barack Obama lauds Reagan as a transformational president and has actively promoted Reagan's legacy

    What a laugh. Obama is the anti-Reagan. Obama made a speech to the chamber of Commerce today that drew applause twice in 35 minutes!! Typical Parisella – Parisella was the one claiming the Democrats would win the 2010 elections.

    Reagan spent his first two years undoing Carter's destruction of the economy and ushering in 20 years of prosperity. Obama spent his first two years emulating Carter's destruction of the economy. Obama has been an economic disaster. But hey, what's the point of facts when Parisella's fantasies are available?

    • i like scf . but palin is even stronger than reagan who had dementia when in power .I liked him still . Palin will be Prez .And she is much better looking !

  28. moooslaksa a

  29. hairy mexicans

  30. hairy mexicans

  31. i like scf . but palin is even stronger than reagan who had dementia when in power .I liked him still . Palin will be Prez .And she is much better looking !

  32. Reagan is another right wing myth !!

  33. Reagan is another right wing myth !!

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