I’m honestly a little bit surprised that no one else has mentioned it here on the Tatler yet, but today would have been Ronald Reagan’s 101st birthday, had he lived this long.
Let’s celebrate by taking a quick look around the web and see what people are saying about this man:
As we look back, we remember that throughout his presidency, Reagan returned again and again to the idea that in all circumstances and with each decision, he was guided by the Constitution. In his State of the Union speeches, Reagan referred to the Constitution more than any other president in the preceding 50 years. A survey of his presidential papers reveals 1,270 references to the Constitution during his eight years in the White House and another 113 mentions of the Declaration of Independence. As part of Heritage’s “Preserve the Constitution” series, we invited two former Reagan Cabinet members and two Reagan historians to discuss how the Constitution provided the foundation of the Reagan presidency. In examining Reagan’s recipe for success, former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who served under President Reagan, noted “Why was President Reagan so successful? I would suggest that one reason is: He did what the Constitution said he should do, and he did what the Founders had in mind in terms of a constitutional presidency.”
What far too few politicians do today is to work hard at making both an art and a craft of communicating great things. Persuasion isn’t mere rhetoric; persuasion takes serious labor. Ronald Reagan did not shy from that labor. That’s why he communicated greatly: He melded his excellent principles with the persuasive skills gained from long striving. They were complementary assets. Without each and both of them, he would not have succeeded.
Ronald Reagan stated at St. John’s University in New York, March 28, 1985: “Government that is big enough to give you everything you want is more likely to simply take everything you’ve got.”
Ronald Reagan remarked to the Heritage Council, Warren, Michigan, October 10, 1984: “Henry David Thoreau was right: that government is best which governs least.”
Hey, that’s me! I, personally, came of political age during the Age of Reagan, and I am pretty sure it shaped the way I see the world.
Because of some things earlier in my childhood, I turned 18 the same year Reagan was running for re-election (1984, and if you wanna do the math you can figure out how old I am), and I was a senior in high school at the time. I was never one of those young lefties, I proudly put Reagan bumperstickers on my school notebooks, something that upset my high school US history teacher something fierce… as evidence, she gave me a D for first semester and F for second semester; I went to the local junior college during the summer and took the “equivalent” courses (I put quotes around equivalent because a junior college course should be somewhat tougher than a high school course), and got A’s in both. That was when I realized that, for lefties, the personal is the political, and vice versa, and I’ve never forgotten that lesson.
Since then, I have followed politics, and commented and tried to educate both my fellow conservatives and those who don’t know what political philosophy they follow as best I can (I don’t try to educate lefties because their ideological blinders are too thick). I’ve done it on the pre-internet online services like CompuServe, I’ve done it on message boards, I’ve done it on my own blog(s) and commenting on other blogs, and that’s what I intend to continue to do as a Tatler contributor.
Happy Birthday, Gipper. I know you’re looking down on us from Heaven, and I hope we haven’t disappointed you too much.