Reagan at 100

Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday is February 6. The Examiner has a series of appreciations titled “Ronald Reagan at 100.” Michael Barone’s contribution reminds me how deep Reagan’s roots went into our history. Here are a few excerpts:

The way to make a living, he decided, was in the new mass medium of radio. Dixon is 100 miles straight west of Chicago, and the signals of Chicago’s clear channel radio stations come in loud and clear. And in the 1920s, stations in Chicago, not New York or Los Angeles, were the great innovators, presenting the first situation comedies, sportscasts and national convention coverage. Listening to the radio in his parents’ homes in Dixon, Dutch Reagan was at the cutting edge of innovative mass media. …
Only three presidents since 1900 have won popular vote majorities more than once: Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. On the surface, all three seemed men of great geniality, but in fact none of them had any really close friends or anyone in whom they fully confided, except for Reagan — and his confidante was his wife, Nancy. Beneath the smiles there was a certain cold, inaccessible calculation. …
“I think it would be hard to be president without having been an actor,” he once said. His greatest performance may have been after he was shot. In the process of losing half his blood, he insisted on walking into the hospital and buttoning his jacket, before collapsing on the floor when he was out of camera range.

After all these years, Ronald Reagan’s stature continues to grow, to the point where even Barack Obama, who is about as ideologically hostile to Reagan as one could be, tries to wrap himself in the Reagan mantle.


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