Ronald Reagan Part V: One of America's Greatest Presidents

June 5th was the 12th anniversary of the death of Ronald Reagan. When the former president died in 2004, thousands upon thousands of Americans stood in line to pay their respects in the rotunda of the Capital Building — including Glenn Beck. Ronald Reagan had a huge impact on Americans and the United States. People still talk about our 40th president — the man, the president, the legend. In this series, we explore Reagan’s early years, his conversion from Democrat to Republican, the path to his election, and how his policies brought back morning in America.

Ronald Reagan Part V: One of America's Greatest Presidents

At 70 years old and 70 days into his presidency, Ronald Reagan had survived an assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr., who was captured at the scene, tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity. Less than two weeks after the shooting, Reagan was back to work at the White House, turning the country's fortunes around.

His tax and spending cuts would spur the economy, but it took a little more time than some expected. In the meantime, the press did not cut him the slack they'd granted a more recent president during recessionary times. When asked by a reporter if any of the blame belonged to him, Reagan answered, "Yes, because for many years, I was a Democrat."

Reagan partnered with like-minded conservative, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II in opposing the spread of communism and the Soviet Union. In a 1983 speech, Reagan suggested a strategic defense initiative --- which came to be known as Star Wars defense --- to "intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil."

With that speech, President Ronald Reagan seemingly overturned 30 years of back and forth with the Soviet Union on offensive nuclear arsenals. No one knew it at the time, but it was a massive bluff that paid unbelievable dividends. The technology the president spoke of actually didn't exist. Yet, the Soviets panicked and began spending unprecedented amounts of money just to keep up. While Reagan increased the federal deficit by raising American defense spending to 7 percent of GDP, the Soviets went from an unreasonable 22 percent to an insane 27 percent of GDP with their military spending.

Domestically, the tone and policies of Ronald Reagan were working. Americans felt good again, patriotic again, positive about themselves and the future. Even though he would start a second term in 1985 at 74 years old, Reagan believed there was much more to do.

His age was definitely a factor during his '84 reelection campaign, a factor he used during a debate with his Democratic opponent Walter Mondale.

MODERATOR: You already are the oldest president in history, and some of your staff say you were tired during your most recent encounter with Mr. Mondale. I recall yet that President Kennedy had to go for days on end with very little sleep during the Cuba Missile Crisis. Is there any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function in such circumstances?

RONALD: Not at all, Mr. Truett. And I want you to know that also, I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.

As he had done with Carter during the first presidential campaign, Reagan completely diffused something that was perceived to be a negative. With one single nicely delivered line, he had blown an actual concern of the American people out of the water.

He joked about it, often.

RONALD: One of my favorite quotations about age comes from Thomas Jefferson. He said that we should never judge a president by his age, only by his work. And ever since he told me that, I've stopped worrying.

Reagan won the reelection in one of the biggest landslides of all the time, winning 49 out of 50 states. Mondale only won his home state. The electoral count was 525 to 13. It's almost unimaginable now to think that a Republican won California, Massachusetts, New York and other liberal states --- but Ronald Reagan did.

His second term, while successful, was marked by significant hurdles and disasters --- the space shuttle Challenger explosion that took the lives of seven NASA astronauts on live national television, the Iran-Contra scandal and what he reportedly said was the biggest mistake of his presidency --- granting amnesty to the 2 million illegal aliens in 1986.

During his administration, the nation added over 16 million jobs. He cut the tax rate across-the-board, including the top rate from a ridiculous 70 percent income tax to 28. His policies lowered the inflation rate from 13.5 percent in 1980, to 1.9 in 1986. Real GDP growth under Reagan averaged 3.5 percent, and it was nearly 5 percent following the recession.

In Berlin on June 12th, 1987, President Ronald Wilson Reagan made a demand during a speech. When he went to the Brandenburg Gate at the Berlin wall, his advisers and speechwriters told him relentlessly that he couldn't possibly say what he wanted to say. They took a line out of his speech. He put it back in. They took it back out on the way to Berlin. He put it back in. And ultimately, Reagan said the five words that changed the world: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

At the time, it was unthinkable that the Berlin wall could come down anytime soon. But thanks in large part to his heroic efforts rebuilding the United States military, opposing communism at every turn, remaining steadfast, not to mention his Star Wars defensive system --- which never existed and sent the Soviets into a spending frenzy they couldn't sustain --- the wall began coming down on November 9th, 1989, just over two years after the speech. The Soviet Union, the evil empire, collapsed.

Today, even Democrats generally speak of Ronald Reagan fondly. They hated his trickle-down economics, Reaganomics as they called it at the time. But they are forced to admit that his policies led to an amazing prosperity.

Even as he left office, in January 1989, a Gallup poll showed a 64 percent approval rating for the departing president, the highest ever recorded for a president leaving office.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta was confronted at CPAC by The Federalist reporter David Marcus with a valid question: "When are you guys going to start covering Cuomo?" His answer — or, really, lack of an answer — perfectly demonstrates why he was earlier surrounded by CPAC attendees chanting, "CNN sucks!"

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Tuesday, Glenn and producer Stu Burguiere react to a video clip of the exchange with Acosta, as well as the mainstream media's double standards when it comes to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Watch the video below:

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Glenn Beck can't help but wonder, "What is wrong with us?" in light of the Left's latest move — canceling six Dr. Seuss books due to "hurtful and wrong" illustrations — that takes America one step closer to complete insanity. And now, school districts are jumping on board after President Joe Biden seems to have dropped Dr. Seuss from the White House's annual "Read Across America Day" proclamation.

On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn argued that deleting books is the perfect example of fascism, and asked when we as a country will finally realize it.

"They are banning Dr. Seuss books. How much more do you need to see before all of America wakes up? ... This is fascism!" Glenn said. "We don't destroy books. What is wrong with us, America?"

Watch the video below to hear more from Glenn:


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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard and Glenn Beck don't agree much on policy, but they're in lockstep on principles.

On "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week, Tulsi spoke with Glenn about one of her last acts in Congress, introducing the "Protect Women's Sports Act," which she says would "strengthen, clarify, and uphold the intent of Title IX to provide a level playing field for girls and women in sports." But since then, the Biden administration has gone in the opposite direction, and has supported allowing biological men to compete in women's sports.

Watch the video clip below to hear why Tulsi took a stand for female athletes:


Watch the full interview with Tulsi Gabbard here.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Later this week, former President Trump will attend CPAC and give his first major policy appearance since leaving office. Sources close to the President reveal he will focus on "the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement."

The future of the GOP is a question that demands real discussion before elections in 2022 and 2024. Right now, I can see three possible answers for how you act:

  1. Those in power and senior positions will ignore the reasons behind Donald Trump winning in 2016. They will be vindicated in their minds because they outlasted him, as they view DC as a job for life. These leaders will go back to business as usual and seek forgiveness from the left, hoping for unity and acceptance in the future.
  2. The second outcome is another section of the party that is understandably very angry over the left's Presidents treatment. They still support and believe in Trump. They think it's time to take off the gloves and treat Biden/the left exactly how they treated Trump.
  3. The few policy positions offered in public will be centered solely around opposing the left. They will also make the case how the left suck, are dangerous, and how you need them in power. The next four years are merely a countdown for Trump to run again and right the wrong of 2020.
  4. The third outcome is very similar to the second, but with one key difference. While they appreciate everything Trump accomplished while in office, they feel it's time to unite behind another candidate.
Question

Which of these three positions will work best for the American people? Which helps built a political base for elections in both 2022 and 2024?

If you seek to help save America, it is critical to do some soul searching. Whether you love or hate him, Donald Trump got 75 million votes and made advancements in key demographics. What did he do well that you can develop further? In what areas was he poor, and how can you improve?

I want to raise six principled points everyone on the right should be forced to consider in the run-up to 2024.

1 - Understanding American Exceptionalism

FACT: America is an exceptional nation. If you read enough of world history, you will find ample evidence that America acted in ways that made it unique and significantly different from other countries in the past and modern times. These reasons must be understood and promoted through the culture and body politic.

One of those reasons is the layout of your Declaration of Independence. If you look around politics today, you will see people on all political sides telling you what they hate, why the other side is the enemy, and how they must be defeated.

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson also made that case against the English when he listed 27 grievances against the King. So how is the layout key? It took Jefferson 357 words to get to those grievances. Your Declaration is your mission statement: it tells everyone in the world what America aspires to be. It states the belief that all were created equal, all had certain rights that come directly from God, and that it is the government's job to protect rights -- not give people rights.

The left is successfully painting everyone on the right to be a terrorist who enjoyed the Capitol Hill riots. If you ever want to win another election, it will be critical to explain what you stand for to the American people.

After all, ask yourself which makes you the most passionate to vote - removing someone from office or voting for a vision and change you believe in?

2 - The Constitution

Is there a better place to start this vision than the Constitution? Yes, it is mostly ignored today by those in power and is only referenced by politicians and media when it fits a narrative.

The Constitution is a beautiful and complex document but is primarily based on a straightforward principle. The government should be extremely limited in its power, but it should be as close to the people as possible where there is a clear need for government. Who can argue with this principle?

Who wants someone they have never met, dictating how they live their life?

This is why the Constitution grants the President no real power, and gives Congress 18 clauses of power, listed under Article 1, Section 8. Any and every power not mentioned there belongs at the state level.

3 - Finances

The power structure in DC has changed many times over the last twenty years, with both parties having the opportunity to rule the different federal branches. There have been two periods where one party controlled all the power in DC:

  • 2008-2010: Obama / Dem
  • 2016-2018: Trump / GOP

Despite these changes, your government continually grows, you continue to spend money you don't have, and in ten out of the last thirteen years, you have added over $1,000,000,000,000 to your national debt, which now sits just under $28 trillion. Does this seem sustainable to you? Of course not, but sadly your finances only get worse.

America has revenue of over $3.2 trillion every year, yet DC has not passed a budget since 2008. Can you imagine any business running that way? Do you think Apple, Amazon, or Disney have a budget? It is time to get America on a path to financial sustainability, work towards a balanced budget, and explain to the American people how you will achieve it.

4 - Taxes

Do you remember discussing taxes during the Tea Party?

We used to make the simple moral case to the American people: any money you earn is yours, you should use it to plan your life, and the government has no right to take it from you. This was so successful around 2012 that Herman Cain ran for President with one primary policy: the 9-9-9 plan.

If America is to return to prosperity after Covid, lower taxes and a simpler tax code must be a central theme.

5 - Cutting Government

Look at the size of the US government in 2021. Are you happy? Can you name the numerous departments? Is it now the freedom-loving Americans' position that agencies like Education, Energy, EPA, and Commerce are constitutional bodies of government and are well-run?

How about the IRS, which targeted Tea-Party groups under President Obama? Do they deserve support, or is it time to start sharing a vision of the departments that should be abolished?

This principle used to be a big part of the Conservative platform. It played a massive role in 2012 when Rick Perry ran for President. His campaign was destroyed in 45 short seconds when he could not remember the three agencies he would abolish.

Maybe it's time to refresh this debate but change the parameters. How about we discuss the agencies that should be kept?

6 - Bill of Rights

Today, the Bill of Rights is under constant attack. The far-left/woke mob hates free speech, and they seek to cancel anyone with an opposing view. However, the attacks on the Bill of Rights don't always come from the left.

America has a second amendment that guarantees you the right to bear arms. The last time the GOP held both houses of Congress and the Presidency, they banned bump stocks - but who really NEEDS a bump stock?

As the years have passed, some have admitted they are open to red flag laws. Is this still the case?

While the second amendment may be under attack, it is clear the fourth amendment is dead. Regardless of which party holds power in DC, the NSA is given continuous ability to spy on Americans. The simple, principled case from Rand Paul of "get a warrant" always falls on deaf ears.

The Bill of Rights should be a unifying document for most Americans, as the principles are self-evident and a significant part of any freedom platform going forward.

Conclusion

America will face significant challenges over the coming years. As the government continues to grow, the far left get more hostile, and central planners seek a great reset. If you share my concern, then now is the time to forget our tribes and ignore the debate on who should be President in 2024.

It's time to work hard to build a platform by raising a banner of bold colors, not pale pastels. We must share a clear vision to the American people of a bright future where they are free, prosperous, and can pursue their happiness.

When the platform is built and successful, people can identify the best candidate to run in 2024.

"First, you win the argument, and then you win the election." — Margaret Thatcher

Jonathon Dunne is a keynote speaker, weekly podcast host on Blaze Media, and published author on major platforms such as The Blaze, Glenn Beck, Libertarian Republic, Western Journalism, and Constitution. Since 2012, he has reached millions with his message of American exceptionalism.

You can find him on social media – Facebook, Twitter, MeWe