Ronald Reagan’s glorious autumn of 2014

Reagan statue, Dixon, IL
Reagan statue, Dixon, IL

By John Ruberry

Ten years after his passing, the legacy of Ronald Reagan still resonates.

The Gipper has had a phenomenal autumn.

Eight days before Election Day, the 50th anniversary of Reagan’s A Time for Choosing address arrived and it reacquainted Americans with the 40th president’s core values–and for younger voters it exposed the fallacies of liberalism.

“We have so many people who can’t see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one,” Reagan said in his televised speech to support the candidacy of Barry Goldwater. “So they’re going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer—and they’ve had almost 30 years of it—shouldn’t we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn’t they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?”

Good points. Under President Obama, there are 14 million more food stamp recipients than there were during the George W. Bush presidency, despite what Democrats are calling an improved economy. Yet there is no call among liberals to lower the food stamp rolls. None of them are calling for the recipients of ObamaPhones to move on and sign up and pay for their own cell phone plans.

Last week was the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. While most of the credit for the collapse belongs to the German people, Reagan of course deserves a spot on the rostrum of victory. Two years prior, Reagan stood in front of the “wall of shame” and demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Reagan believed in confronting the enemies of freedom. Obama, to my knowledge, has never used the word ‘enemy’ to describe hostile nations such as Iran, North Korea, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Berlin Wall segment, Eureka College
Berlin Wall segment, Eureka College, Illinois

There’s another landmark Reagan speech that deserves another look, his first inaugural address. “We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around,” he said.

Two weeks ago on Election Day–a majority of American voters said that’s just the way they want it.

Just last week, ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber chuckled about the “stupidity” of the American voter aiding in the passage of the unpopular bill. Reagan had something to say about such elitists in that same 1981 speech.

“From time to time,” Reagan remarked, “we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people.”  He continued, “Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”

Someone should ask Obama and Gruber that question.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.