Politics aside in Reagan praise
January 24th, 2011
12:10 PM ET
12 years ago

Politics aside in Reagan praise

(CNN) - A bipartisan group of American leaders, including President Barack Obama, took to the pages of USA Today Monday to commemorate the 100th birthday of former President Ronald Reagan.

Reagan understood that despite different opinions, patriots "put the welfare of our fellow citizens above all else," Obama wrote.

"No matter what political disagreements you may have had with President Reagan – and I certainly had my share – there is no denying his leadership in the world, or his gift for communicating his vision for America."

Obama said the former president's ability to communicate to the American people and the confidence he had in the country were even more important than any single accomplishment.

House Speaker John Boehner said he saw Reagan's presidency as a "call to arms," and described the impact of the 40th president's declaration that, "Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem."

"Those words struck a chord with small-town, small-business people like me who were fed up with intrusive government and indecisive leadership," Boehner wrote.

Former 2008 GOP presidential nominee and Arizona Sen. John McCain said he will always revere Reagan for his faith in America.

"He possessed an unshakable faith in America's greatness, past and future, that proved more durable than the prevailing political sentiments of the time," McCain wrote. "This confidence was a tonic to men who had come home eager to put the war behind us and for the country to do likewise."

McCain's 2008 running mate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she thinks of Reagan as "America's lifeguard."

"When we see people around the globe looking to the White House for leadership, we should remember Reagan's steel spine," Palin wrote.

"The Gipper's irrepressible high spirits tapped into something deeply rooted in the country: optimism, faith in America itself," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wrote. "He fought to cut federal spending. He sought to restore our Founding Fathers' vision of American greatness and limited government."

Filed under: President Obama • Ronald Reagan
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. S. In California

    One word sums up the Reagan years: AWFUL. Except for the rich of course. He was an awful president just as he was an awful actor. The country is STILL paying the price for his awful policies. He was by far the WORST president in my lifetime.

    January 24, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    Sure wish Ronald Reagan was President now. He was one of the greatest Presidents of the 20th century. Since him, all have pailed in comparison.

    January 24, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. shoegazer

    May I suggest,to any who might be interested,to read Murray N.Rothbard's article,"the Myths of Reaganomics".You get a clear picture of how dismal his policies were and how his "small government" was anything but.

    January 24, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. IWMPB

    Worst President? Sure would have liked to see you articulate with some evidence and examples of why. Can only assume otherwise that "S" in CA is blinded to bankrupt ideology of the left.

    January 24, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Pat NY

    Hmmm...out of control Federal defecit, double digit interest rates, unemployment over 10%...no, I'm not talking about the current administration, I'm talking about the half way point of Reagan's first term! We can thank all of our budget problems with the Actor's failed voodoo economic policies. Oh, and perhaps if he even just mentioned the word AIDS sooner, as opposed to the last year of his second term, perhaps AIDS medical research would be far more advanced in it currently is.

    January 24, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. lynn

    Not only was he a "B" movie actor he was an "F" rated President. I never understood his appeal, he was rather dopey

    January 24, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. JonDie

    About 200,000 Mayan Indians were murdered thanks to Reagan's support of Guatemala's dictators. Reagan = national disgrace

    January 24, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. kyle from ohio

    IF you like him; you say good things and if you do not like him you say bad things about President Reagan; But what about the numbers; some say he was a defecit hawk, but what do the numbers say? some say he was about down-sizing the goverment, but what do the numbers say? See you can say what you want but what about the numbers????

    January 24, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. The Dude

    um, He was a criminal, basically. And like most republicans, he deficit spent like crazy, and his policies were proven to be nonsense. Supply-side economics and so-called "trickle down" financial policies have been demonstrated to be absolute bunk time and time again.

    It's always fascinating, though, to watch the revisionist historians on the right glorify their own.

    January 24, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. T'sah from Virginia

    I lived through the Reagan presidency years and all I can remember is the ACTING!!! Towards the end, he was losing it.

    Now that's what I remember – nothing else!!

    January 24, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Get A Grip

    Hey, no one said President Reagan was perfect, but he sure was better then what we've had in the past and certainly what we have now.

    January 24, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. anagram_kid

    Yes, let's praise the senile actor that ingnored the AIDS epidemic and crashed our ecomomy with voo-doo ecomics. The only good thing about his presidency was Phil Hartman's impression on SNL.

    January 24, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McCain needs to retire and Palin knows nothing about the history of Reagan, she proved that when she spoke at a campus in California naming a college she claimed Reagan was a graduate and it doesn't even exist.

    January 24, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. informed voter

    The myth that Reagan improved the economy, and cut government spending, has been debunked, yet the history revisionists still have blinders on when it comes to his legacy. He was a bungling actor, who was able to perform some well written speeches, however his voodoo, trickle down economic policies helped launch the worst disparity between the haves and the have nots, in our nation's history. And many of his policies, including total nuclear disarmament, would be considered too radical and far left for him to even be considered a Republican by the current bunch of fundamentalists running his unfortunate party.

    January 24, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. anagram_kid

    Eventually Regan will primarily be remembered as the president who officially lowered the bar for participation in politics, allowing the likes of Bush Jr. and Palin to play on the national stage. Thanks to him we have a portion of our population that believes willful ignorance is a leadership skill.

    January 24, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Mr. Moderate

    What I have found deliciously ironic is all of the Tea Partiers who diefy him would seek to drive him out of the party if he was around today. After all Reagan: Raised taxes (to save Social Secority), expanded the federal budget to record levels, ran up record deficits, worked in a bipartisan manner (considered treasonous to the tea party), was a social moderate and was a union member and president. All of these are sins in the eye of those who now worship him.

    January 24, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Anothermuse

    The left will villify him, the right cannonize him. Most everyone else though, found Regan to be the needed antidote for what were toxic times. After follwoing Nixon and then Carter, Regan was larger than life. And don't think any historian will debate that the cold war ended a generation sooner than it would have without him.

    January 24, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. Phil in KC

    I was never a fan of Reagan's when he was alive; I'm not going to laud him now just because he's dead and a significant milestone has rolled around.

    January 24, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. RT

    You lefties will never accept that he will always be considered one of our best presidents. The hundreds of new democracies that formed after the fall of the Soviet Union will always appreciate him.

    January 24, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. RL

    The greatest 'modern' president-Ronald Reagan. His unwavering commitment to freedom and the American spirit lead us into an amazing era of growth and economic expansion. His unbending commitment to peace through strength saw the fall of the Soviet Union and the liberty of millions. The left did never and will never understand the greatness that is Reagan. Everything he and conservatives today stand for is foreign to their small minds.

    January 24, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. NY-David

    Reagan was a great communicator, who loved his country and exuded patriotism. It was what America needed at the time. These days, he's quoted and mis-quoted and give credit for everything from the fall of the Soviet Union (perhaps thank the East Germans) to the birth of Walmart.

    January 24, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Tim

    Politics is not aside. Obama is doing it for political gain.

    January 24, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Bill

    Thank God we now have a President who realizes that government is the ANSWER to our problems. Obama/Biden 2012!

    January 24, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Jimmy Corn

    Kudos to Reagan for ignoring AIDS! Have to keep America clean somehow. And what better way to let Democrat voters kill themselves off and pave the way for the future?

    January 24, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |

    I was too young to understand politics and policies back during Reagan’s presidency, however I am sure that his foreign policies led to the unification of Germany, and the end of USSR.

    January 24, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |