Reagan Centennial

On Feb. 6th, 2010, I celebrated Reagan’s 99th birthday by posting two articles I wrote about Ronald Reagan for that day

On Feb. 6th, 2011, I celebrate Reagan’s 100th birthday by writing and publishing this post on defense issues (it explains what defense policies Reagan implemented as president, why, and what lessons can politicians learn from him):

I plan to post additional articles, as well as links to works on Reagan produced by other people, after Reagan’s 100th birthday (February 6th, 2011).

Also, I would like to mention that in 2009, the American people ranked Reagan as the best President America has ever had, ahead of Lincoln (ranked 2nd) and JFK (ranked 3rd). Mikhail Gorbachev, Reagan’s Cold War era rival who later befriended him and bid farewell to him as if he was his brother, said that Reagan was “an extraordinary political leader who had decided to be a peacemaker”.;

Lou Cannon explains why Reagan was rated as the best President America has ever had:

“On the eve of Ronald Reagan’s election as president of the United States in 1980, a radio reporter asked him what it was that Americans saw in him. Reagan hesitated and then replied: “Would you laugh if I told you that I think maybe they see themselves and that I’m one of them?”

[Thirty] years and four presidents later, Americans still see themselves in Reagan. In a Gallup poll in 2009 they ranked Reagan as the best president, just ahead of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

This highly generous assessment is based on more than likeability. Reagan left the world safer and the United States more prosperous than he found it. Even some liberal scholars who disdained Reagan when he was in the White House now acknowledge his effectiveness as a leader, especially his role in ending the Cold War.”

6 thoughts on “Reagan Centennial”

  1. Why, pray tell, do Americans think R. Reagan is so wonderful when, during his term and by the time he left office, the National Debt DOUBLED? Hello Tea Party people! Reality check?

  2. Dixon, re: “Why, pray tell, do Americans think R. Reagan is so wonderful when, during his term and by the time he left office, the National Debt DOUBLED?” Reagan was a fiscal conservative who governed in an era when Congress was dominated by the Democrats and the powerful and influential Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neil. Reagan would have cut more spending from leftist programs, but was prevented from doing so. Your charge is on firmer ground concerning defense spending, which grew significantly under Reagan. However, this can be explained by his anti-Communist stance; Reagan knew that – forced into an economic match-up head-to-head with us – the USSR would lose. They could not afford to match our defense build-up. This policy helped tip the USSR into failing, all without firing a shot. Reagan, like all politicians, hated spending by others opposed to his policies, but had a somewhat more forgiving view of it when the money was spent on programs he cared about. In fairness to Reagan, one of our best presidents of all time, he alone cannot be held accountable for the growth of spending on his watch. Remember, the House controls the pursestrings, not the White House – and presidents, like baseball managers, sometimes get too much blame when things go wrong.

  3. If you made a pros and cons list of Ronald Reagan, which list would would be a longer list? How many on either list would be facts?

    Just a few of his cons:
    – Made big-government appointees, like George Shulz as State Secretary
    – Enacted gun control
    – Tripled the national debt
    – Grew government (including lying about Department of Education)
    – Raised taxes A LOT
    – Regime change in Grenada and Guatemala
    – Illegal bombings of other countries (like Libya)
    – Shady during the Cold War, like with the Iran-Contra affair
    – Corporate bailouts
    – Increased military spending
    – Funded foreign dictators
    – Allowed unemployment to rise for not cutting spending
    – Created the encroaching and bloated Veterans Affairs Department
    – Reagan helped create the Taliban and celebrated Osama bin Laden
    – Amnesty without addressing the fallout of amnesty
    – Exacerbated the drug war

    This isn’t even all of his big-government cons. About two-thirds of this *small* list is stuff Obama has done directly.

    To me, his few pros:
    – Appointed Justices Scalia and Kennedy to Supreme Court
    – Appointed judges Kozinski and Easterbrook to Courts of Appeals
    – Appointed assistant secretaries Paul Craig Roberts, Alan Keyes, and Bruce Fein to departments
    – His libertarian rhetoric (which he never followed)
    – No more…

    1. Increasing military spending was a big PLUS – the military was gutted during the 1970s and needed to be rebuilt. Likewise, regime changes in Latin America to fight communists, and bombing Libya in retaliation for its terrorist attacks against the US and West Germany, were the RIGHT decisions. As for the Edu and Energy Departments – he repeatedly tried to abolish them, but he couldn’t do so without Congress on his side.
      As for taxes – he cut them more deeply than any other US president in history. Under his presidency, the top tax rate was cut from the high 70s in 1981 to the 20s in 1989. It was his successor, Read My Lips Bush the elder, who raised taxes.

  4. Another Con: His administration just like all the others before him had a bipartisan policy of aiding the Soviet Union while, pretending it to be an ‘enemy’. I find that completely ridiculous as western subsidies and aid were pouring into the Soviet regime since its inception from the Wilson era to Reagan. Even after 1948 when it was clear the regime was the new threat. Unfortunately, instead of departing from the policy of propping up the Soviet Union that almost all admins did before him he gave into political pressures of business men and continued this suicidal policy that guaranteed the Cold War would continue and aid the enemy. Fortunately, for him the Soviet Empire was on its last legs and his heavy defense spending might have led it to a faster demise, but that’s about it.

  5. On the surface yes he seemed against the USSR, but behind the scenes his administration was aiding them as all before him did. A $22
    billion deal was made in the 1980’s with the USSR to build a 2,800 miles gas export pipeline from the Urengoy gas field in
    Siberia to Uzhgorod on the Czech-Soviet border.

    The U.S. State Department objected in 1982 objected to
    the deal on the following grounds:

    • Russia No. 6 would make Europe 20%-30% dependent on Russian gas,
    thus crossing “the threshold of prudent dependence on the USSR,”
    • the financing offered by Western bankers “amounts to a subsidy of Soviet
    economic development,”
    • resulting hard currency earnings from sale of the gas will
    “have a strategic impact by allowing the USSR to continue to import Western goods and
    high technology equipment, alleviating serious domestic resource constraints.”

    In other words, it would do nothing but empower Russia. Every nation’s defense capacity is directly related to its energy resources. To the Reagan administration’s credit it did try to fight this, but in the end gave into the political pressure of businessmen and other political influences and in the end supported this endeavor. Pressured into a project that gave
    the Soviets hard currency earnings, subsidised credit, and our finest technology —at
    U.S. taxpayers’ expense.

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