Learning From The Age Of Reagan

Steven F. Hayward writes, “Barack Obama Should Study Ronald Reagan’s First Days in Office”:

President Barack Obama’s honeymoon period seems to have ended quickly. That’s because Mr. Obama doesn’t grasp the essentials of presidential leadership. Rather than making a compelling case for his economic policies, he has resorted to curt rebuffs, such as telling House Republican whip Eric Cantor, “I won.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the same thing the same day: “We won the election; we wrote the [stimulus] bill.” This is the trope of a party that has lost its ability to make an argument.

Mr. Obama and his team would be well advised to put aside the imperious FDR model and study Ronald Reagan’s first 200 days in office. The contrast is instructive.

Upon entering office in 1981, Reagan’s team produced a 50-page, detailed blueprint for their first six months in office. The passage of their economic policy was the central objective. This report, called the Initial Actions Project (IAP), has received little attention from historians or journalists (with the notable exception of Lou Cannon). It would be highly useful for Mr. Obama to review it.


Read on for some details from the aforementioned IAP, and be on the lookout for the second volume of Hayward’s The Age of Reagan series, The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counter-Revolution, 1980-1989 currently scheduled for release in August, according to Amazon. Here’s my review of Volume I, from the very early days of Blogcritics, back in 2002–which seems more like a millennia ago, than seven years.

(Via Ann Althouse.)

Update: Related thoughts from Roger Kimball.


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