Monday, June 07, 2004


I became to love, respect and admire the Presidency because of Ronald Reagan. He was the first president that I came to know. Because he was the first president I was aware of, I feel very lucky. Ronald Reagan became the standard to which I have and will compare all succeeding presidents.

When I was about 6 or 7 years old, early in Reagan's first term, I learned about the grave nuclear threat facing our world and the country. Even as children my classmates and I were warned that the Soviet Union and the United States could annihilate each other and the world, within minutes. I even wrote a letter to President Reagan pleading with him to find a way to make sure that World War III will never occur. I still remember the warm reply from the President, and his autographed photo of him on a horse.

Somehow, his grandfatherly manner made me feel at ease and his warm smile made me adore him as if he were a beloved member of the family. President Reagan was the steady and reassuring presence as I grew up in the 1980's. Having known no other president, I couldn't even fathom another president taking his place. He was perfect as president, even looking the part. How could anyone replace this man, I wondered. He was ready with the quips in good times and was every bit the consoler as we mourned tragedies like the Challenger Space Shuttle.

When he was re-elected, winning 49 states, I couldn't appreciate how incredible his victory was. The country had fallen in love with Reagan, too. He attracted "Reagan Democrats", erased the gender gap, and was treated like a rock star by younger voters. What Americans saw was a good man. A rare breed in politics, he was so confident in himself that he felt no need to put on airs and try to fool the American public. The beauty of Ronald Reagan was that he loved this country more than any president in modern times. By believing in the essential goodness of America, he respected his constituents. By appreciating his role as Commander in Chief, he was humbled by his lofty office.

I am happy to say that Ronald Reagan was my President. And he always will be.

UPDATE: Here is an excellent collection of what people have to say about President Ronald Reagan; Citizen Smash, Vodka Pundit, Hobbs Online, Freedom of Thought, Outside the Beltway, Professor Bainbridge, A Small Victory, Dean's World, Powerline, Balloon Juice, PoliBlog, SISU, Pejmanesque, Kalblog, Go Dubya.



It was the deep knowledge - and pray God we have not lost it - that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.
You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The oldest person ever elected president had a sure sense of modernity, as when he told students at Moscow University that mankind is emerging from the economy of muscle and entering the economy of mind. "The key," he said, "is freedom," but freedom grounded in institutions such as courts and political parties. Otherwise "freedom will always be looking over its shoulder. A bird on a tether, no matter how long the rope, can always be pulled back."

But Reagan was disarming. He once told Charlie McDowell, the Washington correspondent for the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he should not be embarrassed by the discovery that an anecdote McDowell had told all over the country about a visit by Reagan to Lexington, Va., for the filming of "Brother Rat," could not be true, because Reagan had done all his scenes for that movie in Hollywood. McDowell was chagrined to have created a myth about seeing Reagan at a local drugstore. But Reagan patted his shoulder and said, "You believed it because you wanted to believe it. There's nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time."

15 YEARS LATER, THE REMAKING OF A PRESIDENT. Well, many of us ALWAYS KNEW that Reagan was proving the media wrong
There is a natural tendency in the media to say nice things after someone has died. But more important, a president's legacy looks very different 15 years after he leaves the White House, and following a long illness that took him out of the political wars. No one knew when Reagan stepped down that his military buildup would ultimately play a role in the demise of the "evil empire" he railed against. Critics denounced his legacy of record-shattering budget deficits, but in the resulting economic boom such shortfalls came to be viewed as less dramatic, another sign of how Reagan redefined the political debate.

Reagan also delivered a strategic electoral blow to the Democrats: He took away the South and the Democrats have never gotten it back. In 1980, Reagan carried all the Southern and border states except for West Virginia and Carter’s native Georgia. Since then, only when Southerner Bill Clinton headed the ticket did Democrats win any Southern states; in 2000, Gore, himself from Tennessee, carried no Southern or border states.

Al Qaeda and the Ba'ath Party want to defeat Bush to avenge his tough stance against them after the 9/11 attacks. They know that John Kerry would usher back the Clinton days of timid U.S. reaction and that the Democrat's likely repeal of vital sections of the Patriot Act would open the door for their terror strikes in America.

Six D-Day veterans were invited to home plate at Yankee Stadium before yesterday's game, where a cheering crowd gave them a standing ovation as announcer Bob Sheppard said their "courage and sacrifice on D-Day defined the true American spirit."


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