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Ronald Reagan a leftist?

By Charles A. Morse
web posted February 25, 2002

My leftist friend says that Ronald Reagan looked good on his 91st birthday and how nice it was that Congressmen, including Democrats, paid their respects. At first glance, it struck me as odd that she spoke well of a President she had always loathed. Then it dawned on me. The tragic Reagan of today is the Reagan she had always hoped for, namely, one that can't talk back. In his present sad condition, Former President Ronald Reagan can no longer threaten the left and, as such, he has now become, de facto, a good leftist himself. After all, he can no longer question political correctness, he's completely dependant on others, and he no longer thinks for himself. The left can at last claim a victory over Reagan, the only type of victory they could ever have against such a genuine patriot.

Ronald ReaganNo figure in the latter part of the twentieth century elicited a more committed and enduring hate from the left than Reagan. While unapologetically standing for moral absolutes and limited government, Reagan won two elections with wide popular margins and was, in fact, one of the most popular presidents in history. This flew in the face of the left's bogus posturing as representatives of "the people." No leftist or leftist cause ever garnered such popular support. In spite of eight years of an unprecedented and ugly drumbeat of propaganda leveled against him by leftist media and institutions, nothing would shake this support. The left would never understand that Reagan's connection with average Americans came from an instinctive understanding that he stood for individual freedom.

In his first year, Reagan cut taxes and reduced spending in all departments except defense. Regarding welfare, Reagan spoke of helping "the truly needy" which enraged a left that viewed welfare as a transfer of wealth to bureaucracies and poverty as a business. Reagan's tax cut, like John F. Kennedy's before him, greatly contributed to the economic prosperity of the 1980's and 1990's. This might have led, the left feared, to a populace that could realize that big government and big taxes were not the answer to economic and social ills. The danger for the left was that average people might get by quite nicely without them. Such prosperity threatened to erode the left's constituency. With their authoritarian and overstuffed schemes, the left feared that Reagan's government might expose the irrelevancy of their entire enterprise and raison d'etre.

Rather than being content with détente or containment toward the leftist Soviet Union and its satellites, Reagan sought to roll back and defeat Communism, which, for the left, was like the ramming of a crucifix into the heart of their vampire. Reagan supported the freedom fighters against the blood soaked tyranny of Ortega in Nicaragua, he defeated the Castro-ite puppet in Grenada, and he supported freedom-oriented governments and movements in Latin America, which greatly contributed to genuine progress toward democracy. Reagan supported the Polish Solidarity movement thus helping to eventually liberate Poland, Eastern Europe, and even Russia itself, from the brutal jackboot of a left wing communism that was responsible for the murder of over 100 million people and the untold suffering and poverty of millions more.

On March 8, 1983, in a speech in Orlando, Florida, President Reagan asked for prayers for the "salvation of all of those who were in that totalitarian darkness...Let us be aware that...they are the focus of evil in the modern world." He admonished his audience to beware of the "temptation of blatantly declaring yourselves above it all and label(ing) both sides equally at fault, (and the temptation) to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an Evil Empire."

Reagan didn't flinch from identifying the difference between good and evil. The reason the Evil Empire comment sent the left into such paroxysms of scorn was not only because it plainly identified their own faith as evil, but, more fundamentally, because Reagan was openly stating the truth in the face of a political belief system that had everything invested in denying the very existence of fundamental truths. Like Franklin D. Roosevelt's open opposition to National Socialism after Pearl Harbor, Reagan, with his Evil Empire speech, placed the American government, and society, for the first time, in absolute moral and literal opposition to international socialism. This one comment, more than anything else, led to a significant collapse of the left's beloved communism.

Chuck Morse is a talk show host at WROL 950 AM in Boston.

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