January 14, 2010
Originally published June 5, 2004
I've been watching some of the tributes to Ronald Reagan on TV this evening and I've found a lot to think about and a lot to remember. I truly believe that he was the greastest President I've seen in my lifetime, and that's 52 years.
Was he perfect? Not hardly. But who is? I didn't believe that we should have cut and run in Lebanon after the barracks bombing. I didn't believe that Reagan should have listened to lying Democrats and signed a back-door tax hike on the promise that Congress would cut $2 in spending for every $1 in increased revenue. I didn't believe that he handled Iran-Contra very well, although I see that affair as a tempest in a teapot and far less damaging to the country than Bill Clinton giving nuke material to North Korea, selling secrets to Red China or ignoring Osama Bin Laden the way he did.
I also remember the reign of Jimmy Carter. Those were dark days for this country. Double-digit inflation, a stagnant job market, 18% interest rates and a general "malaise." Carter laid the groundwork for the problems we face in the Middle East today with his neglect of the military, his policies of appeasement and his total betrayal of the Shah of Iran. But he personally booked the White House tennis courts. Whatta man.
Reagan was like a breath of fresh air after a long time underground. His optimism, his wit and his patriotism were refreshing to me. I also agreed with his idea that "a rising tide lifts all boats." During the brief recession of 1991, Bill Clinton mastered the ability to curl his lip and sneer about "trickle-down economics" as if someone were pissing on every taxpayer in the nation. But trickle-down economics worked and Bill Clinton floated HIS boat on Reagan's tide.
I've read Reagan's letters and I know that NO ONE could write such eloquent words without believing them. He was an intelligent man and a wonderful speaker. Sure, he was an actor and trained to perform before a camera, but he also performed from the heart. Bill Clinton performed like a TV evangalist.
Reagan restored the United States to greatness. He ended the Cold War, and when he told Gorbachov "Tear down this wall," he meant it. The wall fell and so did the Soviet Empire, which WAS EVIL, even if nobody but Reagan had the balls to say it.
Maybe that's what I really liked about Reagan. The man carried a full set of stones and that fact was obvious to me. I believe that the fact was obvious to other world leaders, too. Reagan said what he meant and he meant what he said. That quality scares the shit out of some people because they are so unaccustomed to seeing it in a successful politician. Reagan could schmooze with the best of them, but he always let people know who was Tall Dog.
He brought back respect to this country. He brought back prosperity. He resurrected American pride. He will have my eternal gratitude for making me happy to say that I voted TWICE for him.
I loved the man.
All content © Rob Smith