June 06, 2004

Ronald Reagan, RIP

I'm typing this is immediate response to the news that I just saw on Yahoo.

Reagan defined the politics in which I was nurtured. My father was a Reaganite from before 1976 and shared the platform with him on at least once occasion during the 1976 electoral season (in which my father was the GOP candidate for the 14th Congressional Distict of Texas).

Like Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan defined a decade. That is probably why after Maggie, he is the most detested historical political figure in this country. I haven't seen any polls - this is based upon comments I get when discussing politics with various friends and colleagues and the references I see in the press. When Brits go Reagan-bashing, I just smile unless I have the opportunity to challenge them gently. The negative disposition toward American conservatism in this country, particularly amongst academics, is vehement and irrational enough that it is often pointless to try to get a word in edgewise.

His presidency wasn't perfect - but none are. He wasn't perfect - but no one is. However, he stood for domestic values and policies that emphasised personal responsibility. You can see how a country such as this one that proudly uses the term "welfare state" to descibe itself might not like that. In foreign policy, we saw the hastening of what would have been the inevitable downfall of Soviet-bloc communism.

I'm glad that President Reagan has died. He spent the last few years not even knowing the people around him, not to mention the mark he left on the world. Now that his soul has found the perfect healing of separation for the corruption of the body, he can truly be at peace.

Give rest, O God, to thy servant, and establish him in paraside, where the choirs of the saints and the righteous shine like the stars.

Posted by david at June 6, 2004 01:30 AM | TrackBack

I learned yesterday, while monitoring a conservative talk show that happened to feature one of Reagan's speech writers, that the Republican's in the 60's and 70's were more on the side of choice than life...until Mr. Reagan came along and championed the issue. Can you confirm this?

Posted by: aaron at June 8, 2004 07:04 PM

I can neither confirm nor deny that the majority of Republicans in the 60s and 70s were pro-choice. I would speculate that it wasn't a particularly partisan issue, because before Reagan the GOP leadership was dominated by the country club set.

I know that the GOP became overwhelming pro-life with the advent of the Reagan era, but this coincided with the dominance within the Party of conservative Christians. I find it doubtful that Reagan converted the rank and file of thr GOP to the pro-life position.

Posted by: Dave at June 8, 2004 10:58 PM