Comments about ‘At 100, why Ronald Reagan still matters’

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Published: Saturday, Feb. 5 2011 9:00 p.m. MST

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West Jordan, UT

Ronald Reagan was a true model of effective governance.

When he saw that his billionaire tax cuts were making huge increases in the deficit, he raised taxes (8 times) but put the increased taxes mostly on the poor and middle class.

When the Marine barracks were attacked in Lebanon, he cut and ran by withdrawing all US troops from Lebanon.

When our hostages were taken by Iran, he nogotiated with the Islamofascist terrorists and gave them weapons in exchange for our hostages.

And when Social Security was facing problems and an uncertain future, he didn't seek privatization, he increased the Social Security payroll taxes to save the program.

Unfortunately, if he were President today, he would be attacked by the TEA party and people like Sarah Palin and Mike Lee for capitulating on tax increases and negotiating with terrorists.

Long live the false legacy of the cut-and-running, tax raising, terrorist negotiating, social security saving hero of today's Conservatives.

Provo, UT

This article has highly selective memory. No mention of Reagan's real legacy --

Iran-Contra. Lebanon. KAL 007. S&L real estate speculation. Sloppy NASA oversight. Challenger. Increased military spending fueled by borrowed money. Increased government spending paid with borrowed money. Enabled banking fraud on the expanding poor. Demonized and assaulted working class, poor, and mentally ill. Top 1 percent owned almost 40 percent of wealth.

Clinton correctly observed: the Reagan-Bush years have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect. Unfortunately, President Clinton proclaimed, echoing Reagan, that the era of big government is over, which he carried out by slashing welfare benefits for poor children.

Provo, UT

As a student, I attended the Reagan 1976 BYU address in 1976. He exhibited the height of his persuasive powers and nearly raised the roof right off the Marriott Center. Years later I remember that address and I remember attending his BYU address after he left office -- and I remember his style but none of the the substance. I cannot remember a memorable quote.

I thought at the times of that H L Mencken quote about Woodrow Wilson: an image thrown up to 1000 times its actual size by the use of a magic lantern.

This article's lack of historical memory truly takes my breath away. Reagan liked Utah only for our votes. As president, he visited this state exactly twice -- both before election day 1984.

Somewhere in Colorado, CO

Who will be the next Reagan?

The article was nothing short of fantastic.

The Republican party has Lincoln, and they have Reagan. They have leaders that *both* parties use as models of effective and powerful leadership.

Reagan's ability to lead from the front was forged from a life lived right. His Union leadership, his ability to make and save money and invest. His tenure as governor in California. The choices he made, and the problems he solved created a foundation that made him a respected and effective leader.

And he faced crisis. He knew how to solve crisis.

We have become weak in the Republican party. Palin resigned as governor because she faced baseless accusations. "Baseless" accusations puts the Republican party in full-retreat mode now. It doesn't even need to be factual, and we will turn and run.

So who will the next Lincoln or Reagan be for the Republican party?

Who will lead from the front? Who has the leadership that can compare to Reagan's Union leadership, or Reagan's ability to make and save money, or Reagans (two-term) tenure of California?-?

Brother Dave
Livermore, CA

Long Live the Memory of "The Gipper".

A Great President of the United States of America.

A Great Governor of California.

A Great Actor.

A Great Union Leader of the SAG (Screen Actors Guild).

A Great Radio Announcer.

A Great Human Being.

A Great Guy!!!

Ogden, UT

The difference between Reagan and Obama? Hah! They should not be mentioned in the same conversation. Reagan was the master and Obama? Well! The moderator will not allow my reflections

Durham, NC

I think what the current conservative movement has forgotten all the while claiming to wanting to uphold Reagan's values is that Reagan knew the difference between rhetoric and the real world. To reach the ultimate goal of securing national security, Reagan was willing to sit down, and even befriend what was thought to be a the time America's biggest enemies, the Soviet Union, resulting in a bilateral reduction in mid range nuclear capabilities.

Today, those "Reagan" conservatives call those within their own party "RINO"s if they reach across the isle to fellow Americans. Reagan showed how compromise can help to opposing groups reach a mutually beneficial result - something rejected by today's Tea-Party crowd.

Rather these people only remember Reagan for his dime-store cowboy bravado, which sells Reagan and his understand of how things work far too short. To fix a union, Reagan ran and became its president.... he did something from within to build up rather than sitting on the sidelines tearing down with empty words.

The current conservative movement could learn a lot by looking at the total Reagan. Reagan was a true RINO, and were safer because of it.

Sandy, UT

This was an interesting, if not downright worshipful, roundtable discussion. I find it interesting that there was no place at the table for those saw some of the major disappointments of the Reagan administration.

Reagan himself said that his inability to control the deficit was a major disappointment for him. David Stockman, his former budget director, worked hard to reconcile the revenue base with out-of-control expenditures. Reagan was single-minded about tax cuts, making them the centerpiece of any economic solution. The tax cuts went through, budget cuts did not.

If Reagan's presidency teaches us anything, it is that politics trumps economic sense in Washington. Expecting Washington to solve the problems it creates is like expecting foxes to make the lives of chickens safer. If economic sanity ever occurs in Washington, it will be because citizens have finally become involved and refused to send anyone there based on promises of "more."

Ronald Fox
North Salt Lake, UT

Well, the first two people to comment, don't see Ronald Reagan in the same light as I do.

Reagan himself said that he made mistakes, we all do. What concerns me is the anger I felt when reading the other commentaries posted.

I was not a fan of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton or our current President, but they did do some very good things as Presidents. Reagan loved this country, and he would have even loved the people who disliked him, because he knew they had a right to their opinion.

Let's celebrate the man on this the anniversary of his birth. You can kick him and others the other 364 days of the year.

Somewhere in Utah, UT

I do not understand why Reagan receives such adulation, and I don't understand why people can't clearly see him for what he was. It astounds me to see how history has already been re-written concerning him. The Reagan portrayed the articles extolling his accomplishments is not the same Reagan that I saw in action during the 1980s.

Reagan was at best a mediocre president. He could do a great job delivering a script, and did a great job portraying the role of president, but that's all. He was an actor playing a role, and that's all.

His words set forth in the articles concerning him weren't his, except to the extent that he gave life to his writers' words while delivering a pre-written script created by someone else. The actions people praise, including the claims of good governing actions, weren't his -- they belonged to his handlers and Reagan just gave effect to his handlers' ideas and plans and programs. Reagan was a front man, nothing more nothing less.

I really wish people could see him clearly -- both for what he was (a mediocre actor at best) and what he was not (exceptional).

Somewhere in Colorado, CO

Rightascension... Yeah, I'll bet Clinton had a lot of "good" to say about Reagan...

Clinton does not like Reagan because Clinton's legacy involves interns, while Reagan's legacy involves the end of the Cold War.

Clinton cannot hold a candle against Reagan.

You are 100% correct. Reagan's tenure was chock-full of controversy. Reagan was consistently knee-deep in solving some crisis somewhere.

And his ability to wade-through Iran-contra, his ability to solve *serious* controversy is part of the total-Reagan-package.

Blaming the Challenger disaster on Reagan, though. Seriously?-? That is a little bit of a liberal leap. His response will be remembered, though. Sincere, and powerful.

While Clinton will be remembered for personal failings and relations with interns. Reagan is remembered for his accomplishments, and his ability to lead.

And that bothers the hyper-left in the US.

Blaming Reagan for the Challenger disaster. Really?-!-?-! Liberals. Bless them, I guess.

"Demonizing the working class..." Where do liberals get this stuff... Seriously.

Reagan was a powerful and effective leader.

I guess liberals have to say something... Without any substance, I guess demonizing workers might stick...

Reagan will be remembered for good. Deal with it.

Danbury, CT

I think Reagan's adversaries (eg. Tip O'Neill, Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter, Gorbachev and others) would say more thoughtful things about the man and the presidency than some of the early posters on this site. Of the people being interviewed, yes, it was glowingly positive although Bangerter seems most reflective and circumspect, especially about today's conservatives and so-called spokespeople on the radio.

I don't agree with everything Reagan said or did, but he was a man of principle, he treated everyone with respect, and was a man who brought about and influenced change for the better. I challenge everyone who comments here to think about their place in life and how they propose to change the world for the better. I doubt it can be done through tearing down others who disagree with you.

Somewhere in Colorado, CO


You make a good point.

Reagan was a moderate.

That helped him in his appeal on a broad-scale.

You are right. Reagan would be called a RINO by today's far, far "right" element of the Republican party. He would be called a RINO by the "Tea Party."

That is a tragic assessment of the Republican party as we move forward to the next presidential election.

If we are ever going to see *another* Reagan or Lincoln in the Republican party, we are going to need to drop the RINO label.

I think the Republican party has changed. The "Tea Party" admires Palin, and holds her as the "conservative ideal." She couldn't last against *false* and truped-up accusations. How could she lead against a *real* controversy...

Reagan waded-through *real* controversies all the time, and did it with dignity, respect, and *real* power... Power derived from *earning* the respect of "the people."

Yeah, Reagan would never meet the pretended ideal set and put forward by Palin, and the Tea Party. He would be called a RINO for his charismatic and effective leadership, and his ability to appeal broadly outside the Republican base.

Draper, UT

I already knew Reagan andloved him but reading your article reminded me how much I loved him and how much I miss him and the very principled leadership he brought.

he is one of the greatest presidents our country has ever had. our country needs another great leader, whoever and wherever they are we need a real leader and we need him to lead us out of one of our darkest hours as our house is in disorderand we will need another leader who can help us do the right thing for the right reason .

I hope we have such a person in our country and that he will be able to be elected to lead us out of this very difficult place that our country finds itself in and that we can once again find our true values .

May God bless us at this very perilous time that we may come forth from the darkness we find ourselves in and into the light of our future a stronger and more secure Nation which offers hope and freedom to both its citizens and all of the citizens of the world.

Springville, UT

I suspect that Saint Ronald is better remembered by the worshippers in Utah more than in the rest of the country. I will say that Newell's cheap shot at the current President not having judgment and wisdom are false and purely partisan. Reagan's legacy is mixed, and his image is being managed and manipulated by his supporters.

Salt Lake City, UT

The success of Reaganism is accentuated by the bungling failure of Obummerism.....two more Obummer Summers to go!

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

He wouldn't even make out of the Repubican convention today. He'd be labeled a RINO and boo'ed out of the conference hall like Bob Bennett. There's no room for statesmen in the Republican party anymore.

Logan, UT

I remember when Reagan passed away. People lined the streets to watch the hearse go by. First in California, when they were taking his body to fly back to Washington D.C. for the funeral. Then in Virginia when the body arrived. It was a HUGE event. I remember churches across the country ringing their bells 40 times (for the 40th president.) I don't care what the naysayers choose to do to detract from this man. He was EASILY the greatest president of the 20th century. Unlike Roosevelt, Reagan didn't abandon millions of people behind the Iron Curtain. He put the country back on its feet after Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter managed to bring us down. He had his flaws, but he was fantastic!

Blue Bolshevik
Salt Lake City, UT

Who cares! It's Bob Marley's birthday!

Danbury, CT

For you sour skeptics: go watch Chris Matthews on MSNBC and see what he has to say. He was Tip O'Neil's communications/press person during the Reagan years and experienced firsthand how Reagan handled and worked with his critics.

What I observe is not only a co-opting of his legacy by a new breed and generation of closed minded and often bigoted "Conservatives" but also a broad-brushed defamation of his character by new Liberals, most of whom were too young to have seen his era firsthand. In other words, most of you don't know what you're talking about.

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