Ronald Wilson Reagan was born 99 years ago today.  As president he lifted the nation from the malaise of the Carter years.  He challenged the Washington establishment, weathering a storm of negative press and denigration, even from his own party.    Reagan was the original “populist” conservative.  And today he is not only the standard-bearer for the Republican Party, but also for the Democrats and Team Obama!

Ronald Reagan’s platform was the embodiment of the American spirit.  Through is vision, defense conservatives, supply-siders, yuppies, Evangelical value voters, and blue-collar immigrants were all brought together under his committment to stop the USSR.  Reagan masterfully unified these previously incompatible factions into a vibrant community of new energized patriots. 

Many of the pro-choice party hardy yuppies didn’t see eye to eye with the pro-life value voters on social issues, but they could agree that Reagan would protect the nation against the Soviet  threat.  Reagan also had the foresight to send the music  Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne, as well as other elements of American culture, to the USSR.  That may have been as effective weapon against the authoritarian regime as our military might. Reagan new it was nice to have both.

As high school students in the public school system, many of us  were faced with aggression from ignorant and bigoted people who denied our right to listen to rock and roll or be conservative. The adults in the community often made things worse by excusing the thugs as “not knowing any better”, or by exhorting us not defend ourselves.  When these vassals of the public sector failed, Ronald Reagan was  there to offer guidance.  His mantra “Peace Through Strength”,  was what we put into practice during those high school years, and everything worked out fine.

Reagan believed in the private sector’s ability to save the economy.  He rebuffed Democrats and Republicans who scoffed at “supply side” economics, and signed the Kemp-Roth tax cuts.  Many of Reagan’s advocates say that he created 21 million jobs, but he would be the first to tell you that he did not.  It was the American people who created that growth, Reagan simply got the government out of their way. 

In 1981 he signed the revenue act that reduced the top marginal rate from 70% to 50%, and insisted the bill included measures that would protect the tax-payers from bracket creep (where inflation pushes the filer into a higher bracket).  The 1986 revenue act reduced the top marginal rate from 50% to 28%.

This allowed firms to hire talented people, and allowed “the wealthy” to provide investment capital to entrepeneurs.  The vibrant economy was rooted in Reagan’s trusting the power of the people.

Reagan was the only clear-cut conservative in the 1980 Republican primary field, and he was feared by the party elites.  He even offended the country club GOP by speaking to groups of Eastern European immigrants, most of whom were registered Democrats.  He was able to bring them and the Christian political community to his cause, as they saw Reagan as the only true warrior willing to stand up the atheist Communism.

The Reagan Revolution also launched the careers of many contemporary conservative leaders, such as Clarence Thomas, Jeff Sessions, Laura Ingraham,  Mark Levin, and William Bennett.  Even Barack Obama used references to Reagan to position himself as a centrist candidate during his primary against Hillary Clinton.  He also often cites Reagan in speeches and interviews, as if that will make conservatives give him a second look.

By the way, that isn’t working.  In fact, drawing the visual comparison between him and Ronald Reagan probably makes people even more unhappy with him.  When Obama tries to identify himself with Reagan’s  success,  he misses the point.

We love Reagan not just because he cut taxes and beat the Soviets, We love Reagan because through his belief in our greatness, he revived a nation and awakened a people to become the best that they could be.

And this is why many people see him as the first “Tea Party” president. 

Happy birthday Gipper.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jestergirl
    February 7, 2010 at 8:23 am

    whoot! Happy B-day!

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