Ronald Reagan

The Peacemaker

Featured image Steve Hayward is the author of the two-volume history The Age of Reagan. Matt Continetti is the author of The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism. They agree — Steve here (Washington Free Beacon) and Matt here (Wall Street Journal) — that William Inboden’s The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and the World on the Brink is must reading. Inboden is the executive director of the Clements Center »

A Footnote on Reagan & Gorbachev

Featured image When Gorbachev became general secretary in 1985, Reagan wrote in his diary that he was “too cynical” to believe reports that Gorbachev was a “different kind” of Soviet leader. Gorbachev thought Reagan was “a dinosaur,” fully slavish to America’s capitalist class. But by degrees they warmed to each other personally, ironically by means of bitter and direct philosophical arguments in their unprecedented five face-to-face meetings over the next three years that »

Your State of the Union Bingo Card

Featured image The real question is how quickly someone will fill up five squares in a line (15 minutes? 22 minutes?). It seems a sure thing that every square of this card will be filled in by the end. Meanwhile, I have a short piece up today at the Wall Street Journal on what Biden could learn from Ronald Reagan’s difficult second year in office in 1982: “Reagan Bounced Back After 1982. »

On Biden’s Bitter Bluster

Featured image I only caught about 1/3rd of Biden’s presser on Wednesday, and worse, I listened on the radio while I was driving around, so I didn’t catch his less than reassuring physical demeanor. Like the legend (which may be an incorrect urban legend) of people who listened to rather than watched the Nixon-Kennedy debates in 1960, when it is said people who listed on radio thought Nixon had won, while the »

It Was 40 Years Ago Today. . .

Featured image That the Gipper signed his three-year, 25 percent income tax cut package up at the ranch in the mountains north of Santa Barbara, the capstone in many ways of the “supply side revolution.” Needless to say, reversing this has been the top priority of the left ever since, with partial success. It was a close run, epic legislative struggle. Here’s my account of the climax of the story from The »

Slow Joe vs. The Gipper

Featured image John and Scott have been keeping tabs on President Dementia, which got me to thinking back to President Reagan. Reagan left office in 1989 at age 77, and a few years later was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. There’s been lots of speculation ever since that he suffered cognitive decline during his second term, though my own opinion is that he showed normal age-related change in memory and performance, whereas President »

An Epic Presidential Mismatch

Featured image I saw a video clip of Joe Biden’s inept speech to a Coast Guard Academy graduating class a few days ago, but didn’t get the full impact until I saw the side-by-side comparison below. It turns out that Biden was trying to steal a joke from Ronald Reagan, who used the same line when he addressed a Coast Guard class years ago. Here it is, a master vs. a disaster: »

Forty Years On

Featured image As is being widely remarked, today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Reagan outside the Washington Hilton. I was a fresh-out-of-college intern working for Stan Evans up at the Capitol Hill office of his National Journalism Center, where we typically had the public radio classical music station on at low volume in the background. So when the station broke into the middle of the music to »

Feel Good Stories for Today

Featured image Today’s email brings this hysterical warning from the good folks at The Nation: Trump’s attacks on public radio are sickening. Trump’s new budget will literally END funding for Public Radio! Public Radio is SO important for millions of Americans. It provides accurate journalism and high-quality educational programming. Trump knows these cuts mean less educational programming for rural Americans, but he doesn’t care. Could there be anything more cheering and cockle-warming than hearing that the Federal government »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 157: OK Boomer: Let’s Cross the Streams! Is Reagan Relevant to Millennials!?!?

Featured image This episode is either an excursion into intergenerational conflict, or the pilot for a 21st century version of The Odd Couple, where Oscar and Felix are a Millennial and an aging Baby Boomer. This week’s episode is actually a crossover show with The Young Americans, hosted by Millennial sports and policy wonk prodigy Jack Butler of the American Enterprise Institute. Jack recently read my two-volume Age of Reagan books, and »

The Power Line Show. Ep. 145: Reagan in the 1960s, and the Lessons for Today

Featured image Last week I was honored once again to be the after dinner speaker for the fall meeting of the Friends of Ronald Reagan, a local civic group in Los Angeles that meets at the California Club to celebrate the enduring greatness and example of the Gipper. It’s always a fun evening, usually capped off with brandy and cigars out on the patio when dinner concludes. I decided to talk about »

Smearing Reagan, Again

Featured image Normally I don’t ever jump to the step-and-fetchit demands of our many lefty trolls, but I’ll make an exception for the story rocketing around right now that way back in 1971 Governor Reagan made a crude racist comment in a private conversation with (checks notes). . . Richard Nixon.  You can listen to the audio here (about the halfway mark). Here’s how Timothy Naftali (a nasty piece of work whom »

Edmund Morris, RIP

Featured image When I interviewed Michael Deaver, one of Ronald Reagan’s senior aides from his days as governor and into his second presidential term, in the course of writing my two-volume Age of Reagan book project, he confessed that recommending Edmund Morris be Reagan’s official biographer was the second-biggest mistake he ever made in Reagan’s service. Immediately your mind will run to the obvious question, which I duly asked: What was your biggest »

It Was Thirty Years Ago Today…

Featured image …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 »

Obamacare: What would Reagan do?

Featured image Henry Olsen, master election analyst and a scholar of Ronald Reagan, asks what position Reagan would take in the Obamacare debate. Olsen concludes that The Gipper would (and did) back government-subsidized medical care for people who couldn’t otherwise afford it and would approve of federal subsidies such as those contained in Obamacare. Olsen bases these conclusions mainly on Reagan’s support for the Kerr Mills Act. Enacted in the pre-Medicare era, »

Tear Down This Wall @ 30

Featured image Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of President Reagan’s famous speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin that culminated in the famous line, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” I began the second volume of my Age of Reagan political biography with an account of it, and it seems worth repeating today: Most of his senior aides didn’t want him to say it.  Indeed, they tried repeatedly to talk him out of »

A little patriotism goes a long way

Featured image The slogan and organizing principle of President Trump’s administration is “America first.” As he explained last night: “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.” This is just common sense. Absent the Obama aberration, no president would think to say it. However, even a message this obvious can use powerful, patriotic rhetoric and effective staging to support it. Trump’s presentation »