Saturday, February 06, 2010
Ronald Reagan--One of Our Greatest Presidents
Reagan's last day as president was 21 years ago. During his eight years as president Reagan set the course of winning the four decades long Cold War that had distressed the seven presidents preceding him. All, as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher noted, "without a shot being fired,"
His economic policies also brought the country out of the deep recession of the Carter years. Some statistics on Carter's economy and Reagan's:
7.18% - Carter (1980 - last year in office)
5.49% - Reagan (1988 - last year in office)
13.58% - Carter (1980 - last year in office)
4.08% - Reagan (1988 - last year in office)
20.76 - Carter (1980 - last year in office)
9.57 - Reagan (1988 - last year in office)
Just for comparison with the economic problems Reagan faced, the misery index for George W. Bush's last year and Barack Obama's first year were:
9.61 - Bush (2008 - last year in office)
8.92 - Obama (2009 - first year in office)
Reagan confronted a misery index more than twice what either Bush or Obama have contended with. The economy was in a mess after Jimmy Carter's presidency.
Reagan had to deal with a nation in economic crisis as well as the Cold War with the prospect of nuclear destruction of the U.S. and the world. No other president has overcome such a dire threat to the nation and the world.
Ronald Reagan is already regarded by historians as one of the top 10 presidents. As political biases fade with the years, I predict he will rise to the top 4 along with Washington, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.
His political critics called him a B-grade actor and laughed at his falling asleep in meetings and lack of ability to spew out facts and statistics. But Ronald Reagan had courage, insight and wisdom that none of them had. And he had vision. Fortunately for all of us, he (and we) have had the last laugh.