Ronald Reagan: The Happy Warrior

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“The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

GK Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

Today is my sixtieth birthday.  As faithful readers of this blog know, I share a birthday with Ronald Wilson Reagan.  I have long admired Reagan, the greatest President of my lifetime.  Of Irish ancestry, Reagan had the Irish habit of smiling in a fight.  A man of strong convictions, Reagan never forgot that his domestic adversaries were political opponents and  not enemies.  His humor was never mean spirited, and much of it was directed against himself.  Completely comfortable in his own skin, he never took himself seriously while taking very seriously what he believed in and fought for.  Happy birthday Mr. President, and may there be plenty of good humor in the life to come for you to add to.

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35 Comments

  1. A man of strong convictions, Reagan never forgot that his domestic adversaries were political opponents and not enemies.

    His primary ‘political opponents’ were general men who had come of age at a time when patriotism was bog standard in every class in society and in every subculture except aspirant bohemians. George McGovern was a man who made silly political judgments. He was also a combat veteran who was as unpretentious as any big time pol. The congressional leadership was in the hands of Tip O’Neill and Robert Byrd, both gravy pols who manifested some of the pathologies in the system, but also men with respect for certain courtesies. Gary Hart (a weirdly re-mainufactured individual) and Michael Dukakis (a complaisant denizen of Boston’s professional-managerial bourgeoisie) gave evidence of looking down on the society in which they lived, but they also had some of the circumspection of their generation. Only Jesse Jackson despised his country, and no one’s ever taken him altogether seriously.

    Reagan was beat up rhetorically as badly as George W. Bush. What’s interesting about that is that Reagan was quite challenging to the political order and not afraid to confront it, something Bush hardly dreamed of doing.

  2. Happy Birthday, Donald. Your common sense blog is a bright spot in an otherwise dismal internet landscape.

  3. Reagan would recognize the decency and patriotism in his opponents, if it was there. If it wasn’t, you better believe he’d treat them accordingly. Best birthday wishes, Don.

  4. Belated happy birthday!

    I didn’t know that line was from Chesterton… been quoting it most of my life, got it from my uncles, never knew the source.

    Very, very fitting for my family.

  5. Belated happy birthday!
    Know your enemy.

    KURT SCHLICHTER: The Left Hates You. Act Accordingly. “Leftists don’t merely disagree with you. They don’t merely feel you are misguided. They don’t think you are merely wrong. They hate you. They want you enslaved and obedient, if not dead. . . . Crazy talk? Just ask them. Go ahead. Go on social media. Find a leftist – it’s easy. Just say something positive about America or Jesus and they’ll come swarming like locusts. Engage them and very quickly they will drop their masks and tell you what they really think. I know. I keep a rapidly expanding file of Twitter leftist death wish screenshots.”

  6. Heorgar: King George III of England went to war over what he determined to be the hate speech in The Unanimous Declaration of Independence of The United States of America. One would think that if King George III believed in freedom he would have welcomed our Independence.

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