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Reagan Tribute - Ann Coulter

So now they think he was charming

Ann Coulter

June 10, 2004

America's greatest president has gone home. God worked through Ronald Reagan on Earth and now He's taken him back. Reagan is survived by his wife, three children, and the hundreds of millions of people he saved by winning the Cold War. Thanks to him, the United States of America never ceased to be, as Reagan said, "a place to escape to" - the last stand on Earth.

No thanks to liberals, I might add. More enraging than their revisionist history of Reagan, is liberals' revisionist history about themselves. Now liberals claim they liked Reagan at the time. This is extremely believable - aren't we all fond of someone who regularly exposes us as liars, cowards and hypocrites? It's just human nature.

In fact and of course, liberals loathed Reagan. Their European friends loathed Reagan - the protests against our current president are positively anemic compared to the massive protests against President Reagan when he went to visit our dear "allies," whose sorry asses we spent billions of dollars defending against the Soviets for 50 years. Even the moderate Republicans currently trying to insinuate themselves onto Reagan's legacy weren't especially fond of Reagan at the time - especially when attacking him publicly would get them invites to the tonier Georgetown cocktail parties. Only authentic Americans loved Reagan.

From the descriptions in the media, you would think the reason Reagan was beloved by Americans was that he was an affable fellow who could tell a good joke. That's a description of Bob Dole, not Ronald Reagan.

Reagan was a March hare right-winger. He had enough faith in the American people to know that as long as the facts were clear, they would rise to the occasion and be March hare right-wingers, too. As Reagan himself said, back in 1964: "Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make you and me believe that this is a contest between two men ... that we are to choose just between two personalities."

Reagan forced Americans to confront the real ideological divide between conservatives and, as he said, "our liberal friends." But now liberals are trying to muddy the political waters by passing off Reagan's popularity as a result of his personal magnetism. I note that liberals were strangely immune to that magnetism at the time. Only now do they talk about Reagan's outsized personality as if he worked some sort of beguiling magic over the electorate and tricked them into supporting policies they never quite understood.

While Reagan had undeniable magnetism, what set him apart was that he had the courage to speak the truth and trust the American people. In the 1964 speech that launched his political career, "A Time for Choosing," Reagan never smiled. He told no jokes - though he did say some amusing things inasmuch as he was talking about "our liberal friends."

In the throes of the Cold War - still hot in Vietnam - Reagan forthrightly said liberals refused to acknowledge that the choice was not between "peace and war, only between fight and surrender." In words that would have come in pretty handy in Spain just a few months ago, he said liberals tell us "if we only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he will forget his evil ways and learn to love us." All who disagree with the "peace" crowd, he said, "are indicted as warmongers." To this, Reagan said: "Let's set the record straight. There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace - and you can have it in the next second - surrender."

This wasn't sunny old grandpa carrying candy around in his pocket for children. After watching Walter Cronkite's coverage of the Vietnam War in December 1972, Reagan told President Richard Nixon, "under World War II circumstances, the network [CBS] would have been charged with treason."

Reagan quoted "Mr. Democrat himself," Al Smith, for the proposition that the Democratic Party was no longer the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Cleveland, but was now the party of Marx, Lenin and Stalin. (And that was 30 years before they tried to push Hillarycare on us.)

Reagan was a bulldog, completely, implacably right-wing on every issue. He was the right-wing Energizer Bunny. He never quit and he kept beating liberals. He cut taxes 25 percent across the board his first year in office; he walked away from Gorbachev at Reykjavik; he fired all those air-traffic controllers - and wouldn't let them come back even when they wanted to; he gave speeches about "welfare queens" and polluting trees; he nominated Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork to the Supreme Court; and he enraged grim liberals when he warmed up his radio mike by saying, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

But now they're telling us Reagan was a "pragmatist." Well, not according to him. As he was wrapping up the Republican primaries in 1980 and moderate weenies in the Republican Party were trying to move him to the "center," Reagan said: "No, I'm not moving my positions any. ... I believe the same things that I've been speaking on for years, and I don't see any reason to change."

Thank God he didn't. Because Reagan lived, the world is a better place.

Ann Coulter is host of AnnCoulter.org, a Townhall.com member group.