"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
"One day in 1977, Ronald Reagan asked Richard Allen, who would become his first national security adviser, if Mr. Allen would like to hear his theory of the Cold War:
'Some people think I'm simplistic and being simple. My theory of the Cold War is that we win and they lose. What do you think about that?'
"'I was flabbergasted,' Mr. Allen now says. 'I'd worked for Nixon and Goldwater and many others, and I'd heard a lot about...detente and the need to 'manage the Cold War,' but never did I hear a leading politician put the goal so starkly.'
"'Governor,' I asked, 'do you mean that?'
"Mr. Reagan replied, 'Of course I mean it. I just said it.'"
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General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
"As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: "This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality." Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.
He described America this way: "Uncle Sam is a friendly old man, but he has a spine of steel." [T]hat described Reagan as well as anything. Peggy Noonan, via The Corner
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Clare Boothe Luce famously said that each President is remembered for a sentence: "He freed the slaves"; "He made the Louisiana Purchase." You have to figure out your sentence, she used to tell John Kennedy, who would nod thoughtfully and then grouse when she left. Ronald Reagan knew, going in, the sentence he wanted, and he got it. He guided the American victory in the cold war. Under his leadership, a conflict that had absorbed a half-century of Western blood and treasure was ended — and the good guys finally won. Peggy Noonan, Time 100 profile of Reagan, 1998
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One measure of a leader's greatness is this: By the time he dies the dangers that summoned him to greatness have been so thoroughly defeated, in no small measure by what he did, it is difficult to recall the magnitude of those dangers or of his achievements. So if you seek Ronald Reagan's monument, look around and consider what you do not see.
The Iron Curtain that scarred a continent is gone, as is the Evil Empire responsible for it. The feeling of foreboding -- the sense of shrunken possibilities -- that afflicted Americans 20 years ago has been banished by a new birth of the American belief in perpetually expanding horizons.George Will in the Washington Post. See also Will's Newsweek essay, "Reagan's Echo in History."