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4th June
2009
written by Sean Noble

Ronald Reagan’s statue was unveiled this week at the U.S. Capital.  Nancy Reagan was back in the Rotunda for the first time since Reagan laid in state following his death.

Nancy Reagan was her typical humorous, unassuming self.  She has been a stellar example of class and dignity in her post-White House years.

“You created that secure space from which he ventured forth to change America and to change the world,” Reagan’s friend and treasury secretary, James Baker III, told her. “As this ceremony honors him, Nancy, it also honors you.”

President Reagan embodied everything that makes a man a great President.  He was willing to work with the other side to advance an agenda of peace through strength on the foreign policy front while expanding economic growth through his supply-side agenda on the domestic front.  Most of all, he inspired a nation to see itself as the “shining city on a hill.”

Thank you Nancy, for sharing such a great  man with the rest of the nation and the world.

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11 Comments

  1. Mollie
    04/06/2009

    I’m so excited that he is being honored with a statue in the Rotunda. If only the real Reagan could be back in the White House instead, or at the very least a leader with his values and ability to lead this country in the right direction.

  2. Kelley
    04/06/2009

    I’m glad the Mrs. Reagan was able to see her husband honored in such an incredible way. Where do we find our next Ronald Reagan, people?

  3. AzRep
    04/06/2009

    “President Reagan embodied everything that makes a man a great President.” Amen, brother. The first vote I ever cast, two months after turning 18, was for Ronald Reagan. Would that I had the chance to cast a vote for someone like him again.

  4. IgNoble
    05/06/2009

    “President Reagan embodied everything that makes a man a great President.” Except, you know, good economic or social policy.

    Reagan’s supply-side economics and blind trust of the free market began the downward economic spiral that culminated in the current economic crisis.

    Fortunately, supply-side economics are now totally debunked.

  5. AzRep
    05/06/2009

    Ignoble:

    Robert Samuelson, a very liberal economic historian/journalist, just wrote a book called “The Great Inflation.” In it, he details the near universal agreement among Nobel prize winning economists of all schools that the unprecedented economic boom from 1982-2006 was primarily attributable to Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker taking the unbelievable political risk of deflating the money supply.

    With regard to tax cut based economic policy being totally debunked, you might want to ask why super-liberal Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman has publicly called for a tax cut, why the Nobel prize winning economist at ASU has called for a tax cut and why President Clinton campaigned on a $160B tax cut.

    I’m guessing you are under 30 and don’t know what a great President looks like. Unfortunately, you won’t be seeing one for at least the next 3 1/2 years.

  6. Zach
    05/06/2009

    I’m under 30 and know what a great president doesn’t look like. The difference between supply side and neo-Keynesian monetary policy can be summed up in the difference between the US economy and Europe’s. It is the difference between a belief in the equality of potential and the equality of results.

  7. 05/06/2009

    Yea — AZrep — you are definitely given Reagan WAY too much credit for his economic policy. I don’t think he was rubbing elbows with Milton Friedman all the years making movies in Hollywood. However, the other man you mentioned, Paul Volcker, was the real mastermind behind the steady economic growth of the 80’s. When you drop the federal funds rate from 20% to 7% in the space of six years, it doesn’t really matter what your tax policy is.

    Also, I’m glad you mentioned Volcker. Seems like you are a fan of his so you are probably very excited to know he is a core member of Obama’s financial team. The other economist you mentioned, Paul Krugman, is not.

  8. 05/06/2009

    One more comment, the comments here do Reagan a great disservice when trying to make him out to be an economic expert. Reagan’s contribution to America revolves around diplomacy and stability. I loved the fact that Reagan was willing to talk to Russia, our enemy, both frankly and with charisma.

  9. AzRep
    06/06/2009

    Matthew,

    As Volcker has acknowledged himself, he would not have cut the federal funds rate 13 points without first getting explicit approval from and a promise of very public backing from the president, who took heat from virtually every economic “expert” at the time.

    With regard to rubbing shoulders with Friedman while making movies – read the now published works containing his personal letters and his diaries. He thought more deeply and for a longer time about economic policy, regularly quoting Friedman and Hayek, than probably any president of the 20th century.

  10. 09/06/2009

    Alright AZrep — Ill counter your ambiguous barks with a little more bite. CSPAN put together a survey in 2000 and sent questioners to 70 presidential historians. They disagree with you. Reagan was put behind 20th century presidents FDR, Teddy, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon (yes, even Nixon), and Clinton in the category of economic management. Really the only presidents the historians believed had worse track records were Carter, Ford, and Bush.

    You can find the results here: http://www.americanpresidents.org/survey/

    You really expect me to believe that Volcker needed the president’s public approval to drop the federal funds rate? That’s a joke right? Did he get the President’s approval when he was ramming the rate sky high to curb inflation? Volcker was previously the President of the Reserve Bank of NY, schooled at Harvard and Princeton in economics, and received a post graduate degree from the London School of Economics. I am guessing he did not need a voice of assurance from Reagan.

    Reagan took heat for his tax policies, not for Volcker’s managing of the federal funds rate.

    Again, let’s remember Reagan for the persuasive diplomat that he was. His foreign policy skills were top notch, and his calming voice united the citizens of our country. He is one of the best presidents this country has seen, but was no economist.

  11. AzRep
    11/06/2009

    I understand you were taught in school that the fed chairman is independent and many other things, but I was actually working as a political professional at the time. The question of how independent the fed chairman actually is from the president was settled in 1967, when Johnson took Chairman Martin to his ranch, screamed and threatened him, Martin opened the money supply so we wouldn’t have to raise taxes in order to stay in Vietnam and the inflation rate doubled in 2 years (1967-69).

    Nixon openly told Chairman Burns to gun the money supply in 1972 to keep unemployment down for his reelection, Burns (who Nixon appointed) did so and inflation worsened.

    Carter appointed Volcker, but put tremendous pressure on him not to tighten the money supply, so as not to endanger Carter’s reelection in 1980. Volcker meekly complied. For two years under Volcker (1979-81), inflation went down a grand total of one point (13.3 – 12.5).

    When Reagan was elected, his close friend Milton Friedman and also George Schultz co chaired his economic policy group. The three of them met with Volcker in the oval office, Volcker asked for permission to lock the money supply down and Reagan, who was getting excoriated by Martin Feldstein at Harvard and others for even considering such a move, responded (according to everyone at the meeting) “If not us who? If not now when?”

    Volcker then cut the rate. He came up for reappointment in 1983 when unemployment was still 8%. Republicans in Congress (who had lost 26 seats in the 1982 election because of what Volcker and Reagan did) demanded that Reagan appoint someone else. Reagan told them to go jump and reappointed him. Reagan never missed a chance to protect Volcker from criticism, while Volcker repaid him by trying to take all the credit for himself, when he gutlessly did nothing as fed chairman for two years under Jimmy Carter.

    Your professors at ASU, who are my age, were on the wrong side of this and every other issue of that era and look incredibly foolish in retrospect. Showing that Marx was wrong (because it’s the losers who write the history books in American colleges), they have spent two decades teaching a laughably inaccurate version of history to your generation, writing asinine books and putting out unintentionally hilarious rankings of presidents.

    Those same history professors (about a third of whom voted for Nader in 2000) not only generally rate Ford and Carter ahead of Reagan in economic management, they rank both of them ahead of him in overall performance. This is why everyone who works in politics laughs at these rankings every year when they are published.

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