Reagan ally delivers political message
February 6th, 2011
04:13 PM ET
12 years ago

Reagan ally delivers political message

(CNN) - Former President Ronald Reagan's chief of staff, James Baker, delivered a message to the politicians of today, urging them to work together.

"Ronald Reagan was a master at reaching across the aisle for solutions to our nation's problems," Baker said Sunday on the 100th anniversary of the late president's birth. "We must re-learn that as citizens of a democracy, it is okay to voice our disagreements, but at the end of the day we have to come together to solve problems rather than cynically rely on them for partisan advantage."

Baker, who also served as treasury secretary under Reagan and later as secretary of state under former President George H.W. Bush, spoke at the Reagan Presidential Library's centennial celebrations in California. He said the so-called Reagan revolution didn't end with the passing of the Gipper, but instead lives on in his lessons of freedom, self-reliance and common sense.

"Today we again face stormy seas that are not dissimilar from those of 30 years ago. Once more the alarmists are sounding their apocalyptic cries," Baker said. "Well, 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan rejected predictions of America's decline. 'Not on my watch,' he responded. And we must likewise reject the gloomy forecast today."

President Barack Obama lauded the former president's ability to compromise and work with leaders of all political parties in an op-ed in USA Today honoring Reagan's presidency.

"Although he knew that conflicts between parties and political adversaries were inevitable, he also knew that they would never be strong enough to break the ties that bind us together," Obama wrote. "He understood that while we may see the world differently, and hold different opinions about what's best for our country, the fact remains that we are all patriots who put the welfare of our fellow citizens above all else."

Filed under: Ronald Reagan
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Well James, the republicans have decided to put their sorry excuse for a political party above the needs of a country who was almost destroyed under the Bush/republican culture of corruption.

    February 6, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Clwyd

    Republicans are deaf, dumb and blind right now! They are hypocrites and disgusting and won't listen to Baker!

    February 6, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. cisco4

    Agood message...Mr. Baker.. Now how many Republicans will put you and Mr. Reagans...advice into action next two eyars?

    February 6, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. draeggo

    Perhaps all of us that are not republicans should start acting better and lead by example instead of name calling or making accusations. It has to start somewhere and when people in the middle can't tell the difference in who is the most vitrolic then how are we going to have any progress? Throwing stones from the left is no different than throwing stones from the right.

    February 6, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. B

    Unfortunately it was on his watch that most of our long term decline started with his deregulation of almost everything in this country to the applause of most corporations. That started an environment of free for all greed in an unfettered non-regulatory orgy of anything goes with the only end goal of making money with No oversight what soever.. The beginning of where we find ourselves today.

    February 6, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. Gene Carr


    Well Sarah Palin for one. Those who have taken the trouble to examine her actual record will know that as Governor, she sought and secured the support of a majority of the Democrats for her legislative initiatives. Over his first two years of his Presidency, Barrack Obama has demonstrated that he has not got a bipartissan bone in his body. The only reason he talks about now is because he has no alternative since his Administration was devastated by the Nov election.

    February 6, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. vic nashville tn

    James Baker you made big mistake in 2000 its ok

    Do you think Sarah Palin republicans will listen to you no

    February 6, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |

    When Baker was in a position to do something for the long term well being of the country he punted.

    February 6, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. rusty155

    James Baker finally a Republican that make sense. Both party don't all way have too agreed with each other, but they got too work together to solve the problems of this country the best they can. After all both party work for the American people not just what ever party you are with. That what the American people was trying tell you people In the House and Senate In last year election. Not that we say one party better than the other, that why we the American people put the Republican In charge of the House and the Democrats In charge of the Senate.

    February 6, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. thesewist

    Read the differences between James Baker's speech and Sarah Palin's speech. Mr. Baker at least came off with some positive aspects and suggestions about partisanship (true, the Repubs. may not listen). On the other hand, Sarah was true to form and did nothing but snipe. On top of that, her English is atrocious. I cannot imagine her making a State of the Union speech. And, if she would do some research she would know that "by the time that Ronald Reagan left office in 1988 the National Debt was 2,601.3 Billion or 2.6 Trillion. In just eight years Ronald Reagan had more than doubled what all the previous presidents from Washington through Carter had accumulated in the prior 200 years." So much for her beloved Reagan being a conservative.

    February 6, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. James L.

    Reagan revolution? Reagan raised taxes 11 times and tripled the debt, more than all previous presidential deficits combined. Reagan negotiated with terrorists trading arms, gave a massive amnesty to illegal aliens, virtually ignored thus exacerbating the AIDS crises and supported savage and brutal dictators all over the planet. But he was charming. Mr. Baker knows all this or perhaps he too has memory issues.

    February 6, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. Chispter

    It would have done Reagan no good at all to reach across the aisle if Democrats had not been willing to reach back. Republicans are unwilling to cooperate at all with the Administration. They have clearly stated that their main goal is to win the next election and that they want the Administration, and therefore the nation, to fail. Reagan was likable but his huge tax cut sent the economy into a death spiral. He had to raise taxes to prevent total disaster but did it in about a dozen increments in order not to "lose face." Bush #41 paid the price for it. He still had to raise taxes despite campaign promises. The idea that Reagan's Administration was an economic success is a complete myth! Apparently, Republican supporters have little knowledge of history or very poor memories.

    February 6, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. lgny

    Baker's advice applies to many levels in the political discussion. Far too many of the rants on these CNN boards are little more than hurling zingers back and forth with little interest in exploring the depth of the issue or learning more about the details.

    It creates the impression that the next election will be determined by whose one-liners are more convincing. To quote Pogo: "We have met the enemy and they are us."

    February 6, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |