kens*ten: a political blog

Reagan: An American for All Times

President Ronald W. Reagan

IMHO, no conservative could sell the message like Ronald Reagan. 

Reagan had a clear, simple and eloquent way of saying what he meant — and what we knew to be true.  He was never strident, he never demonized his opponents and he never talked down to us. We could use some of that respect from leaders today. 

The lasting legacy of Ronald Reagan’s conservatism is that its allure is not strictly nostalgic. Some in GOP circles have made headlines by saying the era of Reagan is over. They are sadly mistaken. 

It is true that there will never be another Ronald Reagan. There cannot be for he was uniquely American. Republicans should stop looking for the “next Reagan” or “Reagan’s heir.” They should focus instead on the Reagan message. 

It was a message which brought together Americans of many backgrounds and diverse origins. Ronald Reagan won two landslide victories in 1980 and 1984. The last two elections in which conservatism was truly offered as a choice. 

Remember the term “Reagan Democrats”? It described people like my father, longtime Democrats who saw the common sense in what this man proposed. They shared his vision of America despite the derision heaped upon him by his opponents and the media. In Reagan, they saw a leader of strong convictions and an uncommon ability to communicate what they believed without trashing the nation they loved. 

My father became a Republican with the 1980 election. His was not a vote against President Jimmy Carter. He shared Reagan’s vision of America as a nation based on the time-honored –and still-relevant — precepts of freedom, fairness and faith in the basic decency of the individual.   

Reagan’s conservatism was not simply based on the time in which he lived. In fact, the Reagan message is timeless. The message is based on the belief that America is as good as its people. And, when Americans are allowed to exercise their economic and political freedoms, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. 

Reagan did not believe Americans were the sole beneficiaries of those precepts. He knew that all humankind would benefit from them. It is why Reagan chose to label the Soviet Union as “an evil empire” and demanded that the Soviet Union “tear down this wall”.

Contrast the results of his simple message of liberty and freedom to the “human rights” efforts of his predecessor. Reagan’s message helped millions living under the tyranny of communism to gain their freedom. Carter did not.

So, as proof of the timelessness of the Reagan message, I give you a sampling of his speeches in video form. 

Listen to Reagan’s words and think of America — and the world — today. You will see that Ronald Reagan was not simply a man of his times — but an American for all times. 

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved. 

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Ronald Reagan / “We are Americans” (excerpts) 

Ronald Reagan via Republican Study Committee / “These Voices Don’t Speak for the Rest of Us” 

Ronald Reagan / “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall” 

Ronald Reagan / “A Time for Choosing” — October 1964 (excerpts) 

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