First, in the words of Mikhail Gorbachev himself: GORBACHEV QUOTE: And 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 [Broken] 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 - http://www.ronaldreaganmemorial.com/a_trib...ciatedpress.asp I think Senator Kennedy has it right.