Craig Shirley

By 1980, the country of America still existed, but the idea of America no longer did.

Reagan changed all that. The facts are undeniable. American Exceptionalism restored. American military restored. So too the value of a hard-earned buck, millions of jobs created, inflation and high interest eradicated.

No more talk of malaise. No more talk of "The Domino Theory." No more talk that the presidency is just too big for one man.

Around the world, millions freed who'd once been enslaved under communism. Soviet missiles no longer pointed at our children's heads.

I see some of the critics from the left, making up things, accusing Reagan of not being perfect like, say, Barack Obama, and I try to step back and see if they have a point.

They don't. The deconstructionists of America will always be with us. And you know what Reagan said about them?

Testifying before the Committee on Un-American Activities, he did not call for the expulsion of communists from America, as so many conservatives did at the time. He said rather that America was strong enough to tolerate all peaceful points of view.

All his life he showed a generosity of spirit towards people with whom he disagreed. Even toward those who tried to kill him.

A lesson to be learned by the Reagan haters who still walk among us. But at the Reagan Library and at the Reagan Center in Santa Barbara, the outpouring of thousands and thousands of oldsters and youngsters not just this weekend, but every day, every year, gives testament to another point of view about our 40th president.

The Gipper was wrong about one thing though. And these people know it.

Ronald Reagan was a great man.

Craig Shirley

Craig Shirley is a Reagan biographer, a presidential historian and Chairman of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. His firm is assisting Scott Walker’s presidential campaign.