At 100, why Ronald Reagan still matters

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  • smokinchevy Victor, Idaho
    Feb. 8, 2011 7:49 p.m.

    There are many outthere who obviously do not remember Reagn for what he was, our nation has not seen a leader of his caliber since and maybe never will again.

    He championed the cause of true freedom and liberty worlwide. Much the opposite of the weakness of the socialistic idealogy facing our country today.

    I vivdly remember the economic devastation and unemployment that lingered from the horrendous Carter presidency as a young man, in contrast the the prosperity that Reagan brought to the country.

    The man was a great LEADER, who championed freedom, economic growth and overall prosperity for our great country.

  • Mike in Texas Allen, TX
    Feb. 7, 2011 1:25 p.m.

    President Reagan did some good things and he did some things that were not so great. My biggest problem with him was his narrow ideological view that Government is "the" problem. He was a corporate shill that sought with considerable success to demonize government to the point that too few few American's trust it today to solve any serious national problem. And that legacy leaves us far too often at the mercy of powerful corporations and wealthy interests.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Feb. 7, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    JFK looked at the Berlin wall and said: "Ich bin ein Berliner". Which meant I feal you pain when we knuckle under to the Soviets.

    Ronald Reagan looked at the wall and said: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

    When Saddam Hussein was building a full scale nuclear weapons producing facility, Carter refused to assist the Israelis in any way. The Israelis broke a lot of rules on weapons and aircraft supplied by the US. Just after Reagan too over the presidency the Israelis bombed the reactor at Osirak. It was totally destroyed - gutted.

    In a meeting it was brought up how badly the Israeli's had cheated on the various waepons deals. Reagans response was: "Boys will be boys"!" and something to the effect of good for them.

    Reagan could cut through the manure and put out the best message.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 7, 2011 12:26 p.m.

    Wow, the liberal venom is out strong today.

    The one thing that the article shows about Reagan is that he could bring people together, and get the nation to unify. Something that none of the Presidents since have been able to do.

    For those of you who claim that Reagan raised taxes, please, tell us what the tax rates were in 1981, and what they were in 1989. Yes there were some tax increases, but were all tax increases greater than the tax cuts?

    If you want to blame Reagan for the deficit, please tell us who sets the budget for the Federal Government, and tell us who was running Congress from 1981 through 1989.

  • Nosea Forest Grove, OR
    Feb. 7, 2011 10:49 a.m.

    "Trickle-down economics," using the government to distribute income to the very richest of Americans (the very corporate welfare that has always dwarfed welfare for the poor -- who take a mere pittance in comparison) and then allowing it to flow down to poorer Americans, this is the real legacy of Reagan reign which has continued to this day. Unfortunately, it is now the very source of so many problems we are grappling with. Indeed, the unprecedented gap between the top 1% and the rest of us is a direct result of Reagan's "supply-side" (the rich decide) economics, as statistics bear out. Many leading economists consider this wealth gap the biggest threat to our economic prosperity, and thus a dominant threat to our country.

    Just compare Reagan to Brigham Young who said "the ways of the world (capitalism and especially Reagan's "trickle-down economics fit the bill) tend to exalt a few to unfathomable wealth, while sinking the masses inot poverty and degradation." Reagan is no Brigham Young.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Feb. 7, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    It was so refreshing to read the round table discussion about this good man. I wish I could say the same about these comments. Ronald Reagan will forever be the image in my mind of what a President should be - bold, confident, and sincere. I wish we could stop all of the negativity. I understand that we are a Democracy and everyone has a right to their opinion, but honestly, why can't we just give people the benefit of the doubt and give them credit for their good intentions once in a while? Does anybody really believe that Clinton and Obama are evil people that want to run the country in to the ground and enslave everyone? Does anybody really believe that Reagan and Bush were just evil warmongers who wanted to take food out of the mouths of the homeless and let everyone die a slow miserable death from AIDS? Get a grip, people! We have different opinions on how best to serve one another, and it doesn't make us evil.

  • newslover Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2011 9:42 a.m.

    Reagan was the true model of defective government... He is responsible for the largest deficit in our history ... well... until Bush.

  • Woody Newbury Park, CA
    Feb. 7, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    First act as Governor of California.. increase sales tax 50%. Last act sales tax on Gasoline.

    First act as President triple the national debt.

    Military misadventures in Lebanon are covered over by Granada. Dealings with Ayatollhas and dictators, still have consequences today.

    Guided by astrology and the occult, Ronald Wilson Reagan has mislead millions.

  • Florien Wineriter Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 7, 2011 7:29 a.m.

    I'm a democrat and disagreed with some of his presidential decisions, but I recognize he was a fine human being who did what he thought was appropriate for his time. He was a gentle man and in my estimation a turly great human being.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 7, 2011 6:36 a.m.

    Read the article in the Washington Post, "Five Myths about Reagan", which are:

    1. Reagan was one of our most popular presidents.
    2. Reagan was a tax-cutter.
    3. Reagan was a hawk.
    4. Reagan shrank the federal government.
    5. Reagan was a conservative culture warrior.

    Each point is supported by facts. So get past the labels, the propaganda and the mythology, Reagan would not only be rejected by the Republicans of today, he might have been more true to his Democratic roots. The fox in the hen house dined well....

  • AllBlack sydney, nsw
    Feb. 7, 2011 12:22 a.m.

    RE: GWB | 4:21 a.m. Feb. 6, 2011, West Jordan, UT

    "if he were President today, he would be attacked by the TEA party ... 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"

    You are certainly correct but forgot to add that the man was almost pure Hollywood, good looking, celluloid, presentable, well spoken....everything America seems to admire most.

    And when you look that good and communicate that well, then it doesn't really matter how many terrorist you negotiate with or which taxes you increase, people will still love you and write long articles about you in places like the DeseretNews!

  • Michael De Groote
    Feb. 6, 2011 9:37 p.m.

    Even though they put my name on this story, a ton of people worked on it. Ron Fox set it in motion by suggesting a story to mark the Gipper's centennial. He and I met with Tad Walch and Jesse Hyde and Jesse suggested a roundtable with Ron's contacts/friends. Ryan Morgenegg agreed to video tape and edit the event.

    It says a lot about the topic that Gov. Norman Bangerter, Lt. Gov. John Harmer, Sen. Jake Garn, Rep. Jim Hansen, Dick Richards, Ambassador Greg Newell and Janet Lee Chamberlain all agreed to come on such short notice to talk about Reagan. Ron Fox and Paul Edwards rounded out the panel. Mayor Mike Winder also came as part of the audience.

    Kassi Cox, Kelly M. Henriod and Barbara De Groote helped me transcribe the discussion and Jesse Hyde worked on the editing and introduction. Josh Ferrin did a great graphic of Reagan on Mt. Rushmore for print and tons of other people did work on design, editing, posting online (like Layton Shumway), etc. etc. etc.

    Thank you to everybody mentioned and unmentioned.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 6, 2011 6:54 p.m. do you just make stuff up to match the what you want to believe. Carter never said America's best days were behind us. I would love to see the direct quote and context of that

    If you somehow (and others like you) believe that someones political party makes them all good or all evil and incompetent, I am worried for the future of our democracy. Reagan was not perfect - and neither was Jimmy Carter nor is Obama complete buffoons. Taking such a one sided biased partisan approach to rhetoric, vilifying and demonizing the "other" side .

    There was much to admire Reagan for. He stood as a comforting figure after much of the country had lost faith post WaterGate, the murders of three leading political figures, the capitulation in Vietnam, and the beginning of the collapse of America's dominance in manufacturing. He was a calming voice in the middle of the storm.

    But he was not perfect as David proposes. Iran Contra, the selling of weapons to Iran, the blind eye to what was going on in Iraq, Lebanon, and the deregulating of things such as financial markets and airlines has been less than successful.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    I thought he was average. His ignoring AIDs until Rock Hunter died cost lives. Kicking people out of mental institutions and ignoring the homeless were black marks. And the Iran-Contra, October Surprise, and missing white house debate papers cast doubts.

    If he had stayed with Jane Wyman, he would of been a Democratic president.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    Carter communicated that America's greatest days were behind us. That we had passed the high point of freedom and America's ideals and opportunities. Carter said to turn down the heater and put on a sweater.

    Reagan declared that it was morning in America, and that America's greatest days were ahead of it.

    Today I hear the same thing from liberals and this administration: we must redefine our expectations for prosperity. We will no longer be a leader on the world stage, but we must bow to China, even as Obama bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia. Even as Obama bows to environmentalists, unions, and special interest.

    It is time for a new leader to step forward to lead this country like Reagan did. With dignity, with greatness, with vision, with power.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 4:14 p.m.

    It is true...Obama lacks wisdom and judgment. He lacks experience. He lacks sincere respect of others. These are judgments that others pass upon Obama based upon observations and reports. Perhaps he needs better handlers? We can see through the PR efforts.

    The same can be said of Reagan. We can see through the distortionists who wish to paint him in a negative light. Reagan was a great president, a great leader, and a great man. Many liberals hate him because they are like ultra right wingers who hate anything and anybody that is not like them.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Feb. 6, 2011 3:11 p.m.

    One important aspect of Reagan's presidency that this article and all posters have forgotten is that he restored honor and integrity to the presidency. After the disaster that was tricky dick and the nothingness that was Gerald Ford and the idiocy of Jimmy Carter, Reagan was able to reestablish respect for the office of the president.

  • ronnie sandy, utah
    Feb. 6, 2011 2:47 p.m.

    A good man with a good name.

    Unfortunately he campaigned on reducing the budget deficits and did just the opposite. My observations are the republicans embraced that philosophy ever since. He pushed for less government control and oversight. That philosophy was pushed later by both parties much to our regrets. He was given a lot of credit for the break up of the Soviet Union, but the Saudis are the one that lowered and kept gasoline prices low to insure and hasten the Soviets fast track to bankruptcy.

    A good man but his legacy will be mixed.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Feb. 6, 2011 2:37 p.m.

    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.

  • Blue Bolshevik Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 2:33 p.m.

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

  • B Logan, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 2:16 p.m.

    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!

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 1:32 p.m.

    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.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 12:50 p.m.

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

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    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.

  • ms Draper, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    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.

  • juni4ling Somewhere in Colorado, CO
    Feb. 6, 2011 10:21 a.m.


    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.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Feb. 6, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    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.

  • juni4ling Somewhere in Colorado, CO
    Feb. 6, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    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.

  • Furry1993 Somewhere in Utah, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 9:34 a.m.

    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).

  • Ronald Fox North Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 9:28 a.m.

    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.

  • Earl Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    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."

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 6, 2011 8:31 a.m.

    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.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    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

  • Brother Dave Livermore, CA
    Feb. 6, 2011 8:17 a.m.

    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!!!

  • juni4ling Somewhere in Colorado, CO
    Feb. 6, 2011 7:50 a.m.

    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?-?

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 6:52 a.m.

    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.

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 6:24 a.m.

    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.

  • GWB West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 6, 2011 4:21 a.m.

    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.