Before anyone misunderstands, I love Ronald Reagan. Unequivocally, Reagan was the greatest president of the 20th century. He won the Cold War. The Gipper vanquished both the Evil Empire and PATCO. His economic and tax reforms revived the US economy. The US was in sorry shape after 4 years of an inept Carter administration: gas lines, the hostages in Tehran, a US military still suffering from the end of the Vietnam conflict, and challenged around the world by Soviet forces.
Reagan was limited to some extent by Democrat control of Congress. Some of the now-vaunted compromises, from the Social Security “fix”, to signing off on a supposed “one-time” immigration amnesty, have turned out to be band-aids, and these problems are far worse today.
By comparison, Great Britain was in far worse shape when Margaret Thatcher came to power. Economically, the country was in ruins. Decades of Labour rule had led to union anarchy, a near total collapse of civil order. Great Britain was no longer “great” by any stretch of the imagination.
The Iron Lady took office, and immediately began to confront the problems, and the opposition. No compromiser she, for she knew that you can’t strike a bargain with the Devil. She challenged Labour, and the unions; took the strikes, and appealed to what she instinctively realized was the innate good and resolve of the British people. She dared them to once again be great, and they responded.
She also realized that for Great Britain to have any future relevance in world affairs, the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands had to be overturned. She alone had the fortitude, the resolve to press the military campaign in the face of seemingly insurmountable logistic difficulties, and horrendous losses of troops, planes, and ships.
And it was Margaret Thatcher who ordered HMS Conqueror to torpedo the cruiser Belgrano, because the Argentine ship posed a potential threat to the British forces. Compare that decision to the politically correct ROE that we force our troops to observe in Afghanistan.
She famously advised George HW Bush not to “go wobbly” in confronting Saddam Hussein. Well, he did…listening to Colin Powell instead, and ending the war after 100 hours, and leaving Saddam in power for another decade.
Neither McCain or Romney dared to speak the cold, hard, unvarnished truth to the American people. Reagan was the optimist, he truly believed that “it’s morning in America, again.” Maybe that’s because as part of the “greatest generation” he had been part of America’s triumphs, and knew they were capable of victory again.
The “greatest generation” is all but gone..their last votes counted. Instead, we have the generation of takers, the baby boomers, and all those since then who have been conditioned, and taught from birth that government will take care of them. They have proven de Tocqueville correct.
Reagan’s message is still as valid, as inspiring as ever, but his methodology (for lack of a better word) would not, I fear, work today. Americans need someone to read them the riot act, to speak the plain, unvarnished truth.
Our own Iron Lady, if you will.
And as a bonus, it would end the big lie of the “war on women.”