Was Reagan one of our better presidents?

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First, in the words of Mikhail Gorbachev himself:

GORBACHEV QUOTE:

"I deem Ronald Reagan a great president, with whom the Soviet leadership was able to launch a very difficult but important dialogue. He displayed foresight and determination to meet our proposals halfway and change our relations for the better, stop the nuclear race, start scrapping nuclear weapons and arrange normal relations between our countries.

And

"...In terms of human qualities, he and I had, you would say, communicativeness and this helped us carry on normally," Gorbachev said.

"But when you talk about friendly relations in politics, it's not the friendship of schoolmates, of the Arbat," he said referring to Moscow's main street for promenades and relaxation.

"I deem Ronald Reagan a great president, with whom the Soviet leadership was able to launch a very difficult but important dialogue," the Interfax news agency quoted Gorbachev as saying on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Earlier Sunday, Gorbachev was quoted by Interfax as calling Reagan "a statesman who, despite all disagreements that existed between our countries at the time, displayed foresight and determination to meet our proposals halfway and change our relations for the better."

Gorbachev listed Reagan's accomplishments as helping to "stop the nuclear race, start scrapping nuclear weapons, and arrange normal relations between our countries," he was quoted as saying.

"I do not know how other statesmen would have acted at that moment, because the situation was too difficult. Reagan, whom many considered extremely rightist, dared to make these steps, and this is his most important deed," he was quoted as saying.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=X&oi=news&sta...chev%2520Reagan

So, why else was Reagan great? First, Reagan was a man with incredible charisma. It was said that it was almost impossible not to like the man once personal time was spent with him. And yes – there is little doubt among those on the right that Reagan was not just a great communicator but also a great leader. Reagan coalesced and refocused the Republican Party.

When Reagan took office after Carter's term there were hostages in Iran, there was out of control double-digit inflation, interest rates, and high unemployment ------ And the historically expansionist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had moved into Afghanistan.

When Reagan left office both inflation and joblessness were in the lower single digits and the USSR was beaten ‘forever more.’ But better, Americans (or most Americans) felt encouraged once again about the country and themselves. American was revitalized and this wasn’t lost on the Soviets. Call Reagan a Great Communicator or just a good actor ----- but whatever Reagan was in that area he was certainly a great leader.

On the Reagan strict domestic side, take a look at this information, charts and all, put together by the Cato Institute. Reagan inherited an 7% unemployment from James Carter and by the end of his, Reagan’s, administration, unemployment was at about 5.5 %. In addition, the inflation rate inherited from Carter of about 10% dropped dramatically under Reagan. And real median family income went from $37,000 to almost $41,000 (all in 1994 dollars).

These linked charts show various comparative economic data during the Carter and Reagan years.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-261.html

Strictly international now ------- the USSR believed Reagan would follow through on his ‘Star Wars’ initiative (aka - SDI / Strategic Defense Initiative) and this was enough to lead the Soviets to spend money on the military --- rather than 'other areas of essential need.’ Recall that Gorby had instituted 'Glosnost' (more free speach and action) during this period - so public opinion now mattered. Under this extraordinary situation, Reagan's defense spending broke the economic back of the Soviets. After this, the Soviet’s no longer had the power to hold their empire together and the 'soviet satellites' spun off one by one until finally, the USSR herself collapsed by the force of her own spent dead weight. OK - maybe this would have happened without Reagan. Granted. But maybe it wouldn't have. The only thing that can be said with absolute certainty and the only fact forever immune from liberal spin is that Reagan was there, Reagan was stanch anti-communist, and just happened to be these things when it the Soviet system and empire collapsed. No doubt, Gorby and The Pope also played their important roles --- but Reagan was there with them -

And tops of all --- the super sized senator from Massachusetts also sees Reagan for what Reagan is -

“Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who from his seat in the Senate watched the rise of Reagan and with him the Republican resurgence, said: “We often disagreed on issues of the day, but I had immense respect and admiration for his leadership and his extraordinary ability to inspire the nation to live up to its high ideals.”

Departing from the Democratic pattern, Kennedy also said Reagan “will be honored as the president who won the Cold War.” He drew a direct connection between Reagan's handling of the Soviet Union and his brother's, saying that “his ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall’ will be linked forever with President Kennedy's ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.’”

http://www.ronaldreaganmemorial.com/a_trib...ciatedpress.asp

I think Senator Kennedy has it right.
 
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  • #3
russ_watters
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Yeah, Tigers, Reagan was one of the better ones.
 
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  • #4
Integral
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I think it is to early to tell about Reagan, sure he is very popular now and was very popular in his day. But there are some thorns on the bush (Read into that what you will!) . Locally his policies stripped the Old growth off of the PNW mountains as if was lawn to be mowed, we no longer have a sustained yield forest the lumber economy has been destroyed by a few years of blatant greed.... thank you Ronnie.

It is not clear how history will view his part in the dismantling of the USSR. Will it be seen as the beginning of a new Democratic order or the beginning of the destabilization of our civilization thus the end of life as we know it. The ripple effects are still ringing and it is simply to soon to tell.
 
  • #5
Ian
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The date is 1983: President Reagan advocates the 'star wars' program in a live speech and says -
"I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete".
I guess the word 'dismantle' just wasn't in his vocabulary or thought pattern. But what he really said (if you think about it) is 'give us the means to render Russia's arsenal impotent and obsolete, so we can nuke 'em in safety'. He had such a Strange love for his nation.

The date is 1987: It has just emerged that Reagan has cut a deal with terrorists by trading arms for hostages - something he said he would never do while he was running for the oval office.
In a televised broadcast reagan says -
"A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and best intentions still tell me this is true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not"
As sure as there is Jackass TV today there was surely also Jackass Politics yesterday.

Nonetheless, my heart goes out to Nancy Reagan because what God joined together is now put asunder.
 
  • #6
member 5645
Ian said:
The date is 1983: President Reagan advocates the 'star wars' program in a live speech and says -
"I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete".
I guess the word 'dismantle' just wasn't in his vocabulary or thought pattern. But what he really said (if you think about it) is 'give us the means to render Russia's arsenal impotent and obsolete, so we can nuke 'em in safety'. He had such a Strange love for his nation.

Ummmm, could we just stop the hyperbole on this forum.
 
  • #7
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Ian said:
The date is 1983: President Reagan advocates the 'star wars' program in a live speech and says -
"I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete".
I guess the word 'dismantle' just wasn't in his vocabulary or thought pattern. But what he really said (if you think about it) is 'give us the means to render Russia's arsenal impotent and obsolete, so we can nuke 'em in safety'. He had such a Strange love for his nation....

Ian -

In regards to your disarmament / 'dismantle' suggestion ----- The USSR is no more in large part because Reagan kept the pressure on at the right time – and because Reagan had the fortitude and the foresight to ignore the left leaning unilateral disarmers (as you seem to suggest he should not have done). If a 'dismantle' movement would have won the day, and it was a huge movement on the left, we might see Soviet economic blackmail on a much larger scale than we presently see in North Korea. If you suggest that unilateral disarmament was the better way to go, it might very well have also been the way that would have keep the Soviets in power. Than what? By extension you’d have no issue with necessary propping up of the dangerous Soviet state, still brisling with nuclear arms, and it’s appurtenant lack of freedoms. Right? The a starved Soviet economic system still had a huge nuclear arsenal you know – and therefore much greater potential for international blackmail using those weapons and those nuclear secrets than any other nation besides the US. Certainly, liberal thinking, a policy of continued appeasement, would have a good chance of placing us in that position. Reagan would have none of it – and that’s what made him one of greatest presidents in our history. No doubt liberals and leftists have trouble reconciling their domestic and international philosophy with the successes under Reagan.

On your other point -- Reagan could have very well had the early stages of undiagnosed Alzheimers had that late stage in his presidency. With Alzheimers, even in the early stages, recent memory suffers first. That said – I think your lovely “Jackass” comment should be read in this context.
 
  • #8
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I agree with Integral that is too early to tell the long-term effects of his presidency. Many historians wait about fifty years to distinguish what role events play during that time. Take President Lincoln for instance. His death was celebrated by the confederate-minded, but not until later did people recognize his significance.
 
  • #9
loseyourname
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What happened to the moderator of this forum? Can't the attacks be cleaned up a bit?
 
  • #10
Zero
loseyourname said:
What happened to the moderator of this forum? Can't the attacks be cleaned up a bit?
How do you like it so far?


Reagan was a good actor...he wasn't much of a president. He presided over both the largest tax increases and largest deficit increase in American history? How do you both increase taxes and increase debt, and still get credit for being fiscally conservative? By starving social programs while increasing the overall size of government.
 
  • #11
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i know that reagan had built good relationship with china.
but never came to malaysia.
I think Clinton is the best president because of his "wonderful affair" with lewinsky.
 
  • #12
Ian
87
1
I guess if you put it in the context of world leaders globally everyone will have a different idea of what a good president is. Personally I liked Reagan the man, but I hated his politics.

I have a simple but strong belief that there is no goverment on earth, save the Dalai Lama's (in exile) that would still stand if all it's secrets were let out. I don't mean the stuff of military technological and manpower secrets, but the dirty tricks and lies that go on behind closed doors in every country. The things that kill people and ruin lives and the way those in power abuse their position and are always so easily prepared to sacrifice life abroad for their own purpose. Democracy is goverment of the people for the people and by the people is it, I dont think so anymore.

But Reagan was a nice guy.
 
  • #13
russ_watters
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I consider the opinions of his peers at the time to be important: Thatcher and Gorby apparently thought pretty highly of him.
 
  • #14
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What are Hawk and Dove in US politics ?

What do they mean in US politic?
And, what are left-wing and right-wing ? :smile:
 
  • #15
jb
i'm sure he was a great man, as well as an actor. (i've seen bedtime for bonzo) but being an all around good guy doesn't always equate to being a good president. look at clinton: as a guy, he was kinda shady, but does that mean he was a horrible president? no. the contra-north thing and guns for hostages weren't exactly great events in our country's history.

the repubs were bending so far over backwards to kiss ronnie's ass that they almost fell 6 ft under with him, while stepping up the attacks on clinton.

i don't have a source but i thought ronnie said he wasn't much into the politics of running the country.

seems to me like the left is criticizing his policies because the issue's come up again.
the right is praising him like a saint while attacking the left for thinking less of him.
 
  • #16
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Left wing, right wing - where the terms come from

Saint said:
What do they mean in US politic?
And, what are left-wing and right-wing?
The left-right political spectrum refers to the seating positions of various political shades of advocates during assemblies held in late eighteenth-century France just previous to the French Revolution. Those advocates sitting on the left generally supported revolution, while those advocates sitting on the right generally supported the king.

Today, left means liberal while right means conservative. Liberal is taken today to mean quasi-socialist or volunteer-social-worker (an advocate for a welfare state) and this meaning is quite different from the meaning it had in the 19th century. Conservative is taken today largely to mean what liberal meant in the 19th century, which is an advocate for small government and private enterprise and a strong military. Far-left, today, is called radical while far-right, today, is called reactionary. Other terms used today are moderate left, moderate right, and centrist.

The Democratic party is associated with the moderate left, and the Republical party is associated with the moderate right. Reagan was a Republican. Clinton is a Democrat. George W. Bush is a Republican.
 
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  • #17
921
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Nixon and China - and what did Reagan do

Saint said:
i know that reagan had built good relationship with china.
I don't know about Reagan and China, but Nixon was the first U.S. president to convince communist China to open up to diplomatic talks and trade negotiations and open its borders to Western visitors.
 
  • #18
schwarzchildradius
The extremist liberals see him as some sort of demon, but hey I was only a boy then. It was Gorbechev that said "accept the results of a free election" when Poland revolted in 1989. One thing is certain- if the Bush government had any concept of the principles that Reagan concieved, there would be no pointless war in the Middle East. I see Reagan as categorized by the left as an extremist, worshipped by the radical right as a god; but in reality he was a moderate president.
 

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