Monday, June 07, 2004

That Great Man: If there is a single iota of politics about which I am not cynical, it is Ronald Reagan. Not that I am one of the starry-eyed, Noonanite worshippers; for me it is because Reagan so consistently laid out those who sized him up cynically. George Bush has a little bit of that skill -- his "misunderestimation" thing, or whatever -- but Reagan had it in spades, deuce to ace.

What will stick in my mind the most was that history bore out the Reagan vision rather quickly, but Reagan was never needed to tell the world, "I told you so."

I came of age during the Reagan presidency, and I am well aware of his shortcomings. (I voted for Dukakis in 1988. Is there a greater act of repudiation of the Reagan revolution?) I came around later, realizing that while most presidents have great talent and ambition, few are actually great men. (For example, handed a nascent post-Cold War world awaiting a bold move and a mandate from the victorious and unchallenged superpower, Clinton pursued micro-policy and trolled for oral.) Reagan will be remembered in the same breath with FDR, a man who transformed the world according to his vision.

More: Read Sullivan for the deep-think on Reagan and America.

More: TNR posts its 1981 commentary on Reagan's first hundred days. That's gutsy: It is a document, in the truest sense. Take this quote:

In his first press conference, on January 29, Reagan slipped automatically into his simplistic anti-Soviet patter. Soviet leaders, he said, "reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime; to lie, to cheat . . .," and so on.

No comments: