What I consider the greatest first lady of the century, Nancy Reagan, left us on Sunday, March 6, 2016. She passed away at the ripe age of 94.
I will never forget the Reagans. My beautiful wife and I were graciously invited to dinner by a wonderful couple from Seattle. My wife had recently arrived from Spain. At our dinner table with us were only the couple from Seattle, Mr. and Mrs. Reagan, and the entertaining Louis Rukeyser from Wall Street Week fame.
My wife was not familiar with US politics yet. Ronald Reagan had recently left the governorship of California, but had not yet declared that he would run for president. That morning I told my wife that we were having dinner with Ronald Reagan. She asked, “who is he?” I said, he may be the next president of the USA.
Nancy was seated next to my wife. We were all introduced and Nancy started conversing with my wife in her charming way. She noticed the accent and asked where my wife was from. Then Nancy called across the table, “Ronnie, Ronnie, she is from Spain.” And then “Ronnie” was delighted to practice his movie-Spanish in his conversation with my wife. He was so charming.
Mr. and Mrs. Reagan came across as genuine, decent, moral, ethical and truly patriotic Americans. At the dinner he said that his primary agenda was to make government smaller. He was convinced that a small government was the best government.
Ronald Reagan had no four letter bad words in his vocabulary. He disarmed his most vicious critics with a simple joke. He had a moral compass that is so missing today.
And Mrs. Nancy Reagan was his co-pilot and devoted wife. We miss them. Where are the Ronald and Nancy Reagans of the political world today?
More observations on the Reagans:
Ronal Reagan believed that reducing spending growth was imperative. He thought that cutting taxes was the way to force the Dems to go along with spending reductions because the deficit would balloon. He was successful, but in Washington there is never a true spending reduction, only a cut in spending growth. That is so widely misunderstood.
We are now in a similar period as in 1980. In 1980, there was a huge backlash against “the establishment,” the corruption of the political elite, the lobbyists, elected politicians who didn’t care about Americans and only about the special interest who elected them, and a totally ineffective president who was the pawn of the establishment.
Ronald Reagan was the “anti-establishment” candidate. They tried to demonize him, even his own party. Isn’t that reminiscent of today?
Finally, the establishment saw they couldn’t defeat the ‘outsider.’ A compromise over a dinner with a well-known American billionaire made Bush Sr. the VP presidential candidate. The establishment had designated him to be the president, but they failed to overpower public sentiment. Bush almost did become president shortly after the election, after the assassination attempt on President Reagan.
The Reagans changed the direction of American for a time. But nothing endures forever. After eight years, it was back to the normal way of business in Washington.