…when President Ronald Reagan said goodbye to the American people from the Oval Office. It was a wonderful performance. Watching it prompted a couple of observations.
First, at the time, I didn’t think Reagan was a particularly good speaker–a minority view, to say the least. Watching the video, I can’t explain why I saw it that way. What contemporary politician could deliver a farewell speech like this? Although, as Reagan says, it was mostly the content, not the style.
Second, the video is a reminder of how much things have changed in the last 30 years. Someone wrote a year or two ago that much as, for a lot of liberals, it is forever Mississippi in 1963, there are many conservatives for whom it is always 1980, and the remedies that Reagan applied in the circumstances of his time are forever the conservative agenda.
This observation struck me because I am one of those conservatives. I became a conservative because I observed the undeniable successes of the Reagan administration, contrary to the assurances of all the best people, and my default policy positions have always been Reagan’s. His basic principles are evergreen–less government, lower taxes, less regulation, a strong national defense–but as circumstances change, their application changes, too.
One last thing: liberals hated Reagan. Those who are too young to remember the 1980s probably don’t understand this. But Reagan, like George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump, was literally Hitler. He was, according to Democrats, an idiot and an evil genius at the same time. In other words, Reagan was sane and liberals were crazy, and liberals hated him in consequence. Watching the video, it is hard to reconstruct the rationale for the Democrats’ detestation of one of our greatest presidents.
With that prologue, here is the video. Ronald Reagan says farewell as he leaves office: