Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan!
Today marks the 99th anniversary of the birth of the greatest American president of the second half on the twentieth century, the greatest of the entire century if we consider just domestic policy. Born in Tampico, Illinois, Ronald Wilson never lost faith in the American nation — or the American people.
Or, as the Gipper himself might put it, he always have faith in the American nation and the American people. He kept his optimism even when times were tough. When, before his economic policies kicked in and his poll numbers took a nosedive, he kept his good humor, quipping to his pollster Richard Wirthlin that he might have to get himself shot again.
He held the line against growth in domestic spending even as he faced a big-government loving Democratic majority House of Representatives for his entire eight years in the White House. By building up the military and standing up to the Soviets, calling theirs an “evil Empire,” he brought it down, winning the Cold War without a shot being fired.
He worked closely with our allies, particularly the Brits, forging a strong partnership with his good friend, the Iron Lady, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He championed freedom and considered himself the luckiest man alive, not because he got to preside over this great nation and helped restore its stature, but because he had won the love of the former Nancy Davis and got to spend the better part of his life with her.
He knew that while he may have been born good, she made him great.
And that’s one reason he was great; Ronald Reagan was grateful for what he had. And we are grateful for his inspiration and his leadership. And for his lady who gave him comfort on the journey and the strength to stand tall for the ideals and ideas which make this nation what it is.
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In honor of what would have been the Gipper’s 99th birthday, a video interview with Steven F. Hayward, the author of the magisterial two volume set, The Age of Reagan.