The Man Who Grew Up In Dixon

I don’t really get into politics too much. I don’t have the time or energy to follow every single candidate’s nuanced positions. Frankly, I think I am like the vast majority of Americans who make their decisions on who to vote for either on the way to the polling place, or actually inside the polling booth. That said, watching what little news I get, I am happy to see that one of my heroes and a fellow Chicago Boy is getting a lot of attention these days…


Everyone is claiming the Reagan legacy. Even Democrats are now fighting about who said what about Reagan. I love it. If all the talk gets just a few kids to read up on who he was and what he did, we will all be further along.

For now, I will let Reagan speak for himself.

I hope we see another Reagan like figure someday before I die. But I am not counting on it.

28 thoughts on “The Man Who Grew Up In Dixon”

  1. “there you go again”–In the link, Krugman discusses history under Ronnie. If he is partisan and wrong, show me specifically where he is wrong in the history
    he makes use of.

  2. Reagan was the man for the moment.

    Conservatism as a political movement started in 1955 or so, peaked in 1984 with Reagan’s 49 state blowout win, had its greatest victory with the fall of Soviet communism, had its Indian Summer in 1994 with the GOP takeover of the House, and is now a spent force.

    We need a re-configured, re-imagined, re-founded Conservatism for the current age.

    Reagan was not a man who was burdened by nostalgia.

    If he was around today, he would be finding a way to apply to basic principles to the problems we face, and finding ways to unify a coalition to get, as he put it “half a loaf today” so he could come back for the rest later.

    The Dems were mourning FDR as late as Johnson’s administration.

    Let’s not imitate that.

  3. Fred – I refuse to read the stupid Krugman article so give it up. Go have some Kool-Aid with Joseph Hill. Call me names if you want.

    Lex – good comment, thanks. I wonder who can start moving us forward again – a new Buckley perhaps. Nobody that I can see on the near horizon. But you never know.

  4. Dan–I do not call names. Nor do I drink Kool Aid (in fact I do not drink anything but water and tea)…I do find it odd that you put down a citation of historical facts by dismissing the author as irrelevant because you come from a perspective that differs. Lord forbid that you confront some stuff that op[poses your view…as a former teacher I find that rather sad.

  5. Fred Lapides,

    And yes, now for your junm[ping all over me and telling me how he managed to outspend the Evil Empire and brought it to his knees: it was already in collapse…

    Actually, when Reagan came into office the Soviet Union was riding high both politically and economically. Capitalizing on their victory in Indochina they went on to subvert 18 more countries between 1975 and 1980. Economically, they benefited from sky high oil prices.

    Reagan actively undermined the Soviet Union by counter-acting their military effort around the world and by launching a propaganda blitz against them. Economically, he did away with the windfall profit tax on oil, an action that ended the “energy crisis” in 3 short years and brought a massive crash in the price of oil. The oil crash devastated the Soviet economy and combined with military exhaustion, trigger the slid to collapse.

    Internally, Reagan revamped the tax code, raising revenues and making it more predictable and progressive. He ended all the remnants of the wage and price controls implemented during the late 60’s and early 80’s. All the economic growth we have experienced since has evolved out of his radical actions in the early 80’s.

    You don’t need to be rocket scientist to understand Reagan’s accomplishments. Just compare life in America in 1979 to life in America in 1980. In 1979 we were a country near broken in spirit growing poorer by the day. The major cities of the northeast had all virtually collapsed socially and economically. If you want an artistic representation of life back then, go dig up a DVD of “Hill Street Blues”.

    Reagan didn’t do it all alone of course, In fact, he was merely the political manifestation of the rebellion of middle-class America against the technocratic and intellectual elitist who ran the country for 40 years until they nearly drove into the ground there at the end.

    The Democrats are reactionaries who want to return America to the Leftist golden era of circa 1976 when collectivist elitist ran the country. For that reason alone, evoking Reagan stands as a rejection of that vision for the country.

  6. you neglected the deficit! I am to watch a tv show to see what America was like?
    I enjoyed that show but not because it depicted America. The name calling just won’t wash: who has given us the huge deficit? the housing crash? the endless war? inflation? largest govt we have ever had? This was not the collectivist Democrats…guess. Dumping regulations was hardly a elitist thing done by the Democrats. Evoking the Regan name stands for living a dream of the past, a time long gone, and one that is not going to return, under either of the two parties. I know this and you know it too. I might evoke FDR, Jeffferson et al but the past is past. And what we now face is not what we confronted back then.

  7. I try to be even handed and fair. Here, then, the Good things RR did and the bad: It was, you see hardly all good!

    Reagan’s accession ushered in a short-lived period of popular acceptance of supply-side economics at home and bellicosity abroad. The normal political “honeymoon” given to a new President was lengthened by a failed assassination attempt in March of 1981. In domestic policy, with the support of conservative southern and western Democrats, a programme of large, phased tax cuts and increased defence expenditure was instituted. Cuts in welfare and education budgets were partially accepted by Congress as was a programme of business deregulation and tightened control over the supply of government information. Admirers of the British Official Secrets Acts, Reagan’s staff contemplated similar legislation until they realized that they themselves would have to take loyalty oaths and lie detector tests.

    In foreign policy allies and enemies alike were alarmed by the frank triumphalism of American rhetoric and the seeming determination of the administration to impose American leadership and priorities everywhere. NATO partners were pushed into increased defence expenditure and military readiness. Even Margaret Thatcher, a staunch supporter, was affronted by Reagan’s willingness to sell grain to Russia — pleasing his agribusiness sector — while trying to use subsidiaries of US companies in Europe and technology licences to prevent Western Europe importing much needed Russian natural gas. When such policies were accompanied by a potential invasion of Nicaragua and an actual invasion of Grenada — a British Commonwealth state — without informing London, North Atlantic relationships were in real disarray. Only when Reagan agreed to resume serious arms limitation talks with the Russians, and toned down bellicose rhetoric, did fears of nuclear was recede and matters improve. The summits with Gorbachev at Geneva and Reykjavik marked this progress.

    Reagan’s domestic policies recessed the US economy and re-election seemed uncertain. By November 1984, however, a pre-election recovery gave him victory by bigger margins than in 1980 and began the longest peacetime economic boom in the twentieth century. With “peace abroad and prosperity at home” Reagan seemed set to enjoy the most successful two-term presidency since Roosevelt. He presided over the 1986 refurbishing of the Statue of Liberty, a very symbolic moment for him. Almost immediately the arms for Iran affair — later called Irangate — began to leak out. The Senate’s Tower Report of March 1987 heavily criticized his involvement in the Iran affair and his general competence. It is possible that only his personal popularity and willingness “to reign and not rule” kept him from further congressional action. His last months in office were clouded by this knowledge.

    Reagan presided over the break-up of the USSR and claimed that he “won the Cold War”. More a rhetorical and symbolic conservative than a systemic thinker his legacy was a long economic boom, a recapturing of national self-confidence, but a decay of community spirit as inequalities increased. History may remember him mostly for being the man who tripled the US national

  8. Just a small note aside, Mr. Lapides: inflation is not given (and similarly, not taken away) by anybody. It’s the law of nature. Like tides or change of seasons.

    Another note: I was a teenager in USSR at the time Reagan came into power. Let me assure you: Soviet Union didn’t have any intention to collapse.

  9. Fred, can’t you make your own arguments instead of quoting hackery from the Net?

    To give an example, picked almost at random from your lengthy unattributed quote above:

    Reagan’s domestic policies recessed the US economy…

    This statement appears in a biographical sketch (found here by googling), and is pure opinion but is stated as fact.

    In fact, the economy went into recession around 1982 mainly because Paul Volker, Jimmy Carter’s appointed head of the Fed and current liberal icon, dramatically cut money growth in an attempt to kill the inflation that Reagan inherited. The Fed’s shock therapy worked but at the expense of a sharp but short-lived economic slowdown. We’ve had mostly excellent economic growth ever since, for which Reagan’s tax cuts deserve much of the credit.

  10. The WORST one can say about Reagan as President is to compare him to FDR—gave hope and purpose to a nation that many felt was sliding downhill and maybe didn’t have a future except as a second-rate entity; economic policies a mixed bag–most fair people would say that Reagan’s economics were more successful than FDR’s, but, to be fair to FDR, economic knowledge had advanced considerably in the interim; successfully prosecuted a war against a dangerous ideological enemy, even tho later history showed the victory to be fraught with its own perils.

    If that comparison to FDR bothers you, you need to examine your assumptions.

  11. Dan from Madison,

    You just figured out you were being trolled? Wasn’t the “Princeton man” reference, followed by arguing that YOU should address the argument rather than the person, a good enough “tell”?

  12. OK, here is the Reader’s Digest version of the Reagan record: before he came into office, Jimmy Carter was president, mortgages were at 18%, the Soviets were in Afghanistan, and the economy was in the dumper. By the time he left office, almost anyone could be (and was) president, mortgage rates were affordable, the Soviets were in the dumper, and the economy was great. You can talk all you want, but results speak for themselves.

    Carter was the last Democratic presidential candidate I voted for, and I only did it once. The only thing I can say in his favor is that he permanently cured me of that tendency.

  13. That is a good article and the direction I was hoping this post would go. O’Sullivan is right when he says that swing voters and Republicans may look at Obama saying these things and perhaps vote for him because of it.

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