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The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

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I Don't Remember Voting for Kofi Annan

The U.N.'s Kofi Annan is making another effort to claim the authority to try U.S. soldiers in the International Criminal Court. secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

-Declaration of Independence, 1776


Kerrey 9/11 Commission Snub Pays Off -- But Not for Him

Executive director David Almasi notes an interesting chain of events thus far lost to the major media:

After much public wailing, the 9/11 commission finally got a meeting with President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney on April 30. When they finally got their interview, however, two commission members - Bob Kerrey and Lee Hamilton - excused themselves early to attend other appointments. Hamilton went to a luncheon honoring the Canadian prime minister. Kerrey went trolling for pork, and it's interesting what happened.

Kerrey, a former senator, was trying to meet with Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations. Kerrey wanted more money for the New School University, an institution where "education is seen as a tool to produce positive changes in society" and he serves as president. It's not the kind of place known for work on energy and water issues.

Not only did Kerrey leave an important meeting meant to strengthen our nation's security against an international terrorist threat, but his funding pitch to Domenici ended up being only a brief discussion held just off the Senate floor. It was also unsuccessful. Kerrey should be very understanding about the reason why.

The 9/11 commission just released a report revealing that al Queda's initial plan of attack was much broader than what actually happened. The original plan called for ten hijacked planes, with two targeting nuclear power plants. Kerrey, coincidentally, could not get New School funding because more money than expected is needed to fund the creation of the national nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain.

When completed, Yucca Mountain will thwart terrorist plans to use spent radioactive fuel that is now usually stored on-site at most nuclear plants as a weapon (like crashing a plane into it). While Kerrey didn't get the money for his school, he should rest easy that the money is being spent with the intent of reaching the goals of the commission on which he serves. Some of the time.


Media Above the Law?

Glenn Reynolds has interesting insights on a trend I have noted in this blog, namely, the tendency of some journalists to believe the law does not apply to them.

Some of my earlier thoughts on the matter can be found here.


100,000 Undocumented Workers

From the mailbag on Fox New Channel's O'Reilly Factor:

"[Mexico's President] Vincente Fox couldn't come to [President Reagan's] funeral, but he's sending 100,000 undocumented workers in his place."

O'Reilly didn't mention it, but under Reagan, in 1986, illegal aliens were granted amnesty. I guess Mexico is grateful.

Go here to read O'Reilly's "Talking Points" editorial of June 13 ("Respect for the Dead and for the USA") that inspired the letter I cited above.


Reagan Commentaries

I'm indulging myself by commenting on some of the things I'm seeing on blogs and elsewhere online regarding coverage of our late President:

Belmont Club praises Reagan, saying:
It's hard to remember how downbeat, how beaten America was in 1984, nine years out of the fall of Saigon; four years after the shock which took oil prices to $80 a barrel in 2002 terms; four years after Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized a US embassy without Washington being able to do a thing about it. Theatergoers anted up to watch Red Dawn, starring a young Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen, whose plot featured a Soviet invasion of the Continental United States...
I agree with the conclusions, but not the example. By 1984, we were well on the way up from the pre-Reagan malaise. The movie "Red Dawn" is noteworthy as a cultural/historical benchmark not because it depicts a Soviet attack on American soil, but because its theme was American youth fighting back. Had the same movie been made five years earlier (which it wouldn't have been), it would have shown American youth too stoned to care.

Elsewhere, the Alphabet City blog has a heckuva story about how the Reagan Administration turned public opinion in Sweden in the Cold War. Hint: They used virtual "remote controls" to trap a Soviet submarine so it would go aground in Sweden. I remember that incident, but I had no idea whatsoever that the U.S. made it happen. Brilliant. There's more if you follow the link.

Captain's Quarters has a good piece on the Reagan Administration as a fierce battle of opposing domestic philosophies. He also links to a very worthy Daniel Henninger Opinion Journal piece reminding people that Reaganities suffered a lot of casualties during the war of ideas in the 80s. He points to vicious attacks on Ed Meese by Joe Biden as an example; it's just one of many and the war's not over yet.

Charles Krauthammer may be mum, but Milton Friedman is willing to say whom he believes is this century's greatest president: Reagan. Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong has written Krauthammer on the matter and promises to tell us if he gets a reply. Krauthammer appears to be begging to be asked; perhaps it is a future column-in-the-making.

In his life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness blog, Jack Rich explains why those who promote the "Reagan was a negotiator not a warrior" and "Reagan wanted to end the Cold War not win it" theories are idiots. If you don't already know why they are idiots, read it.

Andrew Sullivan thought Brian Mulroney was "a bit of a bore" at the state funeral. It's funny how different people have different reactions. I thought Mulroney's tribute to Reagan was extremely moving. Iain Murray agrees with me. He's another one who remembers that Mulroney was important to more than just Canada. He played a significant role in ending the Cold War himself.


Listening to Talk About Reagan

The was written by Christopher Blunt, president of Overbrook Research, a polling company. Blunt and David Almasi lived across the street from each other in college and were involved in campus political activism together during the Reagan Administration. David passed this over to me, thinking blog readers might enjoy reading it:

Reagan's passing hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. Before last Saturday, I had never really stopped to think about the degree to which he had shaped my personal, political and professional identities. Somewhere in the middle of the coverage that night, I decided what I needed to do: After the kids went to bed, I poured myself a pint of Guinness I'd been saving for a special occasion, slipped "A Time For Choosing" into the VCR and toasted the greatest President of my lifetime.

Wednesday night, as the memorial service in the Capitol was in progress, I felt drawn to the 7:00 pm Mass at the church in our small town in East Central Illinois. I wanted to be connected to what was going on, and the best way seemed to be to join others in praying for Reagan and his family. Our town is not unlike Dixon - out on the Illinois prairie, friendly and filled with people with deeply rooted values. Like President Reagan's parents, my wife and I decided that this was the kind of place where we wanted our children to grow up.

My eight-year-old son announced that he wanted to go with me to Mass. As we drove past rolling fields of corn and soybeans, the two of us listened to Dick Cheney's tribute to Reagan. Cheney was still speaking when we reached the church, and it was only 6:55 pm, so we sat in the parking lot and continued to listen. I was mesmerized, and deep in thought, but my son was clearly starting to get antsy. Cheney finished right before 7:00 pm, and I snapped off the radio. On our way into the church, my son asked, slightly annoyed, "Daddy, why do you like listening to so many things about Ronald Reagan?"

I didn't have time to answer him then, but his question made me do a lot of thinking while we were inside. On our way back out to the car, he insisted again: "Daddy, why do you like listening to so many things about Ronald Reagan?"

I decided the radio would stay off the whole way home. I took a deep breath, and tried to find the best place to start. "When I was eight years old," I said, driving through the tree-line streets of Paxton, "a bad man became President..."

"Did he know he was bad?" my son interrupted.

"Probably not," I replied. "But he did a lot of bad things."

"Like what?" he insisted.

I tried to explain about his grandmother and I sitting in line to get gas, inflation ("everything kept costing more"), interest rates ("nobody could buy a house"), hostages ("bad people in other countries did bad things to us, and the President couldn't stop them"), malaise ("the President said all these problems were the fault of us, the people") and how everything changed in 1981. I told him what Reagan did, and what he meant for me and the country. I also told him how I saw, for the first time, what good the right man can do in office, how that got me into politics, why I worked on Reagan's 1984 campaign in high school and why I waited for hours to see him when he came to my town and why I studied political science in college and devoted all my spare time to campus political activism. Above all, I told him why I chose political polling as a career: it's a way I can use everything I learned to help good people get elected.

People who can do good things in public office. People who can make America better. People like Ronald Reagan - and George W. Bush.

Our station wagon crunched onto the gravel driveway of our hundred year old farmhouse. "Does this make any sense?" I asked.

My son nodded. I don't think he understood everything I'd said, but he didn't ask again why we were listening to all these people talk about Ronald Reagan.


Reagan, African-Americans, and a Few Thoughts

A few words and a confession from National Center executive director David W. Almasi:

In 1996, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found African-Americans almost equally split between conservative, moderate and liberal political beliefs. A Gallup Poll in late 2003 found more blacks identifying themselves as conservative (30 percent) than liberal (22 percent). But the media can't seem to find any of these people.

And I'd like to take this time to apologize for falling into their trap. Of all people, as the director for the African-American leadership network Project 21 - an organization formed to highlight the diversity of black political opinion - I should know better.

As reported by the Media Research Center, ABC in particular has been taking cheap shots during its coverage of the death of President Ronald Reagan. As Reagan's casket was loaded onto Air Force One to travel to Washington, George Stephanopoulos commented out of the blue that Reagan "did not reach out to African-Americans." Anchor Peter Jennings felt that they had "not talked a lot yet about his relationship to African-Americans," as if a dirty secret was being swept under the rug.

But possibly the most unforgivable comment came from Jennings once again, commenting on the crowds of mourners: "we haven't seen many African-American faces up at the presidential library."

In my opinion, Jennings just wasn't looking. Blacks mourned the loss of Ronald Reagan. Blacks benefited from his policies. And many blacks today consider themselves conservative because of who he was and what he did. Greg Parker, a member of Project 21, said, "Those who say such things are misguided and are not looking around hard enough. I myself was ten years of age when he took office and 18 when he left, so I grew up with him as President. He was the reason I became a Republican and a conservative."

To say Reagan did not care about black Americans or do anything to help them during his term of office shows gross ignorance of his presidency. As syndicated columnist and Project 21 member Deroy Murdock points out: "The dramatic economic expansion his tax cuts and deregulation unleashed benefited Americans in general, but black Americans in particular. Rising employment and opportunities for entrepreneurship helped grow the black middle class during the Reagan years. And the fall of Communism made things safer for Americans of all backgrounds." As for his personal interest in black Americans, Reagan - a man of letters - maintained a correspondence with Ruddy Hines, a black boy in the D.C. public schools, throughout his presidency.

As for black faces in the crowd, I spent five-and-a-half hours in line on Wednesday night to visit Reagan in the Capitol Rotunda. The line was the very definition of diversity with regard to race, ethnicity, class, sex, age and lifestyle. Peter Jennings apparently didn't see any black faces because he didn't want to.

But let's talk about my mea culpa. It comes from a conversation I had with Greg Parker as we collaborated on a press release about these media slights of Reagan. I told Greg I was moved by a young black man in front of me in the line. If I saw him on the street, I said, I'd consider him a gang-banger without the slightest interest in Ronald Reagan much less the desire to spend almost a quarter of a day to pay respects to a man who was largely out of the public eye during his lifetime.

I suddenly realized I was acting no better than Stephanopoulos and Jennings. I was willing to simply figure the guy as either a staunch liberal or political agnostic or someone who was more interested in Playstation than trickle-down economics. While that may have been the case, he nonetheless was there, and it is touching.

I shared my stupid statement with Project 21's Mychal Massie. He told me not to feel bad about what I initially thought, saying he knew my heart. And I think that guy Wednesday night knew Reagan's heart. Despite the slow drumbeat of criticism of Reagan and conservatives like him from black "leaders" and their media allies, he saw through it and made the effort to say goodbye.


Krauthammer: Who's First?

Except for the first clause, Charles Krauthammer's "Reagan Revisionism" in today's Washington Post is a must-read.

Money quote:

"'Optimism' is the perfect way to trivialize everything that Reagan was or did. Pangloss was an optimist. Harold Stassen was an optimist. Ralph Kramden was an optimist. Optimism is nice, but it gets you nowhere unless you also possess ideological vision, policy and prescriptions to make it real, and, finally, the political courage to act on your convictions. Optimism? Every other person on the No. 6 bus is an optimist. What distinguished Reagan was what he did and said."
Another one:
"In the early '80s, the West experienced a nuclear hysteria -- a sudden panic about imminent nuclear destruction and a mindless demand to "freeze" nuclear weapons. What had changed to bring this on? Reagan had become president. Like George W. Bush today, the U.S. president was seen as a greater threat to peace than was the enemy he was confronting. The nuclear freeze and the accompanying hysteria are an embarrassment that liberals prefer to forget today. Reagan's critics completely misunderstood the logic and the power of his nuclear posture. He took a very hard line on the Soviets, who had broken the nuclear status quo by placing missiles in Europe. Backed by Margaret Thatcher and Helmut Kohl, Reagan faced the Soviets down -- despite enormous "peace" demonstrations throughout the West, including the largest one to date in U.S. history (New York City, 1982) -- and ultimately forced the Soviets to dismantle the missiles and begin their overall retreat."
One quibble on that paragraph: I wish Krauthammer had included Brian Mulroney in this paragraph. Canada may not be a military powerhouse, but under Mulroney it was a diplomatic one (especially within NATO, where the action was on the nuclear freeze and much else), and a stalwart ally of Reagan's Cold War posture. (Side note: If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and click herefor the text of Mulroney's eulogy for Reagan; it is a beautiful tribute.)

However, that's a quibble. Speaking as someone who put about a year of my life into fighting the nuclear freeze, it is nice to read someone who actually remembers the nuclear freeze debate and understands why it was important. Over the last week I have more than once had the impression that some people think the 1980s were a cake-walk for conservatives. Good grief, no.

Krauthammer ends:
"Rarely has a president been so quickly and completely vindicated by history. The Berlin Wall came down 10 months after Reagan left office. His policies of unrelenting toughness won the Cold War and brought a new peace. That is because Reagan understood that the key to peace was never arms control. Security had nothing to do with the number of weapons; it had everything to do with the intention and power of those who possessed them...

This success is an understandable embarrassment to the critics who opposed his every policy. They supported the freeze, denounced the military buildup, ridiculed strategic defenses, opposed aid to the Nicaraguan anti-communists and derided Reagan for telling the truth about the Soviet empire.

So now they praise his sunny smile. Normally, people speak well of the recently deceased to honor the dictum of being kind to the dead. When Reagan's opponents speak well of him now, however, they are trying to be kind to themselves."
Now, as to Krauthammer's first clause. It reads: "The second-greatest president of the 20th century dies (with Theodore Roosevelt coming a close third)..."

Who's first?

We can talk about Teddy Roosevelt some other time.


Black Activists Decry Negative Reagan Media Coverage

Some members of Project 21 are furious at those in the news media who are saying that Ronald Reagan did not help black America.


More Praise from Black America

The National Center-sponsored African-American leadership network Project 21 issued a press release on Wednesday relaying members' sympathies to the friends and family of Ronald Reagan and praising his accomplishments. Not all of the quotes were received in time to be included in the release. Here is still more support and praise from black America to mark Reagan's passing and his legacy:

Geoffrey Moore (Chicago, Illinois): "The nickname 'The Great Communicator' almost does President Reagan a disservice. It really doesn't come close to approaching how effective he was as a world leader. With Reagan at the controls, America regained its spirit and confidence, the economy grew at record pace and communism fell."

Deroy Murdock (New York, New York): "Every American should mourn the loss of Ronald Reagan and celebrate all he did for this country throughout his extraordinary life. The dramatic economic expansion his tax cuts and deregulation unleashed benefited Americans in general, but black Americans in particular. Rising employment and opportunities for entrepreneurship helped grow the black middle class during the Reagan years. And the fall of Communism made things safer for Americans of all backgrounds."

Jerry Brooks (Spokane, Washington): "Ronald Reagan always highlighted the best of America and its people regardless of skin color. He spoke of hope and opportunity for all Americans."


Note from a Neighbor

Something nice in the mailbag today:

When Ronald Regan visited Canada when he was President, my wife and I made up a large, very neat poster welcoming him ("Friends in Freedom" with the U.S. and Canadians flags, etc. - very nice, we still have it). We strategically positioned ourselves so that both he (in a limousine) and the TV crews could see us very well and my wife, then a young, very photogenic woman, held up the sign for all to see. There were a few hundred well-wishers in our place on the sidewalk as well. Just down the road were some scruffy protesters with the typical ugly signs. When the media went by us they had their cameras off, all pointed skyward and they showed no interest in us. When they got to the few dozen scruffy protesters, all the cameras came on and guess what the media reports and images were that night on the National TV news about the crowd that came out to meet the Reagans? The anti-Americanism we see in so much Canadian media just does not represent the views of the average Canadian. Generally, we find Americans a caring, intelligent, honest and likeable people, just like President Reagan.

Tom Harris

Ottawa, Canada


"This One Man Changed The World"

Executive Director David Almasi shares his experiences in paying respects to President Reagan at the Capitol Rotunda last night, and answers the question: Was paying respects worth standing eight hours in the heat?

Immediately after the caisson carrying Ronald Reagan's coffin passed us on Constitution Avenue, the group I was with made our way to the line for viewing in the Capitol Rotunda.

Our group was an odd assortment: me and my wife, my intern, black conservative syndicated columnist and Project 21 member Mychal Massie, my boss from my first job in Washington and her boyfriend and a Pennsylvania state representative and a woman who served in Iraq with the Air Force. I had just met the latter two just hours earlier.

We entered the line at 7:30 in the evening. Dividers and rope lines stretched across the lawn in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool. The line moved in starts and stops. It was hot and muggy, but no one seems to mind too much.

Although the mood was solemn, people were cheerful and not in the least bit disruptive. Food and water was shared among strangers. A few people with cell phones guided pizza deliverymen through the lines to great fanfare.

The crowd was diverse. There were whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and people of countless other ethnicities. There were rednecks and bluebloods. Soldiers and police in full dress uniform along with men in business suits who refused to even loosen their ties standing alongside people in sandals and tank tops. There were elderly, newborns, and several pregnant women. People in wheelchairs and those who lacked the gift of sight. All were there to pay their final respects to the 40th President.

Everyone in our group saw someone they knew or who knew them. My new legislator friend, who represents a rural area of northeastern Pennsylvania, was recognized by one of his constituents who also made the trip. Massie was recognized by several readers of his WorldNetDaily column. I saw another old co-worker from over a decade ago. It was like a reunion of sorts.

When we officially entered the Capitol grounds, it was five minutes to midnight. I found this amusing since critics of Reagan often used this time analogy to describe how close they felt the Reagan Administration was pushing us to the brink of nuclear war. How wrong these critics were.

We arrived at the Capitol Rotunda at 12:30 am. The air was chilly - a dramatic change from outside. Members of every branch of the military stood like statues around Reagan's coffin. Capitol Police kept order, but let people stay as long as they liked. Standing next to me in the Rotunda was a somber Christopher Cox, a former counsel to Reagan who is now a Member of Congress. Other congressmen were there to pay their respects and greet mourners.

At 1 am, five-and-a-half hours after we entered the line and eight hours after we left to meet the caisson, we were finally on our way home. Eight hours of standing in heat that caused some to pass out. Eight hours to walk past a flag-draped coffin for just a few minutes. Was it worth it?

Absolutely. I never met the man, but Ronald Reagan is one of the most important people in my life. My first work in politics was as a high school volunteer in his re-election campaign. Admiration of his policies and style of governing made me want to study political science in college. Preserving his legacy is why I came to Washington. It was the same for my wife. Not only am I thankful to him for what he did to strengthen our nation and bring freedom to the world, but also for playing a role in introducing me to my wife.

It's the same at my office. My bosses, who are married to each other, would most likely never have met if not for Reagan's presidency. They would not have the three wonderful children they have now (nor would three other friends who all have children with the middle names of Reagan). My office might never have even been established had he not been president.

This one man changed the world. He did it in big ways and at the individual level. That's why I stood there in appreciation, and why hundreds of thousands of others did the same.


Paying Respects to President Reagan

Our family paid its respects to President Reagan today.

It's not very easy for four-year-old children to understand that a giant has left us, but as Ronald Reagan bequeathed to our children and millions of others a safer, more prosperous world, he deserved what thank you they could give him.

In this case, it was by hanging around a hot sidewalk at Constitution and Louisiana Avenues, essentially, at the bottom of the literal Capitol hill, for a couple of hours and generally behaving well despite a lack of toys and entertainments. And, I hope, by beginning to get a little germ of understanding that there is such a thing as a United States of America; that good men and women protect it, and great men and women protect it especially well.

Before we left, I showed the children the cover of Time magazine, with its 1980 campaign picture of Reagan. I explained that we were going to say "thank you, President Reagan."

By some coincidence, on Friday evening our son Christopher had taken an interest in watching a Ronald Reagan video containing testimonials and speech clips. Our family had no advance word of the President's then-approaching death. But Christopher saw the video in its case and wanted to view it. I explained that wasn't a cartoon, but as he still wanted to see it, so I plopped him on the kitchen counter and he plugged it into our little kitchen TV/VCR. He watched the whole thing -- about twenty minutes -- much to my surprise. His twin, Jonathan, came by and wanted to look at the tape box, which contained a photo of Reagan with a horse. I pointed out both; he seemed to be interested in looking at Reagan.

Perhaps children know things we adults don't, because the next day Christopher wanted to watch the Reagan video again. After he did, the video popped out, and the Fox News Channel announced that the President was gravely ill. We didn't know whether to believe it, but by the time we came back home from an outing with the kids, we learned it had, indeed, been true. President Reagan was dead.

So, on the day of his funeral possession to the Capitol, armed with memories of video and photographic images, holding three small U.S. flags their father had bought for them, and remembering (maybe) my explanation that we were going to town to say "thank you, Ronald Reagan," three little children and some somber adults went to pay our respects as the President's caisson traveled from the Washington Monument to the Capitol building.

It was hot, and crowded, but we heard no one complain. No one talked about politics, either, or much that was specific about why they had come. Everyone was friendly, but somber. A woman next to me wearing a shirt that made it clear that she works for a labor union spoke to me about how she wouldn't miss the opportunity to pay respects to President Reagan for anything. As a Reaganite, that's not what I am used to hearing from professional labor union organizers. I wondered at her sentiments, but appreciated them.

It got increasingly crowded as the time for the procession drew near, but there was no pushing. Everyone respected those who had arrived earliest, and stayed in the spots they had found open when they arrived. The procession drew close. Police officers on motorcycles and vehicles; military men and women in formation; black cars whose occupants' identities we could only guess at. A band marched by. Funny, I can't remember what the music was, now.

Then the airplanes flew overhead. Loud, almost directly above us, perpendicular to the procession route. The missing man formation.

Then the caisson containing the President's mortal remains. The honor guard; the horses, the caisson itself. The casket seemed smaller than I remembered Reagan being; my husband later said the same. He must have just seemed bigger.

Then a horse, sans rider; the rider's boots on facing backward.

As the caisson approached and passed, the crowd was silent and respectful. Only children -- not just ours -- made sounds and were shushed by their parents. To paraphrase what a surgeon -- a Democrat, if I remember correctly -- reportedly told Reagan the day the President was shot: today, we're all Republicans. Just not necessarily in the partisan sense.

I had told the children we were there to say thank you to President Reagan, but when the time came, I forgot to prompt them. Katie remembered. As the caisson was perhaps ten feet past us, her little voice floated out from her perch on Daddy's shoulders: "Thank you, Ronald Reagan."

When the caisson was out of sight, applause broke out. It lasted a while. As applause goes, it was rather somber. I think people were aware that this was a funeral, and did not wish to behave as if it were a hockey game -- and yet, they wanted to do something to say goodbye.

As the crowd disbursed, we walked along. I kept expecting to see someone I knew. I worked in the Reagan '80 campaign; I've run a conservative Capitol Hill organization for 22 years; we were at the foot of the Capitol building where I know so many staffers. However, except for people who work for or with our own organization, I didn't recognize anyone.

We were still among the crowds when we heard the cannons begin the 21-gun salute. People around us stopped, and turned the face the Capitol. We couldn't see it through the trees, but the sound was loud and clear. We counted, silently. No one moved until it was over.

On the walk back to the car, David and I compared notes. We'd both expected the sight of the caisson to be the most moving part for us. We found that it hadn't been. Instead, that moment came while we were watching the missing man formation. The jets flew by, wave after wave. Then, in the last wave, one jet separated, and flew up and away.

The cloud cover was low. As we watched, the jet vanished into the sky.


Reagan Pulled Gun on Mugger to Save Woman

Here's a Ronald Reagan story you may not have heard before, courtesy of WorldNetDaily: "Reagan Pulled Gun on Mugger to Save Woman."

Thanks to the Right To The Point blog for the pointer.


Mourning the Passing of Ronald Reagan

Project 21 has released a statement, "Black Activists Mourn the Passing of Ronald Reagan."

Some may also be interested in a What Conservatives Think document we published in January, "Reaganomics: Were the 1980s the Decade of Greed?"


The Little Bronze Gipper

This very sweet story is written by a journalist who once derided Ronald Reagan in print -- but who realizes, thanks in part to a gift from his eleven-year-old son, that "the Gipper was a lot smarter than the folks who derided him. Folks, in other words, like me."

The story begins:

It was Christmas six years ago when Ronald Reagan, who died on Saturday at the age of 93, became an unexpected addition to our family, thanks to my son, who was then 11. As every parent knows, kids that age can have strange ideas about what the well-equipped adult really needs, so when Squirt handed me a little box with a mysterious present clunking heavily inside, I expected a clock or cast-iron sock rack or some such equally useless thing. What emerged instead was a small bust of the 40th President of the United States, whose forever-frozen smile gazed up from the wreckage of ribbon and gift wrap with more than a dash of mockery.

A statue of Reagan! A joke, right? His mother must have put the boy up to it. But no, she was just as genuinely bemused. What could he have been thinking to mark Christmas with this grinning, empty-headed lump, seven inches of cast-bronze conservative kitsch?...
It ends:
In his innocence, my son was right. I did like Ronald Reagan, even if I didn't know it at the time. So here's a toast to a simple man who had the wit to ignore his betters and leave the world, all things considered, a finer, safer place than he found it.
Read the middle.


Remembering Ronald Reagan

If you are into national security, this is a very good article to read about Ronald Reagan.

It is a Fox News article by Ken Adelman. It is not long, but it is too good to summarize.


"I've Seen Many Tears Today in the Eyes of Big Strong Soldiers As We Watch the News Coverage of Reagan's Death"

U.S. Army Spc. Joe Roche has sent us an e-mail from Baghdad about President Ronald Reagan. I'm publishing the whole thing:

Dear Amy, my sergeants gave me time off from stuff because of Reagan's death. At first, I thought I'd just watch the news coverage. ...But maybe to with it, I wrote a letter below. Maybe you can use it. I don't know. Something like this, it just takes the wind out of my sails.


Ronald Reagan was, is and always will be a great inspiration to me. I grew up watching him as president. I think that I have recordings of every speech and event he was a part of. All of my friends know this because my homes have always prominently displayed my best items and pictures of him. Center is always the official White House photo of President Reagan, signed by him.

I find that my fellow soldiers here in Iraq, the young ones, don't realize what a crisis the United States was in at the end of the 1970s. Economic malaise, social disorder, moral breakdown, and foreign disasters. America at the end of that decade was in acute crisis, having fallen back from the Vietnam War, the Watergate crisis, and a general total collapse of morale and spiritual respect. Our enemies in the world were on the march, and America was confused and apologetic for even being there, it seemed. Every president, since the previous generation ended by Eisenhower, had faced one calamity or another to end their leadership in the most cruel and destructive ways. Our military was in disarray, and Americans felt a real sense of defeatism.

Then came Ronald Reagan's presidency. It was only natural that he restored America's strength and self-confidence. One of my most favorite items from my Reagan collection is the full-length video of his 1964 speech on behalf on Barry Goldwater's run for the presidency. The themes that would dominate his leadership in the 1980s were said then with a force of energy and conviction that to me, at least, mirror what is good and virtuous in America.

Reagan was an optimist and a true believer in even the most difficult and worst times in American life. He always saw the virtue of action, he recognized the duty good people have to act, and he believed in the righteousness of American values, ideals and pursuits. He was a man who could give hope and inspiration to all of us even when that seemed most impossible.

His first term as president was a time of intense confrontation and crisis. Economic recession, an assassination attempt on his life and the Soviet Union waging scorched-earth warfare from Afghanistan to Laos to Angola to Nicaragua. Americans were being held hostage in the Middle East, and hundreds of our soldiers were killed in terrorist attacks. Europe began the decade under the ominous threat of the SS-20 missiles that the Soviets had deployed countering all defenses that the Free World had under NATO.

Reagan set out to respond to all this, to fight back and say, "enough!" to our enemies. He said in his first inaugural address, "I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing." By the end of that first term, he had set the pieces in motion. Despite massive anti-U.S./anti-Reagan demonstrations that engulfed all our allies in Europe, as well as intense anti-Reagan demonstrations all over the U.S. by the defeatists opposed to him, he had successfully deployed the Pershing II missiles to effectively respond to the SS-20 threat. Anti-Soviet resistance forces worldwide were beginning to fight back. Reagan was drawing the line in the clearest terms about the evil of the Soviet Union and the virtue of America's role in the world. Do you remember the deep freeze of that crisis period?

The Soviets shot down the Korean airliner, and their leadership was passing from one hard-liner to another. There were no summits, just confrontation. It was perhaps the most dangerous moment, when had things gone differently, the Cold War would have taken a new more destructive turn. Instead, Reagan was re-elected.

I remember my friend, Stacy Pusterino, in high school telling me in 1984 that, if Reagan were to be re-elected there will be a war that will end the world. Her defeatism was because so many people were so obsessed by the negatives and the fears in the world at that time that they could not accept nor even allow for the call to stand up and fight for what we stand for. Many Americans were fixated by the malaise and pessimism of the Watergate/Vietnam years, and simply rejected Reagan's optimism that said we can and must fight back and that we should do so proudly. I remember that period, 1983-1984. It was, I think, the most important moment of the 1980s, when the whole course of events could have been followed for the worse.

Instead, the American people put their hopes in this optimistic and visionary man and he was re-elected. That was the turning point, I believe. Reagan had only been able to lay down the lines to the challenges in his first term. It wasn't enough time to put the weight behind it all to make it firmly institutionalized as the American re-birth. With his re-election to a second term, the world realized that Reagan was representative of America's new resolve and that a full recovery into a full forward winning offensive had been launched that would last to victory. Had he been defeated that year, it would have seemed that Reagan was merely an aberration from our continued malaise. Instead, his re-election made all that Reagan stood for the American standard worldwide.

It was in that second term that all of our enemies worldwide began to retreat. Gorbachev initially was crushed by Reagan's angry resolve at the Reykjavik summit, but quickly realized that the only way to deal with Reagan was to respect that he was a man of true fundamental beliefs and that nothing was going to sway him away from them. The end of the Cold War thus was begun.

Reagan's final years as president were marked by his ceaseless and determined optimism and belief in America. He spoke of a very promising world ahead, and challenged all Americans, especially the young, to take up this hope and pursue every opportunity that comes our way. He repeated his message from 1964: "You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope for man on earth." His inspiration has been with me every step of the way I've lived up to this day in Baghdad.

I don't think I would have left the very comfortable and leisurely life I had in Minneapolis to join the Army were it not for Reagan's inspiration. I had it good, but when I listened to my collection of his speeches, I felt the energy and conviction that he spoke of. Fate and destiny... these were things Reagan knew could be cruel and terribly difficult. Yet you will always see that in him, in his heart, Reagan truly believed in the justice and value of American pursuits.

He showed the American people his belief in God and his respect that our freedoms have been begotten because of virtuous morality in our society. In championing freedom, he taught that responsibility is greatest upon us who enjoy such freedom. We always have a duty to serve our beliefs and convictions. Less than that, we are throwing away the gift of freedom we have in America. Integrity in the law and commitment to free market capitalism are the bedrock to the American way. Reagan worked to restore this when he became president. Today's strong America owes much to him. It was his economic programs that brought on the growth that even Bill Clinton enjoyed and took undue credit for.

In this time of war, even more, I see the impact of Reagan everywhere. Our military is strong and successful because of the support and commitment Reagan gave it. Before he became president, our military was in disarray and crisis. Reagan restored it and gave it intense growth. Our leaders after him have slipped a bit, but mostly that growth is what is enabling us today to carry out the missions we are worldwide.

I think that nearly every soldier I have met, the older ones, admire and praise Ronald Reagan in the most glowing terms. My sergeants, the backbone of the military's enduring integrity, all speak most highly of him. Sometimes this surprises me because before I joined the Army I became accustomed to hearing so much defeatism on the part of many Americans.

Toby Keith and Ted Nugent were here in Baghdad yesterday performing for us soldiers. It was great! One thing Keith said, though, is sticking with me today: "It's no laughing matter when a soldier cries." I've seen many tears today in the eyes of big strong soldiers as we watch the news coverage of Reagan's death. I'm no stronger myself. I've often played Reagan's speeches out here with my fellow soldiers while on guard duty, and talked of him many times. He is still an inspiration.

Instead of feeling a loss for America in his death, we should endeavor to make those attributes of Reagan that were so good a part of our lives, and thereby renew our faith in ourselves and in our nation. His optimism and true belief in America is what we need to hold on to today. In fact, I see many parallels between his time as president and the period we are now living through. He always saw the virtue of action and recognized the duty good people have to act, and he believed in the righteousness of American values, ideals and pursuits. Grasp on to these Reaganesque qualities, and we will make today a good day for America.



Michael Reagan Radio Show Special Audio Tribute to Ronald Reagan

The Michael Reagan Radio Show webpage on the Radio America website has a link to a Ronald Reagan tribute page full of audio clips from the Gipper.

It is a great page full of a long list of clips I haven't been seeing elsewhere, as well as the most famous ones. I plan to listen to every one of them.

One can also listen to the Michael Reagan show live via this website (6-9 PM Eastern), or listen to one of the re-feeds (9 PM-midnight or 1-3 AM Eastern).

Be sure to click on the very top one, though -- it is a montage of clips and it is very, very moving.


A Collection of Ronald Reagan's Speeches

Since 1995 The National Center has maintained an Archive of Historical Documents on this website. I thought readers might like to know that it includes a collection of some of President Reagan's most noteworthy speeches.

I went to it earlier tonight and read them. It is amazing how well they stand up. Even (maybe especially) "A Time for Choosing," which was delivered forty years ago this October.