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The Eponymous Reagan

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

I was honored several weeks ago to participate in a one-day conference on Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II sponsored by several organizations including the Polish National Federation, Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute of World Politics and the Reagan Institute of Washington, a branch of the Reagan Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, California. The conference was titled, “Ronald Reagan & Pope John Paul II. The Partnership that Changed the World.”


And, change the world they did. Millions live in freedom, in economic prosperity, because these two men forged an alliance for progress; an alliance hated by the left in America, but loved by everyone else, especially the hundreds of millions imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain.

How much did the left hate Reagan? In the eight years of his presidency, the Editorial pages of the Washington Post almost never took his side---America’s side----in any conflict with the Soviets. Not surprising, for a newspaper, which downplayed America’s space program while talking up the Russian space efforts. Naturally, the Post did not cover this conference.

The gathering, at the Reagan Building, was to discuss the historical and world-altering years in which the leader of the Catholic world and the Leader of the Free World conspired to bring down an Evil Empire. It was the most corrupt and vile concentration of power in the history of the world, despite the attempts by some delusional liberals to recast the Soviet Union as some sort of worker’s paradise.

Incredibly, Washington Post columnist, Charles Lane idiotically wrote, “It has been 33 years since Mikhail Gorbachev took power in the Soviet Union, catalyzing internal reforms that escaped his control and led, in 1989, to the downfall of Eastern Europe’s communist governments. 1991 saw the collapse of the regime in Moscow itself.”


What? Mr. Lane has redefined revisionism. Downward.

Not a whisper about Reagan, Pope John Paul II or Margaret Thatcher, or the fact that conservatives were right and liberals----including and especially thePost---were wrong about Moscow. Gorbachev himself said Reagan deserves all the credit for the defeat of Soviet Communism, but the former dictator’s own words are not good enough for Mr. Lane.

Such disinformation makes conferences on Reagan’s history all that more important. Liberal disinformation is all around us and reporting the truth is a full-time occupation. ThePost’sversion is at best fanciful and falsehood-filled prevarication.

Interestingly, this conference of intellectuals and heavy thinkers took place just a few blocks from the juvenile food fight taking place in the Senate over the nomination of Brett Kavanagh to the Supreme Court. The contrast could not be clearer.

The Reagan Institute has operated in Washington for several years now, hosting college students from across the country, sponsoring lectures by former Reagan Administration officials and book authors, and by producing white papers. It acts as a facilitator for Reagan conservatism.

Participants at this important gathering included: Reagan’s most trusted advisor, Ed Meese; a favored Reagan speechwriter, the well regarded Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institute; Reagan historians including the redoubtable Lee Edwards, the estimable Paul Kengor and the highly regarded Steve Hayward. Reagan foreign policy advisor John Lenczowski, a celebrated Cold Warrior, also graced the symposium with his presence. Lenczowski was a key advisor to Reagan on the Soviet Union.


The whole conference was supervisedbyClark Judge, the redoubtable former Reagan speechwriter. He had assistance from several conservative minds including the Reagan Institute’s new and very capable director, RogerZakhiemwho works for the highly regarded head of the Reagan Foundation and Library, John Heubusch. Ambassador to the Vatican, the Honorable Callista Gingrich returned from Rome to make the closing remarks.

All in all, it was a day of enlightenment, history and new knowledge. The videotapes of the one-day conference will become invaluable to future historians studying the fall of communism and why, but probably not of interest to shallow columnists at the Washington Post. Jack Kemp once called Reagan, “the last great lion of the 20thcentury.” And so he was.

Just this week, the Reagan Library unveiled Reagan as a holographic image, in three settings; the Oval Office, the 1984 campaign trail (at the back of FDR’s train, the Ferdinand Magellan) and of course at his beloved Ranch. It is fascinating as well as informative.

The Reagan Library continues to host important conferences on national defense, global policies, tax and spending matters and conservative thought. And of course, it also hosts the GOP presidential debates every four years. Reagan’s shadow only lengthens over the GOP and national politics. Reaganism is a considered conservative philosophy. Reagan books continue to be published, continue to be well sold. Reagan statues continue to dot the globe. The Reagan Library remains the most visited presidential library, by far, outpacing all the others.


The Reagan Library long ago passed the Kennedy Library as the nation’s center and incubator of American political thought. Conferences such as this that focus on his legacy of saving the world from Soviet domination, are just one reason why.

This post has been updated.

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