I have one question for anyone who would have us “let Ronald Reagan go”: Are you kidding?
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a long-time Republican leader and public servant, recently urged a conservative audience to do just that. In a speech before the Fund for American Studies (which is a great organization), he warned that he planned to say something “somewhat controversial.”
Added Daniels: “Nostalgia is fine, and Reagan’s economic plan was good. But we need to look toward the future rather than staying in the past.”
Nostalgia? Does the good governor really think the Reagan Revolution was about creating nostalgic, warm and fuzzy feelings?
The Reagan Revolution was about pulling the nation out of ”malaise” after years of liberal economic policy disasters. It was about cutting inflation and interest rates and letting Americans keep more of their hard-earned dollars by lowering taxes. It was about dismantling the Berlin Wall and freeing millions from communist oppression, for crying out loud.
I suppose we could vanquish President Reagan to the “ash heap of history” with American revolutionaries such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, as the public schools are so fond of doing. But it might serve us better to understand that the very survival of our freedom depends on studying and duplicating the leadership, courage, principles and successes of such a man.
The American people elected Reagan twice by overwhelming margins. They were moved when he left Washington after two terms for his California ranch. They prayed for him when they learned he had Alzheimer’s disease. And they wept as they stood for hours amid the huge throngs that lined his funeral procession. Why?
Because Reagan was a courageous leader who stood fast for freedom and the rights of the individual. He had the guts to proclaim in his first address as president, just a few feet from members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, “We are a nation that has a government, not the other way around.”
In the finest tradition of our Founding Fathers, Reagan understood that far too many of those with power have the equation backward: They think the people exist to serve the government. Reagan dared to shake up the status quo and the good ol’ boys club -- and the average Joe was the better for it. The nation and the world were the better for it, too. Funny how that works, isn’t it?