It was our nation’s longest peacetime expansion in a long and prosperous history. By decade’s end, we had added the economic equivalent of a new Germany to our gross national product. Inflation was cut by two-thirds, interest rates by half. Unemployment dropped to the lowest level in 15 years.
Even before the end of his first term, the signs of distinct progress were unmistakable. Small wonder that Reagan’s famous “Morning in America” campaign resonated with so many voters, leading to a landslide re-election in 1984. He wasn’t simply using a terrific sales pitch -- he was actually telling the truth.
And people loved him for it. That’s why so many politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, seek to portray themselves as a latter-day Reagan. To decide whether they deserve this mantle, however, consider this quote from his farewell address:
“‘We the people’ tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. ‘We the people’ are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast.”
Only a politician who agrees with this -- and governs accordingly -- can be considered Reagan’s true heir.