The Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here), is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a gala double issue that has just been published. The CRB is my favorite magazine and the powers-that-be at the magazine have traditionally afforded me the opportunity to pick a few of my favorite pieces to have placed online for presentation to our readers. The tradition holds with the tenth anniversary issue, even though it has been unusually difficult to pick from the issue’s essays and reviews this time around. The issue presents a wealth of riches.
Clark Judge, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and now the managing director of the White House Writers Group, gives us an insider’s account of Reagan’s character and presidency. According to Judge, Reagan had a genius for politics. But he had more than keen political sense; he also possessed a genuine respect for the people and a strict self-discipline, both of which made him not merely successful but statesmanlike.
As Judge explores Reagan’s role in America’s economic revival in the fall of the USSR, Judge explains that politicians must have two faces: one private, and one public. Judge writes: “In the space between the public face and the man behind it was the key to Reagan’s reading of the American people, the challenges before him, and the temper of his times.”
Judge takes a winding path to a view of Reagan’s statesmanship and concludes with the question of the moment: “To gauge from the last few months, American conservatives have learned well the lesson of Reagan’s clarity about principles. The question is, have we learned his other lessons?” Judge’s timely essay is “Ronald Reagan at 100.”
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