Friday, July 28, 2006

Why I Love Ronald Reagan--Part 1!!

Mike over at Mike's America celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Reagan's inauguration by posting about him this past week. He invited others to post about Reagan and linked to them as well. There is a bunch of really good stuff over there that I encourage you to take a look at. I had Reagan on my list of conservative profiles to do so I figured now was as good a time as any. But what an overwhelming task. How do you fit all you want to say about Ronald Reagan into one post? I decided I can't so this profile will have at least 2 parts.

Before I share all the things about Reagan that I love I want to share my personal odyssey of coming to know him. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention to politics during Reagan's presidency. I was 10 yrs. old when he became president and 18 when he left office. Oh how I wish I had been paying attention to all those important events that happened during that time.

So how did I come to learn of Reagan? .
After graduating from College it hit me that I should know something about current events and I started paying attention. As I listened to Rush he kept talking about what a great man Reagan was and I wanted to find out for myself. I was also really into Presidential biographies about all the presidents. So I read lots of books on the presidents and I watched documentaries. I also listened to Dinesh D'Souza's "Ronald Reagan" and Peter Robinson's "How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life" on tape.

But Peggy Noonan is the real reason I grew to have such a respect and admiration for Reagan. Her book "When Character Was King" did an awesome job of capturing the man who was Ronald Reagan. She enabled you to see his heart and who he really was. It gave me a love for Reagan and a great appreciation for Noonan as an author. It is one of the best books I have ever read. She was honest about his strengths and weaknesses. And even his weaknesses made him likable because it showed that he was human.

A brief factual biography:
Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois to a poor family. His father was an alcoholic but his mother was a woman of faith who passed her faith onto her son. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and then became a Radio Sports Announcer. His film career lasted from 1937 until about 1954 and by the time it was over he had acted in 50 films. He married Jane Wyman in 1940 and later they had a daughter Maureen and adopted their son Michael. In 1941 during World War II he spent 3 years in the army in the Motion Picture Army Unit. In 1947 he became President of the Screen Actors Guild. Also in 1947 they lost a baby who was born 4 months premature. In 1948 Reagan and Jane divorced. In 1952 he married Nancy Davis and they later had Patricia and Ronald. In 1954 he began to work on a GE TV program that lasted for 8 years. In 1962 he officially switched from the Democrat to the Republican party. And in 1966 he ran for Governor of California and won and was also re-elected. In 1976 he ran for the Republican nomination against Gerald Ford and just barely lost. In 1980 he won in a landslide against Jimmy Carter and again in 1984 against Walter Mondale. He was shot in 1981 by John Hinckly Jr. In 1994 he announced he had alzheimer's and on June 5, 2004 he died at the age of 93.

The Nation's 40th President was loved and hated. He inspired many but was controversial to others. When asked once what his place in history would be this is what he said: "What I'd really like to do is go down as the president who made Americans believe in themselves again." Reagan was hopeful and optimistic and he was exactly what America desperately needed in 1981. JFK had been assassinated and we had had four failed presidents after that. Combine this with watergate and the American people were starting to lose their faith in America. Reagan helped restore that. When Peter Robinson was asked how to sum Reagan up he simply stated "conviction and joy". How true that is. He stood up for his strong convictions in the face of fierce opposition and he did it all with optimism, humor and joy. Ronald Reagan himself said: "There's no question I am an idealist, which is another way of saying I am an American."

Tomorrow in part 2 I will share stories and quotes and examples of his heart, his convictions, his response to criticism, his belief in freedom, his faith and his optimism.

Biography of Ronald Reagan
"When Character Was King" by Peggy Noonan
"How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life" by Peter Robinson


Rivka said...

up a little early this morning. Got up at about 3:30.. Couldn't go back to sleep. Drew has his appt. with the kidney doctor (nephrologist) today and I am a little concerned.

ANYWAY, Great post!! You know back in my rebel days, i wasn't into politics at all. I didn't like Reagan because no one in the music industry did.
I really missed out. My grandparents..(The ones who lived in Laquinta on the golf course where Rush played recently).. were major Reagan fans.
So, i have a lot more reading to do. I am thinking about getting the peggy noonan book.

Great post!

Lone Pony said...

He's one of my favorites too! Thanks for the post. The pic is great!

Mike's America said...

We didn't have many biographical posts on Reagan, so a double "thank you" for your contribution. I'm adding a link to your series on the encore tribute.

There is so much to say about President Reagan, that no one post could say it all. And considering how history has shown him to be so very, VERY right, in the face of the same type of opposition that President Bush faces today, the lessons Reagan taught are even more important.

This isn't just a chance to look back with nostalgia. It's an opportunity to examine again what worked, and why.

Keep dropping me links to your posts as you do them. I know the rest of my readers will want to see them as well.

Rebekah said...

You're right - you just can't fit everything into one profile. Ronald Reagan - especially considering the circumstances - was definitely one of our greatest presidents. It was humorous watching the Liberal press(who hated him and called him a dumb old man back in the day) after his death try to act like, well, 'we liked him all along guys'.
I think they finally realized how much he meant to so many people.

Dionne said...

Rebecca: You definitely need to read Peggy Noonan's book. I can't begin to tell you how good it is.

Hope Drew's appt. goes well.

LP: Thanks.

Mike: Well said and thanks.

Rebekah: You are right about the liberal press. It was very interesting to watch their reaction the week of his death.

juanitagf said...

I was a bit older than you at the time. I remember my parent's excitement when he ran against Carter. They were so glad to have someone to vote for as opposed to voting against someone.

Daniel Levesque said...

I was a lot younger than you durin the Regan Presidency, but I also lived in California during most of it. y family help tremendous respct for Ronald Regan. I remember the 1984 election when my mom brought me to the polling place with her. She asked me who she should vote for. I replied "Ronald Regan!" She told me I was right and cast her ballot.

Mr. Grey Ghost said...


Great post as usual. But have you been paying attention to what's going on in Canada? Seems like the conservatives are finally going to take things over up there. I'm so excited!

Dionne said...

Jgf: Yah, thats the thing he was the first great candidate to pick from in a long time for a lot of people.

Daniel: My kids will have similar memories of going with me to vote for W.

GG: Yes, very, very excited about the strong possibility of the conservatives winning in Canada today. I just read an article on how upset Michael Moore is about it. Life's getting rough for liberals :-).

Joubert said...

Reagan is my all-time favorite President. When I became a citizen I got a letter from him. It was just a form letter signed with one of those signature duplicaters but I treasure it to this day. It's there in a safe place with my citizenship papers.

I'm looking forward to part two.

I just put Noonan's book on my list.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

The dad that Reagan died was very sad for me. I watched the funeral and was impressed with its fitting dignity and circumstance. It was a respectful event for what I consider to be the finest American President I'll ever know. When he left American politics so much left with him.

I can clearly remember never being prouder of my nation that when Reagan was at the helm. He too, like Bush, was denigrated for his writings and comments but, read and listened to carefully, they are wondrous words and an inspiration to every citizen.

I likely own every book published about Reagan, every DVD, and a massive CD collection of his speeches.

When I can acquire the time and cash, I'm taking a vacation to the RR library with my camera and video recorder.

It even makes me wistful and melancholy to write this comment.

Dionne said...

Patrick: Thats awesome about the letter. I figured you had already read Noonan's book on Reagan since I know you are a big fan of hers too.

BZ: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Very cool. In part 2 tomorrow I'm going to talk about my reaction to his funeral also. Lots of tears. I even cried last night while doing all my research for these posts. I had taped Fox News coverage the day he died and I was replaying it in the background while I wrote and it made me teary eyed as well.

shoprat said...

It seems as if all great presidents, except maybe Washington, were controversial in their time. They became great because they took on the toughest questions and were proven right over the years.

Dionne said...

Shoprat: Excellent point!!

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...


THANK YOU for sharing this wonderful post with me. (smiling) I need to read the book you recommended. I have watched several programs covering Pres. Reagan's life and it truly did change America for the best. Even though I am older than some, I did not pay close attn as I should have, but I have always voted from the time I was old enough to register.

Thought about you Sunday when they released all the pictures and negatives. (smiling)

Again wonderful post and looking forward to Part 2.

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

P.S. Yesterday someone mentioned a quote from someone?? duh!

That Presidents are one or the other...a governor type President or a Leader...Both President Reagan and Bush W are LEADERS!!! with a vision.

Dionne said...

Suzie: Thanks!!

Rivka said...

Off the subject a bit.. Man, i had to stop commenting on James' race post. He did a great job getting it out there though.
I guess I have finally learned that you can't comment on stuff like that and get through to anyone on the opposite side about what you are dealing with being in your skin and being accused of being a racist and uncaring because you are a white conservative. They won't see the other side of it. There is one guy 'Euphamistically speaking' who has brought up stuff i have never thought about, but that is about it.. The rest of it is the same stuff you hear.. the same stuff Star Parker said she used to believe.
Anyway, loved your comments on it.