Happy Birthday, Mr. President. WE THE PEOPLE are rejoicing and celebrating your 100th birthday. We’ll never have this moment again. This is our opportunity to pay homage and give tribute to you, our beloved President; the greatest President of the Twentieth Century. We so very much appreciated you when you were President and we are the ones to carry on your legacy. May we be worthy of the challenge.
Just so we can see you again, hear you again, experience you again; we buy the books, the calendars, the CD’s, the DVD’s, the memorabilia, the 37 cent stamp and now the 100th Birthday stamp. We can’t get enough of you. We read about you, and then we read it again. Bestselling books one after another, across the years, have come out, all about you. That’s what I call multi-dimensional.
Even economic books have changed; Reaganomics; supply-side; trickle-down economics. You studied the economists von Mises, Frederich von Hayek (Cheryl’s favorite), Henry Hazlitt, the great conservative economists. When you were President you had von Hayek, by then a Nobel prize winner, visit at the White House. Your economic policies broke the double-digit inflation numbers, brought down the sky-high interest rates, and took unemployment all the way down from 10%. The media at that point in time, always the drive-by media, hated to credit you with economic success; but once they took a look at the statistics they saw, and had to declare that when you assumed the Presidency, the economy was in the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.
You worked to get tax cuts. Your economic argument, presented very logically, was that if taxes are cut, people will have more of their own money to spend, save and invest. Entrepreneurship was a big item to you. Give the people opportunity to start their own businesses. If you let the people invest in their own ideas, just watch how prosperity grows and spreads.
The drive-by media neglects to mention that the stock market soared. Took off and soared to the heights.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway portfolio started moving up. Mr. Buffett does not point that out. Nor does he elaborate for the investing public that his father was a Congressman from Omaha, Nebraska – Republican Congressman, and a stock broker from E.F. Hutton. We don’t hear very much from Mr. Buffett on his not-quite humble beginnings.
The stock market had sunk to 776 by August 12th, 1982 while you had first started pressing for economic changes to lift us up and out of the severe recession. Policies had to be voted upon. The changes had to be made. Then time. Time for the new policies to work. Time to take effect and work. Time to take hold and be efficacious. Effective and prove successful. Time.
After touching down at 776 in August, 1982; from that point in time forward, the stock market rose. It climbed. It soared. During the Clinton administration, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a high of 11,908.50 on January 14, 2000. But Clinton tampered with, withdrew from, and flat out changed your economic policies. They called the downturn the “dot com bubble”. It wasn’t a bubble; it was a collapse. If he had just left your economic policies alone, the stock market would have been higher. Followers of THE RIGHT PERSPECIVE know that Cheryl enjoys pointing out the Clintons’ deficiencies.
Oh, the unions didn’t like you, either. The union leaders wanted power over the workers. But you knew how to reach out; reach beyond the grasp of the union leaders and you connected with the workers. The workers were on your side. More pay in their pockets, lower taxes, an affordable mortgage; the American Dream. Union power decreased. What a total reversal from just a few years earlier when George Meany (such an appropriate name) demanded that the union rank-and-file vote Jimmy Carter into office. Back then, the unions had strength and impact. Then the people soured on Carter; malaise, he said America was in a malaise. The people disagreed. You could never stand for picturing America that way. No way. The people disagreed with Carter; and they agreed with you. When you had the debates with Carter, the people remembered the line, “There you go again.” From that point forward, you had it won.
With Mondale as your opponent, the line they remembered was about age. “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Oh man, was that a great line. Even Mondale had to laugh.
They looked to clobber you over age. The oldest elected President. The media was always looking for you to doze off so they could make that the big picture to splash on the headlines. Vicious commentary. Lies. Rumors. The media didn’t look to cover the real headlines; giving you credit for what you did, who you met, who you spoke to, who you wrote to. Always looking to attack you and call you names. Calling you The Acting President. Well, today the media is struggling; newspaper readership in down, people are canceling cable, sales of televisions are off (and this is with the new electronics). With all the push from the left, the liberal media is still dwindling. Good riddance to them.
The American people never bought the concept of malaise. They liked the way you saw America. “That shining city upon a hill”. “Morning in America” – that’s the dawning of a new day. “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.”
Your words encouraged and electrified. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
“Government is not the solution; government is the problem.”
“I believe the Republican Party has a platform that is a banner of bold, unmistakable colors with no pale, pastel shades.”
Republican National Convention
Kansas City, Missouri
August 19, 1976
“And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.”
Second Annual Conservative Political Action Conference
March 1, 1975
“Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.”
First Inaugural Address
January 20, 1981
“Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: We The People. ‘We The People’ tell the government what to do; it doesn’t tell us.”
January 11, 1989
. . . . .At first I found it strange that the unions didn’t like you. As President of the Screen Actors Guild, you had been a union leader. You were also brought before a Congressional Committee – House Un-American Activities Committee. Un-American Activities. How can you put those two words together and still be speaking about Ronald Reagan? Yet those two words go together; they go together because the communists were creeping into the world of Hollywood. Ronald Reagan recognized the threat, and he found it repugnant. Through your work as President of the Screen Actors Guild, you gained first-hand knowledge, experience, skill in the interaction between workers and bosses. Seeing the same issues from both sides of the table.
Boy, oh boy, were the air traffic controllers taken by surprise when you said they could all be replaced. Let ‘em all go, get new people to do the job. They never expected that. Weren’t you a union man? Didn’t you favor unions? They couldn’t picture you in all the roles you played. Lou Cannon wrote his book, “The Role of a Lifetime”. The Press always likes to take on the role of judging others. He did a good job, really a great job, with the book; but he still likes to throw in a few remarks along the way.
Many books have been written about you. Some flattering. Some not. Nancy is always there to protect you; she steps into the fray. They look to attack her, she brushes it off. Your letters, your writings, your speeches. Governor. President. How an Ordinary Man became an Extraordinary Leader. Your autobiography. Love, Ronnie.
One of the least included books, one of the least mentioned, is one of my favorites – The Education of Ronald Reagan: The General Electric Years and the Untold Story of His Conversion to Conservatism. How you were a Franklin Roosevelt Democrat who turned into a Barry Goldwater Conservative. Touring the plants of General Electric, hosting their TV show. Speaking to the workers in the plants, listening to them, establishing harmonious relations between management and labor. Developing your political ideas. Testing out your talk on a live group. Improving your presentation. It was at General Electric that Strategic Defense Initiative was a new concept: Star Wars. Progress is our most important product. Good relations between management and labor; very important, you were the spokesperson at a time when all the unions were striking. Your mentor, Lemuel Boulware, made it into the text books with his style of management, Boulwarism. Eight years at GE, 1954-1962. Tumultuous years filled with strife between labor and management. You considered it a post graduate course in Political Science. And it was. From there you became Governor of California, and then President of the United States.
As we celebrate your 100th Birthday, we are so glad you were our President. All fifty states were able to know you and love you.
So let me conclude as I began by saying Happy Birthday, Mr. President. We are the ones to carry on your legacy. May we be worthy of the challenge. Afterall, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.”