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President Reagan passed away

President Ronald Reagan has just passed away about an hour ago.

One of the few politicians that went into politics because they believed in something. This was a president who in his inaugural address in 1981 said:

Government is not the solution, it’s the problem.

He will also be remembered as the Vanquisher of Soviet Communism, whatever the revisionists of all flavours may say.

Rest in peace.

Update: For more information here. Some notable quotations from Reagan here.

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43 comments to President Reagan passed away

  • Very sad to see him pass, and sad that his last years were spent as they were. I’m only sorry that I came to appreciate his worth so late in life (mine and his).

    I hope any rejoicing lefties steer well clear of me at this time.

  • As we remember those who liberated Western Europe from one brand of socialist tyranny this weekend, it is very sad to hear of the death of the man who laid the foundations for the liberation of Eastern Europe from the other brand.

    The world owes Ronald Reagan a great debt. Thank you Sir.

  • Rather than being “revisionists”, I think more and more are conceding the point, actually, including many who didn’t appreciate it at the time. (This includes me). Reagan upped the speed of the arms race, it became obvious to the people running the Soviet Union that they couldn’t compete, and they more or less surrendered.

  • David Crawford

    On the animated TV show “King of the Hill”, the father, Hank Hill, has a picture of President Reagan out in his garage/workshop. To quote Hank Hill:

    “God I loved voting for that man.”

    The 1984 Presidential Election was the most enjoyable election. EVER!!

    And yes, pretty much the same idiots protested against him when he visited Europe as President as are now protesting against President Bush. Some things never change.

  • Michael, I actually meant revisionists in the international relations style… I remember them, not fondly, from my studies of the Cold War(Link).

  • Alice Bachini

    We owe this man the greatest of debts.

  • Susan

    Even the little Commie shits over at BBCi’s (Link)(Don’t) Have Your say are forced to run a tribute thread. Must be grinding their teeth down to the stubs over it.

    Best comment:

    “Poland remembers.”

  • S. Weasel

    I always think of Reagan with a sneaking feeling of guilt, because I more or less believed the version of him painted by a hostile press. (Eh. I was young). Even when they gave him credit for winning the cold war, they put him forward as a likable stupid guy with an idee fixe about communism.

    It wasn’t until recently I began reading bits and pieces that he’d written and realizing

  • Gazaridis

    Ronald Reagan brought the world from Mutually Assured Destruction, to peace. He gave the strength to those who were once powerless to set themselves free. In his letter announcing he had Alzheimer’s, he wrote

    “When the Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.”

    Thanks to Reagan, Europe can share that optimism too.

  • S. Weasel

    …what a very clever man he was. (How’d I do that?)

  • Mashiki

    Such a loss of such a great man, the world does owe him a great debt. He still is a great leader to so many people, his presence will be missed, but not forgotten.

  • I voted for Ford over Reagan in 1976, I still like Ford but Reagan was head and shoulders above any President in my lifetime and that includes Eisenhower.

    His speech to the 1980 GOP convention in Detroit is what turned me into a Reaganite. At a time when the US was being humiliated by the hostage situation in Iran when the USSR was winning the Cold War, when the political debate was over whether to have a gigantic state or merely a very very big one. He made the case for freedom.

    When I go to DC, I often walk past the spot where, in 1981, he was shot. I will always remember the way he joked about his wounds, even as he nearly bled to death he kept his sense of humor and his perspective.

    “Honey I forgot to duck.” is one of the all time great Presidential lines.

    His SDI speech changed the whole nature of the cold war. The enemy could always build more nuclear bombs than we could, but they could never match our technology.

    He defeated the great nightmare ideology of the 20th century. When it looks as if we will not be able to beat back the nightmare of the 21st , think of Reagan and of the way changed despair into hope and then into victory.

  • GCooper

    In the best American tradition, Ronald Reagan’s easy, folksy manner betrayed a keen intelligence and a clear understanding of the world, and how it works.

    Would that there were more who modestly hid their brilliance, rather than dress-up their far weaker grasps of reality in continental European grandiloquence.

    Perhaps it is fitting that he cut his teeth in Hollywood. After all, he was the quintessential, plain man, who wore the Sheriff’s star and, armed with decency and plain common sense, set about cleaning up the town.

    We live in a better world and in his debt.

  • Frank P

    D Day for Ronnie. Historians take note and treat him well. RIP.

  • Tony

    I was young, I was stupid, I didn’t understand.

    I’m older, somewhat wiser, and now I see things so very differently.

    The man did well. Very well.

    Rest In Peace sir – you’ve truly deserved it, and will be sorely missed.

    From an Englishman who appreciates not having SS20’s pointed at him.

  • I got a shirt a few months ago and plan on wearing it to work on Monday. It really contains a great anti-commie message and a bit of wit:
    http://www.thoseshirts.com/reaganplain.html

    On a side note, those that think Reagan is to blame for the national debt should see his speeches to a Democratic congress. He flatly says that a large debt will be caused by a shortage of spending cuts.

    They didn’t cut spending, and they caused the debt.

    He is alive and well in my memory.

  • Verity

    He will go down as one of the greatest American presidents in history. He wore his greatness lightly, and with grace. R.I.P.

  • T. J. Madison

    I’m confused. Did the Evil Empire collapse because it was inefficient, or because of Ronnie’s aggressive policies? Which is it going to be?

    If the USSR was due to implode anyway, then Reagan’s dangerous provocations — Pershing II deployment, the Star Wars first strike initiative — were unnecessary and unacceptably risky.

    If the USSR was still a menace capable of further expansion, then the arguments about the economic sustainability of Communism need to be reexamined.

  • Verity

    Susan – Not only will the little commies over on the Baghdad Broadcasting Corportion’s [Don’t] Have Your Say have worn their teeth down to nubbins over the tributes to President Ronald Reagan, but they had a thread up, “Is Britain Islamophobic” or words to that effect.

    Alas, alack-a-day, except for precisely three Islamics, all the respondents said either: “Yes, and with good reason”, or “Muslims are entirely responsible for the way they are perceived in the UK and should work on getting with the programme.” Quel shock!

    Only one person wrote in (we know this, because were there more letters, the editors of the site would have run them) mentioning that Islam is “the religion of peace”.

    And yes, it must have spoiled their bitter, mean-spirited little appetites to have to run so many tributes to President Reagan.

  • Lewis

    Ronald Reagan committed the ultimate sin in the eyes of the leftist establishment which dominates the media and “intellectual” circles. He laughed at them. He laughed at their silly pretentions of representing the common man. He laughed at their convoluted language. He laughed at their economic policies and prescriptions. He laughed at their inability to see the evil in Communism. He laughed and he understood the strength that freedom gives. All they can say against him are the little things, e.g, the deficit went up (it went up under FDR, too).

    He, not Marx or Mao, was the true revolutionary of the 20th century. Our economic and political discourse will be never be the same again. With FDR, Churchill, and Thatcher he formed the quartet who saved our civilization.

    As one, who came of age in the horrid 60’s and 70’s, I will always remember his optimisim and his confidence in the average guy.

    God bless Ronald Reagan.

  • Gazaridis

    TJ – The Three Little Pigs still had a house of straw, until the Big Bad Wolf came and blew it down. Because the Soviet system was weak, it could be blown down. It may have imploded sometime in the future, but by that time MAD may have stopped being a theory.

  • Verity

    Someone called Brummbar posted this over on The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler:

    Ronald Wilson Reagan: 1911-2004

    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: 1917-1991.

    You won, Ron. And so did we.

    I must say, this is the first time in my life I have felt tears well up in my eyes at the death of a public figure.

  • T.J. Madison: Soviet system was inefficient and dying but it was taking a long time, much longer that anyone knowing its true nature could have expected. The fact that it fell apart the way it did, i.e. without 3rd World War, we owe, in no small measure, to statesmen like Reagan and Thatcher. Believe me, I know what it looked like from the other side of the Iron Curtain and how much impact these two had on the fact that I can be now writing these words freely.

  • Johnathan

    Ronald Reagan was a great and good men who wore his talents with modest grace. I think one of his greatest gifts was the ability to impart his ideas in simple but hugely effective ways. His optimism and confidence in ordinary folk marked him out as a true democrat. Go and read Andrew Sullivan’s site, which contains his wonderful tribute to the Gipper on his 90th birthday.

    Godspeed, Ronald Reagan. We British had a good friend in you. My condolences to his family and friends.

  • Halbared

    Reagan supported dictators like Saddam Hussein, Ferdinand Marcos, Baby Doc Duvalier, Augusto Pinochet, Manuel Noriega, and the apartheid government of South Africa and he ratted on fellow actors in the 50’s. He suffered from a terrible condition that he is now free from, which is good, but I think it is revisionism to make him something that he was not.

  • Halbared must have slipped in from another universe.

    Reagan helped get rid of Marcos and Pinochet, and the others. The great wave of democratization began on his watch. He nurtured it along with things like the National Endowment for Democracy.

    In the 1940s the communists in Hollywood said they were going to try and kill him. Union politics can get very violent, espcially when commies are involved.

    On the other hand thanks for being a perfect example of the kind of mean spirited, ignorant, socialist automaton of whom Reagan used to say “OK we’ll raise HIS taxes.”

    I just hope that when someone you love dies no one comes in and treats them the way you treated Reagan

  • Halbared

    I haven’t rubbished him, Reagan did help end the communist threat, indirectly by escalating the cold war. Reagan was in charge when Iran-Contra happened, he did good stuff, but he did a lot of bad stuff as well. Name calling and revisionism doesn’t alter facts.:)

  • Iran Contra, Lets see they took money from one enemy and gave it to our friend to fight another enemy.

    A lot of things went wrong in the process, but above all it was based on the idea of winning the war against communism.

    Cut him some slack

  • David Gillies

    I haven’t been watching the news coverage, deliberately. What could they say? But I do know this: growing up in the south of England it was always at the back of your mind that if a strategic exchange kicked off we were all dead. Not ‘combing the wreckage in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max fashion’, but burnt and dead and dismembered (or blasted to radioactive aerosols and sucked into the mushroom cloud, or slowly asphyxiated, or sitting there while your skin comes off and the intestinal bleeding gets started). Ronald Reagan saved my life.

    Ronald Reagan saved my life. He saved yours, too.

  • Susan

    Verity: I saw the thread on Islamophobia. I sent them an email pointing out that there were Imams saying that people who convert out of Islam should be murdered being broadcast on mainstream British television. Why wouldn’t British people be Islamophobic?

    Do you think they printed it? :)))

  • Verity

    Hmmm, Susan, let me think about that. Did the BBC run your post? Or did they not run your post?

    Oh, gosh! I can’t decide! I need more time to consider!

  • Susan

    And our good friend A_t was telling us only just the other day how much the BBC and its employees believe in “free speech.”

  • MVH

    GRATIAE RONALDUS MAGNUS

    USSR Delenda Est!

  • A_t

    “And our good friend A_t was telling us only just the other day how much the BBC and its employees believe in “free speech.”

    This tribute to a great leader (who i disagreed with on many fronts, but think did good overall, & deserves respect) should not be sullied by petty irrelevant personal jibes.

    Rest in peace.

  • Teofrast

    Nice assessment of Reagan legacies can be found here:

    The Gipper and His Legacies

    For instance:

    Leftists hate him for any number of reasons. First, they believe that somehow his administration killed the welfare state. Of course, that did not happen, as the welfare state grew continuously during the Reagan Administration, but since Reagan once invoked a story about a “welfare queen” that was proof positive that he ended welfare.

    Reagan also earned the contempt of the left for his “evil empire” comment about the U.S.S.R., and the fact that he did not waver in his determination to build up the armed forces. Those of us who hold to a libertarian point of view are of two minds about Reagan’s anti-Soviet rhetoric and actions.

    Now, we do believe that the Soviet empire was an evil thing, not simply a regime that practiced “alternative” economics. But, in retrospect, the Cold War was a waste of many things, mostly lives and resources, as it gave this country a permanent military-industrial complex that burdens us beyond any understanding.

    Through a series of “crime bill” acts, the federal government slowly but surely expanded the powers of U.S. attorneys, and the most inroads were made in the prosecution of sale and possession of illegal drugs. And out of the “War on Drugs” would come a series of laws and court decisions that expanded the powers of government agents to arrest people on flimsy evidence and seize private property willy-nilly.

    Within a short time, both the federal and state prison populations began to grow rapidly. The number of U.S. attorneys also continued to expand, as federal prosecutors began to find ways to manipulate the law in order to pile on the convictions.

    I have no idea whether or not Reagan would have approved of the monster that many of his policies helped to create. His intentions here are not important; what is important, however, is that the U.S. Government has become an even bigger threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    As InstaVomit might say: Read the whole thing.

  • The left-wing scumbags are twittering with glee on quite a few sites like Harry’s and Kamm’s. (To be fair neither proprietor is one of those doing so.) What makes me laugh is the revisionism that some are using for their attacks. They seem to forget that the Sandinistas were genocidal thugs funded by the Soviet Union. That the Soviet Union killed millions of its own people.

    Was RR perfect? No, of course he wasn’t, some of the people that worked for him were/are complete big-governement/authoritarian prigs (Liddy Dole take a bow!). However, that said, as with Maggie, he was the right leader at the right time for his country. The two of them stared down the Soviet Union, freed Eastern Europe and introduced many good ideas into their country’s domestic politics.

    I, unlike many in blogdom, never was a leftie. It has always bugged me that I was too young to vote for Ronnie.

    I am sure that my eyes will not remain dry when I watch his state funeral on Friday.

    R.I.P.

  • Jacob

    A good obit in WashPost by Lou Cannon(Link)

    A key sentence:
    A prominent Democratic critic, Sen. Gary Hart (Colo.), said Reagan was politically successful “not because he is the Great Communicator but because he has values and ideas and acts on them.”

    A man of values and ideas. Like Margaret Thatcher.
    A rare bird among politicians. The very few who have any ideas usually have the wrong ones.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    As an addition to my earlier comment above, I would say that the quality that marked Reagan out was his essential faith in the decency and intelligence of his fellow citizens. That is one reason why he despised big government, since big government takes a lot of inspiration from the hubristic idea that bureacrats are smarter than we are.

    To be absolutely fair, the Iran-Contra affair the massive rise in the budget deficit on his watch were serious blots on the copybook, even though one has to accept that some pretty rough methods may have been needed to win the Cold War.

    And as a libertarian, one can hardly be satisfied at the fact that the size of the Federal Government had not greatly shrank after his time in office. Quite the reverse.

    But at the risk of invoking the hatred from the purists, I rank The Gipper so highly because his revival of American economic life, coupled with his policy towards the Soviets, dramatically shifted the world in a better direction on the whole. Yes, in the years ahead we can assess his record more broadly and no doubt pick apart bits of it, such as the disastrous War on Drugs, but in the round, his record looks better and better with the passing of time.

    I never thought I would feel so upset about the death of a political leader, but there were tears in my eyes when I read some of the tributes to him out there.

  • John D

    Ronald Reagan saved all of us.

    There would not be a Samizdata in 2004 if Carter had been elected in 1980.

    Think about it. We all owe this man more than we can imagine.

    God, how I loved that man…

  • Teofrast

    Ronald Reagan saved all of us.
    There would not be a Samizdata in 2004 if Carter had been elected in 1980.

    This looks like a very interesting thought.
    Please, please do elaborate.

    And tell me again how sheep bladders can be used to prevent earthquakes.

    Or am I missing something?

  • snide

    Or am I missing something?

    Rather a lot, I would guess. But there would still be a Samizdata if Carter had won, the only difference is that it would be a true samizdat working to undermine the system in the Soviet province called Britain

  • Robert Fox

    Let’s see…

    Ketchup is a vegetable.
    Fortune-tellers in the White House.
    The biggest federal budget deficits in history (until now).
    Trees cause air pollution.
    The U.S. supports any scumbag in the world, as long as he is against Communism.

    RIP.